Category Archives: workout

Baby Weights: Toning with Toddlers

Baby Weights: Toning with Toddlers

Baby Weights was designed to kick start moms into exercising recently after having kids and realizing that their whole lives and bodies have changed.  But, as a newborn baby will grow, learn, practice, and improve every skill in their lives daily, so have you moms with these mom-adapted beginner tips.  You’re now a pro at Baby Weights’ basic moves and routines (as well as multitasking, masking the smell of your unshowered bodies, and  manipulating your words to make demands and directions toward your kids seem like amazingly fun ideas that they came up with completely on their own (“You are so smart to pretend your toys are basketballs and the toy chest is the net!  What a great idea!  I wonder which one of you will get the most baskets?!”)).  But, as a general rule of nature, as soon as we’ve adapted to something, it changes again.  Especially when it comes to children:  They move from “non-mobility” to “across the room and into the Tupperware in three seconds”, from adorable babbling and giggling to persistent demands of non-satisfaction and defiance, and from needing you for everything without question to needing you for everything but insisting they can do it by themselves.

We evolve just as our children, including in our fitness abilities.  Toning with Toddlers will be a way for you to continue getting exercise in at home with your and your kids’ changing needs in mind.  We all need exercise.  Almost as much as we need wine and the occasional meme of Chris Hemsworth with his shirt off.  If you haven’t found a way to fit regular workouts into the day yet, Toning with Toddlers will be a good tool in the belt.

So, to begin our next level mom-adapted series, we’re going to target the abs and obliques (side abs).  You remember those things, right? You watched them disappear in a slow, week-by-week process as your womb tenant grew from a watermelon seed to a kumquat (I can’t help but whisper a faint “that’s what she said” every time I say that word- will I ever mature?) to full newborn size, robbing your midsection of any tone, tightness, or dignity.  Sigh, oh yeah. Those.  The good news is, they are still there!  They are just hiding.  Think of these exercises as a way to “seek” them.  Ready or not, here they come!

The Elephant Walk    2017-03-25 14.13.41

By now, your kids are getting heavier and are able to follow gross motor directions.  Use them as your weights in this exercise.  You probably do this exercise every day without realizing that you are working your abs.  When you are in the middle of a task that requires you to walk from place to place, the kids seem to have radar that inevitably draws them to sit on your feet and wrap themselves around your legs.  Walking with these weights strapped to your legs is an adaptation of a great lower ab exercise!

Have a child sit on your foot and wrap his legs and arms around your leg.  Keeping your leg straight by locking your knee and tightening your quadraceps (your thigh), swing your leg forward to begin walking, sucking in your belly and tightening your butt cheeks (think “Continuous Bathing Suit” from  Baby Weights).  You will have to twist your upper body a bit to keep your balance.  That will actually hit the obliques as well.  Just remember to protect your lower back by keeping your belly and butt tight.

Walk as far as you can in one direction, then have the child sit on the other foot and repeat.  If you have two children, have one sit on each foot and repeat the same movements.  If you have three children, you can hold the lightest child in one of three ways:

The “Diaper Blow-out” Hold

Hold baby under armpits and away from your body like you’re hugging a beach ball.  You’ve practiced this move when your babies have somehow gotten poop from their heels to the back of their heads and you’ve just put on clean, non-mom uniform clothes for the first time in a month.  This move is a good compliment to the Elephant Walk that will hit your shoulders and arms.

The Piggy Back

Giving your child a piggy back while Elephant Walking is a basic and stable way to add weight to the exercise and get your heart rate up faster.

The Airplane

baby weightsThis move will also hit your shoulders and arms.  If your child is of an appropriate weight for your abilities, not a squirmer, and you can do so safely, have her lay in your hands like you are going to fly her like an airplane (palms of hands on her belly, thumbs facing out).  Push her up over your head and hold her there while you Elephant Walk.  If she is light and still enough, you can try to press her up and down for an even more advanced move.


This one move has so many adaptations to fit multiple fitness levels.  If your children are too light for you to feel like you are working, let one at a time sit on a foot while you stand and hold on to something stable on the opposite side of the leg you will be working.  Utilizing good form (tightened belly, butt, quad, and straight leg), swing the leg as high as you can straight up in front of you as many times as you can.  Then switch sides.  You can do side leg lifts as well to hit obliques, “muffin tops”, and side butt!

This move is great because of its versatility and the ease of which it incorporates your kids.  They think you are playing with them, and you are able to get in exercise while still getting from one end of your original task to the other.  Walking from the table to the sink to clear the dishes?  Cleaning, quality time, playtime, and exercise all in one!  Multitasking at its best!  Looked at the clock to realize another day has gone by without exercise?  Elephant Walk to the wine glasses, over to the wine fridge, then finally to the couch.  You time, them time, WINE TIME all in one!  #winwinwin




Baby Weights

Baby Weights

I hate laundry.  In my college years,  I considered garments with a quick douse of Febreze to be meet-my-boyfriend’s-parents clean.  I had a closet full of underwear for the time between visits to home, when I could dump my overflowing tent of laundry on my mother and receive a lovely mountain of clean, folded clothes by the end of my visit.  Well, my friends, laundry Karma has come to collect.

I am tumbled dry by the amount of laundry my family of four produces.  I look around at the end of the day to find four of my son’s outfits completely soaked and laying on the deck… with the dog on top of them.  There are balled up socks on the couch, clean socks have found their way into the dirty laundry, and smelly socks sit on top of my clean basket.  Before I know it, my poor boy has to wear my daughter’s frilly polka dot shorts to bed and my daughter is wearing shirts with sayings like “Handsome Bubba” printed on the front.

I tend to stuff as many articles of clothing into the washer, dryer, and “to be folded” laundry basket as I possibly can for time and space efficiency purposes.  This makes the basket reasonably heavy. You can turn this never ending chore into a weight to hold during multiple exercises without taking any time away from your necessary tasks at hand!  Getting an ample amount of walking steps within a day is an important part of exercise, but if you add a weight, it challenges you a little more.   Try this week’s momlife-adapted exercises for three different body parts:


CALVES: When you are lugging the basket of freshly cleaned (and inevitably slightly wrinkled) clothes upstairs (or across the house if you do not have stairs), pause on each stair (or step you take) to do calf raises.  Stand with your heels off of the edge of the stair and rise up on your toes, then back down. You can do one each stair, or challenge yourself to see how many per stair you can handle.

HAMSTRINGS AND GLUTES (BACK OF THE LEGS AND BUTT): Use the “standard” laundry basket hold (like you’re holding a beach ball with handles) and skip a stair (or two if you have long legs) with each step. Starting with one foot on the first stair and one on the third stair, bend your knees keeping your upper body straight (like you’re trying to pick up a onsie that fell off of the top of the overflowing basket without spilling any more clothes). Take the bottom foot and put it on the fifth step and repeat the lunge all the way up the stairs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             ARMS: Multiple loads of laundry in a day can be daunting, but you can turn them into an excuse to workout different parts of your body. If you hold the full basket above your head while you walk it from place to place, especially the stairs, it will engage your shoulders.

There are days when I would rather take each stray article of clothing I see and reunite it with all of the stepped-on-out-of-place toys at their final resting place in the garbage can.  I stop myself by thinking of the hassle it would be to pack the kids up to go buy more clothes and by using the weight of the task to my advantage.  Wash, dry, lift… sip… sip… sip… glug.

Baby Weights

Baby Weights

Over the past week, you have been sucking in your belly and squeezing your butt together.  Undoubtedly it felt weird at first, but now you find yourself noticing your core more and sitting up straighter.  For this week’s exercise, keep that squeeze that you’ve been practicing (like you have to pee but the only bathroom around is outside of a country gas station in a dimly lit corner and it gives you the “uh oh” feeling) and try this:


Start with one (yes, only one, no matter how easy and pointless it seems) repetition of each of three moves that will target where baby aftermath usually resides: One squat for your butt and legs (Apparently, motherhood gives us the gift of cellulite!  Isn’t is magical?), one push up for “continuous wave” syndrome in your arms, and one sit up for the empty baby carrier.  Make sure you stick your butt out when you do your squat and sit back into your heels like you’re hovering over that disgusting toilet at your favorite bar in college that you know hasn’t been cleaned in months. Do this multiple times throughout the day. Since it is only one repetition of each, it will take three seconds, so you can sneak it in on your way to the bathroom or take three seconds off of your shower time.

If you want to challenge yourself more, complete two sets of the trifecta back to back.  Want to sweat?  Go back in for a third set.  Keep in mind that you decide how many sets you do within a day,  so it is customizable and schedule friendly.

Each day, add one repetition of each exercise to the routine.  Day two, you will do two squats, two pushups, and two sit ups one more time than you feel you can handle throughout the day.  By the end of the week, you will be doing seven of each in a row, which may be enough for you to begin to work up a sweat.  A life hack that I have discovered about exercise repetitions:  The faster you do them, the sooner you are finished.  It is both a mathematical certainty and extremely motivating.

As the days go on, you will find that these three exercises are becoming increasingly easier and you will feel the drive to complete more repetitions and sneak in more sets wherever you can throughout the day.  At day 33 (Just a short month away!), all you have to do is three sets in a day with one bonus repetition of each to reach 100 squats, 100 pushups, and 100 sit-ups in one day!  It is an incredible accomplishment that is absolutely reachable no matter your fitness level in the beginning, or time and energy constraints!

As an added bonus, you can do all three of these exercises in front of the television, which is great news right now if you’re a chick that likes football, or a chick that doesn’t like football who binge watches Netflix series on Sundays in the fall.  #orangeisthenewblack

Baby Weights

Baby Weights

I spent over nine months at a time growing my babies as they made my body grow.  As I watched and felt my belly, feet, and anxiety seem to take on minds of their own, I looked forward increasingly to the days of their births when I could get my body back.  Clearly, my fellow mommies, we have learned that we do not reclaim our bodies that day.  In fact, the struggle remains for months into the future.  What our children leave us with when they make the transition from fetuses to citizens is a soft, squishy version of what we used to be.

Before children (In the era that I like to refer to as B.C.), fitness and losing weight was a different formula:  Workout, burn more calories than you consume each day, and let metabolism work it’s magic.  These still remain true, but what about all of the other factors that we have added to our lives that prevent the equation from being that simple?  Post pregnancy is ridden with hurdles that we must jump to reach our weight loss goals, or even just to feel comfortable again in our own bodies:


There are a couple of common reasons that we eat more in “The Aftershock” (“The Aftershock”: Slang term describing an undefined period of time in a mother’s life beginning immediately after the birth of her child during which her mind and body are not her own and she must adjust every single way of life she knew previously.  See also: “Zombie Mommy”, “Postpartum WTF” ):

  1. We got used to “eating for two” and are slow to kick the chocolate-ice-cream-before-bed habit
  2. and/or
  3. We are breastfeeding and are fricking starving all of the time.


We are so tired from late nights and early mornings that even the thought of working out actually makes us simultaneously want to cry and punch a skinny person in the face.


Like your body when you’re pregnant, your schedule when you’re a mom is not your own.  The schedule of your time is allotted piece by piece to your duties for the family.  Trying to block off an hour to simply go to the gym seems unheard of when you’re adapting to the depths of added laundry, appointments, feedings, and errands. To quote Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, “…My get up and go must have got up and went…”…. And I’m willing to bet it didn’t go to the gym.

Whether or not these reasons are strong enough excuses to keep us from exercising in the eyes of others does not change the fact that this is the way life actually happens.  However, the sooner we get back on track mentally and physically, the sooner we can reclaim our bodies and get our sexy back.  So, how can we and our fellow moms in The Aftershock work with what we have to start this process?  I have lived through The Aftershock and come out on the other side.  I could not bear the thought of stuffing my doughy body into workout clothes to be seen by the people that hadn’t taken a year off from the gym, so I started doing exercises at home using body weight and other objects within my daily routine for weight.

Baby Weights will be a periodic posting to share some of the… inventive ways I began my recovery from Aftershock.  You will not have flat abs in a week.  You will not lose a pant size overnight.  I will never claim to an expert on fitness and/or weight loss… or anything, for that matter.  I will, however, attest that I started these moves with almost no motivation and it got easier.  At the very least, it helped me remember where my muscles were once located.  This week, I give you the simplest move of them all:


Not one of us is fooling the other- We all suck in our guts and butts when we’re walking around in bathing suits.  Maybe this is the reason we are so tired after walking around at the pool all day, as opposed to prolonged exposure to the sun (as seems more scientifically likely).  The muscles you suck in when you are more naked than you’d like to be are the ones that get lost in the body cluster f@%& that is pregnancy and delivery.  You can strengthen those muscles all day while you are going about your crazy busy routine.

Driving your son to the doctor?  Sit up straight in your seat with your shoulders back, suck in your lower belly (it is easiest to get to this muscle by squeezing the Kegel muscle, too,  but just sucking in your stomach in general is perfectly fine), and pinch your butt cheeks together.  Hold it for as long as you can.  If you hold it for the entire ride, look forward to rewarding yourself with a drink later that night!  You can keep these muscles engaged during absolutely everything you do during the day from cooking to scrubbing pee off of the floor to folding laundry.  Hell, you can even suck in while you drink!

Easiest. Workout. Ever.

Stay tuned for more easy ways you can do what you’re doing anyway and make it feel like a workout!   #mommylifehack