Finding the time and energy to work out can be tricky for busy moms. After all, you’ve got babies and big kids, housework and husbands, PTA and Pinterest competing for your attention.
No worries. An effective workout is not as hard to squeeze in as it sounds. Here are 10 exercise routines moms can totally do:
1. The Colicky Baby Marathon
Make sure you have a super fussy baby who requires constant bouncing, swaying, rocking and dancing. If baby screams bloody murder, good. That will help you reach your target heart rate more quickly. Work up to three to four hours of bouncing screaming baby every evening during the time you’d normally be eating dinner, tidying the house, reading a book, or chilling in front of the TV with your husband. Fitness requires sacrifice, ladies. No pain, no gain.
2. ‘I Can’t Find My Other Shoe’ Burpees
Warm up with a frantic, last-minute scan of the house and a few “Are you sure it wasn’t where you found the other one?” inquiries. Run to the living room, get down on all floors, and drop to your stomach. Feel your heart rate climb as you notice a month’s worth of dust bunnies, wrappers, Legos, and pencils—but no shoes—under the sofa. Quickly stand back up, run to the child’s bedroom, get down on all fours, and drop to your stomach. Tighten your abs as you shout, “How do you people live like this?!” while looking under the kid’s bed. Repeat in every room in the house. Work up to 5 to 10 reps each morning.
3. ‘Is That the Baby Crying?’ Sit-Ups
Finally get baby to fall asleep in his crib, then go to bed. When you are almost asleep, immediately sit straight up, thinking you hear the baby crying. Realize it’s just the cat meowing. Start to fall back asleep, then sit straight up, sure that you heard the baby crying. Realize it’s just your imagination. Start to fall back asleep, then sit straight up because, sure enough, the baby’s crying. Repeat every one to two hours, all night long.
4. Needy-Toddler Bicep Curls
Make sure your toddler can walk on her own two feet but refuses to do so unless she’s running away from you in a parking lot. Pick up toddler when she cries because her “leeeegs hurrrrrt” after walking 10 feet. Pick her up again when she cries because she can’t have ice cream for dinner. Pick her up again when she cries because she bit her own finger. Pick her up again when she cries because she’s crying. Work up to 250 reps per day. Those guns will be blazing and toned in no time.
5. Car-Seat Transfer Whole-Body Toning
Installing a car seat works your arms, legs, core and patience. Search for the car seat clippy-thingies, then shove your hand into the crease of your car’s seats to find the metal loops they clip to. Ignore the sticky Cheerios and Lord-knows-what-else your hand finds in there. Once you’re sure you have all straps untwisted, use your knee and hip to push the car seat down with all your might, and yank on the straps as hard as you can (your Needy-Toddler biceps will come in handy here). See that the strap still managed to get twisted and is now stuck in the metal adjuster thingy. Use all of your strength and ingenuity to try to unstick it. Wipe sweat from brow, grunt exasperatedly, loosen, unclip, and untwist all the straps, then start over. Work up to three sets per car-seat transfer.
6. ‘Look at Mommy’s Eyes’ Squats
Make sure your youngsters won’t listen to a word you say unless they are looking directly at your face. Every time you need to tell them something, squat down to their level, making sure they look into your eyes. Work arms and glutes together by repeatedly reaching up to turn child’s face toward you while squatting. Work up to 25 reps per day—or hour.
7. Dining-Table-To-Kitchen Relay
Sit down at the table to eat dinner. Take one bite. Have child complain the soup is too hot. Go to kitchen to get ice cube. Sit back down to eat. Have toddler spill milk all over the table. Go to kitchen to fetch towels and sippy cup. Sit back down. Realize you forgot to set out butter for bread. Go to kitchen to get butter. Sit back down. Have husband call you from the kitchen to tell you he can’t find something that is sitting directly in front of him in the refrigerator. Go hand it to him. Sit back down. Take another bite and realize your soup has gotten cold. Go to kitchen to microwave soup. Sit back down. Repeat. Work up to standing up and sitting down every 10 seconds throughout dinner.
8. Car-to-House-to-Grab-One-More-Thing-You-Forgot Relay
Get everyone buckled in the car and turn on the ignition. Remember you forgot kid’s snack. Turn off ignition so the little cherubs don’t drive away, run back into the house, grab snacks, and run back to car. Start car. Put car into gear. Have kid remember she forgot her school project that’s due today. Turn off car again. Run inside and grab project. Run back out. Start car. Start to back out of driveway. Realize you left your phone sitting on the counter when you grabbed kid’s snack. Leave car running, and pray kids won’t take a joyride in the 20 seconds it takes to grab phone. Work up to five reps per car ride, five car rides per day.
9) ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ Toddler Dead Lifts
Make sure your toddler’s good and tired. The more cranky and uncooperative, the better. Tell him he has to go somewhere he doesn’t want to go. When he refuses, tell him if he won’t go on his own you’re going to carry him. When he drops to the floor in a squishy heap, pick him up. By now, your Needy-Toddler biceps, Car-Seat Transfer core, and “Look at Mommy” quads are up to the task of picking up and transporting a child who somehow doubles his body weight when he doesn’t want to do something. Work up to 15 reps per day.
Bonus Full-Body Move: Buckling Writhing Jellyfish Toddler Into Car Seat
10. ‘Can’t Take It Anymore’ Child’s Pose
To cool down from your daily workouts, try the mom version of the aptly named “child’s pose” yoga move. Crumble to the floor and curl up into the fetal position. Rock back and forth in a rhythmic motion, repeating the mantra, “It’s not me, it’s them. It’s not me, it’s them.” Repeat nightly for 18 years or more.
See? If you’ve got offspring, you’ve got time to exercise. You’re probably already doing some of these workouts already. No excuses, mamas. Fitness with kids is a piece of cake.
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