Hi Hayley,

I had a baby almost 6 months ago and I’m finally ready to get back into shape.  I ended up gaining quite a bit during pregnancy (my baby was almost 11 pounds at birth), and I have a closet full of clothes that I’m dying to wear.  I have about 20-30 minutes per day when I’m not exhausted or running around to work out.  I do own an elliptical machine as well as a few 2, 3 and 5 pound weights.  What can I do to maximize a workout in limited time hopefully using what I already own?
I also find myself skipping meals sometimes because of how busy I am.  Is there a good protein or snack bar that you would recommend that is both low in calories but also tastes good and fills you up?  I do snack on veggies throughout the day but something that I can grab on the go or eat while feeding the baby would be great.

I know that it will take some time to get back to where I was but I’d like to get some guidance in the right direction.



When you are working out with limited time the most important thing you need to be is organized. You should know ahead of time what exercises you will be doing and have all of your equipment nearby and ready to go. Choosing consecutive exercises that target different areas of your body will help you maximize your time as you will not have to rest between each exercise. For example, doing a chest exercise then a back exercise then a chest exercise then another back exercise followed by some core will keep you moving. Follow that with some legs and arms and core and then repeat.

This circuit below will target all of your major muscle groups, which I like to call your big movers, as well as those areas that need some focus with a post baby body. If you are just starting out with your training click here for information on how to strengthen your core and when you are ready you can advance to this circuit.

Choose a weight where you find yourself having to work to finish the last 3 or 4 repetitions and you can combine your weights to make a heavier weight. For example, in the Squat Overhead Raise you can hold two 5lb weights in your hands to make it 10lbs.

Bear Crawl Push-up
In this exercise you will start in a standing position with your legs wide enough apart that when you bend over to touch the floor you are able to keep your legs straight. Bend forward at the hips and walk yourself forward until you are in a push up position. You will do 1 push up and then walk yourself back up tall keeping your legs straight. If you struggle doing a push up from your toes (which most of us do) then start by lowering onto your knees for the push up and then coming back up onto the toes before you walk yourself up tall. Start with 5 and work up to 10.  As you get stronger you can do more than one push up each time you walk yourself down.

Squat/Overhead Raise + Triceps Extension
This is one of my favourite exercises as it works your entire body and keeps your heart pounding. It is very important in this exercise that you keep a tall upper body and you do not allow the weight to pull you forward as that will hurt your back. You will begin with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, finding the weight in your heels. Lower yourself into a squat, bringing the weight in between your legs, maintaining an upright posture.  Finding the power in your heels, you are going to explode yourself upwards and use the momentum to lift the weight straight up over your head keeping straight arms.  Remain standing with the weight extended and bend your arms at your elbows, lowering the weight behind your head. Straighten the arms and return to your starting position. Start with 10 and work your way up to 20. You can double up the triceps extensions at the top for a little extra arm burn.

Straight Arm Plank with Knee Tucks
Begin in a push-up position and while maintaining a still and level pelvis you will bring 1 knee in towards your chest, stopping once your leg has bent to 90 degrees. Return that foot to the floor and repeat on the other side. Start with 5 each side and work your way up to 20. (sorry, I do not have a photo for this)

Squat with Bicep Curl
Starting in a squat position you will lower yourself down, keeping the weight through your heels and the outsides of your shoes with your knees staying in line with your second toe, ensuring not to let them extend over your toes. As you drop down curl the dumbbells in a bicep curl. This motion will make your body want to come forward so you must activate your core to keep yourself balanced.  As you stand up tall lower the weights back down. Start with 10 and work up to 20.

Reverse Lunge with a Shoulder Press
Begin with your feet together and the dumbbells up at your shoulders. You will step one leg behind you, lowering your back knee to the floor while maintaining a tall upper body. As you step back raise both arms over your head in a shoulder press and then step back together, repeating on the other side. Start with 10, alternating each side, and work up to 20.  As you get stronger start doing all on one side then all on the other for some added glute burning.

Supine Mat Superman
Begin by lying on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. Engage your core to keep your spine neutral and lift up your right arm and left leg, focusing not on how high you can lift but how long you can stretch. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Try and make sure that your pelvis is not rocking and your body is not moving side to side. This is a great exercise to strengthen your back as well as improve your posture.

Go through this circuit one time and then work up to 5. If you would like to add some more intensity to the workout hop onto the elliptical for 3 minutes in between each circuit and go as hard as you can. I will post another circuit next week that you can add to this one so check back.

And in regards to your on the go grab, my recommendation is always a larabar. They are all natural and only contain three ingredients and full of protein. Keep them in your pantry, your car and your purse so you are never left stranded.

Attached - Ellen Page leaving the gym with her trainer.