Sunday, February 22, 2015

Working Out While The Kids Are Awake

First and foremost, please know that I am NO fitness buff, not in the slightest, and as I have stated before, I am an underachieving middle child who is no where near a perfectionist and sets very low goals so as to never be disappointed. With that said I will proceed with some thoughts and ideas on getting in a workout during the day while the children are all underfoot.

A few things before I get started:
- these are just my thoughts and ideas, not "tips and tricks", because they may be abhorrent to you and/or just not work for your life- and that is totally fine!

- working out is not the most important thing in the world and it is definitely something that can't happen in certain seasons of life. Like when I tried to start Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred when Joseph was 3 weeks old and then felt like I was going to die- that was a bad idea and a good example of a season of life where working out is not in the cards. Now he is going on 7 months old and actually sleeping through the night sometimes and it is totally in the cards and needs to happen.

- I don't work out for weight loss. I have often thought that it is just not fair that carrying around babies and toddlers isn't good enough in itself to count as strength training, and it's not fair, but it's true. I am finding that the older I get and more babies I carry, the more I realize the need for maintaining at least some semblance of arm and core strength. In other words, I workout so that I can carry my babies and toddlers around without injuring myself. Does that make sense? It does in my head.

Ok, thoughts and ideas for working out while all the kids are awake and around- hit it:

1) You're not being selfish for working out. I used to feel really guilty for trying to exercise while the kids were awake, but not so much anymore. Obviously there is a balance that needs to be struck and it goes without saying that if one of your kids is screaming in pain and/or starving you should tend to them. The kids come first, and as mothers we are typically so focused on the kids that it's a  struggle to squeeze any "me time" in at all, so focusing on our physical needs is good for everybody and will only help us to be better mothers.

2) Choose a short workout, 25 minutes or less. Major cudos to you mamas who do workouts like Insanity and Cross Fit (I'm looking at you, Regina- I am in awe of you!!). Maybe one day I'll do those workouts if I can ever find a good hour chunk during the day where kids are tended to, but right now that's not happening. Grace did a great post with some really good recommendations of the short workout video variety, and while I definitely agree that Jillians' Ripped in 30 is better than the 30 Day Shred , I always end up doing the 30 Day Shred because all of my DVDs are lost in the messy abyss of the this house AND you can find the 30 day shred on you tube, so I usually just do that. Jillian is annoying, but she does deliver results and if you turn off her voice it's not so bad.

3) Get the kids involved. I never EVER make them workout with me, but they usually want to. They always ask to get dressed in their "jumping jacks" outfits (shorts and tee shirts) and I oblige- Bernadette gets especially into it and tries really, really hard to replicate exactly what the ladies are doing on the screen. I figure it is good for all of us because they are mostly sedentary these days with the awful weather and the fact that I am a lazy parent who doesn't sign them up for fun extracurricular physical activities, so I count it as our calisthenics for the day.

4) Figure out a good time of day that works best. I have decided on the late afternoon for me, since we are getting kindergarten and "preschool" (aka nothing) out of the way pre-lunch. If I can summon the motivation I will try to do it during Lucy's nap and the older girls' rest time, but that doesn't happen often because I like to sit. For a while I was trying to plan on working out after the kids went to sleep at night, but I always ended up making up an excuse and not doing it at all and until Joseph is consistently sleeping through the night, waking up at 6 a.m. or earlier to do it before the wake up is a no-go, I'm just not that hard core. My goal is to get it done before dinner and it usually works, and often means hauling all 4 kids down to the basement and letting them climb on me and/or run circles around me for the duration. When I am feeling especially in need of some quality ME time, I put on a long Veggie Tales, pop in my headphones and huff and puff my heart out- it is sheer bliss. I've even stooped to the level of plunking Joe in the bumbo in front of Baby Einsteins because he never ever naps when the girls are napping and doesn't get into Veggie Tales like they do.


5) Be prepared to pause. And pause. And pause again. I rarely do a workout from beginning to end without stopping, whether it's a sweaty nursing session, a cheese stick, or a diaper change, the demands of motherhood do not stop because I slipped on my New Balances. Even if I put on a movie for the older ones, that still leaves Joseph who will only sit propped up in front of Baby Einsteins for so long before he voices his disapproval of the neglect and I need to stop and hand him that bumblebee toy. Maybe Jillian would say that I am not getting the most out of it and maybe she would be right, but I tell myself that something is better than nothing.

So those are my thoughts and ideas- how about you? What do you do to make this a priority? Hit me up with your wisdom, you know you have it!


17 comments :

  1. Sounds like you got this, Ana-most of the kinks worked out, and above all, flexibility, in all regards. Also, just think of the kiddos involvement at their Homeschool PE :) Love you guys.

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  2. You are doing great and I think I need to remember something is better than nothing too. I've been doing the 21 day Fix videos mostly. They are about 30 minutes and most of them have a few minutes of an exercise set and then another few exercises and I find that format good for pausing. I also like there are several differents one so it doesn't seem like I'm doing the exact same thing all the time. Of course my cardio fitness might not be ideal if I pause but when my 3 yr old decides napping is not happening I would get something in. I do not follow the diet plan with it although I know chicken breast and veggies is healthy eating of course.

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    1. 21 day fix, I will definitely have to check those out- thank you!!

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  3. I had been trying something similar, a couple times, before the "morning" sickness of late afternoon did me in completely and even sitting exercises make me feel worse. But! the day is coming and I too need to strengthen my core and such. Babies have not been good for it. I did 30 days of the shred before all this and was disappointed to look/feel/weigh the same, but I'm sure it really is good for my health. Also, it's good for the kids, right? To see me exercising not obsessed with weight and to entertain themselves? No doubt the new baby will help me a great deal with these goals.

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    1. I know! The shred will not make a difference in your appearance unless you diet with it, which sucks! Because dieting sucks, but it definitely helps with strength and what not.

      Also, I would never ever even be trying during those morning sickness days, or really any pregnancy days :)

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  4. My mom used to block the living room doorways with coffee tables to keep us out while she rocked the Gilad (remember him?!). I so clearly remember standing on the other side of the table and wanting to join in.

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    1. haha, that sounds exactly like my mom! I love the blocking-the-doorway idea, genius!!

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  5. Great post. I've always worked out with my kids and awake and home. It's just the only way it's going to happen for me. I try to work out in the mornings.....and then after I work out, I eat breakfast and get dressed and we do school. However, my kids are old enough that they can leave me alone (except the toddler). And I've definitely had season in life where I've hit pause and pause and pause for nursing or tending to kids.; But I've come to accept that is necessary. And I definitely agree that something is better than nothing. There has been times it's taken me 1 hour to do a 30 minute workout becase of the pause button, but doing that 30 minutes broken up is way better than not doing it at all. So, I've just come to accept that. And it's fine.

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    1. I hear you on that! SO many 25 minute workouts have taken almost an hour over here.
      I am so impressed you get it in the AM, hopefully one day that can happen here too.

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  6. I've started doing the workout while the kids are awake thing fairly recently too, and I love it. Mine are a little older than yours, so it's pretty easy. And I do do Crossfit, I just do much shorter workouts (usually less than 20 minutes), so it works really well and I can keep the kids entertained with something else while I get it done or let them join in if they choose. It's nice to have as an option on the mornings when I don't want to workout before the kids get up (which means nearly EVERY morning!).

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  7. I've recently resumed my run program after 4 years of complete neglect, because it's been too cold to even go walking every day. And then there's the dog. I can't go for a walk without feeling guilty if I don't bring the dog, but she whines the whole way because walks with small children are SLOW. I'm pretty sure they're slow enough to burn zero calories, unless annoyance calorie burning is a thing? Because I know annoyance eating is real. From afterwards. Anyway... the running. It works as a three-part combination of kid art project on the coffee table + muted but playing cartoon on the TV + my workout music blaring on the speakers. Sometimes they dance, sometimes they art, sometimes they hang on the arm of the treadmill and stare at me, but we're doing this thing.

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    1. Ugh, I WISH we had a treadmill! That sounds glorious!!

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  8. I workout at night after I put the kids to bed because I can't stand being interrupted. Every other night at 9:00 pm I exercise, without exception (unless if it is a fast day). I have found it is the only time of day that allows me to consistently workout. It helps me sleep really well too.

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    1. I am so impressed, way to go!!
      I definitely loved the uninterrupted time when I was getting it in at night, the main issue was that right before bed is the only time Mike and I see each other (without being constantly interrupted by the minions) But YES it definitely was a better workout and helped a lot with the sleep.

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  9. The timing of this is perfect–I'm just hitting that 6 week postpartum mark and need to be active again. Going to the gym won't be in the cards for awhile, but I need to be motivated enough to get moving. Like you said, something is better than nothing!

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  10. You may be slightly more motivated than me. I had to work a gym membership into the budget so I could have someone watch my kids while I piddle around on a stationary bike while I read or watch KLG and Hoda. Werkin' on my fitness.

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  11. I haven't tried it yet but I hear the 7 Minute Workout App is great...

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