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The Real Mom's Fitness Plan

Cardio circuit

Body benefits: The quick aerobic intervals burn calories, while the toning moves add muscle tone.
What you need: Some fast-paced music to get you moving, a sturdy chair, a jump rope (optional).
Bare-minimum (10 minutes): Do each move for 2 minutes.
Even better: Repeat entire circuit, or, for more of a challenge, do 4 minutes of each exercise.

Knee Lifts (cardio)
A good warm-up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift right knee waist-high, then lower. Repeat on left. Continue at a steady, smooth pace (approximately 1 lift per second). Keep torso upright; don't lean back.

Squat with Side Leg Lift (toning)
Stand, feet hip-width apart; bend your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor, your tailbone back as if you're about to sit. As you slowly rise, lift one leg out to the side, then lower it. On the next squat, lift the other leg. Continue at a steady pace, alternating legs.

Jumps (cardio)
With a jump rope, or without, jump at a fairly quick pace (slightly faster than 1 jump per second).

Rear Leg Lifts (toning)
Stand about 2 feet behind a chair and lean forward, elbows on the chair back. Lift your right leg as high as you can (no higher than parallel to the floor), foot flexed. Pause; slowly lower. Shift weight to right foot and lift left leg. Continue, alternating legs.

Side Lunges (cardio)
Stand, feet together. Punch your right arm forward and diagonally across your body (if straight ahead is 12:00, punch toward 10:00), while reaching back diagonally with your right leg (toward 4:00). Touch your back toe to the floor. Repeat with your left arm and leg. Maintain a fast, steady pace, keeping hips and shoulders facing forward as much as possible.

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