Mommy-and-Me Workout Classes That Keep Your Fitness the Center of Attention
Mommy and me classes are workout savers when you crave the gym but want to keep an eye on your tot. Another bonus: "You're role-modeling the importance of exercise for your child," says Bela Moté, a national director at the YMCA of the USA. "And the earlier you do that, the better." Here's how four popular workouts handle your offspring. (Related: Fit Moms Share the Relatable and Realistic Ways They Make Time for Workouts)
At any YMCA, you'll see the squad of parents with their kids (under 3 years old) in the shallow end of the pool, propelling the tots through water. Such baby swim classes are meant to get them used to the idea of swimming, but there's constant motion and a bit of resistance in those 30 to 60 minutes. "It may not be a full workout for you, but there's some low-intensity cardio involved," Moté says.
Babies (about 6 weeks and up) act as added weights for your poses; imagine boat pose with baby lying belly down on your shins or sun salute with you hoisting baby overhead. "The flow is pretty consistent—you're able to do downward dog to kiss-me chaturanga push-up, then cat-cow into planks, so you get in the stretching, strengthening, and core work you came for," says instructor Kristin McGee, the creator of the BendiGirl yoga DVD, who teaches a plus-baby version. "It's not lying around and cooing at your baby. You'll have even more of a workout because you're holding them as an extra weight." (New to yoga? Try this flow for beginners.)
Picture yourself at barre class doing those same plié squats, leg lifts, and arm pulses—only with your tyke happily strapped to you in her BabyBjörn. That's Babies at the Barre classes in a nutshell. "You'll do arm work with small weights and bands, barre work, and then floor work with baby, out of the carrier, being used as a weight for things like press-ups and curl-ups," says creator Tori Levine, who teaches classes in central Pennsylvania. "We focus on core and pelvic-floor engagement throughout class." In other words, you'll hit all the same toning as your usual barre class. A few cities offer classes, or you can register for live-stream classes through babiesatthebarre.com.
When it's nice out, hook up with a stroller class, and you can pretty much re-create your regular group circuit session. "You'll work up a real sweat doing things such as walking lunges with the stroller, 30 seconds of jumping jacks, bench push-ups, and plank holds—especially if the instructor moves from exercise to exercise with no breaks," says Sara Dimmick, the founder of Physical Equilibrium studio in New York City, who leads local stroller boot camps. Strollercize.com lists its signature classes in several states, but you can Google "stroller workout" for other options. (Or try this playground bootcamp workout.)