'Midnight workouts' helped new mom close in on impossible goal

Korin Miller
A young woman practices yoga. (Photo: Getty Images)

Australian fitness trainer Emily Skye has built a huge online following (of over 2 million followers) for being candid about her life, bodily imperfections, and fitness journey. Skye gave birth to her daughter, Mia, three months ago, and has been posting regular postpartum updates about trying to get back in shape. Her most recent post revealed a surprising secret to her success: She works out in the middle of the night.

“Some people might think my progress is due to my genetics or because of breastfeeding but I can tell you it’s got a LOT to do with hard work and consistency!” she wrote on Instagram next to a photo of herself in a sports bra, holding her daughter. “All those midnight workouts I did after Mia fell asleep and eating healthy meals from my FIT Program are getting me great results.” Skye says that she knew getting her pre-baby body back “wasn’t going to be easy” and that she would “have to work for it.” “I’m very proud of what I’ve done so far! I’m getting stronger and leaner every day and I’m in a good mood most of the time,” she concluded.

Many fans marveled at her dedication in the comments, and some even shared that they did the same thing after having kids. “I gained 60 lbs with my pregnancy and I worked really really hard to lose it. Midnight workouts, 15 min workouts… whenever he was asleep I would try to slip in a workout. People said I had good genes, we all have the same 24 hours…,” one wrote.

But others pointed out that while this level of dedication is admirable, it’s hard for a lot of moms to achieve. “I admire your hard work but moms need to know midnight workouts may not be necessary or even possible for many,” one commenter said. “At 5 days postpartum it’s so hard to imagine not resting when he goes to sleep for the night,” another said. “How did you balance giving yourself ‘time off’ while also working hard to train?”

While midnight workouts might work for some new moms, they’re not for everyone. Still, most new moms can usually find time to squeeze some exercise into their day, Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s important to remember that a workout does not have to take 60 or even 30 minutes,” he says. “If you have five minutes, you can squeeze in a few exercises.”

One of the best ways to try to do this is to include the baby in some of your exercises, Sklar says. You could use your baby as a weight by holding them while you do squats, or you could perform a yoga routine while the baby shares a mat with you. You can also walk, jog, or run with your baby in a stroller, or do walking lunges and calf raises while pushing the stroller, he says.

If you’re short on time (which you probably are), a few exercises can give you more bang for your buck and don’t require any equipment, Sklar says. He recommends doing these in 30 second increments with no rest in between:

  1. Pushups (standard or modified)
  2. Body-weight squats
  3. Glute bridges
  4. Alternating side lunges
  5. Burpees (standard or modified)

After completing all five, take a 30 second break, and then dive in again. Do this for five minutes, and you’ll get a solid workout, Sklar says.

Of course, your ability to work out ultimately depends on your health after having a baby, how your delivery was, and how you’re feeling now. If workouts just aren’t a priority right now, that’s OK — you’re dealing with a lot at the moment. But if you’re itching to get back into fitness and are struggling with time, try to squeeze in exercises whenever you can. You’ll be surprised at how far it can get you.

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