(Have a read or scroll to the bottom for a PT approved kids bath time workout)
Finding much time to exercise when you have young kids is virtually impossible. When on maternity leave I found myself trying to walk everywhere. Living on a hill definitely helped. By the time you get into town and push your way back to the house, inevitably with some heavy fruit to fuel your latest whim to get back into shape, it resulted in a bit of a sweat on. Throw in a kicking off baby or toddler writhing around in the buggy and that turned the stress levels up a notch, causing the “glow” to flow a tad faster out those wobbly post baby pores.
Buggy Blitz was a good with baby workout. You get a double session. That mad dash to get yourself and bambino out the house on time, early in the morning. Then tearing down to the designated meeting place either hot footing it or in the car. Throwing buggy and baby out the car at break neck speed to congratulate yourself that you are a mere 5 mins late. Only to realise that your top is inside out or that your trainers are on the wrong feet, but hey at least you got there. An hour after group lunging, squatting and trotting in a slightly cringy line through the park past the youths smirking in the skate park and it was time for a well deserved catch up with new mum friends over a slab of cake. Sorry I meant low calorie fresh juice.
I dabbled with a Tracy Anderson post baby workout DVD but really? Her advice was to try and do the 45 min plan every day with baby just there with you. Think managed that once before, by this time crawling, toddler rubbed DVD frantically on wooden floor. So that was the end of that. Second child in I re-bought it with good intentions. 18 months down the line it’s still in the cellophane.
Then you go back to work. Time to do anything for yourself becomes a scarce commodity. Yes you may be able to finish a cuppa while it’s still warm, enjoy your lunch in peace and enjoy a loo visit alone. Come half five though and you are running out that door to race to get your train, bus etc to gather up your little darling from nursery or the child minder while hoping that they don’t notice this is the 3rd time this week your train was “delayed”. So sorry that I’m a few mins late again! Then starts the frantic dash for snacks, bath time and bed time. Often justifying that a hair wash can wait one more day. Personally by the time they are all settled into bed, a couple of stories down, I can’t be bothered to leave the house again. I just want to sit.
My husband gets back 8.30ish most nights. Fortunately after 14 years together kids or no kids he has no expectation of a cooked meal when he returns home, I have never been any kind of domestic goddess. When he comes in we tackle dinner and chores together and not a moment before. Till then it’s my 20 mins of mindless social media wind down time.
So I noticed that while I feel like I rarely get the opportunity to do exercise, actually I am exercising, I spend my day running from one place to another.
One woman shuttle run relays across the landing in the morning. Running hill climbs up the stairs two at a time to retrieve a forgotten coat, hippo or library book. Sprinting like a loon from the car to the train with an explosive plyometric leap through the closing doors. Dashing to the office from the station always trying to whittle off a few seconds to get a pb. Then breathe. Running from meeting to meeting because I never leave quite enough time to get there, or am trying to get those last few emails done. Then come 5.30 it starts again, run to station, run to car, run to nursery. Up stairs, down stairs, across landing 12 times and SIT.
Throw in the reps of lifting a 10kg human kettle bell who demands with no uncertainty to be picked up NOW whenever I am in the same room. Personally I think if there is one thing motherhood provides it’s good toned arms. In addition the fact she wants everything I eat and will not hesitate to steal out my hands or mouth means at home my calorie intake is actually culled.
So where am I going with all this. As a working mum it’s about squeezing in the exercise and turning off the guilt because you are already doing more than you think every day.
The cardio box seems to be ticked with the above racking up 8k – 10k steps a day. (Data courtesy of a Jawbone or Fitbit tracker, get one they are quite motivating).
I realised the only time that is realistic to do some exercise and add enjoyment to a parental task I find monotonous is by exercising in the bathroom at kids bath time.
So I started a little routine and with the help of my husband who happens to be a PT evolved it so if you are interested here is my:
“Time is of the essence, kids bath time workout”
Let me caveat this by saying please keep a responsible eye on your children at all times. Also not to be undertaken if your smallest child is not of confident sitting in bath age.
20 x Tricep dips on the bath
20 x Incline press ups against bath or toilet, space dependant (lid down please).
This every day is great ( or as often as you feel the need to clean your kids). If you have the time or inclination, do it 2 or even 3 times. I have been assured it hits biceps, triceps, big muscle groups, which is great for general fat burning, especially the arse and thighs. All engaging your core without putting pressure on your diastasis recti ( the gap between your stomach muscles).
If your kids are intrigued by what you are doing get them to count along. Always good for kids to see you exercise and mine are always keen to copy a few moves.
Good luck, enjoy and let me know how you get on. Finally in case you were wondering now no having a PT for a husband is not a bonus. It just means he is always out training other people morning, night and weekends, leaving me with even less chance to get out and exercise.