Since my first post on Thursday I have received a lot of emails asking “How do you find time to exercise when you have kids?” Well, since I’m not a mother yet and have the luxury of exercising whenever I feel like and for as long as I feel like I spoke with my best friend who is a new mother of 2, along with many of my clients who are also mothers (and have accomplished AMAZING things – half marathons, half ironmans, ironmans, marathons, multi day trail runs) and here is the number one thing they all said: You don’t have time and you never will have time unless you make time.

In other words, and here’s the hard part, you need to sacrifice something in order to make the time. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. Because as difficult as this sounds, we can't have it all, something needs to give.

The mothers that you see exercising don't have it any easier than you, trust me. Their children require just as much attention from them as yours do but they make exercise a priority. They get up earlier, even when they are tired or they hand over the reins to their husband when he comes home from work even if they are exhausted from being with their kids all day long. Why? Because that’s that choice. It might not be your choice, and you don’t have to make that choice; no one is saying that that has to be your choice. But if you’re interested in “how”, this the choice that many moms have made. They choose it because they know it is going to make them feel good and they know if they don’t do it they never will. They also pay attention to what goes into their bodies, making sure they have planned their days so everything is ready. Trust me, getting back into shape is not easy and it takes hard work and sacrifice and sometimes you will hate it and just want to stop but you can't. And sometimes you will hate me and hate hearing the truth but it needs to be said. You moms have it harder than anyone, especially if you are working full time too. But if you want this, if this ends up being your choice, there are no excuses; you know what needs to be done and it is not easy. Change comes with sacrifice. That’s, right?

Here are a few common questions that you all wrote in to ask

When is it ok for me to start exercising after I’ve had my baby?
If you had a vaginal birth then you can start back as soon as you feel like you have the energy to start and your lochia has stopped. If you had a C section it is best to wait for 6 weeks and until you’ve been cleared by your doctor. Start out easy and see how you feel and progress a little bit more each workout.

Should I change anything if I’m still breast feeding?
Yes – you need to drink lots and lots of water. It should be by your side your entire workout. If after a workout your baby doesn’t want to feed it is probably because you may be a bit sweaty so make sure you take a quick shower...

Any tips on eating to help lose weight?

Yes, lots! The biggest thing I see with moms is that they snack on their kids foods and they finish what their kids don’t eat. STOP doing that! Every little nibble adds to your total daily calorie intake and you would be surprised at how many calories you can consume without even knowing it. Also, choose healthy carbohydrates, don’t avoid them. Your body needs its energy as you are burning 500 calories a day breast feeding and you need the energy. So, stay away from muffins and pastries but fill up on whole grain breads, yams, rice, fruit and veggies.

Make 1 or 2 different grains in big batches each week so you always have it in your fridge and easily accessible. Keep almonds in your car, in your purse so whenever you feel hunger strike you have something to munch on that doesn’t come from a vending machine or a coffee shop.

This isn’t a time to deprive your body of food; if anything you should be filling it full of food, just the right food. Check out a great book called Healthy Mum, Happy Baby – it is full of great ideas.

Also a few of my favourite snacks:
-hummus and carrots (or any other raw vegetable, buying ones pre cut will make it much easier for you)
-a sliced apple with a tablespoon of almond butter
-cottage cheese with walnuts and half a banana
-a banana and a few almonds
-a small serving of last night’s supper (sometimes I like to think of my snacks as mini meals)
-½ a larabar
-and I just discovered this product yesterday and it is amazing! I'm in love with it so check it out. Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer.

Here is a workout for all of you moms at home who can only find 30 minutes in a day and can’t get outside for a workout. And if you only have 15 minutes just do half of the circuit one day and the other the next. Remember something is better than nothing! Just get in the habit of making time (even 10 minutes) for you to exercise. Once you become consistent you can start trying to add more time but right now, something is better than nothing.

Start out by going through the circuit one time only. Then as you get stronger and get through the exercises quicker, work up to 2 or 3. To begin the workout, if you have any type of cardio equipment, get on it for 5 minutes and get your heart rate up. If you don’t have cardio equipment at home, then throw on 1 or 2 of your favourite songs and dance around like you mean it. Have fun!

You will need a stability ball, so if you don’t have one go out and get one; they can be found anywhere pretty much – big chain grocery stores, physiotherapy clinics, yoga studios, fitness stores, Winners, Homesense, Canadian Tire. 55cm is a good size to start with.

30 seconds of lunges with the stability ball between your back and a wall. (Do 60 seconds as you get stronger) Switch legs after 30 seconds. When doing a lunge most of the work should come from your front leg. Never let your front knee extend over your toe. Make sure you’re dropping low enough that your front leg is bent to 90 degrees and focus on keeping your core engaged. Also, if you want to make it harder add weights in your hands

30 second front plank (again, do 60 seconds if you are stronger)

20 crunches on a mat. Keep your low abs as tight as you can as you come up and down during this movement. Watch your tummy and make sure it isn’t popping up; you want to draw your abs in. If you had abdominal separation, wrap a towel around your abs to keep them pulled in and together.

30 seconds stability ball squats. Ball is between your back and the wall – don’t let your knees come over your toes, squeeze your butt and your core as you stand up. 60 seconds if you’re stronger and weights too.

30 second side plank each side (start from your knees if you need to, then progress to stacking your feet)

20 more abdominal crunches

Repeat 1 or 2 more times through, depending on your level.

Get back into some cardio for 5 minutes and go hard! Dance, cardio equipment, run up and down your stairs, anything to get the heart rate back up

Push ups from your knees – do as many as you think you can do and when you’re ready to stop do 1 more. Make sure each time you lower your body down you do not arch your back and you squeeze your shoulder blades tight.

Stability ball supermans – 60 seconds. Lie with your tummy/hips on top of the stability ball and extend 1 arm and your opposite leg straight out and up, keeping your core tight to maintain balance. Repeat with the other side.

30 seconds stability ball bicep curls with 1 leg off the floor. Sit on the ball and maintain a level pelvis with 1 leg up and do bicep curls. If you don’t have weights, use heavy soup cans. Switch legs half way through. 60 seconds if you’re stronger

30 seconds tricep dips (do these using a chair). Again, 60 seconds if you’re strong

1 minute walking lunges with a shoulder press (again, soup cans if you don’t have weights) as you step your feet back together)

30 seconds stability ball hamstring curls. Lie on your back with your legs straight and feet on top of the ball.  As you elevate your hips in the air using your hamstrings bring the ball towards you with your heels, curl the ball from your heels to your ass. 60 seconds if you’re stronger

Repeat 1 or 2 more times if you like

Finish with 5 more minutes of fun cardio and then give yourself a good stretch, focusing on your hips, chest and back.


Attached - Katie Holmes after a workout this week.