Robin Arzón on Unsubscribing From Bounce-Back Culture, Her 2nd Pregnancy, and Her New Book

The Peloton instructor opens up about her approach to pre and post-natal fitness, shifting the ‘bounce-back’ paradigm, and her new book, Strong Baby.

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Robin Arzón and Daughter Athena
Photo: James Farrell.

‘Strong’ is the word that embodies Robin Arzón—VP of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton, powerhouse mom, and two-time New York Times Best-selling author. Her strength and dedication to fitness are apparent in every sweat-inducing class she teaches. She has a unique teaching style that manifests as a combination of a drill sergeant, motivational coach, and hilarious best friend. It’s no surprise that her newest book, Strong Baby, celebrates how babies are innate athletes. The book serendipitously aligns with Arzón’s second pregnancy and goes on sale on February 21st.

Inspiration for Strong Baby

When asked about her inspiration for the book, Arzón credits her 23-month-old daughter Athena. “I was observing as she was going through her different milestones and realizing that she's an innate athlete,” says Arzón. “I wanted to honor her strength from a young age.” Crawling, sitting, and walking are all learned activities that babies naturally learn through trial, error, and mimicking. In fact, many of the moves performed in a strength class are extensions of natural baby movements, such as picking up blocks, squatting, and jumping.

The beautifully illustrated picture book is perfect for kids of all ages and shares a positive, celebratory, and inclusive message about ‘movement as play,’ as well as ‘movement as medicine’ for the whole family.

Strong Baby Cover

Little Brown And Company

Buy It: Strong Baby, $19,

 How She Integrates Fitness Into Her Life with Baby

“Play is innately physical,” Arzón comments, “especially when we let the child lead playtime.”

The Peloton instructor says she actively engages with her daughter during playtime, getting down on the floor or running around the park. “We incorporate movement every day in our house, whether it’s dancing or crawling around. [Athena] will join me for stretches after my workout. We meet her where she is, whether it’s having a race to the elevator or getting down on her level at the park. I find that to be really fun.”

Addressing (or Unsubscribing From) Bounce-Back Culture

‘Bouncing back’ in the fitness industry is seen as a status symbol, and people openly praise celebrities for snapping back to their ‘before’ bodies after birth. This unrealistic mindset is harmful to new parents, creating an unrealistic (and likely unattainable) goal that perpetuates diet culture. Arzón does not engage in this. “I really try not to subscribe to that,” she says. “I think that the less we talk about it, the more the paradigm has the opportunity to shift. It’s important to focus on what you can control, what you’re capable of, and what your body can do rather than what it looks like after having gone through such a grueling year-plus journey.”

Robin Arzon and daughter Athena

James Farrell

Arzón's Fitness Routine During Pregnancy

Most pregnant people adapt their fitness routine during pregnancy, particularly for symptoms such as nausea in the first trimester, and then adjust the intensity as the pregnancy progresses. Arzón comments, “to be honest, I didn’t really adapt [my fitness routine].” The veteran marathoner continued to run, cycle, and lift throughout her first pregnancy and continues to do so now. That said, she is well-versed in teaching modifications for specific exercises to make them safe for pregnancy, and there are entire libraries of prenatal classes available on the Peloton app.

What’s her advice to other pregnant people who want to maintain a fitness routine? “I think the goal is consistency over intensity. Modify and adapt your workouts based on how you’re feeling.” 

Arzón also recommends shortening your workout and releasing yourself from expectations. “Releasing ourselves from this idea that if it's not 60 minutes or something really intense, it's not effective. What you’re able to do consistently is actually much more effective in the long run than going really intensely and needing to pull back all the way.”

Start Small with Postpartum Fitness

When cleared to return to fitness, many parents —particularly those who were very active prior to baby—may feel pressure to quickly get back to a certain fitness level. However, that approach is often counterproductive. “You’re really going back to basics,” she comments. “Allowing yourself grace is incredibly important.” 

For those looking to get back into fitness post-baby, she recommends starting with diaphragmatic breathing or 360° breathwork. 

“I think it’s helpful for every postpartum person,” she states. “[The postpartum period] is such an individualized journey that I think not comparing yourself to somebody else’s six-week, eight-week, or two-year mark postpartum is really important.”

When you’re getting back into a routine post-baby, Arzón advises that people start small. “Small, iterative steps are always the best. Then you have momentum from reaching small, consistent, and achievable milestones. That’s always the best path to a consistent fitness movement practice.”

Arzón plans to take a similar approach to her fitness routine after baby number two as well. She personally found that “going back to basics and slowing down” wasn’t easy for her, and that was probably the biggest challenge. 

In terms of time, a common constraint for new parents, Arzón made fitness a priority from the get-go. “I prioritized my movement practice…and that became a cornerstone in my home. I made sure that I asked for the support that I needed.”

Why She's Excited About Strong Baby

Strong Baby depicts a mother who shares her love of activity and a balanced lifestyle with her child. It illustrates the idea that the family is stronger together. 

“I’m excited for Strong Baby to be a celebration of our resiliency and our strength. And a reminder that even the smallest little ones in our house have immense power within them. I want this to be an age-appropriate, teachable moment for the concept that when we fall down we always get back up.”

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