Welcome to month two of your new mom-body workout plan! If you started with us in February, you're on your way toward building your fitness base and getting your body back in shape. Just joining in? No worries: You can pick it up right here and still reap results. (You may need to modify the exercises to suit your fitness level, and be sure to first clear any workout plan with your doctor.)
This month we're bringing you a boot camp-inspired workout designed to burn fat and build muscle in as little as 10 minutes a day. For best results, add the high-energy interval workout to boost your overall calorie burn, and follow our guide to fat-fighting foods to help you trim down without feeling hungry.
New Mom-Body Boot Camp (10-30 minutes)
The secret to losing that baby weight without spending hours at the gym is to combine your cardio and strength moves into one nonstop workout. That's the beauty behind our do-anywhere, super-speedy boot camp routine, which targets all of your major muscles with just four exercises. The equipment-free cardio bursts help keep your heart rate elevated and ramp up the calorie burn. "Cardio burns fat, while the strength moves will help you add more lean muscle mass, which will further boost your metabolism," explains Kristen Horler, founder of Baby Boot Camp and author of Baby Boot Camp: The New Mom's 9-Minute Fitness Solution.
The benefits go beyond how you look, however. "When you add regular strength workouts like these to your routine, you'll feel stronger both mentally and physically, which can help counter the rigors of having a new baby around the house," adds Horler. Result: more strength and energy for everything from round-the-clock feedings to carrying around your growing wee one, a loaded diaper bag and the folded stroller.
How it Works:
We created this plan to fit your schedule, whether you have 10 minutes or 30. Begin by marching in place or jogging for one minute. Next, do each strength move for one minute (rather than counting reps). Between each exercise, do any of the cardio bursts for one minute. The whole circuit should take about 10 minutes to complete. Have more time? Do it again, for up to three times total. (Give yourself a mini-break by marching in place or jogging for one minute between each circuit.) If you're feeling strong, try the challenge variations. Do this workout three days a week.
What you'll need: timer or clock with a second hand
Stationary lunge (strengthens quads, glutes, calves) Stand with feet hip distance apart. Step left foot about 3 feet behind you, feet parallel. Bend both knees 90 degrees, keeping front knee aligned over ankle. Straighten and repeat for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat. Challenge yourself: Hold a pair of weights.
Pushup (strengthens chest, shoulders, arms, abs) Begin in a modified push-up position, knees down, palms on floor under shoulders. Keeping back straight and abs tight, lower face and chest toward floor; straighten back to start. Do as many reps as you can in one minute. Challenge yourself: Keep legs straight.
Bridge (strengthens glutes, hamstrings, lower back) Lie face-up, feet on floor with knees bent and heels about 12 inches in front of butt. Slowly raise hips off floor, squeezing glutes; keep spine straight while feet, shoulders and head remain on floor. Don't overarch spine. Hold three counts, squeezing your glutes; lower. Repeat for one minute. Challenge yourself: Lift one leg off floor.
Plank (strengthens abs, arms, legs) Lie face-down on mat, forearms on floor with elbows under shoulders and legs extended behind you. Lift hips and knees, keeping head, hips and heels in a straight line. Hold 25 seconds; rest 10 seconds. Repeat for another 25 seconds. Challenge yourself: Slowly move your right foot about 12 inches to the right, touching toes to floor; return to start. Repeat with left foot for a total of one minute.
Between each strength exercise, do any of these high-energy aerobic options for one minute:
Jumping jacks Jump legs out to sides while bringing hands together above head. (If you can't jump, tap heel out to side; alternate legs.)
Heel kicks Jog in place, kicking heels toward butt; swing arms in front from side to side.
High knees Lift knees to hip height in front; alternate bringing hands toward shoulders like a biceps curl.
Half-squats Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Squat down about halfway, keeping weight in heels; reach arms overhead.
Burn More Calories
To boost your calorie burn and rev your energy, do this interval-based aerobic workout from Horler three to four times a week. "Intervals allow you to increase your intensity without burning out because you have a built-in active recovery period, so you can push yourself longer and ultimately burn more calories," she explains.
5 minutes Warm up at a moderate pace (intensity: 4-5).
15 minutes Increase your pace to a challenging level for 30 seconds (intensity: 6); walk for 30 seconds at a slower pace (intensity: 5). Alternate intervals for 15 minutes.
15 minutes Bring things up a notch by picking up your pace for 45 seconds (intensity: 7; slow down for 15 seconds (intensity: 5). Alternate intervals for 15 minutes.
5 minutes Cool down at an easy to moderate pace (intensity: 4).
Foods That Fight Fat
It's easy to become frustrated when you're trying to shed the baby weight, but you don't have to slash calories (especially if you're breastfeeding!) or feel like you're starving to earn lasting results. "Losing weight successfully is all about moderation and balance," says Ruth Frechman, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Burbank, California. "You want to have a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat in your diet to keep you feeling full and satisfied." That said, some foods do a better job of filling you up than others. To keep you from raiding the fridge or swiping snacks from your little ones, include these choices in your diet.
Whole grains Foods like whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and other high-fiber offerings are a smart way to keep you feeling satisfied. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends 25-29 grams of fiber a day for women, many of which can come from whole grains. The soluble fibers found in most grains help regulate blood sugars and slow the absorption of carbohydrates so you feel fuller, longer.
"Healthy" fats Don't think of all fats as a four-letter word. Monounsaturated fats -- found in almonds, peanuts, pecans and other nuts; pumpkin, sesame and other seeds; avocados and olives -- are actually good for you, and your waistline. They not only help supply your body with energy and carry important nutrients, they also fill you up fast. One study found that among people on a low-fat diet, those who had a few ounces of almonds daily, for example, reduced their waistlines by about 6 1/2inches in six months. But remember, since they're calorically dense, these foods can be fattening if eaten in excess. Try measuring out a small 1-ounce bag of almonds (23 pieces have about 160 calories) or a quarter-cup of avocado (58 calories) to keep you satisfied.
Fruits and veggies Low in calories, high in fiber and packed with nutrients, most fruits and vegetables are a definite "do" when you're looking to lose the baby weight. "Most kinds of produce can be very filling, since they contain a lot of water, plus they're full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are important for new moms," says Frechman. Try and include a rainbow of fresh produce every day -- orange carrots, red tomatoes, leafy greens, pink grapefruit, red grapes -- to get all the antioxidants you need.
Vegetarian-friendly protein Stock up on peanut butter -- and eggs, and beans. All are great protein-rich sources, which take longer for your body to digest, and ultimately will keep you more satisfied than carbs alone. One study found women who ate an egg-based breakfast consumed an average of 420 fewer calories over a 36-hour period than those who ate a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories. Another study found subjects who snacked on peanut butter felt fuller and ate less than usual in their regular diet.
Soups Have a cup of soup before your next meal and chances are you'll reduce your total calorie intake. One study from Penn State found that those who had a broth-based soup before a lunch entrée reduced their total calorie intake by 20 percent (compared to those who skipped the appetizer). Just steer clear of cream-based soups, which can significantly boost your overall calorie count.