Charlotte and I met while I was in college. Since that time, she has gone on to do many wonderful things, including creating a popular exercise blog (The Great Fitness Experiment), writing parenting columns for Redbook and Yahoo!, and writing a book--among other things.
Char is mother to five and wife to one. She is very witty and fun to read. To give you a taste of her writing, she wrote this post just for you on exercising as a parent. If you love it, be sure to check out her blog and her book, The Great Fitness Experiment. Ohh...psst...and at the end of the post, you might find a giveaway.
Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other, they make a baby. (I know you were confused; you're welcome.) Unfortunately that may be the last thing you do that actually makes sense. Babies, even before they make their grand entrance, turn every part of your life upside down. At no time is this more true than during that first year. Between the sleepless nights, extra trips to the pediatrician "and baby makes three" ...times the laundry, hitting the gym often falls to the bottom of the priority list. But you don't need a gym, fancy equipment or even a lot of time to get in a good sweat so here are some moves you can do at home with your little one. The New Mommy (Or Daddy) Workout 1. The Pick-Up-The-Baby Squat. Being unable to hold himself up, your little bean lays around just like, yes, a sack of beans. But a sack of beans that gets heavier every single day. To prepare for this, do goblet squats. First pick a weight resembling your baby (in weight, not looks - if you have a baby that looks like a dumbbell you have bigger problems than stomach flab.) Then double it. (Do twins run in your family too?) Squat down, pick up weight gently off the floor and slooowwwly stand up. Squat back down, returning weight to floor. Once you've mastered that, swap out the dumbbell for your baby. That's one rep. Repeat 12-15 times, for 3 sets. Be sure to keep your weight in your heels and BOTH hands on the baby/weight. To add difficulty try to pick up dirty burp cloths off the floor with your toes. 2. The non-dominant arm curl. Are you right handed? Then your left bicep is probably bulked out like the Incredible Hulk in the episode where he candy stripes at the hospital nursery (they did that one, right?) because you are constantly holding your mini-me in your left arm so that you can get stuff done with your right arm. To prevent looking as lopsided as an Iranian election, start doing bicep curls on your non-dominant arm. Pick a weight as heavy as you can manage for 8-12 reps, 3 sets. To make it as realistic as possible, hold a carton of eggs in your other arm at the same time. If you end up with quiche, call CPS. 3. The colic lunge. New babies cry. Some of them cry a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Thankfully you can make lemonade out of your little lemon. Not only can you get quads of steel doing this move but you'll earn extra bonus points with your spouse for letting him or her get some sleep. First, plant your feet just wider than hip width apart in a sumo squat. Then holding your swaddled (the swaddle is key!) dumbbell/baby very tightly, lunge vigorously from side to side. This is not the time to be namby-pamby. When I say vigorously, I mean there is no such thing as too much motion to your baby. (Not to be confused with shaking your baby. For the love of Tiger Woods, never ever shake a baby.) Repeat for hours, any time anywhere. Ignore the evil looks from people who think you shouldn't be taking your newborn to the movies, much less lunging like a maniac in the aisle. You may be a parent but you're still a person and are therefore allowed by law to leave your house. 4. The chest press to throw up. Babies are masters of physics. They come out of the womb knowing that what goes up must come down and therefore anytime you hoist your little petard above your head, vomit is going to come raining down. Into your open mouth if you're really lucky. To prepare yourself for this eventuality, lay on your back holding a dumbbell in each hand. Press straight up. At the top of the movement have someone jump on your stomach and then drop a couple spoonfuls of cottage cheese on your face. Surprise is the key to honing your reflexes along with toning your pectorals. Repeat 8-12 reps for 3 sets. 5. Running away from your responsibilities cardio. At some point after your wee one is born, it will hit you how much work, time, money and sleep you are losing in this deal. You will want to pull a John Edwards. This is a bad plan. So the next best thing to running away is to simply run. For added resistance, put the baby in a jogging stroller and take him or her with you. Just make sure your music isn't turned up so loud you can't hear him or her cry. Start with 30 minutes a day 4 days a week, working up to daily sweat fests by the time the kid is old enough to make you have to stop and hold him over the biffy seat in the park for 20 minutes before he decides he's too cold to poop (hey it's a great move for your shoulders!).
You can win a copy of The Great Fitness Experiment! Leave a comment about how you work exercise into your day now that you are a parent.
The winner will be chosen Saturday, March 5...you have until I pick the winner (via random.org) to enter!