Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres Shares Mommy-Friendly Workout Tips

09/30/2011 at 02:00 PM ET
Amanda Schwab/Startraks

For Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, staying active is a natural part of her daily routine, but as the busy mom of a 5-year-old, she can relate to mothers who find it hard to leave their homes and families behind for a trip to gym.

As a result, Torres has teamed with Bengay Cold Therapy to get the word out on simple ways for staying fit.

“When squeezing in a workout seems impossible, think again,” she tells PEOPLE, citing workouts at home as an easy fix for the time crunch issue.

“I like to take cans of food and do mini-bicep curls,” Torres says.

“While watching your favorite TV show, challenge yourself to do push-ups, sit-ups and squats during commercials. Doing stuff with things you find in your house is very helpful if you can’t get out.”

Furthermore, Torres encourages moms to use their children’s schedules to their benefit.

“If you are really tired and your child is taking a nap, it’s always good to take a nap when they do,” she says. “And make sure you stay hydrated. You’re running around, chasing your kid around … if you want to work out, staying hydrated is very important.”

Kids can also be an asset to creating a workout routine, with Torres naming her 5-year-old daughter Tessa, as well as her dog Scarlet, as frequent training buddies.

“Whether it’s a long walk on the beach or a bike ride around the neighborhood, they keep me up, moving and laughing the whole way through,” she says.

Torres’ committed attitude towards working out is something the swimmer says never changed even during pregnancy, an attitude she encourages moms-to-be to maintain also.

“A lot of people don’t exercise when they’re pregnant. I don’t know if it’s fear or what it is, but I always exercised when I was pregnant, so it was easier for me to lose my weight,” says Torres, who gained 36 pounds. “I swam my whole entire pregnancy. I think that really helped a lot. I even worked out the day I had my child.”

In addition, the swimmer says expectant mothers should also keep an eye on what they’re eating.

“I don’t think you should feel like you’re eating for two. I think that’s just an excuse,” she says. “Eat things in moderation. And definitely consult someone if you want to go to the gym and work out a little bit.”

Ultimately, “the biggest thing is just to listen to your body,” Torres says. “That’s one thing you really have to pay attention to.”

— Kiran Hefa

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Amanda on

I’m a big advocate for staying active during your pregnancy but I think it’s a bit misleading to think that’s why she lost the weight easily. Almost everyone I know, active or not, has lost the weight from their first pregnancy easily. I gained almost 50lbs and was not active at all during my first pregnancy and I fit into my prepregnancy pants 2 weeks later and was UNDER my prepregnancy weight by 6 weeks postpartum.

Similar story with my second, got a bit harder with my 3rd and I started working out regularly. I worked out my entire 4th pregnancy and gained about 30lbs and getting the weight off this time is tough! Everything is the same (breastfeeding, my appetite, ect), I’m just a bit older.

I don’t regret working out though, I delivered in August so I was pregnant all summer and yet I felt great through my entire pregnancy, with my 4th baby! I think I felt better with #4 than with #1 to be honest. Less swelling, less discomfort, more energy. It’s super easy to fit a workout in, even with 4 kids. You just have to want to do it and not make excuses.

melinda on

I agree, I have four kids also and the weight fell off with the first and second…the third was an emergancy c-section and my stomach never looked the same, my fourth was a v-back, but again, just can’t seem to lose the extra weight, which is ALL in my stomach. I know age factors in but I’m more active now then I was then. I feel like I live in the gym!

Jillian on

Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate this as I am pregnant for the second time and will have an active pregnancy.

There are a ton of people who do not lose the baby weight quickly at all. It takes some past he first year and some even years. I agree with Dara that being active during pregnancy helps. But, there are ways to do it without. Some no matter what struggle to lose it.

amw on

ive read and watched dara for a little while now and she strikes me as so driven in her own world that i cant help but feel like shes not as in touch with being the most devoted mom.