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Lose the Baby Weight: Get a Better Body After Baby

It may not cure the sleepless nights, but our no-fuss workout plan for new moms is proven to help you lose the baby weight and slim your waistline in one month. How's that for a sweet dream?

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Danielle St. Laurent
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How It Works

To develop a simple, supereffective workout and diet program for getting your best post-baby body, FITNESS teamed up with Parents magazine. "You'll be amazed at the results this routine can achieve even though you're doing every move in bare feet," says FITNESS advisory board member Alycea Ungaro, coauthor of the new Home Workout book and DVD set, who designed these total-body exercises to give extra attention to toning your abs. Our testers, who had tykes ranging from 2 months to nearly 2 years old, lost an average of 1 1/4 inches from their waists in one month. Once you've got the green light from your doc to start exercising again, do the workout twice a week and aim for three weekly cardio sessions. And don't worry, we're not going to ask you to hoist any babies like hand weights; all you need is a set of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells. The babes snooze, you lose!

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Cancan Cross

Targets: Abs, obliques, and legs

  • Lie faceup on floor with upper body propped up on forearms, elbows bent 90 degrees. Bend knees so that feet are tucked close to body with pointed toes touching floor directly in front of you.
  • Keeping upper body still and toes touching floor, bring knees to right toward floor, then quickly to left toward floor, then right again.
  • While knees point right, extend both legs diagonally up to right (as if to kick behind right shoulder) and quickly bend them back down. Repeat, this time bringing knees left, right, left, then kicking left. That's 1 rep.
  • Do 2 sets of 8 reps.

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Bridge Lift

Targets: Abs and butt

  • Lie faceup on floor with knees bent, feet flat, and arms by sides, palms down.
  • Lift hips off floor so that body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders (bridge position) and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Extend right leg up and hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Maintaining leg lift, lower hips to floor, then lift them for 8 reps.
  • Cross right leg over left at the thigh as if sitting cross-legged.
  • Maintaining cross-legged position, lower and lift hips for 8 reps.
  • Switch legs; repeat. Do 2 sets.

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Swivel Plank

Targets: Abs and obliques

  • Start in plank, balancing on forearms and toes, a straight line from head to heels.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Keeping shoulders level, twist midsection in order to lower right hip toward floor; return to plank, then lower left hip to floor to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 8 to 12 reps. Rest; repeat.

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Lunge and Slide

Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand so that heel of left foot nestles into arch of right (right toes point out to right), holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing in.
  • Keeping right foot planted, lunge forward with left leg, bending left knee 90 degrees (right leg is extended behind you) and hinging forward slightly at hips as you raise dumbbells diagonally overhead.
  • Hold for a count, then slide left leg back, straightening legs, and lower arms to return to start position.
  • Do 8 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

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Sparklers

Targets: Shoulders, arms, and abs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing each other.
  • With abs tight, slowly raise arms overhead, drawing 8 tiny circles with each weight on the way up (like sparklers).
  • At the top, trace 8 more tiny circles.
  • Slowly lower arms back to start, drawing 8 tiny circles on the way down, to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 2 to 4 reps.

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The Bug

Targets: Back, abs, and thighs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Hinge forward at hips so that back is nearly parallel to floor and arms extend down directly below chest, palms facing up; then bend elbows out to sides slightly (imagine hugging a beach ball).
  • Keeping a slight bend in elbows throughout, raise arms directly out to sides to shoulder level; hold for 1 count, then lower.
  • Do 8 reps.
  • Slowly roll spine up to standing, one vertebra at a time.
  • Rest for 15 to 20 seconds, then do 8 more reps.

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Flip-Grip Pulses

Targets: Shoulders and triceps

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bring extended arms behind you as far as you comfortably can, palms facing behind you, then lower them by hips to complete 1 rep. Do 8 reps.
  • With arms still extended behind you, palms facing back, bring them only halfway toward hips and press them back up again to complete 1 rep. Do 8 reps.
  • With arms still extended back, pulse arms up and down 1 inch. Do 8 reps, lower arms by sides.
  • Flip wrists so that palms are facing each other; repeat series.
  • Flip wrists again so that palms face forward; repeat series.

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Wall Slide

Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with back against wall, feet hip-width apart about 2 feet in front of wall, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended forward at shoulder level, palms down.
  • Slide down wall to lower into a squat, knees bent 90 degrees.
  • Maintaining squat, raise dumbbells overhead with arms extended, rotating wrists so that palms face each other. Hold for 15 seconds, pressing ends of dumbbells into wall.
  • Lower arms and slide up wall to standing.
  • Do 2 sets of 3 reps, building up to 30 seconds a rep.

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Cardio Plan: Burn, Baby (Fat), Burn

Thirty continuous minutes of anything may seem like a tall order with a new baby at home, but keep that daily stroller outing with Junior at a light three-miles-per-hour pace and it will burn at least 106 calories. Gym-bound? Try this 26-minute interval routine from Ungaro: "It's designed to burn more calories per minute than your average steady workout but isn't too intense."

26-Minute Sizzler
Pick any activity -- walking, running, cycling, elliptical, stairclimber -- and follow these intervals.

  • 3 minutes WARM UP (fast walk, light jog, light pedaling, and so on)
  • 1 minute MODERATE intensity
  • 1 minute EASY pace
  • 2 minutes MODERATE intensity
  • 1 minute EASY pace
  • 3 minutes MODERATE intensity
  • 1 minute SPRINT
  • 3 minutes MODERATE intensity
  • 1 minute SPRINT
  • 2 minutes EASY pace
  • 4 minutes MODERATE intensity
  • 1 minute SPRINT
  • 3 minutes COOL DOWN at an easy pace.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2010.

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FITNESS MAGAZINE, February 2010
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