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Help, Please: Getting Back in Shape

DailyCandy chief correspondent and new mom SuChin Pak gets to the core of the issue

expect to be fit!

Five months after giving birth to a ten-pound (let that sink in) baby boy, my friend Anna looked amazing.

Turns out it was the work of prenatal and postpregnancy fitness expert Leah Keller. Keller prides herself on keeping things simple, effective, and to the point. So I asked Keller how I could start getting back into shape.

Baby’s here. What’s the best way to get my flat belly back?

Do restorative core compressions five to ten minutes a day. These exercises can be performed seated, standing, or on hands and knees. Whichever position you choose, keep the spine lengthened and perfectly still (no rounding or arching the back) throughout the exercises.

Begin by relaxing the belly and letting it expand as you take a deep breath, filling up with air. Then exhale, squeezing the belly button toward the spine. Repeat these deep breaths three to five times. Relax and soften as you inhale. Draw the abs firmly toward the spine as you exhale. Emphasize tightening the abdominal wall toward the spine with each exhalation.

After your final exhalation (described above), keep your abs at the spine. Now gently pulse the abs even tighter to the spine (imagine tightening from 100 percent to 120 percent) as you forcefully exhale, squeezing air out the mouth and/or nose as you flatten the belly toward the spine. Repeatedly pulse the abdominal muscles tight to tighter, tight to tighter, and envision the belly button touching the spine as you forcefully exhale with each squeeze. This is a deep, subtle movement (almost invisible) yet very effective.

For a full set, complete five minutes of core compressions a day. During each set, take full belly breaths as needed. After five minutes a day for one week, work up to five minutes twice a day. In just ten minutes a day you can restore flat, firm abdominal muscles and see a dramatic difference in your waistline in as little as six weeks.

Keller will launch a line of prenatal and postpregnancy fitness DVDs this fall. For more information, go to expecttobefit.com.

Photo: Laurence Monneret / Getty Images