Coleen Garcia has always been #fitspo, and with good reason. It’s no secret that the actress has always been diligent about working out and conscientious with what she eats.
The new mom just posted a photo in her workout gear on Instagram, and you can clearly make out the lines of her abdominal muscles (her trademark, when you think of it). It’s hard to believe she gave birth just 2 months ago. “Doing things 30min at a time while keeping my eyes glued to the baby monitor—all part of my new normal,” she wrote in her caption. She also shared that this was the first time she managed to slip into a pair of leggings since her first trimester of pregnancy.
We reached out to Coleen to ask how she was working her way back to fitness.
Looking Strong on the Outside, but Not Yet on the Inside
While her abs are visible—“except the ones hiding under my new pooch,” she says with a laugh—she shares that it’s not an indication that her core is strong. To avoid getting diastasis recti, a condition wherein the abdominal muscles separate along the middle that often happens after pregnancy, she skipped the core workouts when she was pregnant. And while it did prevent her from the condition, it also meant that her tummy area isn’t as strong as it used to be, which is only natural, really. She even shared that she had to wear a binder in the early days and weeks after her home water birth to her son Amari, to really give her some much needed support.
Getting Back on the (Bike) Saddle
She shared that she did her research and found that after six weeks, it was safe to slowly start a workout routine, with clearance from her doctor, of course. “I was up and fully recover way before then, but I wanted to wait anyway and be safe because I didn’t feel strong yet, and even though I feel fine on the outside, my body’s still recovering on the inside.”
And while getting any alone time is difficult with a newborn to care for, she says she finds time to squeeze in a workout when he is asleep, and if she has enough extra energy also. “Sometimes it’s a bit of rowing, sometimes indoor cycling, sometimes it’s a bit of light abs, but it’s never anything heavy. I do it to de-stress, so I don’t let it get to the point wherein it’s already stressful. I don’t believe in overdoing workouts because it’s counterproductive. I want to be fit and healthy, and pushing myself too hard will only make me tired, drained, and maybe even sick.”
Apart from that, she’s actually very active as she tends to her responsibilities as a mom to a growing baby boy. “My baby is so heavy. Have you seen his thighs?” she says in jest.
Eeating Well, Eating Right
Because she’s exclusively breastfeeding Amari, she’s actually been eating more. Breastfeeding mothers can burn an additional 500 to 700 calories per day as their bodies produce milk. Coleen shares that as she hasn’t introduced the bottle to her son yet, she feeds him directly on-demand, and surmises that it’s helping her burn calories.
“Nutrition is so important though,” she muses, “’cause at the start, I felt so drained and depleted. I had no energy, and I felt so weak. It was hard for me to make it a habit to eat heavier, more nutritious meals because I wasn’t used to eating this much. Apparently I have to eat more now than when I was pregnant! The more calories I burn, the more I need to replenish”
But she also has been conscious about what she eats, making sure that it’s not just empty calories that she puts into her mouth. She said she eats a lot of oats, nuts, meat, and salmon—protein-rich food that are good for the baby as well as strengthening her muscles even if she is working out less. She has also been avoiding dairy, as it makes Amari gassy, which has also helped keep her body from bloating.
Of course, she doesn’t stop herself from enjoying a favorite treat: “Not gonna lie, I also still have a small slice of sansrival (my favorite cake!) every day just to keep me sane! I just tell myself it has a lot of cashews,” she quips while adding that she also drinks a lot more water now, too.
So while muscle definition is appearing on her post-pregnancy belly, Coleen is taking it day by day, giving her body time to heal and grow strong again. “When you have the best of intentions and strong motivation, it’s easier to be disciplined,” she says. “My motivation used to be my own goals, which were always more centered on appearance and strength, and I felt more pressured then. For now, I just want to do what I can to keep both my baby and myself as healthy as possible, and a better physique just the fruit of that!”