Even if you don’t know her name, you might recognize her face – or her body. Tammy Hembrow is an Australian social media star and fitness expert with several million followers on Instagram. She also has huge following on YouTube. She posts pictures and videos of her amazingly fit body and regularly shares her fitness plans and goals with her fans. She rose to social media stardom after documenting her fit pregnancy and postpartum recovery period. She’s also shared her booty toning program online, and her website highlights her workout tips and eating habits. She describes herself as a proud mother, entrepreneur, athlete, and mentor. According to her official website, she hopes to motivate and inspire women to live happier, healthier lives.
Hembrow had a large number of followers on Instagram before she even became pregnant and started documenting her pregnancy. She gained even more followers as she tracked her fitness progress through pregnancy and her postpartum period. Many women, some mothers and some not, look up to her as their “fitspo” – fitness inspiration for achieving the perfect body.
According to Hembrow, many women think that they can never regain their pre-pregnancy body once they become a mother. She says that’s completely false, and believes that if you can’t get your pre-baby body back, you can always make your body better! Hembrow believes that with clean eating and a consistent exercise program, women and mothers all over the world can achieve a better body, even after having a baby – or two. Hembrow is a mom to a son, Wolf and a daughter, Saskia.
15 Bouncing Back
Women, both celebrities and everyday women like ourselves, can be made to feel a lot of pressure to “bounce right back” after having a baby. For some genetically lucky (and/or hardworking, dedicated women) they really DO bounce right back. Most of us, however, struggle to find the time, energy, and motivation to hit the gym right after giving birth, even though we'd kill to look as good as the celebrities and models we see flaunting their post-baby bodies in magazines and on TV. So how did Hembrow make it look so easy?
She stuck to a dedicated fitness program throughout her pregnancy. She claims that she ate clean most of the time, although she did allow herself more treats on the weekend than she normally would when she wasn’t pregnant. And, even when she was exhausted, she stuck to working out four times a week.
Is her fitness routine good for every expecting mom? Not necessarily. While it’s usually thought to be safe to maintain your normal level of exercise and activity, talk to your doctor before beginning or attempting any new exercise program.
14 Getting Started
Hembrow started working out when she was at 6 weeks postpartum. According to Baby Center, if you did regular exercise up until the end of your pregnancy and your labor and delivery went smoothly, you can resume some light exercise and stretching soon after birth. But you should take up exercise more slowly if you didn’t exercise before or during your pregnancy. In addition, if you had labor complications or had a C-section, it takes longer to heal, so it’s better to wait. Don’t try to do too much, too soon.
While you shouldn’t immediately start any vigorous workouts, when you feel up to it, you can begin exercising your pelvic floor and your lower stomach muscles. You can also begin to exercise gently by putting your baby in the stroller and going for walks. Just remember to pace yourself and take a break when you need to. And, as always, check with your doctor about what activities are safe and when certain activities can be resumed.
13 Don't Eat For Two
Hembrow claims she achieved her svelte physique to eating a lot of veggies and protein and drinking plenty of water. Eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet will help to keep your weight gain steady. It’s important to remember that you really don’t need to eat for two. Hembrow says that you should be eating your usual diet all the way up to the second trimester, and then, you should only increase your calorie intake by about 300 extra calories a day until the end of your pregnancy.
Sure, while pregnant, a lot of women give themselves permission to eat whatever we want and as much as we want, but it’s not great for you – or the baby. Hembrow says to allow yourself some treats every once in awhile, but don’t overdo it and make sure you’re eating healthy a majority of the time.
Hembrow swears by chicken breast, rice, and spinach as a go-to meal because it’s healthy, simple, and easy to prepare.
12 Minimal Cardio?
Hembrow once shared an eye-opening before and after picture of herself to what a difference some fitness changes can make. In the first picture, she’s wearing a bikini and looking slim. Many women are probably envious of the “before” picture and don’t see anything wrong with it. In the second picture, though, Hembrow is still showing off some curves, but is also packing some clearly defined muscles.
Hembrow says that in the first picture, she probably worked out 3-5 days a week, doing things like cardio, light weights and undereating.
In the second photo, she said she trains at least 3-5 days a week, does minimal cardio, heavy weights, and eats a lot. Hembrow says that it’s possible to build the body you want – with time, consistency, and feeding your body properly.
She says that her weight and shape has fluctuated. She’s been heavier and she’s dealt with cellulite. She also says she’s been too thin with no shape. Thanks to years of training and eating better, she has more muscle, pretty much no cellulite at all, and feels healthier than ever, even after having two babies.
11 Her Fitness Program
If you’re hoping that Hembrow shares all her fitness secrets for free, you’re going to be disappointed! But if you head to her website, you can purchase and download her fitness programs. While she states that she has no medical experience or title, Hembrow makes four programs/e-books available for purchase if you’re interested.
The At Home Booty e-book is specifically for those interested in building lean muscle mass and toning their butt. Hembrow says that all you need is a set of dumbbells!
Hembrow designed her Pregnancy Program for women who want to stay active during pregnancy, saying that exercise is one of the best things that you can do for you and your baby.
Hembrow created and shared a meal plan to show the types of foods that she eats every day and to give an example of what her typical menu looks like.
Finally, the Build a Booty program is designed for anybody who wants to build a bigger, rounder, more toned and lifted backside. A lot of women think it’s impossible to go from a flat booty to a strong, perky butt, but Hembrow says that’s what she’s done, and what you can do with this program.
10 Stretch Marks
According to Hembrow’s blog, she doesn’t agree with the theory that there’s nothing that can be done to prevent stretch marks. Some believe that stretch marks are genetic and some people believe that no amount of oil, lotion, or exercise will keep them from appearing.
Stretch marks occur when your body grows faster than your skin. The elastic fibers under the skin actually break as the skin stretches. (That’s why stretch marks often appear on the stomach and breasts during pregnancy – those areas can grow rapidly.)
To improve skin elasticity and hopefully prevent stretch marks, Hembrow suggests staying moisturized. She claims that she used rosehip oil and Bio oil twice a day and made it through both pregnancies with very few stretch marks. She warns to start moisturizing early in your pregnancy, not just when your belly starts growing.
In addition to keeping your exterior hydrated, Hembrow advises women to drink lots of water, reminding her followers that drinking lots of water will keep your skin hydrated and improve elasticity, help clear up acne, and reduce dark undereye circles.
Cellulite is simply a layer of fat beneath your skin. It looks lumpy and dimpled because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker. That’s why you can have cellulite whether you’re heavy or thin. And women are more likely to get it than men. (Lucky us.)
Other things can bring on cellulite as well, like poor dieting, a slow metabolism, lack of physical activity, hormonal changes, dehydration, and the thickness and color of your skin. Cellulite doesn’t seem to show up as much on darker skin.
If you’re overweight, the most effective way to treat cellulite is to try to drop the extra pounds and tone your body. Eat less and add more strength training exercises. Focus on working the areas that are more likely to be hit with cellulite – your legs, hips, and backside. Strong, well-defined muscles under a thinner layer of fat will make your skin look smoother and less cottage-cheesey.
8 Postpartum Binder
When Hembrow gave birth to her daughter, she kept up her diet and wore a postpartum waist binder, one that was given to her in the hospital, which helped her slim down before she could even resume exercise again. She admitted that, just like everybody else, she didn’t snap back into shape right away; she still looked pregnant when she left the hospital. Although she says she wasn’t in a rush to get back into shape, she wore the postpartum binder, ate a clean diet, and started working out six weeks after she gave birth.
A lot of celebrity moms (Kim Kardashian, Ciara, Brooke Burke-Charvet, and JWoww and Snooki) all claim that waist cinching helped bring their bodies back to their pre-baby shapes. Some celebs even promote the products on their social media sites.
Some doctors, however, don’t think they’re such a great idea. Many waist trainers and postpartum belly wraps claim to help relieve water retention and shrink the uterus faster, but there’s not really any medical proof behind these claims. And all of the fluid loss and belly shrinkage will occur naturally after delivery as the uterus shrinks naturally. But if occasionally wearing a corset or some Spanx underneath a dress helps you feel better when you’re heading out for a night on the town – go for it.
7 Exercising With Diastasis Recti
Some women use a postpartum binder to help heal diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a condition that occurs when your belly sticks out because the space between your right and left abdominal muscles has stretched and widened. You probably call this area of your belly a “pooch.” It’s very common among pregnant women, and having more than one child can make this condition even more likely. You’re also more likely to get it if you’re an older mom or are carrying a heavy baby or multiples.
Pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly that sometimes the muscles in the abdomen can’t hold their shape. When the ab muscles spread apart like this, the uterus, bowels, and other organs only have a thin band of tissue to hold them in place.
While some women are quick to hit the mat and start doing sit-ups and crunches to try to tame their post-baby “pooch,” those exercises won’t help if you have diastasis recti. In fact, some of these exercises can make matters worse. If you’re concerned that you have diastasis recti, talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
6 Work Out With A Friend
Hembrow suggests taking a fitness class or working out with a friend to stay motivated. Make regular plans to meet a friend at the gym. You’re far more likely to stick to your workout if you schedule it ahead of time and if canceling means that you would be inconveniencing your friend and workout partner.
In addition to keeping you accountable, friends can provide an extra boost of motivation and give you a pep talk when things are a little rough. Everyone has days where they don’t feel like hitting the gym and they want to give up, but having a friend to work out with can give you just the encouragement you need to keep going.
If your workout partner is in better shape (or faster or stronger) than you, you might find yourself being challenged. This is a good thing! You might learn a thing or two, like new exercises or moves to help you switch things up a bit and keep your exercise routine from getting boring.
5 Take It Slow
While Hembrow’s Instagram account serves as inspiration for many regular women, even celebrities admire her commitment to improving her healthy lifestyle. Khloe Kardashian recently gave Hembrow a shout-out on Instagram, welcoming her to the “good squad.” (Hembrow is now a model for Kardashian’s Good American denim line.) Kardashian mentioned that Hembrow has motivated her by how she somehow manages to balance family, fitness, and growing her business all while making it look easy and glamorous.
In an interview on the Good American blog, Hembrow said her top piece of advice for someone just starting out on their fitness journey is to take it one day at a time. She advised that making small changes every day will make a big difference in the long run.
Some simple things you can do to help you get started before you even hit the gym?
Give your fridge a makeover. Put all the healthy stuff at eye level, in clear containers, where it’s easy to see and grab.
Bring healthy snacks with you wherever you go so that you’re not tempted to stop at a vending machine or head through a drive-thru.
Order your groceries online. Make a menu ahead of time, figure out what you need to buy in advance, and only order the items on your list. Sometimes we’re tempted by what we see in the store and end up buying a lot of stuff we don’t really need.
Take note of what you eat and how much you exercise with a food journal app or a wearable fitness tracker.
4 Don't Stress
Although a lot of women may give up hope of regaining their pre-pregnancy bodies (or just don’t prioritize how they look) Hembrow said after the birth of her children that she was pretty happy with her postpartum body and planned to get into better shape than ever.
While Hembrow has certainly provided inspiration for thousands of her followers, it’s important to remember that not everybody is built the same way, and some bodies may not respond to certain diets and exercise programs the way others do. There’s a saying that when it comes to baby weight, it takes nine months to put it on, and will probably take about nine months to get it back off. Don’t worry about rushing things and don’t stress if you don’t have dramatic results as immediately as Hembrow or other celebrities.
The important thing to remember is that you’re trying. Give it your best, and don’t stress. With determination and work, you’ll get where you want to go.
3 Photoshop Rumors
“How fake is this?” “This has to be photoshopped.” “How is this even real?” “It’s not surgery, it’s starvation.”
Hembrow joins a long list of fit moms and celebrities who are criticized for their diet and exercise programs, as well as how quickly they manage to slim down after giving birth. Even though Hembrow is well-known for showing off her fit and healthy lifestyle prior to becoming pregnant, several online followers were quick to judge her postpartum body in some photos, with some accusing her of editing her pictures with Photoshop to make herself look thinner. Some followers have even gone so far as to suggest that Hembrow probably had tummy tuck surgery or has been starving herself to achieve her dramatic results.
While some are quick to pick apart Hembrow’s pictures, other fans jump to her defense and tell her to ignore the jealous haters. A lot of fans tell her to forget the negative comments and remind Hembrow that she is an amazing, beautiful, inspiring mom.
While her pictures might look perfect, Hembrow has also had things she’d like to change about her body. In Instagram captions, she’s written that she lost muscle mass during the time she took off from the gym as she recovered from childbirth. She mentions having to support and lift her breasts to show off her ab muscles. She even posted an Instagram photo showing some loose skin on her belly. In the photo, the way her baby’s foot is smooshed against her stomach, it makes the folds of loose skin seem a little more pronounced than it might look in other photos, but she says that she is “Proud of [her] mama bod and [her] loose skin.”
Of course, some of her followers had to critique the photo with comments like “You don’t know the definition of loose skin.” But several other followers rallied behind her and liked the post, which just goes to show that the fact that she embraces the marks of motherhood makes her even more perfect in their eyes.
1 Don't Compare Yourself
While pregnancy is an amazing experience, it can leave some women feeling uncomfortable with their bodies and thinking that they are less than beautiful. Celebrity moms and fitness stars like Hembrow can have us feeling envious of their perfect bodies, flawless makeup, and what must be boundless energy. However, it is important to remember that being a mom is hard. It takes a lot of work to adjust to your routine as a new mom and it’s also very difficult to achieve balance in your life when it comes to your family, career, and personal well-being.
Remember that a lot of people only post the best of themselves on social media – you don’t always see the hard work, frustration, and difficulties that many people must endure to achieve what seems like perfection.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to what you see on a social media post. Whether it’s the number of pounds lost or how long your baby sleeps at night… The only mom you have to worry about is yourself.