I'm a personal trainer. I have five kids. And I have a confession to make.
Since I have become a mom, I've only been to the gym three times to work out myself. And every single time I have hated it! It just didn't ever work for me. It was way too much work and way too overwhelming. Here's what an attempt to work out at the gym would look like for me.
8:05 a.m. Change into workout clothes. (Is that baby spit-up or toothpaste?) 8:15 a.m. Make sure I have eaten something. 8:30 a.m. Get the kids dressed. (Do socks really have to match?) 8:55 a.m. Make sure the kids have eaten something. 9:15 a.m. Pack up everyone in the car. 9:20 a.m. Drive 15 minutes to the gym. 9:35 a.m. Unpack everyone from the car. 9:40 a.m. Drop the kids off in the childcare room. (ALWAYS a drama-filled event . . . ) 9:45 a.m. Recover from the emotional trauma of drop-off. 9:50 a.m. Think about what I have the energy left to do, after all the work it took to get to this point. Treadmill? Weights? Swim? 9:55 a.m. Decide that I can't emotionally handle working out right now. 10 a.m. Go sit in the hot tub. 11 a.m. Go to pick up the kids. (Who, by now, are having fun and don't want to leave.) 11:05 a.m. Drag them out to the car. 11:10 a.m. Buckle everyone in. 11:15 a.m. Drive the 15 minutes back home. (Kids whining all the way home.) 11:30 a.m. Unpack everyone from the car. 11:35 a.m. Feed the kids lunch. 12 p.m. Take a shower and change out of my gym clothes. (Who am I kidding? We all know that this never happened . . .) 12:30 p.m. Put the kids down for a nap. 12:40 p.m. Plop down on the couch, mentally review the morning gym attempt, and come to the conclusion that I'm a lazy failure. 12:45 p.m. Get out the ice cream in an attempt to soothe my frayed nerves . . .
It only took me a few times to realize that this scenario was never going to work for me. I knew that I had to figure out a way to stay strong and toned that would work for me and wouldn't take up half of my day!
In search of the ultimate plan that would work for me, I had a few prerequisites. I knew myself well enough that my routine would need to . . .
- Not add time to my already full day.
- Not require me to have to change clothes. (I really HATE changing clothes! It's so much work!)
- Not make me sweat. (I don't want to have to shower again!)
The thing that ended up working for me was slipping in basic exercises while I was doing everyday tasks. Hello multitasking. A mom's best friend!
I make sure to do one type of exercise for lower body, core, and upper body every day. I usually sprinkle them throughout the day, only doing one at a time. Otherwise I start to get sweaty!
Only doing one exercise at a time also makes it easy to include the kids. This makes my workout time a way to bond with them instead of something I need to go away from them to do.
- Calf raises while washing dishes - 3 sets of 20
- Glute contractions while drying hair - 3 sets of 20
- Wall sits while brushing teeth - 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Isometric leg contractions while waiting in line - 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Ab contractions in the car at a stop light - 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Planks with the kids - 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Push-ups with the kids - 3 sets of 10
- Dips with the kids - 3 sets of 10
The great thing about this model is that it is very doable. It's something that I can be successful at every day. At the end of the day, in contrast to my gym-bound workout attempts, I'm able to look back over my exercise endeavors and feel successful and strong and energized!