Missed going to the gym today (or every day since you had kids)? Don’t let that get you down, it’s never too late to start getting in shape. I can personally attest to the proven effectiveness of this workout, and the ease of staying consistent with it. Finally, a workout moms can stick to!
Anytime between 5:00 and 7:00 am: Have one of your children wake you up. This can be done in a number of ways: screaming through the monitor, jumping on your bed, standing beside your bed and breathing/staring quietly until you sense them. This will create a sudden jolt of the stress hormone, cortisol, which will wake you up immediately and eliminate the need for a snooze button. It’s important that you don’t know when they will wake you up, as this heightens the fight or flight instinct that comes with the sudden awakening.
Immediately begin lunge/squat/lift circuit. Any size child will do, so use whichever children happen to be at your house. Most likely these will be your own, but don’t hesitate to use friends’ children, children’s friends, even pets. You will begin by lifting the child who woke you up out of his or her crib or bed, and will continue this at various intervals throughout the day. Once you’ve mastered the one child lift, you may add more children as needed. Targets: core, glutes, calves, arms.
7:30 am: Begin breakfast circuit. This is a great way to get the heart pumping, especially with hungry children following you around asking you when breakfast will be ready, even though they probably already have a snack in their hands. Use this as motivation to move as quickly and efficiently as possible. Benefits: balance, dexterity, self-control. You will want to brew coffee either before or during this process. The coffee will come in handy for later circuits.
9:00 am: Vacuum circuit. Start by picking up all toys and moving all furniture out of its usual position. This is a great lower body exercise, and by now your third cup of coffee should supply a great baseline heart rate to keep you going. Once all furniture is out of place, remove vacuum from the back of your closet and lift it. Vacuums are extremely heavy, not to mention clunky, so this will really work your arms and core. Vacuum entire house. You may want to carry an infant with you for extra resistance. Work up to screaming infant and/or unruly toddler. Also great for balance.
9:30 am: Mop circuit. You’ll want to make sure to bend as low as possible to get under and around all furniture, and push down on the mop with as much force as possible, since this is the only way to get the floor somewhat clean anyway. Repeat circuit as necessary when children, pets and husbands walk through the room you just mopped.
11:00 am: Lunch. No need to make lunch for yourself. Eating toddler food, particularly leftovers, is a great way to keep your calories in check. If you do fix your own lunch, your child(ren) will inevitably want to eat it. Resist eating leftovers when they don’t eat a bite of what you gave them off your plate.
12:00 pm: Nap circuit. This is a good opportunity to get some cardio in, especially if you have two kids. Purely attempting to get them both settled for nap should be a good start, but once they start asking for things is when you’ll really get some interval work in. When both children are asleep (if this ever happens), get some rest. Or clean up all the toys they left lying around, do the dishes you never got around to after lunch (or breakfast, for that matter), fold the laundry, prepare dinner, or work on your part-time job. Once all of these things are done, try and get some rest.
Immediately after sitting/lying down to get some rest: Be woken up by one (or all) of the children. Begin afternoon lunge/squat/lift circuit.
3:00 pm: Outing circuit. This can be anywhere: park, playground, mall, friend’s house, but let’s be honest, it will probably be the grocery store. Start by lifting all children into car seats and buckling them in. This is a fabulous upper body workout, especially with children who want to “help” with buckling, and/or extremely large babies. Depending on how you are feeling after your morning workout, you may place all children in the cart or have one walk beside you. The walking child adds a great interval opportunity when they run off, knock something over, or reach for things they can’t have. Encourage grocery baggers to grossly over-pack your bags (bonus: they usually do this anyway). This will work the biceps, triceps, neck, back and shoulders. Most likely you will end up carrying the walking child for the last half to three-quarters of the trip, which really works the core. Bringing children, car seats and groceries in from the car once you get home works to tone the trunk. If you have stairs leading up to your home, great. Extra calf work.
5:00 pm: Begin dinner circuit. This will be similar to lunch circuit, but children will be much crankier and more destructive. Great time to get some interval work in and improve that balance. Try to be mindful while you eat, taking at least two to three minutes to complete your meal. Immediately after shoveling the last bite into your mouth, begin final dish circuit.
6:00 pm: Begin bedtime circuit. Bath-time is essentially one big standing crunch, so really focus on those abs. Squeeze the glutes for extra toning. Final lunge/squat lift circuit will take place between bath and bedrooms, changing tables, cribs and beds. Children will most likely be exhausted but extremely resistant to sleep. Embrace this resistance, you’re burning your last calories of the day!
7:00 pm-9:00 pm: Optional child wake time. Feel free to use this time to relax while your child yells your name repeatedly from the next room, or get some final intervals in by entering their room and responding to their every demand.
9:30 pm: Stretch. If you feel like you’ve earned it, have a tiny square of extra dark chocolate as a “decadent treat” to end your day. But be careful! The miniscule amount of caffeine it contains could keep you up for hours, even though you felt like passing out right when your children did.
Between 5:00 am and 7:00 am the following morning: Repeat. This can (and will) be repeated every day until your children are grown.