Keep fit with your baby

By Lisa Raleigh

Once your baby is born, bouncing back into shape becomes an immediate priority. This is tricky, though, since looking after your newborn means you’re busier than ever! If you’re on mommy patrol and can’t step out for your gym session, there are plenty of ways to keep fit and babysit.

Tips for getting fit faster

Practise high intensity cardio and interval training:
Shaking up a steady-state cardio routine to one that is varied and explosive has been proven to target more fat overall. The exertion of varying intensities will stimulate your body’s repair cycle more than if you were going for a steady-state run. This means more fat and calories burnt for up to 24 hours after training.

–    Switch up your usual run with 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of jogging or walking. Repeat these intervals 15-20 times each session. As you progress the 20 seconds can become 30-40 seconds and the rests can reduce to 20- 30 seconds.
–    Don’t switch all your cardio sessions to high intensity interval training. Aim for two sessions a week, along with one or two regular 30-60 min cardio sessions.

Incorporate compound movements for lean mass and increased metabolism:
Strength training is a fundamental part of toning your body. Muscle requires fuel to operate, so the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, and the higher your metabolism. Compound exercises are multi-jointed movements, while isolation exercises only use one. Many people accredit isolated exercises to significant results, but compound exercises – like lunges, squats and push ups – are responsible for greater calorie burns during sessions as well as increasing lean muscle tissue at a greater rate, therefore improving your resting metabolism.

Workout with your baby

Warm up:
Take your baby for a brisk walk or jog in his stroller if you can leave the house, or else, held your baby in your arms and take a 10 minute walk around the house, including stairs where you can. Include simple exercises, like squats, travelling lunges, or rocking your baby from side-to-side, lifting each leg as you do.

Your work out:
Kiss the baby
Rest your baby comfortably on his back and position yourself in push up stance over him. Lower yourself into your push up slowly, kissing your baby as your face travels closer to his. Broaden your arms slightly to work your chest, and start with ladies’ push-ups on your knees, rather than your toes.
Works: biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest
2 sets of 12

Baby bicep curls
Seat yourself on a chair or couch, holding your baby on your lap with your arms outstretched. Never lock your elbows. Keeping your abs tight, lift your baby straight in front of you then bend your arms, bringing your baby towards you for a kiss. Slowly lower him back down to your lap.
Works: biceps, shoulders
2 sets of 12

Plie squats
This is a twist on the original squat. Widen your legs and turn your toes out slightly for a broader squat. Keeping your back straight and tummy tucked in, either hold onto your baby or hold him out in front of you as you squat. You may want to position yourself over a low couch or chair to help your balance. If you’re holding your baby at arm’s length, touch his toes to the floor as you squat.
Works: hamstrings, quads and glutes.
3 sets of 12

Baby dead-lift
Stand normally with your knees soft, and your back and tummy muscles tight. Holding your baby to your chest, lean forward so your body is forming a right angle, and then slowly return to the upright position.
Works: hamstrings, glutes and lower back
3 sets of 12

Booty bridges
Lay on your back with your knees bent and your baby in your lap. Keeping your hands on your baby, slowly lift your butt off the ground and straighten your body, then lower back down. Keep this exercise challenging by not allowing yourself to touch the ground completely.
Works: glutes and hamstrings
3 sets of 12

Baby back
Back pain is an inevitable part of child rearing, so pay attention to your lower back. Placing your baby on the floor, position yourself above him on all fours. Stretch out your left arm and right leg in one movement, then bring them back to the ground and repeat with opposing limbs.
Works: lower back
2 sets of 12

Baby twists
Seat yourself on the floor, with your baby in your lap and knees bent. With your back lifted off the floor in sit up position, lift your baby and twist your body from left to right. Touch your baby’s toes on either side of you as you twist. The straighter your arms, the harder the exercise.
Works: abs, obliques and transverse abs
2 sets of 12

Leg raises
Lay on your back with your legs resting on the seat of couch. Put your baby on your stomach, and then lift your legs in the air to form a right angle. It is okay for your knees to bend, and your butt to lift off the floor before you lower back down.
Works: abs
2 sets of 12