Yummy mummy Tamara Murphy, 26, from Gladstone, Queensland, first started including her 16-month-old daughter Quinn when she was just a few weeks old, because she found it too tough to leave her in a crèche.
Now, the ex-fitness model and former bodybuilding champion, uses her toddler as a weight for squats, a target for sit ups and even runs with her in a pram and is sharing her unique techniques with other new mums to help them keep fit.
She said: “After a couple of very frustrating attempts to get back into training when Quinn was born, I realised that the fitness lifestyle I’d had before was gone forever.
“Instead of giving up something I loved altogether, I decided to change my thought pattern and get busy at home with Quinn.
“I’d hold her in my arms when I squatted in the lounge room, and lay her on the floor underneath me when I did push-ups.
“It was the best thing I could have done. Quinn was no longer crying and I was no longer torn in two.
“Instead we were spending quality time together while I got my fit kick, which was great.”
Health and fitness has always been a huge part of Tamara’s life – she and her husband Ben run several sports nutrition stores in Gladstone and Rockhampton – and the champion body builder had expected to continue her strict training schedule once she became a mum.
Tamara said: “Before Quinn was born, I’d train for at least 1.5 hours a day. I was lifting heavy weights, easily completing 70kg squats and 90kg deadlifts.
“I’d continued this training right up until the day before she was born had plans to take Quinn to the gym with me once she arrived.
“But the reality was much different.
“She’d cry when I left her in the crèche and I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing as I was too busy worrying about her.
“Wracked with guilt, I usually headed home without so much as 10 minutes on the treadmill.”
The shock of realising she couldn’t get back to her usual training the way she used to, was really hard for Tamara, who had also been running her own PT business for several years.
She said: “Ben and I had been together since I was 19 and we’d dreamt of the day we’d become parents.
“But not getting enough exercise was really getting me down. I felt lethargic and constantly stressed which was so unlike me.
“Eventually, I told Ben it couldn’t go on. I had to find another way.
“I realised that I wanted to use Quinn as a reason to be fit and healthy, not an excuse not to be."
It was then that Tamara used her years of professional experience to find ways to include Quinn in her workouts in a safe manner.
She said: “It started with simple things like holding her in my arms when I squatted in the lounge room, or lying her on the floor and giving her a kiss with every push up.
“I was amazed at how positively it affected both of us.
“Quinn was still getting her valuable mummy time and I was getting regular exercise. We were both happy.
“Not long after, another friend of mine who had also just become a mum asked if she could join in and I realised, there was a gap in the market for specific ‘mummy fitness’ sessions.”
With the support of her husband Ben, Tamara decided to overhaul her personal training business and support other women who were struggling with the balance.
She said: “At first it started with a few friends and their babies and we’d train together in the park or at home.
“We’d strap our bubs to us in a special sling or carrier and would do our workouts.
“We’d also use our kids toys as sports equipment and apparatus as well.
“Recently though, I’ve taken a pre and post natal exercise qualification so I can properly coach mums on how to exercise safely during and after pregnancy too.
“Of course, my own twist to that is doing is with your baby as the weight.”
Now Quinn is 16-months-old and Tamara has the time to work on her business. She’s just launched her website The Ultimate Body Mummy where she regularly shares her unique workout techniques.
She said: “I’ve working out with Quinn in all sorts of ways and she loves it.
“When I’m doing push ups in the back yard, she’ll often climb on my back and shout ‘Giddy up, Mummy.’
“I love that she’s growing up in an environment where exercise is fun and keeping fit is part of her every day life.
“Some people might think what I’m doing is unusual, but I’d never do anything to put Quinn at risk. Everything is completely safe. If she doesn’t like a movement I’m doing, I’ll stop.
“I hope women who are recovering from pregnancy or about to give birth see this and realise, you can be healthy and be a mum.
“Just because you’re a mum now, doesn’t mean you have to completely neglect your own needs.”