The pro: Don Saladino, owner of N.Y.C. performance studio Drive495, known for sculpting Hollywood’s hottest mommas into shape faster than you can say “raw, organic juice cleanse” Our tester: Meggan Crum, accessories director and mom to 7-month-old Sophie
“I started seeing Saladino three months after my daughter was born. I wanted to lose the baby weight, but nursing was taking a toll on the muscles in my shoulders, neck, and back, making it difficult to exercise. Saladino takes a 360-degree approach that includes fitness, physical therapy, and diet.
"My experience began with a team meeting with Saladino, physical therapist Connor Ryan, and nutritionist Steve Macari to assess where I was and what I wanted to accomplish. My big obstacle to getting fit? I clock less than five hours of sleep most nights, and I have a crazy work schedule that doesn’t allow me much time to hit the gym.
"To kick off, Ryan helped adjust the alignment of my spine so that I’d feel more of an impact from workouts, and Marcari offered simple diet hacks, like the minimal-prep Garden of Life protein shakes ($27/15.9 oz.; amazon.com), which I could drink as meal replacements.
"My program consisted of a series of low-impact reps that work the core, glutes, and legs. ‘When you have an infant, you’re so sleep-deprived that the last thing you want to do is high-impact cardio that will stress your muscles more,’ explains Saladino, who has two kids of his own. You can’t shock your body: You’ll get run-down and sick, and then you’ll worry about passing the illness to your baby."
The results: “It’s a slow path, but a month of eating right and using weights has helped me regain my strength,” says Crum. “I came to understand that it’s not about killing yourself to get back into shape—it’s about finding simple lifestyle adjustments that will help you do it slowly and safely.”
Master a 10-Minute Burn
According to Saladino, focusing on glutes and core work is best for new moms. His moves of choice? Goblet squats and Romanian dead lifts. “Do three sets of 10 reps twice a week to start out” for both movements, he says. Add an extra day each week as you begin to feel stronger. Here’s how to nail them:
Goblet Squat: Holding a 12-pound kettlebell to your chest, squat slowly until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold the stance for five seconds, then return to standing.
Romanian Dead Lift: Using a 33-pound bar weight, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Squat to pick up the bar and lift it until you are back in the standing position.