I gained 37 pounds during pregnancy. Which, I understand, is not a ton, but it was 37 pounds that my body was not used to. I felt huge. I felt tired. I felt slow. And most of all, I felt ugly. And then the stretch marks came because of that extra weight (plus my uterus apparently is suuuuper forward. I was huge. And had a 6lb baby), and I was devastated. All over my belly, my inner thighs, hips, boobs, you name it. I honestly thought I would never be happy with my body ever again. I looked up pictures online of women's bellies with stretch marks postpartum and cried thinking of what mine would look like. Then I looked up pictures of women with stretch marks that had six packs and felt even more discouraged because I have too much of a sweet tooth to ever look like that. So I thought my bikini wearing days were over.Read More
Recently, I've been utilizing Ever's nap time and the millions of bounces I have to do to rock her to sleep, to get a mini workout in. No, it's not going to burn a thousand calories, but it will definitely build some muscle. Try it!
In a second position (heels in, toes out, legs wide), I plié (lower down) and lift. That usually doesn't put her to sleep, so I pulse it down. These tiny pulses trigger the small muscle fibers in your quadriceps, giving a long lean look instead of a bulky.
I also pulse and rock at the same time.
Most of the time, she falls asleep after this one, but sometimes I move on to some different moves because my thighs can't handle it anymore.
Like, calf raises in first position (heels together, toes out), parallel (feet parallel, hip distance), and toes in heels out.
I'll also try out some lunges.
Lunge and lift. Then pulse it down in a lunge.
If she's still not asleep at this point, I go back to my plie pulses and rocks in second position (which you can also do in first position, but second has a greater range of motion).
And she's out.
It's no surprise that new moms have a hard time getting to the gym. You have to find a babysitter, have enough stored milk if you're nursing, be struck by anxiety every second you're gone, etc etc etc. So I put my thinking cap on and came up with a few workout you can do at home using your baby. The good news: the bigger your baby, the better your workout! 12 pounds gets real heavy real fast. As always, listen to your body. If something hurts, don't do it, or check your form.
10 minute mama + me sweat sesh
1. Plank to Down Dog
Starting from a plank position, kiss your babe on the forehead, then draw your hips up into a downward dog and kiss your babe on the belly. Reapeat 15X, tightening the core the entire time.
Sitting on your sacrum, the spot between the sit bones and tailbone, lean back far enough to feel gravity forcing your abs to engage, toes on the floor. Then, lift the toes and torso at the same time. Repeat 20X.
For stronger babies, you can hold their hands to give yourself a bigger range of motion.
3. The Russian Twist
Staying on the sacrum, abs engaged, twist left and tap your baby's toes on the floor, then do the same to the right. Right and left is one rep, do 20 reps total.
For an extra challenge, try lifting your toes off the floor and balancing.
4. Plie Squat
Starting in a wide second position, heels in toes out, lower into a squat, keeping your knees tracking over your toes, tailbone tucked, chest high, and hips right between your knees.
Then, straighten and raise your babe above your head.
5. Standing Twists
Staying in a nice low plie, core engaged, twist your baby to the right and left.
6. Inner Thigh Lifts
Laying down on your side, one leg extended, the other crossed in front. Flex the extended leg's foot then lift and lower.
Hold at the highest point the pulse up. Repeat each step 20X.
7. Tabletop Glutes
Starting on your hands and knees, toes pointed, lift and lower the leg straight to the back. Here you can experiment with pulses, tiny circle, extending and bending while flexing the hamstring, and so on. Also try bringing a bent knee directly to the side (think dog peeing on a fire hydrant) and repeating the same exercise.
8. The Pushup: Tricep version
On your knees or on your toes, make sure you're keeping the correct pushup form. Lower, keeping the biceps close into your sides, elbows going straight back, kiss your baby, and lift.
9. Stretch it out
Whatever feels good, make sure to stretch out the muscles you worked to avoid a bulky look (unless that's what you're going for).
In preparation for teaching a baby-wearing barre class at my studio, I was on the hunt for a secure, but also cute, baby carrier that would be perfect for working out in. I connected with Tayler of Wildbird and we decided to make a video of barre exercises that you can do while wearing your baby in her slings.
We had so much fun during this shoot! Applause to my oh-so-talented and creative #instagramhusband.
If you're local to Orange County, we will be officially launching our Rock A Barre Baby class at Meraki Barre in Costa Mesa, CA on April 6. The class will be on Wednesday and Saturday at 12pm. It's going to be so much fun! Not only will you get an amazing workout that you get to bring your baby to, but its also going to be a great way to meet other moms in our community! More details are coming very very soon, but for more info now check out our IG @rockabarrebaby, and website merakibarre.com
ALSO. I will be teaching a FREE preview class at the Nike store at Fashion Island in Newport Beach on April 2 at 2:00pm. Come! And also tell all your mama friends!
But, if you're not local and happen to be super duper motivated to do these exercises by yourself without an instructor yelling at you, you can do them at home!
As always, when trying these exercises yourself, listen to your body. If something hurts, either don't do it, or check your form to make sure it's correct. I'll outline each exercise in as much detail as I can.
First, grab a chair, counter top, or anything sturdy that stands about waist level.
1. The arabesque
This is one of my favorite moves for back + butt. There's a ton of different things you can do here.
Setup: start in first position (heels together, toes out), both knees bent in a plié (making sure knees track straight over the toes, tailbone tucked, and chest lifted). Extend one leg behind, keeping it straight and turned out. In this position you can (8-10 reps each):
- tap and lift: lower leg all the way down and then lift as high as you can, keeping the chest lifted and standing leg bent.
- Pulse up: lifting the leg at your highest point, pulse it up in tiny movements, activating the glutes even more.
- Circles: keeping the leg as high as you can, tiny circles out, then tiny circles in. It's important to keep these movements as small as possible.
- Hold. As high as you can for as long as you can. Shoot for at least 30 seconds. Then straighten your standing leg and let go of your support and try to balance.
2. The plié in 1st and 2nd
Set up: 1st position, heels together, toes out. For safety, as you plie, keep your knees tracking straight over your toes, tailbone tucked.
2nd position: legs wide, toes out, heels in.
3. The battement
Starting from either 1st or 5th position, battement (kick) your leg to the front as high as you can without kicking your baby. Repeat to the side and to the back. Focus on keeping your chest high, back straight, abs engaged, and legs straight. This exercise is purposed to get your heart rate going, while also lengthening and strengthening your quadriceps and hip flexors.
After repeating this series a few times, try extend in the leg to the side adding some pulses upward, tiny circle forward and back, passé and extend.
4. The leaning tower of Pisa (couldn't think of another name)
This exercise engages your core as well as the quads.
Setup: toes touching and knees a little wider than your hips, keeping a tucked tailbone and plank-like position of the torso.
6. Passé series
Starting from a simple first position, plie, then draw the toes up to the knee in a passé, and come back down to a plie then repeat.
Pretty simple, right? I mean, nothing beats a barre class where you can't give up in the middle of an exercise because you don't want to look stupid (especially as the instructor), but if you're short on time and a babysitter, these are some great simple workouts you can do anytime to boost up your energy and get rid of that mom butt (not that you have one).
And now for the pictures.