Bumps and bruises? Check.
Crying when I take away the waffle iron that he just broke into small pieces and tried eating? Check.
Mashed potatoes going everywhere on his body besides his mouth? Check.
Yep. It’s been confirmed. We have arrived to toddler land.
Gone are the days of just laying my sweet little bundle of joy on a blanket and watching in awe and wonder. Jack is on two feet, on the move and on a mission. And that means that working out at home just got a little more interesting.
Over the last several weeks, I decided that in order to have some “me” time and get a good sweat on that I would start doing my workouts at the gym again (I’m lucky, my husband is also a trainer and I get to go to his gym for free). And it’s been really enjoyable! But, sometimes, like last week when I had two sick boys at home–my husband and Jack, –getting to the gym just wasn’t happening.
Working out at home is super convenient and more affordable than a gym membership and a lot of our mama clients do their workouts at home. That’s why Cara and I have programmed workouts for our Fit Mom Foundations ladies that can be done with minimal equipment.
However, working out at home does come with its share of challenges, especially once your little one gets mobile. “How am I supposed to get my workout done with the kids around?!”
Mama, take heart. I feel you. And I have some tips. Here are six ways to get your workout done with a toddler around:
- Redefine what a workout is to you.
Time to face the music. Your workouts aren’t going to look the way they used to. Gone are the days of the hour+ solo sweat sesh. You won’t always do your workouts at the same time everyday, or even the time of day that you had planned. You might get interrupted by crying and poopy diapers. You might not even get to do everything that you had planned for you workout.
Breathe. It’s going to be okay.
Redefining your workouts means ditching the all-or-nothing mentality – something that I struggled with for a long time. Just because you get interrupted or things don’t go as planned, it doesn’t mean that you have to ditch your workout altogether and call it a wash. You might have to break your workout up throughout the day, only do part of it or find another physical activity to do. It’s okay – some exercise is ALWAYS better than no exercise. Just do what you can and look for opportunities to move throughout the day.
- Get a kettlebell.
If you’ve been following Movement Duets for awhile this recommendation should come as no surprise. 🙂 I LOVE kettlebells**. Besides the fact that they’re just fun (that’s not just me, is it?), if you own 1-2 kettlebells, you’ve got yourself a universal gym. There are a lot of awesome benefits to kettlebell training, but I’ll save that for another article. Suffice it to say that you can get a total body strength and conditioning workout with one single implement.
So, how does getting a kettlebell tie into working out with a toddler around? Kettlebells take up very little space and are portable. Often times what my kettlebell workouts look like at home with Jack is moving it around the room from space to space to get my exercise in before he reaches me once again — extra cardio, anybody? And when I’m in between sets or I’m doing a bodyweight exercise, I tip the kettlebell over onto the ground so that he doesn’t knock it over on himself.
Some sporting goods stores carry kettlebells, but my favorite brand is from Rogue Fitness. You can check out their selection and shipping rates here. Usually an 8kg or 12kg is a good starting weight. I have an 12kg, 16kg and 20kg at home which have proven to be a really great investment for me.
**Kettlebell training can be really intimidating, and just like any weight training program, require proper instruction to get the maximum amount of benefit and to avoid injury. If you are new to kettlebells, I highly recommend that you get in touch with a qualified trainer (I know a couple… 🙂 ) to help you get started.**
- Take advantage of nap time.
I think a lot of us can agree that “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” is great advice in theory, but it usually doesn’t end up that way. This is normally when we get stuff done, right? I call this the “Nap Time Hustle.”
Believe me, I know that the to-do list is insurmountable, but being dressed in your workout gear early in the day (let’s be real, I wear mine all the time) and being ready to go whenever nap time comes can really help put your workout time near the top of that list. In fact, getting your workout in for the day can help you have more energy and efficiency for getting the other things on your to-do list done.
- Find another mom to partner up with.
Sometimes this parenting thing is easier when we’re around other people, amiright? Finding a workout partner who also has small children can make getting your workout in a little easier.
Cara and I do this all of the time. Getting together for our home workouts puts two sets of eyes on the kids and gives us someone to swap out parenting duties with if one or both babies get unruly. It’s not uncommon for us to do an “I go, you, go” style of workout where one person does the exercise while the other watches the kids, then switch.
Having someone to shoulder parenting responsibilities with makes managing a toddler during workouts a bit easier, plus working out with somebody else is just more fun!
- Include them.
While workouts can be the perfect recipe for a little “me” time, it can also create the perfect opportunity for you to show your little ones that exercise is a priority. And sometimes, there’s no getting around it. Baby is losing it so you’ve got to include him or your workout just isn’t going to happen.
I’ve used Jack as my “weight” for many of my workouts. I’ll squat with him, lunge with him, press him overhead, I’ve even rowed him before. There’s an endless combination of moves that you can do with baby so that mama gets her workout and baby stays happy. Plus, your “weight” is always getting heavier, right? 😉
- Get outside.
When all else fails, get outside!
There is something about getting out into the fresh air and connecting yourself to nature. This isn’t just true for adults, it’s true for kids, too. When Jack is fussy he will calm down as soon as we get outside….sometimes he’ll even fall asleep!
So, talk a walk in the park, sprint hills, use the playground equipment to do your workout, get creative! Toddlers have so many more possibilities outdoors. I’ve been known to sneak a light kettlebell to the park, too. 😉
New Chapter, New Challenges
Making time for exercise is one of mom’s #1 fitness struggles. Believe me, I get it. This first year of Jack’s life has brought on many changes, and my schedule has had to adjust. But, getting your workouts in with small children IS possible.You only have to decide that you are worth the time it takes and find strategies to make yourself and your workouts a priority. And believe me, mama. You ARE worth the time it takes.
P.S. If you need help navigating ways to fit workouts back into your life, make sure to get on our weekly newsletter list. This is where we give out our best information about workouts, meal planning, mindset advice and maybe an embarrassing parenting story or two (or three or four). Not in our tribe yet? You can do so here.