Melissa Rycroft on At-Home Workouts: “The Gym Intimidates Me”

TV personality Melissa Rycroft (L) and daughter Ava Grace Strickland attend LG's Day of Good Clean Fun hosted by Christina Applegate at a private residence on June 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.  David Livingston/Getty Images

Melissa Rycroft has had her fair share of grueling workouts during her days as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and through 2009 and 2012 stints on Dancing With the Stars, but now that she's a mom, Rycroft is often hard-pressed to fit in time at the gym. As a matter of fact, "the gym intimidates me" the former reality star recently lamented to Us Weekly.

Instead of lacing up her sneakers and hitting the treadmill, the 29-year-old married mom of Ava, 2, chooses to sweat in the comfort of her very own home. "I would rather eat what I want and work it off rather than not work out and diet because that just makes me crazy. I don't have time to go to the gym and, to be honest, the gym intimidates me a little bit," admits Rycroft, who makes her home with husband Tye Strickland in Los Angeles.

How does she stay trim? "I take Ava, the dog, and the stroller and we go run around the block. I'll even hold her and go walk around the block because it's like holding a 25-pound weight — a squirmy Shakeweight!" jokes the busy mom.

As the parent of a toddler, Rycroft has learned the value of fitting in "me-time" on Ava's schedule. During her daughter's daily nap time, Rycroft multitasks — working out while catching up on TV. "I watch things I recorded and do abs during commercial breaks," Rycroft told Us at a recent NYC event promoting her partnership with Extra gum. "I put my feet under the cushions and do crunches and do tricep presses and bicep curls all while watching TV."

Adopting a diet philosophy of everything in moderation, Rycroft — who never refuses chocolate or anything with frosting — keeps her food intake in check by making simple menu swaps. Among her favorites? Swapping sour cream for fat-free Greek yogurt and soda for sparkling water.

Sums up Rycroft of her tried-and-true fitness and food routines: "Simplicity is key. Busy moms don't want to add anything more chaotic to their lives than they have to."

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