Don't Mess With This Fit Mom—She's Got Serious Skills

Wait until you see how she uses her baby's crib as a gym!

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After my son was born, I signed up for a class called Baby Bootcamp. It was your basic 'stroller fitness' deal for new moms, that involved me running around while pushing my kid in his carriage, then holding him out in front of me while lunging across a football field the size of a small county.

Or, you know, so it seemed.

I was no stranger to tough workouts at the time, but the trainer in charge was relentless. It wasn't long before I figured out, however, that I could use my kid as a crutch. And so every time I felt the need to take a break, I'd just pretend to suddenly hear my little guy crying, then stop whatever I was doing to pop a squat on the sidelines and try to fake-comfort him.

Pretty genius move, right? I think the instructor was on to me, though. And a few weeks later, I quit. Clearly, I wasn't cut out for the whole working-out-with-your-kid thing. But that was 10 years ago. Now fit moms all over the country have made training with their babies the cool thing to do. 

Take mom-of-two Melanie Darnell, a former gymnast with a background in Pilates, who discovered that the best way to squeeze in a training sesh was by using her toddler and baby as props.

"They really like it," she told People. "My son Sage will say, 'Mommy, work out!' They try to do the moves with me."

So Darnell began posting videos of her postpartum sessions to both Instagram and her blog. "I didn't see anything out there about the benefits of working out while pregnant, and I kind of wanted to document my journey and inspire other pregnant women out there to work out," she explained. "I did a post about wall sits with my baby on my lap, and people really liked it. It inspired me to keep getting creative and incorporating the kids into my workouts."

Of course, the internet being the internet and all, it was only a matter of time before the haters showed up to try and take her down. An image of Darnell downward-dogging over her daughter Olive's crib while she gazed up at her mama from inside, for example, drew a serious amount of ire, with commenters writing everything from, "Probably the dumbest thing I have ever seen" to "Have some common sense."

Such a bummer, right? I hate it when complete strangers feel the need to stop by and judge someone they know nothing about—especially someone like Darnell who is just so damn inspirational.

But the fit mama seems to be taking the whole situation in stride. "It makes me a little bit sad, with people thinking that I'm putting my child in danger," she admitted to People. "But I'm taking precautions. I know my skill set. I know what I'm safely capable of performing. My child's safety is always my No. 1 concern."


Darnell does caution, however, that followers should use their judgment when it comes to trying to copy her routines. "I would never encourage someone to perform an exercise outside of her comfort zone," she explained. "It's all about listening to your body—you know it better than anyone else."

In other words, don't try this at home, kids!

Fine by me. You keep doing you, mama...and I'll still be right over here fake-comforting my kid.