Harley Pasternak: Kick Off Your Post-Baby Workout by Walking

06/19/2011 at 11:00 AM ET
Courtesy Harley Pasternak

Blink, and you’ll miss it! That’s how quickly stars get back in shape after welcoming a baby, but celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak says regaining one’s pre-baby body is easier to manage than most people think.

“Walking as much as possible is something that I tell moms to really do,” he told PEOPLE. “As often as you can with your baby, that’s really important. Just some way to keep physically active and keep moving.”

But before making a full-time return to the gym, Pasternak, who has worked with Milla Jovovich, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson, says moms should make sure their doctor has given them medical clearance.

“When you’re coming back, you want to do it gradually,” he said. “Most people have been a lot less active, not just during the nine months that they’re pregnant, but in the several months after, sometimes up to six months after that, so to come back hardcore is just dangerous.”

After building up their stamina, Pasternak puts his clients on a 5-phase program that’s utilized five days a week.

“Phase 1 is a cardio warm-up. It can be something as simple as walking outdoors with your baby or doing stationary cardio, such as jumping jacks or jumping rope without a jump rope, for at least five minutes,” he said.

“Phase 2, we do upper body strength, lower body strength and abdominals. We repeat that circuit of three things, three times. Phase 5 is a cardio cool-down. Run, jog, walk, or jump rope for at least five minutes.”

Based on what a client wants to concentrate on, the program can be further focused, as was the case with Hudson and Jovovich.

“The back row is important [for Jennifer],” Pasternak said. “Quite often, when you’re with your baby, you tend to be slouched a bit. It really helps your shoulders come back and your mid-section. Milla’s really big into stiff leg dead lifts, toning and tightening the backs of her thighs and her butt.”

Just as important, moms should also be aware of their nutrition when returning to working out.

“It’s important to get back to eating five times a day, three meals and two snacks,” Pasternak said, noting that meals should consist of a low-fat protein, a healthy carbohydrate, a fiber, a sugar-free beverage and a healthy fat. “And it’s also great to have a multi-vitamin.”

Kiran Hefa

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Annie on

It’d be great if he could provide a more detailed example of a routine that we can all use at home. We can’t all afford personal trainers and I would like to see a concrete regimen from him that we could try.

stacey mc on

It seems that different things work for different people. Everyone’s body type and metabolism is different. For me, eating everything in moderation and breastfeeding brought me back to pre-pregnancy weight, no exercise needed. Others may not have been so lucky. Leave it up to a MAN to write this article!!

MIB on

@stacey mc, it’s not really weight he’s talking about but muscles and tone. Nursing and eating everything in moderation won’t give you your ab’s back. (On the other hand, baby wearing is a very good way to get your core toned, especially if you wary between back and front carry, and walking helps burning fat and building muscles, but yeah, some more excersize suggestions would have been good.

sg on

Annie, I’m sure he’d prefer if you go out and buy his book…

blondeone on

I couldn’t read it all without laughing. I TOTALLY love it when a guy tells us women who HAVE had a baby how easy it is to lose weight. okay, sure. thanks. Every woman is different, the key is finding what works for YOU! The most important thing to ME is to love your newborn every second you can because they grow, grow, grow. They don’t care if you have a little junk in the trunk. I also think that not gaining a ton of weight helps too.

enough of my babble.