Finding Time for Fitness: 3 Beyond Moms Share Their Secrets

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As a personal trainer specializing in postnatal fitness, I repeatedly come across the same questions from my new mom clients: What can I do to get back in shape after pregnancy? And how will I find the time?

Many mothers struggle to find the balance between family and professional life, and often put themselves last. I recently had the opportunity to speak to three women in the Beyond Mom community who have sustained a successful fitness routine during and after pregnancy and shared with me how they do it.

Three diverse women, different professional expertise, varied fitness interests, and yet, all three carve out a few regular and efficient workouts a week. They embody what I tell my clients all the time – A little bit everyday goes a long way. Let’s take some of their wisdom and utilize it toward our own efforts!

Stephanie Rapp founder of Embody Wellness

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What was your fitness routine before you had kids?

I was working full time at Goldman Sachs before I had my daughter and I used to work out to relieve stress and clear my head. I love to run, mostly outside, and I really enjoyed group classes because I love to mix it up. I did Flywheel, Exhale, Physique 57, Yoga, you name it and I tried it. I like classes because of the accountability. You pay for the class and you schedule it –you have to be there. 

How did your fitness routine evolve during pregnancy and once you had kids?

My approach to fitness changed completely during pregnancy and afterwards. I now work out to be healthy and get some me time. I have no aesthetic that I am trying to attain. I did not feel well for almost half of my first pregnancy, so after I was cleared to exercise, I was so excited to move again.

How did you get back in shape after childbirth and how do you continue to keep fitness a priority in your life?

I was very forgiving in the beginning. I walked first, then slowly trotted and then jogged until my legs felt strong enough. I met a group a friends and we would go walking with babies in the Ergo carrier. After I started to feel stronger, I went back to classes and I would stick to a schedule. I would either make time for a babysitter or tag team with my husband so that I could get a few classes in a week.

Now I work out 3 to 4 days a week, and it’s a part of my regular routine, like any other meeting I would have on my schedule. I am pregnant now with my second, and luckily I have been able to move and exercise throughout my entire pregnancy. My advice is to listen to your doctors, but realize you don’t have to feel you are in a glass bubble. Pregnancy, labor, and motherhood are a marathon, and if you are fit it will help. If you treat your body well, it will treat you well.

Jen Gaum Bobker, founder of Sam and Maddy Makeup

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What was your fitness routine before you had kids?

Before pregnancy, I was injured by working out too hard. I had developed two herniated disks, so before getting pregnant I worked with a trainer and did a good deal of Barre classes (Physique 57, Exhale) to strengthen my core.

How did your fitness routine evolve during pregnancy and once you had kids?

I felt great during pregnancy and basically never stopped moving. Because of that I was able to get back into shape easily. My approach to fitness is the same as my approach to makeup: you need to take some time for yourself, to work out, to eat well, and it will make you a better and happier mother.

How did you get back in shape after childbirth and how do you continue to keep fitness a priority in your life?

Right after my son was born, I found a support group of other new moms and walked with the strollers. I was able to get back to fitness rather quickly, so I went back to classes in a few weeks time. Now, I try to get one hour of fitness in every weekday. I forgive myself if I miss a day, but I try to schedule it in and make it happen. I enjoy group classes especially Barre classes and Barry’s Bootcamp. I enjoy the camaraderie and community aspect of working out around other people.

Now that I am busier, I work out smarter and more efficiently. I have some help which helps, but I leave the workouts strictly to the weekdays, keeping the weekends as an open time for family. We are a very active family and tend to do lots of sports activities with the kids, so that’s an added bonus. img_5525

Priya Lawrence Founder of Tried and True Nutrition 

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What was your fitness routine before you had kids?

Exercise was more of a chore before I had a baby. I did things because I was competitive, but not exactly because I enjoyed them. I did a good deal of Flywheel. I was an active runner, and did 5Ks, 10ks, and even half marathons.

How did your fitness routine evolve during pregnancy and once you had kids?

Being pregnant inspired me to start yoga, and I really enjoyed it. I continued throughout my pregnancy and afterward, getting into many different styles of Yoga (Bikram and Vinyasa). New York City is great to explore fitness because there are so many available classes.

How did you get back in shape after childbirth and how do you continue to keep fitness a priority in your life?

My approach is different now than it used to be. It is not about burning the most calories, it is about feeling strong and healthy. I had two C-sections with my children, so it took a while to find a fitness program that helped me reconnect with my abdominals. I found Body Conceptions by Mahri and now do her group classes as well as work out with a Body Conceptions trainer.

You achieve balance in your life by making it a priority. I run my own business, so like any other meeting that I need to schedule, I put my fitness appointment down in my book. I work out 4 days a week either taking class or with my trainer. Just like nutrition, you need to be organized about it, write it down, and plan it out and from there, it starts to become a regular part of your life.

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Written by Stacey Menchel Kussell

Stacey Menchel Kussell is a personal trainer and fitness consultant who specializes in prenatal and postnatal fitness. Certified by the National Academy of Sport Medicine (NASM), she has recently designed two new programs for new moms, Body After Baby and C-Section Solutions. She trains at the JCC Manhattan and privately throughout Manhattan. For more information please contact her at