Expert Advice

Michelle Bridges' top 5 exercise tips for busy mums

The personal trainer, TV regular and mother to adorable baby boy Axel shares her best-kept secrets for keeping fit and healthy on a jam-packed schedule.

By Michelle Bridges
Michelle Bridges and Axel Bridges Willis

Let’s face it: it ain’t easy keeping fit with a bub in tow! As much as Axel has changed my life for the better in every way possible, there are days when I struggle to fit everything in. Usually the first thing to go is the workouts.

If you’re like me, this can be a disaster for your mood, sleep and energy levels – let alone your waistline!

I constantly hear “But where will I find the time?” from my 12-Week Body Transformation (12WBT) members. While it’s a genuine concern, it shouldn’t be a barrier to working out. The trick is to try to be more effective with the little time you have!

1. Step away from the kids’ leftovers!

Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how tempting those leftovers can be, especially if you haven’t eaten yourself. These calories will add up in no time.

Make sure you either save the leftovers in an airtight container straight away, or have a light snack with protein and fibre before making the kids’ dinner.

A perfect example is two thick slices of apple with peanut butter on top; it’s a great one to curb that mindless snacking habit!

2. Focus on shorter strength workouts

Once Axel falls asleep, I jump on the chance to have a quick workout session. Sometimes, it’s the only opportunity I get.

There’s a lot you can do in 15 minutes:
• Squats
• Lunges
• Glute raises
• Step-ups using a chair
• Push-ups
• Pull-ups
• Dips

Use a railing and do alternating sets of overhand and underhand grip pull-ups, or grab a chair and do your tricep dips. Simple!

3. Work out with your baby

Yes, really! Axel is one of my favourite workout buddies. He’s also heavy enough to be a great weight for lunges and squats.

Here are three great exercises to try with your bub. Try 12 to 15 repetitions of each to really earn that burn!

Baby Squat
Hold your baby firmly with both hands. As you squat down, extend your arms out in front. Then, as you stand up, bring bub in close for a kiss!

Kiss-ups
Place your baby on the ground, get on your knees – or toes if you’re feeling super strong – and each time you lower yourself for a push-up, give bub another kiss.

Plank above baby
Hold a perfect plank over your baby for as long as you can on your toes, and then drop down to your knees (note to self: don’t fall flat!) before rolling off to the side.

WATCH: Michelle shows us how it's done in the video player below! Article continues...

4. Get creative with cardio at home

Leaving the house for a 30-minute run? Forget about it! Focus on elevating that heart rate in the house or backyard instead.

If you have stairs in your house, set yourself a competitive total (20 sets) and sprint from bottom to top, walking back down for recovery.

If you don’t have stairs, do some sprints in your backyard. Even if it’s only 20 metres, you can do 20 sets and hit 400m of sprints.

However, nothing really beats a skipping rope – 10 minutes of skipping burns around 110 calories!

5. Set up your own home gym

You don’t necessarily need expensive home gym equipment; there are loads of everyday household items that work just as well as the real thing!

• Use a backpack with books inside to add weight to your lunges and squats
• Use rice-filled drink bottles for bicep curls, shoulder presses or side raises
• Use a towel around a secured pole (washing line, for example) for pull-ups

Keep these items separate from everyday use and in a safe place. When you’ve got an unexpected 20 minutes spare, grab them and get cracking!

The next round of Michelle Bridges' 12 Week Body Transformation commences on February 6, 2017. Pre-season is open now!

There are different 12WBT programs depending on your goals. Visit www.12wbt.com.au to find out more.