As a mother of two, I know how hard it can be to start looking and feeling like yourself again after having a baby. I have been through the 9 months up and then bringing it back down twice now and it definitely doesn’t get any easier. I want to share with you some of my favorite post-baby exercises that helped me regain my figure and strength – and my confidence in myself!

1. Step Ups with Kickback and Shoulder Raise – Grab 3-5 lb dumbbells and a step, or any raised surface (aim for at least 12″ high). Holding your dumbbells at your sides, place one foot flat on the step and step up, using the muscles in your quads and buttocks, while slowly raising your arms straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor and in line with your shoulders. At the same time, you will also be lifting your other leg behind you giving the glutes a nice squeeze at the top. Lower down to the floor and repeat. Do this for 3 sets of 12-15 on each leg.

2. Planks – Start in pushup position, but bend your elbows to rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Contract your core. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold for 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

3. Dumbbell Squats - Grab a pair of 5-20 lb dumbbells. Holding dumbbells at your sides, stand up straight with your feet only slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly sit back (as if there is a chair behind you), keeping your back straight and making sure your knees do not protrude past your toes. Lower until your thighs are parallel with the floor, then use your glutes to lift back up to starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps.

4. Walking - Enjoy that new baby with some strolls around the neighborhood or at a local park or scenic area. Hilly areas are great. Stroll with your baby 4-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes and that baby weight is sure to shed fast!

5. Walking Lunges - Add these to your walks, or just do them in your backyard or back and forth across your living room. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, lunge one leg forward, making sure to keep your knee from protruding past your toes. “Walk” your rear leg forward and do the same. Do as many as you can without stopping, rest 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times.

6. Jump Rope - Grab one and do as many as you can for 60 seconds. Rest, then repeat. I recommend trying to do this for 10 minutes – great cardio!

7. Bridges - Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Using your glutes, slowly lift your seat in the air until your body is a straight line from your knees to your chest. Hold for 2-3 seconds then slowly lower down. Do 3 sets of 25 reps.

8. Kettlebell Swings - If you don’t own a kettlebell, I highly recommend you get one. Kettlebell swings are a great total body workout and also provide a little dose of cardio. Grab a 5-15lb kettlebell. Holding it with both hands, slowly squat down and as you come up, swing the kettlebell above your head, keeping arms straight. Come right back down and repeat in an ongoing motion. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.