While holding an infant for hours a day is definitely an arm strengthener, it’s not enough to whip most new moms back into the pre-birth shape they desire. Problem is, not having enough time to squeeze in exercise is one of the top complaints of women with little ones at home.
Enter BYOBfit™ — as in, “Bring Your Own Baby,” the brainchild of personal trainers Melissa Paris and Anja Pierre, both new mothers themselves. The Manhattan-based workout enables moms to safely get their sweat on with their babies still strapped to them. In fact, by using their newborns as added weight, these women get a boost in muscle building and calorie burning — without the need to call a sitter.
BYOBFit founders Melissa Paris and Anja Pierre. (Photo: Instagram/BYOBFit)
Yahoo Health spoke to the founders of BYOBfit™ to find out how they came up with the idea and what new moms can do at home to reap similar benefits.
Yahoo Health: Why should women work out with their babies?
Melissa: We found ourselves becoming mothers around the same time, and since both of us had already followed a strict workout routine during our pregnancies, we simply wanted to keep the ball rolling without having to leave our babies with sitters. We started to meet up for walks and we added in some strength exercises along the way, since we had our babies strapped to us. We realized that the added weight of the babies made for a great strength workout, so we created an entire exercise class around it.
Yahoo Health: How long should women wait before working out again?
Anja: This really depends on a few factors: The women have to be cleared for exercise by their doctors. The general consensus is that you should wait 6 weeks after giving birth before starting to work out again.
The type of birth a woman had also matters. Was it a C-section? Were there complications? Was it induced labor? Was there any tearing? All these factors will determine how quickly a woman heals after birth and is ready to start back with exercise.
Typically, if a new mom already followed a great strength training program during her pregnancy, she will be ready to participate in our class much sooner.
Yahoo Health: Why do you think this idea is so appealing?
Melissa: New mothers generally do not feel comfortable trading time away from their kids for exercise — we created BYOB classes so that mothers can get back into phenomenal shape, maintain great posture, and feel strong and energized while bonding with their babies. Besides that, most “mommy and me” classes are slow-paced or yoga-based, so we wanted to cater to women who appreciate a great strength-training class.
Yahoo Health: What are some moves new moms can do at home?
Anja: Keeping the workout very functional (activating all major muscle groups) is a must. We recommend calisthenics such as deep squats, lunges, step-ups, planks, and dips.
Yahoo Health: Are there any moves women should NOT do with their children strapped onto them?
Anja: Any exercise the mother is not comfortable doing without a baby, should not be done with the baby! We offer various difficulty levels (progressions and regressions) for every exercise we do in class so that we can cater to each mother’s individual fitness level. Adding in resistance bands, a TRX (a suspension training system), or kettlebells should only be done with the supervision of a certified personal trainer.
Yahoo Health: If there is one thing you’d like women who just had children to know, what would it be?
Melissa: Motherhood is a sport. You need to be in top physical (and mental) shape to fulfill all its daily tasks. While one added benefit of our classes is, of course, looking fit and toned, we always remind women that being strong makes our jobs as mothers so much more pleasant. We also remind mothers to be patient with their bodies and with their recovery process. Through our own experiences, we’ve noticed that it takes about 9-12 months to get back into “pre-pregnancy” shape. The benefits of a consistent strength-training routine with our babies has empowered us on so many levels.