Baby Bump

Shift post pregnancy weight with Bodydoctor exercise programme

Fitness expert, the Bodydoctor, claims he's hit upon the perfect formula to help a new mum get her figure back

Lily Allen backs childrens fitness trainer

Slip into your jeans just weeks after giving birth - just like the stars do.

Shifting the weight after having a baby can seem like mission impossible; there are few women in this world who can squeeze back into their jeans just weeks after giving birth like Victoria Beckham and Liz Hurley. But, if you're still trying to ditch your post baby-bulge, don't panic. Closer's fitness expert David Marshall, the Bodydoctor, claims he's hit upon the perfect formula to help a new mum gether figure back. A fitness teacher with 27-years experience trainingcelebrities from Hollywood actress Rachel Weisz to England footballer Rio Ferdinand, his unique programme famously shrank Sophie Dahl from a size 16 to 12. It's been specially adapted so mums can can get their pre-pregnancy figure back before their baby is even on solids.

"A lot of women think that when a baby arrives, they have to wave goodbye to their body. Why?" asks David in his typical its-not-rocket-science fashion that clients find so infectious. "Even if you've felt like a water buffalo for nine months, it's very easy to change." Very easy? "Yes, if you do it the right way."

"It's a myth that if you want to lose weight you have to huff and puff for hours and lift heavy weights," says David. "Typical gym programmes are 70-80% wasted energy and that's the last thing a new mother needs," says David. "And forget working different parts of the body on different days. You might work one area really hard on one day, but the next session you might have had a terrible night's sleep because your baby's kept you up and your body will end up in a mess."

David's also adamant that you shouldn't worry about gaining weight during your pregnancy, but once you get the go-ahead from your doctor to start exercising again after the birth, typically around six weeks, there's no reason why you shouldn't dump the lot.

For David and his incredible shrinking clients, the right way involves 90-minutes sessions three times a week that carefully combine low impact cardio work (essential for delicate post-bump bodies) and a set of weight and stretching exercises. And that's the really clever bit: each exercise in the routine flows smoothly into the next - just like positions in a yoga class - and cancels out the negative effects of the previous one. Performed correctly, these careful and controlled movements are perfect for strengthening post pregnancy weak spots such as the abs and lower back. They are also what creates leaner, longer muscles, burns fat and leaves you energised.

While diet is a banned word around the Bodydoctor ("depriving yourself doesn't work"), nutrition is at the heart of his programme. Food combining, where you avoid eating protein and carbohydrates together at the same meal, is key and Body Enemy Number One is sugar not fat. But new mothers, especially when breastfeeding or exercising, shouldn't skimp on portions or miss meals, and they should also eat plenty of complex carbs (pasta, brown bread/rice), protein (lean meat, fish) and pile in the fruit and veg.

Ten months after giving birth to her daughter 33-year old Kay Acott hadn't managed to shift a pound. In just six weeks on David Marshall's programme she'd dropped three dress sizes, lost a stone and half and was proudly back in her pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Eat your heart out Liz Hurley.

"There was always something better to do with what was left of my energy than go to the gym," says Kay, an account director for a telecomcompany. "After months of not feeling myself, it was the most fantastic feeling to claim my body back."

Kay is far from a one-off success story. David's sessions tackle the body as whole and, after nine months of carrying an ever-increasing weight around, set about restoring the balance. For 33-year-old Claire Harrison, a recruitment consultant who had four children in three years, the food programme was a breeze. "Before I started training it was always so much easier to reach for the biscuit tin rather than a banana," she says. "But when you start to feel good about your self, you just don't feel like eating rubbish." Within 12 weeks of giving birth to her fourth child, Claire had returned to late twenties shape and was pushing the kids round the park without feeling like her heart was about to pop out. "I never thought I'd actually enjoy going to the gym, but now I love it."

DAVID'S TOP TIPS TO BEATING THE BULGE

1. "Don't worry about your bum getting bigger than your belly during your pregnancy. While you are pregnant you should only be doing exercise that your body was used to prior to becoming pregnant. Don't start anything new."

2. "But if you can't bear doing nothing, try pre-natal yoga, swimming and brisk walks in the park. The object is to give your baby lots of oxygen-rich blood to feed the pregnancy."

3. "Don't start working out too early. Give your body time to recover from the strains of the birth and always get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start."

4. "Take special care with your abdominal exercises - don't expect to carry a load for nine months and then suddenly develop a six pack in nine minutes."

5. "If you are breastfeeding make sure you are on a fully balanced nutritional plan. What you eat is what your baby eats ie you miss out and the child misses out and that's isn't a good start."

HOW TO LOSE YOUR BUMP

Emma Hall, 32, is the proud mother of three year old Holly and nine month old Hamish. She put on two stone during her pregnancy and she'd still like to lose half a stone off her hips and thighs. David Marshall spent an afternoon putting her through her paces.

1. Prayers (tones your abdominal muscles) Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, 5 inches more than hip width apart. With palms together, reach forward between your thighs. Sllowly curl forward 5 inches and slowly uncurl without allowing the top of your back to touch the floor. Repeat five times, building up to 20.

2. Spinal twist (massages the spine, tones lower stomach, bottom and thighs). Lie on your back with arms out at shoulder height, palms up. Your knees should be bent and your feet should be about 5 inches apart. Holding your breath, turn your head to the right and your knees, feet and hips to the left. Then turn head and feet in opposite direction. Let knees fall as far as your comfortable. Repeat as many times in one breath as you can. 3. Abdominal curls Lie on your back with your legs in the air at 90 degrees. Put your arms out to the side. Rock your legs back towards your head while lifting your bum off the floor. Keep it a fluid movement. Repeat five times building up to 20.

A one-on-one session with David at his secluded Primrose Hill studio in London may set you back a wallet-reducing £80, thousands have enjoyed results like Claire with his DIY gym kit. It has proved so consistently successful, Private Health Company PPP are now recommending it to clients.