As any new mom knows, life with a new baby is chaotic. Blissful, but chaotic. And yoga instructor and personal trainer Magdalena Patterson knows it, first hand. After her daughter Alessandra was born 13 months ago, Patterson of La Jolla wanted to get back into an exercise routine, but couldn’t find the time.
“You don’t even have time to take a shower, let alone workout,” she said. “At the same time, you are under pressure to drop the weight, so a lot of new moms feel lost and don’t know where to start.”
To answer the call, Patterson created an exercise app called Mommy Workouts, with nine, five-minute exercise videos that can be done anytime the baby is asleep or otherwise distracted. (Patterson’s preference was the baby swing or outside with baby Alessandra in a stroller). The workouts use yoga-based calisthenics exercises that do not require any equipment.
“All of the workouts use simple movements for all levels,” she said. “If you look at how people exercised before there was a gym, they used basic movements and their own body weight — squats, lunges, sit ups, push-ups — which is what these workouts are based on.” Patterson said the workouts could be done one at a time, or a few in a row, or the same one a few times through.
“With my background as a yoga teacher and personal trainer, I know that you don’t need a lot of time or do a big workout all at once. Just a few minutes here and there,” she said. “Every little bit counts.”
Patterson said — speaking from experience — that those who do the workouts typically start to feel a difference before they see a difference, but with these types of exercises, results start to show within three weeks. “After nine months of being pregnant and maybe not being able to workout the way you once did, or just feeling really heavy and bloated, moms can do these little workouts and feel good about themselves because they completed them,” she said.
From there, Patterson said, those who do these workouts can start to see improvement. “You start to realize you can do 10 pushups instead of five, or hold plank position for 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds, or can do the whole workout without being out of breath, or can repeat the workout,” she said.
To reach as many moms as possible, Patterson decided to make an app that can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device. “My goal was to make the app really user-friendly,” she said. “When I was a brand new mom, I was always on my phone, looking at other baby apps such as those that record nursing schedules or diaper changes, and taking pictures. I wanted Mommy Workouts to be right there with the other apps.”
Further, she said many other exercise apps require the participant input their age, weight and goals before they start, and record their activity afterward. “I know I couldn’t deal with that,” she joked. With the Mommy Workouts app, participants simply push play, and follow along with the video.
The videos feature Patterson doing these exercises, including voice-over instructions and ways to modify, and were all filmed in La Jolla. “Before I came up with the app, I would film little bits of workouts and post them on Instagram. But the thing I got the most feedback on was how beautiful the background was!” she said. “So I thought about the moms that might not live here … and how I could bring that beautiful surrounding to their living rooms. They can see the sunshine and the ocean to brighten up their day.”
Many of videos feature a guest appearance by baby Alessandra, as some workouts can be done with a baby as a weight. “Doing squats or lunges and lifting a baby is not only good for your muscles, but that repetitive motion is hard! Plus, it’s fun for the baby,” she said.
The app is available for download for $2.99 at leanladiescamp.com