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It sounds too good to be true: Consume 4,000 calories a day, doctor's orders. But while that eating regimen helped sports television executive Molly Solomon carry and deliver healthy triplets four years ago, it also created a significant physical challenge -- shedding the 85 pounds she put on during pregnancy.
Regaining fitness after a long layoff is difficult under any circumstances. But Solomon, an athletic 5-foot-7, 150 pounds before she got pregnant, had to get back in shape while managing her travel-heavy schedule and caring for her new brood. To do it, the Coordinating Producer of NBC Olympics brought exercise equipment into her home along with the three new babies. Solomon, 39, built a gym in the basement of her Southport, Connecticut, home so she could lift weights and ride the stationary bike before work.
The task of getting fit was also made easier by the fact that Solomon, a lifelong runner, has never viewed working out as a chore. "I adore it," she tells FitnessMagazine.com of the cardio and strength sessions she does daily at dawn. "That's an hour and a half of my time. And then the chaos begins."
The pregnancy: "As soon as I found out I was having triplets, they said no more working out, and I was scared, because working out is my thing. The last seven weeks, I was on bed rest, with my legs angled above my head as though I was lying there on a ski slope. Thank God for my laptop."
Gee, thanks, Dad: "I gained 85 pounds during the pregnancy, so I was 235 when I gave birth to the kids. My father joked that I was a first-round draft pick."
Body after babies: "I had to learn to walk again. I had to have rehab and use a walker, I had a shower stool. I just feel so sorry for people who are obese, because I couldn't move when I was so big."
Shedding the weight: "It's been a four-year struggle to lose it. I had a c-section, so I couldn't work out for the first six weeks after the delivery. But then I started working out -- I did cardio and weights -- and the first 70 pounds dropped off pretty quickly. The last 15 are the struggle."
Striving to get back: "I think it's in my personality. Someone said, 'You'll never get your stomach back,' and those were fighting words. The only part of my body that I liked [before] was my abs. I've got a Pilates ring, working on the abs. And my latest thing is to do 100 push-ups a day."
A.M. workouts: "My husband and I fight over the stationary bike. I'm a morning person, so we get up at 5 a.m., and from 5 to 6:30, it's my time -- the only time when it's quiet [at the house]. I'll go down to the gym and do weights and ride the stationary bike. I have a baby monitor down there, in case the kids wake up."
Touring Tiananmen: "I go to Beijing [site of the 2008 Summer Olympics] every couple of months. The hard part is all the plane rides, because your body's turned inside out. But exercise helps you with jet lag, it truly does. I love to run around Tiananmen Square when we stay downtown. I go out at 5 a.m. when there's nobody on the roads and run on the bike path. Running is a great way to see a foreign city."
On free fatty food at work: "It's easier now that I'm not doing as many sports events. But you can't really control yourself -- you're stressed, so you need carbs. I don't resist. I just work around those times."
Wise words: "I remember Dick [Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Sports & Olympics] used to say to get in good shape for the Olympics. And being in good shape does give me more stamina for the kids. But I do it just for me. I love to work out."
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, June 2007.