Expert advice: How to stay fit as a parent
By Aimee Heckel
Elaine Waterman knows how to stay fit as a parent. Not only does she live near the fittest city in America, Boulder, Colo., but she also is a mother of two, a certified yoga instructor and certified aerobics teacher.
Waterman, of Longmont, Colo., is the center of Boulder County’s mommy fitness scene. She regularly organizes parent workouts in the park, and she used to teach Stroller Strides, a popular workout that parents can do with their children.
We wanted to know more about Waterman’s fitness story — and her favorite tips for staying (or getting) fit after having a baby. Here’s how it went down.
What was your exercise routine BC (Before Children)?
I was very active. I loved trying new things and had a type of serial monogamy with exercise. For a while, I was obsessed with running, then kickboxing, then swimming, climbing, kayaking, etc.
Finally I found Ashtanga yoga and after four years of steady practice, I became a certified yoga instructor. I also became pregnant with our first child. It was a wonderful time, I was pregnant and teaching prenatal yoga. We were all going through the beauty of birth together.
How did you exercise while pregnant and after having your first?
As a yoga instructor, I was determined to listen to what my body wanted, and apparently it wanted lots of food. I started to worry about how to lose all the weight even before my son was born. I bought several cardio workout DVDs and even purchased the Urban Rebounder ($89.95 at Wal-Mart, see photo). If you do not know what that is, it is a mini trampoline.
At delivery, I had gained over 60 pounds, and as a 5-foot-2 petite woman pre-pregnancy, that was a lot. As our family grew by one, I returned to our house, ready to lose the weight and get back to my pre-pregnancy body.
But it was hard. It turns out that bouncing around on a trampoline is not so great with huge nursing breasts and extra skin left over from being pregnant. All the tips of sleeping while the baby slept went out the window, and I worked out while he slept. I was convinced he was going to grow up to be a fitness instructor. I did return to teaching yoga and started teaching postnatal and Mommy and Me classes.
Once again, I was in the trenches with my students, new mommies with tired eyes and baby weight that they were not physically or emotionally used to. I did chip away at the weight gain and had lost almost all of the baby weight — just in time to work on getting pregnant with our second.
I promised myself I would only gain 30 pounds with this one, which I did, except that was at four months. So once again, at delivery I was 60 pounds heavier than pre-pregnancy.
What exercise did you try with your second baby?
I was working full time during my second pregnancy and was determined to return to the job, but with costs of daycare for two kids it was impossible. I started to research small businesses that I could get involved in that would combine health, fitness and children. I found Stroller Strides.
Tell us more about Stroller Strides.
If you are a new mom and you do not know what Stroller Strides is, then stop reading now and look it up on the internet. It is the mommy workout that you can do with your child in the stroller. I thought it would be too easy, a bunch of walking and talking. I soon found out that it was as hard as you wanted to make it, no matter your fitness level.
My youngest was 6 weeks old when I purchased the franchise in Longmont, Colo., and after becoming a certified aerobics instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, I began to teach.
Was Stroller Strides an effective workout?
After six months of teaching Stroller Strides classes five times a week, I was 2 pounds away from my high school weight. That’s right, not just pre-baby weight, but high school.
I taught Stroller Strides for three years and then chose to close the franchise after my youngest turned 3. I knew there would be no more babies in my future stroller. I ended up gaining 10 pounds. It turns out, when you don’t have to be there every day to teach/work out, your visit to the gym is easily derailed by anything and everything.
Why don’t moms exercise?
There are many excuses why moms decide not to work out. They are tired, they are busy, they stay at home and are faced with constant to-dos (sadly, laundry won’t do itself), they work out of the house and don’t want exercise time to take away from already sacred family time, they have moved from two incomes to one and can’t justify the gym membership, their child is too young/old for the rec center babysitting, or their child screams bloody murder when placed in the rec center babysitting. Even if you enjoy working out, which I do, there are just so many reasons not to.
What are some fitness products that moms can use to get in shape and improve their health?
There are lots of products that you can purchase as a mom in search of a healthier lifestyle. If you find that working out at home is best for you, you can purchase fitness DVDs, ranging from intense cardio (Insanity), to ballet workouts (Ballet Beautiful — who doesn’t want to look like Natalie Portman in “Black Swan?”) to yoga DVDs of all sorts, to hardcore programs (P90X), to Zumba.
Tip: Use this coupon code to get 5 percent Cash Back off your BeachBody purchases, which includes the Insanity and P90X DVDs.
What about taking the exercise outdoors? Stay tuned for more of Waterman’s tips.
Other articles you might also like: