Once you're a mom, you'll probably find that you have a lot less time to exercise than you did in your pre-kid life -- plus you may be low on energy and motivation. You want to lose some weight and get back into shape, but the very idea of putting on exercise clothes may seem overwhelming. Believe it or not, there is some good news about your body's out-of-shape condition: At this point, a little bit of sweating will go a long way. "If you haven't been active, you'll initially see significant changes in your weight and shape with workouts as short as 20 minutes, because there's so much room for improvement," says C.C. Cunningham, a personal trainer in Chicago and a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). But if you worked out during pregnancy and are in pretty good shape, you may need to put in 30 minutes to get results.
Of course, once you start becoming fitter, you'll have to increase your workout intensity to continue to see improvements. But by then, you'll have more energy and motivation as you see that your pants are getting looser and your efforts are paying off. Here's how to create a routine that works for you.