Fitness expert Erica Ziel is back to share more of her awesome tips to help you stay in shape whether you’re pregnant or you already have a baby on your hip. She’s a personal trainer, Pilates instructor, nutritionist and core specialist in addition to being the founder of Knocked-Up Fitness®, the ultimate resource for both pre- and postnatal fitness. Check out her advice on prenatal workouts, and then read on for more of her insight into what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a busy mama and four amazing exercises you can do at home. We’ll let her take it from here.
I know fitting in exercise as a busy mama can be a challenge. Along with running Knocked Up Fitness®, I have three active kiddos of my own! Keeping up with life with three while striving to maintain some balance and continuing to eat healthy and fit in exercise—well, it can seem like an impossible task, but it’s not!
Here are my top tips for keeping up with life as a busy mama and staying on the healthy life track too.
- Stop striving for perfection!
- Move your body when you can! Even if all you have is 10 minutes, it’s better than nothing at all and it’s doing more than you may even realize. That’s why a lot of my workouts are kept short, between 8 and 30 minutes.
- Stand tall—good posture works your deep core muscles all the time!
- Keep healthy snacks in your house or with you all the time—keep the junk out!
- Prepare meals that you can eat more than once—leftovers can be a big time saver.
I’m sharing four of my favorite exercises you can do anytime, anywhere and with little or no equipment! All of these exercises are great during pregnancy and beyond baby too. I do mention some modifications, so pay close attention to those, especially if you are in your third trimester of pregnancy or have recently had your baby.
Before beginning any exercise program, make sure your doctor has approved you for exercises.
Seriously my favorite! You’ll find this exercise in my book and in all of my DVDs and digital programs for both pregnancy and after baby. If you are not comfortable on your back or your doctor has said to avoid being on your back at all, then please skip this one until after baby. BUT as long as it feels good for you to be on your back while pregnant, you can safely lay down for a couple minutes. This is also my number one go-to exercise for rehabbing those abs and repairing diastasis recti after baby.
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet together (or hip-width if that feels better for your back).
- Exhale to gently lift up on your pelvic floor muscles, pressing your knees together while simultaneously articulating your spine up into a bridge position. Avoid your ribs “popping.”
- Inhale to hold the position, feeling the backs of your legs and lower belly holding your hips up.
- Exhale to slowly articulate rolling your spine back down one vertebrae at a time, initiating the movement by gently drawing your ribcage down.
- Continue for 5 to 10 reps slowly.
Back Extensions (Swimming)
Keeping your back strong is key to improving posture, which can relate to improved core strength and less aches and pains. So mamas, these are a must to include in your workouts, and pregnant mamas, please follow the prenatal modification.
- Lay on your stomach, reaching your legs long and arms out in front of you.
- As you exhale, reach your right leg up and left arm up to feel your core, back and glutes working.
- Inhale to lower and then switch sides (left leg and right arm).
- Continue alternating sides slowly for 20 reps.
- Release into a child’s pose to stretch your low back.
Swimming: Prenatal Modification
- On your hands and knees, reach your right leg back and your left arm out in front or to your side.
- Exhale as you gently lift both your right leg and left arm to feel your core and back muscles working.
- Inhale to lower back to start. Do 10 reps before switching sides.
- Release into a child’s pose to stretch your low back.
Squats + Rotations
I know I said hip rolls are my all-time favorite, but this exercise comes in a close second. Squats are a perfect exercise to help keep your booty and deep core strong. (Yes, squats are safe during pregnancy unless your doctor has told your otherwise. Plus they are good for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles). Mamas, you need to do squats, but just be sure you are doing them correctly (you should feel squats in your butt!). By adding the rotational movement, you target your deep core muscles more while also stretching your chest and working towards creating improved posture. No need for an exercise band—you can use a hand towel instead or do this exercise without any equipment at all.
- Stand in a comfortable wide squat (sticking your booty slightly back) with your arms out in front (holding an exercise band or hand towel if you have either).
- Exhale as you stand (keeping your glutes engaged), rotating towards your right as your arms reach up overhead and your left leg and toe pivot with you, allowing easy rotation of your hips. You should feel a light core connection—your booty working and the lengthening of your spine.
- Inhale as you return to your starting squat position.
- Rotate to your left, making sure that your right leg and toe pivot with you.
- Continue for 10 to 20 reps, alternating sides slowly.
Pregnant or not, I love these for my mamas! Not only are lunges wonderful for keeping your booty lifted during pregnancy or regaining your booty after baby, but they require a lot of core strength too. Weights are optional, so not to worry if you don’t have any handy—do these lunges without and you’ll still feel your shoulders working.
- Stand in a forward lunge, feeling your weight in your front leg and sticking your booty slightly back while reaching your arms gently out in front of you.
- Exhale to stand, bringing your arms to your sides (squeezing those triceps) as you stand up, bringing your back leg all the way through and up which greatly challenges your core (or for added balance, keep your back leg on the ground).
- Inhale to return to your starting lunge.
- Continue for 10 to 15 reps and then switch sides.
To see more exercises, workouts, my DVD series and book The Knocked Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy and digital programs, visit KnockedUpFitness.com. Because nutrition plays a BIG role in living a healthy lifestyle, all of my digital programs include my Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mama nutrition program which includes 50+ family-friendly recipes, recorded coaching calls, 21 days of creating healthier habits emails and more!
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