The perfect workout for new mommies

12 Exercises/ 7 minutes

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout – Check the link for NYT’s article.  But the premise is simple. 30 sec. of each these exercises, in the order above, with no breaks, as hard as you can.  You’ve got 7 minutes right? You can do it in front of baby even, although I usually wait for her to nap.

I actually used to work out fairly regularly before I had L.  Once or twice a week on the elliptical and treadmill, some at home yoga (I’m a trained instructor) interspersed with classes when in NYC, and when in Shanghai I played touch rugby once or twice a week, which is both fun and interval training. I was also a moderately active indoor climber, which builds excellent muscles in your back and arms and legs.  So yeah, I was active and I was fit.  The summer before I found out I was pregnant, I hiked with two interns up this mountain and left the teenagers in the dust.

Hua Shan, a challenging climb–one of China’s sacred mountains

Sadly, the days of hopping on my bike to an impromptu yoga class, spending 3 hours at the climbing gym or organizing multiday hikes in foreign countries are definitely on hiatus. BUT now that L. is 8 months old, on a regular schedule, in daycare for a large part of the day, I am able to reclaim some time.  In 30 minute to 4 hour grooves actually.

I did this work out once per day this weekend and I am sore!! My butt, my thighs, my outer arms – they are all feeling that good pain that you get from pushing yourself.

If this workout can bring my flat butt back from the brink and increase my endurance I will be quite happy.

A word about starting this right after you pop out baby –  I wouldn’t recommend it.

After you give birth, you are in a weakened state.  Take time to rest, take gentle walks if you can, replenish your iron and sleep a lot.  For the first 3 months focus on getting optimal nutrition, nursing (if you are able to), and bonding with your amazing baby.   Enjoy the fact that she sleeps so much and never beat yourself up about the changes in your body. Our bodies are amazing! They made little, perfect babies with very little intervention or conscious thought.  Honor your body.

Although I ended up being one of those mythical women who look the same right after they give birth (or 11 days after, in my case, when my jeans fit again. Three weeks after you really couldn’t tell I had had a child, other than my leaking breasts and the dark line you get on your tummy, which has since faded).  Even though I was one of THOSE women, my previously AMAZING abs looked fine (desireably flat), but I could feel they were really, really weak.  I couldn’t stand up from sitting without using my arms to support myself, for example.  I couldn’t lie on my back and raise my feet together off the ground.  Basics. I also had terrible back pain (when the core is weak, the back is weak). So before I got close to feeling like I wanted to tackle the above program, I solicited a program of recovery from long time yoga teacher (Ante & Felicia Pavlovic of Yoga Therapy Toronto) and spent several weeks (months) squeezing in plank, sit ups, and other core-building exercises.  That is where you should begin if you have a similar perceptible post-natal weakness in your core.  Now I am basically back pain free again and ready to really push myself.


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