It’s certainly not uncommon to hear moms lament that they want to “get back in shape” after baby. Having a baby redefines our body and our self-image. While we learn just how awesome and strong our bodies are, it often comes with not quite recognizing that body anymore.

I think I actually left the hospital heavier than going in after the birth of my second daughter, who only weighed in at 5 pounds 15 ounces. I knew not to bring the pre-pregnancy jeans but I didn’t know I’d need a size up in maternity wear! (Okay, I could still fit in the old maternity clothes, but still.)

When you decide you’re ready to increase your activity level – either for toning, stress release, weight loss or just to feel better about yourself – it’s very important to do so safely. Again, our bodies are redefined after baby. You’re not the same person; you’re a better version of yourself.

Here are 5 tips to maximizing the effectiveness of your workouts: