After having a baby, women have a hard time getting back in shape. The pressure gets bigger when they can’t do it, but some of them decide to dedicate themselves to a transformation. Thirty-eight-year-old Sandra Van Den Berg fell out of shape after having two children, but nevertheless, she started weightlifting and working out three hours a week. Twelve weeks later, her ‘mum tum’ was replaced by toned abs and she now shares seven exercises that helped her shed fat. Mother Sandra, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, struggled with finding time for exercise after giving birth to her 4-year-old son Eddie, and two-year-old son Liam.
At the start of a year, the full-time manager signed up for an intensive personal training course in a bid to lose weight and improve her fitness.
The incredible before and after photos reveal her dramatic transformation that happened in a few months.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Sandra said: “It’s quite amazing to get abs after having two children… It gave me so much confidence because previously I felt like a middle aged frumpy mum and then it was like: “Actually I can wear these tight clothes”.
“I went on a shopping spree and I felt comfortable in every single thing I wore – and that hasn’t happened since I was a teenager.”
Sandra trained with Ultimate Performance Fitness. She shared how ‘she had not moved for about five years’ after a cycling accident. The accident left her with lasting injuries.
“I used to be quite active but I was hit by a bike when I was cycling to work one day,” she continued. “I struggled with a bad back and I had two children and got really lazy.”
Here are the seven exercises that transformed her:
1. 60 degree dumbbell press
A benchpress done on a 60 degree incline, targets the upper chest area.
2. Front foot elevated split squat
The dumbbell split squat improves the strength of the quadriceps, medial hamstrings, and adductors.
3. Seated cable row
This isolated exercise targets the middle and upper back. It’s a great improver of shoulder muscle balance and it also corrects posture.
4. Barbell hip thrust
This exercise sees the person thrust with a barbell over their hips. The move is great for working the bottom.
5. Lying leg curl
Using a machine, the lying leg curl works the hamstrings.
6. Swiss ball ab crunch
Performing a crunch on a Swiss ball increases the challenge on the core muscles while working out.
The SkiErg machine is the same as skiing and it’s a great aerobic exercise.
Sandra’s trainer devised a program that fit her needs, due to her busy life.
She said: “My goal was to lose a bit of weight and get in shape. I spoke to my trainer James, told him I hadn’t done anything in years and he made it quite easy. He was happy to come in at 5 or 6 in the morning so I could train before work. I started at three times a week. After you have not done anything for a long time I was waiting it to hit me but it didn’t happen. The first two weeks were not heavy on the weights, we didn’t do any cardio. That would have been off-putting.”
Her workout routine included a mixture of leg, arm and ab workouts, both on machines and using free weights. Sandra saw a great difference after weightlifting. In a blog post, she explained: “I’ve never done weightlifting before. But… it’s the only thing I know that makes you lose fat so quickly. It gives you a good shape. You don’t have to be all big and bulky, for women anyway.”
Apart from working out, she also changed her diet, including home-cooked meals that she would prepare on a Sunday and then freeze for the week. She also cut out most carbs from her diet. Halfway through her 12-week course Sandra began to see a huge difference.
Sandra’s diet before looked something like this:
Breakfast: Cereal or porridge or crumpets with butter
Snacks: Biscuits or chocolate
Lunch: Chicken salad roll with crisps and yoghurt or a subway 6″
Dinner: Pasta or pizza, anything quick
Drinks: 2-3 bottles of wine over the weekend. Lots of tea & coffee
Sandra’s diet after looked like this:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach, peppers & mushrooms
Snacks: Naked bar or protein shake
Lunch: Satay chicken with vegetables; meatballs, tomato sauce with courgetti
Dinner: Steak and veg with baked sweet potato wedges or chilli and rice
Drinks: Three litres of water a day, still lots of tea and coffee
Sandra explained that her husband, Brendan, and sons also noticed a difference in her figure as well as her energy levels. She continued: “They were really happy because after finishing work every evening I would actually have time to take them running around the place.”
“And I had the energy to do it rather than go to work, come home, shove some pasta in my mouth and comatose on the sofa for a couple of hours.”
She added: “Try it for a fortnight and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is… It’s not just go to gym and lift weights, it is ticking all the boxes.”