Q & A with Mark Ottobre
Hey Mark, Physique Competition and Breastfeeding. How can I do both?
Due to the arrival of my wife and I’s bundle of joy this week, its only fitting I answer a question about breast-feeding. Firstly I must disclose… If my wife said to me she wanted to do a competition whilst breast feeding and asked for my professional and personal opinion I would indeed advise her;
A) Our baby is more important than any competition. Period. As much as I love you and want to support your ambitions, the competition can wait.
B) You wont be able to optimally accomplish both goals. And if I was having this conversation with my wife, I would probably say something quirky too, like;
“It’s like trying to have sex while remaining a virgin. It’s not going to happen.”
She would then laugh (or at least humour me with a fake laugh) and I would just tell her, compete after you have 100% finished breast-feeding. Then I would quote one of the many interesting facts (backed by research) about breast-feeding, such as:
“Did you know breast milk contains antibodies that help protect against childhood illness such as diarrheoa and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide.”
“Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity.”
“Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese. They are less likely to have type-2 diabetes and perform better in intelligence tests.”
The above is directly quoted from the World Health Organisations website. And if it were my wife I would also mention that she should breastfeed until our baby is five to which of course she would reply, “FIVE! FIVE! No way, these are my boobs! No way am I going to be breast-feeding for that long!”
To which I would say, “Ok hunni, four and a half is fine”
But all jokes and stories aside, I say this a lot when talking about meat, but it needs to be said with mothers. The quality of the milk you produce is dependent upon the quality of the food mother eats.
Whilst I will be the first to acknowledge there are many elements to ones diet that can make up optimal health, a breast feeding diet is (by definition) going to be vastly different to a competition diet.
A breast-feeding diets focus is nutrition and sustaining and growing life. A mother feeding should not be concerning herself with cutting calories or foods (unless its junk food), limiting meals, doing cardio or trying to get into single digit body fat.
A competition diet, one should also point out is different to an athlete’s diet. Whilst the athletes primary concern is performance, a competitors primary concern is body fat. Therefore mothers (who love to train. AKA my wife) should approach breast-feeding with the babies’ ‘performance’ in mind- not their body fat. Body fat can wait.
Over the years I have had many requests from women for me to train them while feeding. My answer has never changed. “While I appreciate you believing in my ability to help you compete while feeding, the reality of it is, I don’t believe you should do both, as such, I believe you should finish feeding, then (and only then) plan your competition. This is not to say you can’t train whilst feeding, just saying its not wise to do a contest right now”
And I get it ladies, you’ve been pregnant for 9 months and you want your body back. It’s ok. You will have your body back… and faster than you think. Be patient; enjoy feeding knowing that with every feed you’re actually elevating your metabolism helping you to get that body back.
Owner and Director Enterprise Fitness