Her Workout is Fit for Moms
Before Tracey Mallett wrote "Super Fit Mama," she felt like a super fat mama.

The normally 115-pound fitness guru gained 55 pounds during her first pregnancy. She even delayed releasing a workout DVD because she didn't feel good about herself. It took a year to lose the weight.

To help other new moms avoid her mistakes, Mallett's latest book is a guide to healthy eating and exercise through pregnancy, breast feeding and those first attempts to zip into regular pants again.

Mallett included photos and personal stories from ordinary mothers across the country who have tried her program. The illustrated workouts are organized in staggered, short bursts that can be done between loads of laundry and diaper changes.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A: When I got pregnant with my first child, Amber, I was like, 'Wow, this is great. I can be fat for a change.' You have an excuse. It's OK if I have a few fries here. I wasn't probably as careful as I normally would be. I remember having cravings for mashed potatoes. It was all carbs, carbs, carbs. I gained 55 pounds. I remember getting on the scales and I was heavier than my husband. Looking back now it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. For the first time in my life, I actually related to many women out there and feeling like I just had a baby I'm out of control now. I felt an enormous amount of pressure to be back to a size zero right away. I realized it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Q: Your book doesn't just focus on losing weight, but also celebrates the body's feat of carrying a child. Why was that important to emphasize?

A: It's phenomenal what your body can do. It can create a human being. It can stretch and it can shrink back down again. It's OK to celebrate that you're pregnant. You're going to gain weight. You're going to have cellulite. It's beautiful to be pregnant and that's what was missing in my first pregnancy.

Q: How long did it take you to lose the baby weight?

A: About a year. The reason that it didn't come off, I actually hindered that myself psychologically. I was starting up a business. I was working. I was trying to care for a newborn. I was stressed. Then I got pregnant again. After having my second child, I only gained 30 or 35 pounds, I practiced what I preached. I ate very very healthy, which became the premise of (first book) "Sexy in Six." I lost the weight really quick. I didn't overindulge. I exercised more efficiently and it gave me a great foundation to get back in afterward. I was determined I was not going to make the same mistake twice.

Q: We see images in the media of Heidi Klum back on the runway soon after giving birth and other celebrities dropping their baby weight very quickly. What is realistic for a new mom?

A: Get yourself into tiptop shape before you actually conceive. Then you can continue your exercise program through your first trimester and then start to modify as your pregnancy continues. If you're in better shape before you conceive, there's a far greater chance you'll get back in shape quicker afterward. If you're breastfeeding you cannot lose more than 1 to 1.5 pounds a week because otherwise you're going to put yourself and your baby in jeopardy because of the milk supply. It is hard with the media. You see all these women back in shape quickly. If you look at Heidi, her body has good muscle memory. When she pops the baby out, she starts exercising right away. If we all had a personal chef, we'd probably be losing weight right away.

Q: A lot of new moms barely have time to shower. How does she fit exercise into her day?

A: I got back in shape doing short interval training. The quickest way to lose body fat is by doing cardio training, plus you're doing strength training to build muscle mass, which increases your metabolism. You can do a lot in like 6, 7 minutes. Who has a whole hour with kids?

Q: Why have real mothers test this and share their stories?

A: I wanted to have a program that worked, not just on me. People say, 'Look at you Tracey. You're in great shape. You were in great shape before.' By taking their advice and finding out what worked for them and didn't, I could put through a more comprehensive program. I think a lot of programs aren't really tested on normal people who have a working schedule or children and family and a normal life. And they're unattainable workout programs that people can't adhere to.

Q: One of your warm up activities suggests dancing with your baby. Since you've become a mom, have you become more creative about what counts as exercise?

A: Yes, I walk up the stairs a lot. Since the baby grows, you're going to get progressively stronger. Unfortunately, when we're holding the baby, a lot of the women hold the baby incorrectly. Holding on the hip leads to a lot of huge hip and back problems. In the book, I talk about the best ways for picking up your child.

Q: We're talking at 2 p.m. on a Monday. Have you worked out already today?

A: Me? Actually I ran today. I was on the Martha Stewart radio show this morning so I haven't done any conditioning yet. I have a beak after you and I'm going to go and do some leg work. I spread it out when I can. Some days it's only 30 minutes. You do not need to work out two and a half hours a day to get results.

Contact Tracey Mallett

Tracey Mallett, 38, is mom to a 7- and 5-year-old. She's the author of "Sexy in 6: Sculpt Your Body with the 6 Minute Quick-Blast Workout " and she and her husband own a wellness center in South Pasadena.

Her new book, "Super Fit Mama: Stay Fit During Pregnancy and Get Your Body Back after Baby " has a retail price of $17.95.

Contact Mallett at TraceyMallett.com.