Before starting any new exercise routine, especially after having a baby, it is very important to consult your physician first. I am not a fitness coach or trainer, just a real mom who has created a simple, easy and fast workout routine that targets my “problem areas” after having four kids. I have learned these moves from previous personal trainers I have worked with as well as a physical therapist and various fitness magazines. I don’t always do all of these exercises each day, It always depends on my energy level and how much time I have. I had my husband Mike take these photos for me quickly after all of our kids were in bed. My form is probably off and the professionals out there may cringe… I welcome those who know what they are doing to add or expand on these exercises in the comments section below. This is NOT a sponsored post. Enjoy!
I have had many requests to share my early morning workout routine that I mentioned in my article What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence. I have added some photos and short descriptions of my routine but instead of me pretending to be an expert in an area that I am clearly not, I have listed the exercises below with links to reputable websites that include descriptive instructions.
I typically set my alarm for 5:30AM. 7:00AM is when I have to be downstairs getting breakfast ready for our family to get my son, Holden to school on time. The first thing I do is take Mia and Everly’s baby monitors and place them beside Mike’s pillow. He is on baby duty when they wake up, getting them up and changed for me. Our older two kids are old enough to head downstairs on their own and quietly play or watch TV until everyone is up. Occasionally Holden will see the light on in our room and creepily appear in the mirror behind me. If your kids have trouble sleeping in or are too young to leave their room on their own, I highly recommend the Grow Clock. Holden used to get up at 4:30AM and wake us. The Grow Clock helped him know when he could get up or quietly play in his room until we went and got him. Life changing!
Back to my routine. Listen to music while you work out, it helps push your day’s to-do list out of your mind. I am really into listening to Spotify and it has some great workout play lists. Don’t stress about how stiff or out of shape you are. Remember what your body has been through. I always have a little conversation with my body in my head about how I am doing this for it as a thank you! I know… I am a big nerd!
I always start with stretches. Even on the days when I just can’t drag myself out of bed early enough for a full workout, I still do my stretches. Otherwise I will have a sore neck and headache by lunch from little 5’2″ me lugging around our chunky monkeys (Mia and Everly). I typically hold each pose for 20 second.
This stretch was shown to me by a physical therapist and I call it it the “new mom stretch”. This is fantastic if you tend to be curling forward a lot nursing, changing diapers (or for me, sitting at a desk on my computer). My form is not spectacular in these photos but you get the idea. Make sure you push your shoulders back for this one!
Then I move on to my abs. I detest working on my core and it’s what needs the most love. That is why I get this task out of the way first. I like to start with side crunches doing 2 sets of 15 reps on each side at least. I then move onto bicycle twists, doing as many as I can handle that day.Seated oblique twists with a medicine ball targets my love handles. I like using an 8lb medicine ball. Then I like to do crunches with my feet up on a yoga ball. I find this is easier on your back and hips. For both of these exercises I do approximately 30 – 50 reps each.Next is a move I picked up in a exercise class. Fire Hydrants are a killer to do, but it targets those padded hips you get with pregnancy and you can see results very fast! I try to do a few sets of 30 reps on each side.Next I move onto the kettlebell swing. I have a booty on me and I intend on keeping it. This just helps firm, lift and round it out. Again, as many as I can handle for the day.Then I do 30 – 50 bicep curls. I like using 7 or 8 lb free weights for this.
After these exercises I will jump on the treadmill for 10 – 20 minutes if I have time (about every second or third day). I will alternate between walking and running on the treadmill. I always finish my workout with a shower, otherwise I may not find time again until afternoon nap time. If you are just starting to create an exercise plan and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises book. It has tons of exercises and is very easy to follow.
A workout first thing in the morning may not be for everyone but for months I was trying to fit in exercise and the day would just get away from me. I finally realized that I needed to make time for myself first thing and then I could relax about it the rest of the day. You might be shocked at how much energy and patience you have on the days you do this for yourself.