The arrival of a new baby is tremendously exciting, but the physical trials of pregnancy and childbirth and well as the unceasing demands of motherhood can leave new moms exhausted.

While it is easy to devote nearly every waking minute to the care of the child, it is important to set aside time to care for yourself both mentally and physically. This might sound crazy.  "Me time"?  Yes mom (sigh) you CAN do it!  Being a healthy happy mama is important too!

Exercise is a critical part of self-care: it floods your brain with mood-enhancing endorphins, trains muscles to restore their pre-pregnancy tone, reduces risks of anxiety and depression, and helps to rid the body of fat stored in preparation for the baby.

It's annoying to work out and feel active but not see your body change.  So here's a secret not so secret: do really quality workouts for at least 25 minutes and you will see results.  The better the quality of workout, the faster you will see changes.  Also you'll get a rest break in between days till you build more momentum to workout more frequently.  A healthy and in shape postpartum body will get your mood up and gaining back tone will add to that positivity!

As aways, ask your doctor first before starting new workouts especially after having a baby.  These tips we'll be getting into are based off of a healthy woman and pregnancy experience.  Only try what is recommended by your physician.

When being a new mom, scheduling trips to the gym can be challenging, so here are five exercises that can be done at home.  No equipment needed except for some space to workout and a mat.  Add a weight as you get stronger.  Modify our suggestions as needed, but they all are meant to get you sweating so you feel that your time was well spent working out and you will begin seeing results.  They may be tough at first...but darlin', you are so tough.  


Heart-Pumping Cardio

Cardiovascular exercises has positive impacts for the entire body. According to the Cleveland Clinic, regular 30-minute a day cardio can enhance memory, improve blood sugar management, add to lung and heart function, burn calories, and restore a lagging libido. Hello sexy time! That's another subject for another time, but mama needs to feel good, and as soon as your body is feeling better each day your boosted confidence and energy will be very attractive to everyone around you.

Traditional cardio moves include jumping jacks, high knees, and jogging, but really..ditch the traditional and elevate!  By elevating we mean taking those moves and adding some jumps, maybe doing them faster, and basically getting a good sweat out of those moves in the shortest amount of time possible.

It is important to choose something that you can commit to on a regular basis and enjoy.  

If you're like us and don't have time (most of you) do a HIIT style workout.  It targets muscles to where you use every fiber to it's fullest, leaving you feeling like you worked out for an hour when it was really only thirty minutes or less.  

This takes time and patience to build your endurance and strength up to do HIIT workouts more intensely each time.  Studies show intensity is key in burning fat and keeping the post burn effects going.

Try this:

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 10 jump squats
  • 20 knee highs
  • 10 jump lunges
  • 20 front straight leg kicks 
  • REPEAT 3 times building up to 4 times. Stretch after.

If you are new at the jump squats and lunges then modify and pulse instead.

Do this every other day.  The key is to do the exercises with the best form, do them quickly, and repeat.  You should be sweating hard by the end of it!  Hopefully you are a bit sore the next day because if you did this the best way you could, you will need a day in between to rest.

Strengthening the Core

While it may be tempting to immediately begin crunches to tighten a post-baby belly, many experts warn against such exercises right away. Up to two-thirds of new moms experience diastasis recti, a separation of the muscles of the abdominal wall. If a separation is detected, aggressive abdominal exercises can worsen the problem.

Instead, strengthen the deep muscles of the abdomen by drawing breath inward, concentrating on the lower portion of the torso, and releasing breath slowly. Yes, focused breathing takes strength and conditioning.

To challenge the abs further, bend your knees while lying on your back, and swivel one knee at a time to the side of the body while keeping the torso aligned with the floor. 

Doctor said you're okay for more? Then try this "abs day" workout:

  • 15 front straight leg kicks 
  • 20 knee lifts each side
  • plank for 30 secs working up to 1 minute
  • Downward Dog and go down to Cobra
  • lay on back and put legs in a table top position and start 30 secs of crunches
  • then feet up in the sky and straddle in and out for 30 secs
  • go back to legs in table top and crunches for 30 secs
  • then bicycle crunches for 30 secs
  • V position for 30 secs building up to more
  • Rest and Repeat this series 3 times 


Building Up the Butt and Legs

During pregnancy the added weight of the baby can put a great deal of strain on the hips and knees, and rebuilding the muscles that support these joints can help stabilize them.

One simple workout that targets the thighs and butt is the squat: placing legs shoulder-width apart, rock back onto the heels as you bend your knees. Pay attention to form and not squatting over your ankles.  You don't want to strain your ankles so consult the internet or a professional if you have never learned how to properly do a squat.  To add a challenge, widen legs even further and maintain the bent-knee position, lifting up and down without fully straightening the legs. It's called pulsing.

Get good on your form so you can squat deep. Deep squats will be super effective in the changes and toning you wish to see for a strong lifted behind. 

Squat, squat, and squat it out ladies! This is thee best. Those gals with voluptuous butts and tiny waist, well some have butt implants and extra surgeries. Surprise! However, many DO actually have all that...the nice round butt and when you have great butt muscles, you'll be burning more calories and it gives a great shape.

 The butt aka gluteus maximus, is the largest muscle in the body.  So work it out so you can climb those stairs, run after your child, and hit all those errands you need to do each day with less stress than before.  Working your butt means burning more calories too!

Try this:

  • Start with no weight or a weight that challenges you and begin with 15 wide legged squats.
  • bring legs in half way and go for 15 squats sitting back and down as far as you can
  • drop the weight and bring feet in shoulder width and sit back and as low as you can for another 15 squats
  • now bring the right foot out and squat, bring it back in, then bring the left foot out and squat, then bring it back in.  Do this for 10 times.
  • Now get in a plié position and squat up and down 10 times
  • the Pulse in that position for 10 times
  • Repeat this 3 times building up to 4

You really should be sore after this so rest the next 24-48 hours.  Keep building your reps and working on your form.  Stretching and eating a nutritious and healthy snack or meal after a workout helps alleviate soreness.


Targeting the Arms

Carrying a new baby is a workout in itself, but building strength and flexibility in the wrist can help protect against the strain of lifting an ever-growing infant. Feeding, soothing, and carrying a baby from a crib or changing table can be difficult for those unaccustomed to frequent lifting.

Arms can be isolated by curling weights, or incorporated into other workouts by adding a weighted exercise band around the wrist. It is helpful to do wrist exercises between workouts, feedings, and carrying the baby: steepling the fingers and pushing hands against each other supplies resistance to the bottoms of the wrist, and placing one hand on top of the other and pushing downward stretches the top of the wrist. Maintaining flexibility can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, which, according to the NCT, can affect up to half of pregnant women.

For arms day try this:

what you need: 1-3 lb weights and do the routine with no resting

  • arms out straight and pulse up 1 min
  • circle foward 1 min
  • circle back 1 min
  • push up to the sky 1 min
  • bend forward and do chest flys 1 min
  • go back to arms straight out and "push" with right 1 min
  • go back to arms straight out and "push" with left 1 min
  • front open chest flys 1 min
  • bicep curls 1 min
  • triceps kick backs 1 min
  • bring knees to floor kneeling and tricep kick backs 1 min
  • weights down and pushup or modified push up do 10
  • plank for 30 sec building to 1 min
  • 10 more pushups
  • plank for 30 sec building to 1 min
  • 10 more pushups


Developing Balance

Yoga is a holistic workout that strengthens the entire body with resistance and balance, encouraging the growth of long, lean muscles. The positions required also incorporates stretching, which improves flexibilty and can help protect against injury. The moves are easily done even in the space of a living room: simply lay down a yoga mat and begin. There are ample videos online or available for purchase, from beginner to advanced. Playing soothing music or burning a scented candle can help you relax your mind as you shift from one pose to the next. 

You can incorporate these exercises into a daily routine from your own home, targeting areas of the body that have experienced the greatest physical strains of pregnancy and childbirth. Motherhood is a demanding and challenging task, but prioritizing your health will help you rise to the occasion with energy, strength, focus, and a renewed sense of self.