★MomStars: Interview with Ellen Barrett

Ellen Barrett

Real mom Ellen Barrett with her then 7-month-old son Luca.

As I began easing back into fitness, Ellen Barrett’s Happy Baby, Fit Mama was one of the first workout DVDs I tried. (There’s still time to enter to win it!) The workouts are short, sweet, simple, and best of all, allowed me to bring my daughter along for the ride. I love reading about other moms’ experiences getting back into shape and how they balance mommy-time with me-time, so we’ll be regularly featuring Q&As with MomStars like Ellen.

Starting now! Find out how she’s fitting in fitness and me-time while juggling her now 2-year-old son Luca in the interview with her below!

Q&A with Ellen Barrett

  • FBM: What were your favorite activities and workouts during pregnancy?
  • EB: This may surprise people, but when I was pregnant, I only walked. I took my dog to the park and to hiking trails. I became kind of an “earth mama,” wearing Birkenstocks and sundresses and put my hair in a braid. My three goals were 1) Stay hydrated, 2) Sleep well, and 3) Get some activity every day, but nothing too intense. I was also very sensitive to air quality and was repulsed by car exhaust and incense. The woods had the best smelling air!
  • FBM: Any pregnancy craving or food aversions stand out?
  • EB: Mac and cheese, and sea salt and vinegar potato chips. I also craved sauerkraut, which I ordinarily never eat.
  • FBM: What was your favorite part of pregnancy?
  • EB: I loved the camaraderie I felt with other women. So many women came up to me and gave me their “two cents” about childbirth and child-rearing—I felt like I had a million mothers looking out for me.
  • FBM: What was your least favorite part of pregnancy?
  • EB: My first trimester was pretty awful. I felt seasick on land. I was lying in bed the whole time and had to cancel plans—not fun.
  • FBM: What was your experience getting back into shape after pregnancy? Any lessons learned to share with new moms?
  • EB: I’ve always had abundant energy, which I took for granted all the years leading up to my postnatal stint. Postnatal exercisers shouldn’t focus on weight-loss, but should instead make their initial goals all about energy level, breathing, posture and strength. The weight will come off when the energy returns, so don’t dwell on weight-loss. And don’t diet. Your body and your baby need you to have fuel.
  • If I have another baby, I’d do a couple things differently post-natally. First, I wouldn’t get sucked into the coffee addiction. Second, I’d get someone to help me for the first three to five months. My husband was around at night and on weekends but in those first months, it’d be nice to have someone during the day to help out.
  • FBM: What does a typical workout week look like for you?
  • EB: My only consistent activity is my early-morning dog walk—it’s minimum 20 minutes but usually 45 minutes in the woods near my house. If the rest of the day crumbles, at least I’ve gotten some fresh air and a bit of activity. I take some sort of yoga class about three times a week, but I have very little routine these days, between traveling, Luca and the weather (the snowstorms!). And I teach classes and workshops on the weekends.
  • FBM: How do you balance “you time” with the demands of motherhood?
  • EB: To be honest, I’m still figuring it out, but I can say that motherhood has made me more disciplined—I eat cleaner, rarely drink alcohol, go to sleep early, don’t waste time watching stupid TV shows, etc. It’s also made me more organized. I make lists! To-do lists, grocery lists…and I run a “tight” household.
  • FBM: Any advice for other moms on how to keep family healthy and active?
  • EB: Cook your own meals and eat together as a family. And go to the park as much as possible.
  • FBM: What do you think your Happy Baby, Fit Mama workout offers that others don’t?
  • EB: HBFM is for that specific window of time, when your baby is 3 months to 1 year of age. It’s the only DVD workout that includes the baby, so call off the babysitter! The workout is super mom-friendly as it includes three 10-minute workouts—do one, two or all three—whatever you have the time and energy for. It makes a great baby shower gift.
  • FBM: What current projects are you involved in?
  • EB: I’m gearing up to shoot two more exercise videos at the end of March. They’ll be available in fall 2011. They will have a “live” concept, like a real fusion class, and the emphasis is on energy (yes, I’m still hung up on energy!).
  • FBM: Any other thoughts or advice for our Fit Bottomed readers?
  • EB: Well, I love you guys very much! And always be good to yourself. Workouts can be nurturing or they can be abuse. Choose nurturing.

Love Ellen’s laid-back, love-yourself attitude! And don’t forget there’s still time to enter to win her Happy Baby, Fit Mama DVD! —Erin


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