I’m so excited to introduce our MomStar of the day, Leslie Sansone. You may have heard of her. She’s got dozens and dozens of workout DVDs to her name, and — a woman after my own heart — bases them on walking at home. I’ve long thought that people don’t give walking enough fitness credit, so I love the fact that it’s Leslie’s mission to get people to embrace walking. It’s such a simple exercise and you can do it anywhere, no matter your fitness level. It’s particularly perfect for moms getting back into fitness after some time off, and no one knows that better than Leslie, who has three kids of her own.
Her three kids are 18, 22 and 29, but I asked if she wanted to take a trip down memory lane to chat with us about pregnancy and fitness and motherhood in general. And I’m so glad I did! She has a great perspective to share with other moms and so much good advice from a seasoned mom pro! Read on, it’s like chatting with a fellow mom friend…
Interview with Leslie Sansone
What were your favorite activities and workouts during pregnancy? I taught walk aerobic classes at my fitness center during all of my pregnancies. I created walk aerobics classes at my fitness center, and it became “Walk at Home” on home video! And I did Walk at Home workouts on days that I wasn’t scheduled to teach.
Any pregnancy craving or food aversions stand out? SALT!!! I remember just becoming a chip-a-holic! Chips, chips, chips! I’m sure the sweat contributed to this … and please … don’t follow this ladies … ask your doctor! I confess, I am still a chip-a-holic, but I control it better!
What was your favorite part of pregnancy? What was your least favorite part of pregnancy? My fave part of pregnancy was the anticipation of “who” it will be … a girl, a boy, that face … I couldn’t wait to see a new face. I am surprised that I don’t have more children — I loved seeing who was coming next! The least favorite part was going to appointments (I had great docs and care), but I just didn’t want to spend my whole day going to appointments … I wasn’t thrilled with that! (Moms — don’t miss your appointments!)
What was your experience getting back into shape after pregnancy? Any lessons learned to share with new moms? Be strong and in “your” best shape BEFORE getting pregnant, then you have such an advantage during pregnancy, labor and after baby. You will bounce back strong and ready to care for that FACE! If you haven’t been on a regular exercise regime “before” pregnancy, no worries. Ask your doc; there are great ways to be safe and active through the nine months. That’s just one of the many reasons that I LOVE LOVE walking — it can be smart and gentle or you can power it UP and get back into great shape!
What does a typical workout week look like for you? I really do my own DVDs — LOL! Really, four or five times per week. Now and then I do use a treadmill or take a class at a gym, but I love that I can just “follow” DVDs and not “think” about what to do; I do enough thinking because life is FULL. Raising a family LOVE LOVE LOVE … having a career LOVE LOVE LOVE … being a mom, wife, daughter, friend, counselor, coach, nurse, it’s a very FULL life! My traditional week … is Monday through Friday I work to spread the good news of what walking does for the health of our world! And on weekends, I enjoy my home, family, cooking, clearing that bad junk drawer …
How do you balance “you time” with the demands of motherhood? “Me Time?” Let’s re-name that and call it CRITICAL Time! Especially for new parents, the No. 1 thing that will benefit YOU and your new family is how you take care of yourself. Schedule exercise through the week (three or four sessions). Plan your meals (just like you plan for the baby), get good rest (just like the baby). Ask for help — EVERYONE needs help while the kids are small. And don’t stress if you don’t get “me-time” for a day or a few days, just get back to a healthy plan. Life is so much better when EVERYONE gets the basic care that a human body needs! It isn’t easy … BUT SO WORTH IT!
Any advice for other moms on how to keep family healthy and active? INCLUDE the kids in activity that you enjoy … walking with stroller, put on dance music and dance, etc. When they are old enough, bring them with you to exercise classes, the gym, parks, this will become “normal” to them. And the reverse … go with them to the park, ride bikes, sled ride, do what they enjoy — don’t just “watch.” Then it becomes a normal part of your healthy life! Being active together will become the BEST memories for your children and YOU!
Are your walking workouts a good pick for new moms? PERFECT! If I do say so myself! Why? Because of the number No. 1 thing a new mom needs: convenient and flexible to her schedule. Your walks are ready when you are! Sneak a mile in when baby naps, then maybe another mile before cooking dinner … that’s how I did it! When the kids were small I rarely went to my gym, and I owned it! I had to have “at-home” fitness!
What current projects are you involved in? My big passion these days is growing our Walk Leader program. We have hundreds of Certified Walk Leaders and are growing fast! Our Walk Leaders teach WALK “Live” Classes — it’s the studio version of our Walk at Home DVD workouts. You can go to a 3-mile WALK “Live” Class in a neighborhood near you. You can learn more at www.walkleader.com. Thanks for asking! And I continue the fun of producing more Walk at Home workouts that will be distributed through Wal-Mart, Target, etc. I am off to California this week to film.
Any other thoughts or advice for our Fit Bottomed readers? I was fortunate that the “entrepreneur” in me helped to create a “flex-time” way before it became common! I would do most of my work from home and then teach a few classes per week. It really was the best option for me and for my family. I love learning about companies that allow parents to work from home and have flexible schedules. It is so needed today; a balanced way that we can raise our families, keep ourselves healthy and enjoy a career that we love! Wishing that for everyone … healthy moms, children and families! It’s the BEST part of life!
A huge thanks to Leslie for taking the time to answer our questions. I pretty much love her philosophy on life — from critical time (yes!) to the anticipation of the face to SALT. How much do you wish Leslie lived in your neighborhood so she could be your walking buddy? —Erin