Are you finding it a hassle to get a babysitter every time you want to hit the gym? Or is a gym membership a luxury you just can't afford? Let's face it, training when you have a hectic schedule is a tough call, but throw in a family and it become a real challenge. But worry not, Hollywood trainer to the stars Heidi Carignan, a busy mother of two, offers her tips on easy workout with kids in tow.
"Women don't have to go to gyms or go through the hassle of finding a babysitter to work-out," says 39-year-old fitness trainer Heidi, mum to two five-year-old Kelly and seven-year-old Cole. "When Cole and Kelly were born, instead of trying to get my own work-outs in, I devised ways to have them as my training partners."
Training since she was 16, Heidi is manager at the star-studded Venice Gold's Gym in Los Angeles, where stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Rock, Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr and Justin Timberlake have all worked out at.
"The main thing I see are mothers who are fearful about losing their bodies and scared about losing their freedom to work-out. I always get asked how I stayed in shape after my kids were born," Heidi says.
"My biggest fear was losing my body, and mother and sister both had major stretchmarks. So while I was pregnant I ate whatever I wanted to but I would have small portions. I also used a lot of cocoa butter for my skin. The best thing you can do is to be aware of what you're eating. Have a little bit of ice-cream not the whole tub."
At the end of both pregnancies Heidi only put on 1.4kg.
"After my kids were born the best thing I did for myself was have my kids be my training partners. So I created fun ways for us to work out, have fun and be healthy and energetic instead of have them just watch video games," Heidi says.
"It's also important for mums not to lose sight of their own goals because they focus so much on their own children."
Heidi's mum and kid fitness routines
Bikes and scooters.
"Get them on bikes or scooters and walk around the neighbourhood," Heidi says. "Start off doing half of a mile [800m] in the beginning and work yourself up to three or four miles [4.8-6.5km]. Do this four to five times a week"
"Buy a 'jogger stroller' where you can jog with your kid in the pram," she says. "I put so many miles on it: do half a mile to begin with and then work your way up to three to four miles three to four days a week."
"With a one- or two-month-old baby, buy a baby backpack which is when the baby is in a backpack on your chest and power-walk: starting at half a mile and working your way up to three to four miles," the fitness trainer says.
Long bike rides.
"When my son was four years old we did a 15 mile [24km] bike ride for the American Diabetes Association. I thought if I set a goal for myself and got my kids to participate then that would be a good goal for all of us," Heidi says. "My daughter was one year old and I had her in a little bike seat in front of me and my son Cole was in an attached bike behind me. It's like a tandem bike but he peddles well for his size and we did 15 miles together."
"I went rollerblading with them the older they got because they can start riding faster on bikes and scooters [than I can run]," she says.
"For toning do 100 crunches a days and 20 push-ups. Get 3-5 pound [1.4-2.3kg] weights and do bicep curls in three sets of 20."
"Every night we put on music and dance for 15 minutes we make our own karaoke night."
"Do a 20-minute circuit at home during the day when you put your baby to sleep. Do a 20-minute circuit doing a different exercise for each minute," the fitness trainer says. "After that rest for 10 minutes, then take a nap with your child for 30 minutes. Examples of a different workout each minute includes: running up and down stairs, bicep curls using 3-5 pound weights, squats, lunges, skipping, step ups on stairs, crunches. You can get very creative and it's really easy."
Heidi also encourages mothers to also eat healthily. "The most important part for mums is if you feel like you don't have time to work out because you don't have the energy, then it's important to eat healthily," she says. "Good snacks like peanut butter and apples, or apples and cheese are better alternatives to junk food."