When your day involves shuttling kids to school, daycare and baseball practice and … making three meals and snacks for the entire family, while also working and keeping everyone happy, it’s hard to remember to brush your teeth, let alone fit in a workout.
“As a mother of three and business owner, I admit it is hard (expletive hard!) to make time for exercise. Our mom to-do lists never end,” says Jessica Griffin, owner of NJ Fit Mom Training and Wellness Coaching.
But she finds a way. Like many other moms who are trainers, Griffin swears by one trick: scheduling her workouts for the week on Sundays. “As moms we live by the calendar. So my personal strategy is to schedule my workouts on there like all other things. Then I show up like I do all other important meetings. I do not cancel on myself. That would be rude,” she says.
You don’t need to be a mom to follow her example — or the examples of the trainers below who all have kids. If they manage to exercise while working and taking care of a family, you can too. After all, mother knows best, right?
1. MAKE A KID-FRIENDLY WORKOUT AREA
“I brought my 3-year-old’s art table into the place where I workout and will sometimes set her up with Play-Doh, coloring books, etc. to entertain her. But truth is, she does that for 5–10 minutes then prefers to come work out with mommy. She has her own 1- and 2-pound weights and she loves to ‘lift’ and do burpees!
2. EXERCISE WITH YOUR KIDS
“I have infant twin boys and a 3 1/2-year-old toddler who keep me active and on my feet. I do a mommy-and-me yoga class with the twins and with my toddler, I make it a priority to get outside and go to Central Park for some cardio where we do a lot of walking, running, throwing balls, riding scooters and playing soccer.”
– Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor and author of “Chair Yoga”
3. EXERCISE WITH YOUR KIDS, LITERALLY
“I’ll hold my son while doing exercises like squats or shoulder presses, have him sit in my lap for triceps dips, or I’ll bring out equipment like a mini trampoline and Bosu, and we’ll take turns using them. But sometimes he loves the equipment so much, I can’t get a turn!”
– Sara Haley, pre- and postnatal fitness expert
4. SET GOALS
“It’s hard to accomplish something when you haven’t identified exactly what you’re trying to achieve, so I set goals. Some examples are: number of runs per week, mileage, strength training goals, races I’ve entered (it totally keeps my run schedule on track when there’s a race looming!) and nutrition goals. Your goals need to be specific — decide what, when, how and where!”
– Nichole Sargent, American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer
5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NAP TIME …
“There really is no secret — it is all a mindset and how badly you want it. Excuses are so easy to make. Let’s face it, anything can typically derail our plans for the day. As soon as my daughter goes down for her first nap, I go jump on my treadmill and lift weights. If my little one does not want to nap, I include her in my workouts by either placing her beside me with one of her toys or actually using her as my weight.”
– Sia Cooper, personal trainer and Diary of a Fit Mommy blogger
6. … AND ANY FREE TIME
“I don’t schedule workouts into my calendar because everyday has different variables. If I’m set to teach at the studio, I try to take the class before mine or after, even if it’s just 15–30 minutes. If I’m working from home, I do a barre3 online workout, which are 10-, 30-, 40- or 60-minutes. Let’s be real, I rarely do the 60 minutes at home when my daughter is there. But 30 minutes is doable while she’s playing or watching TV. Sometimes I even break it up 10 minutes at a time.”
– Jenna Muller, certified barre3 and Pilates instructor
7. RETHINK YOUR COMMUTE AND DATE NIGHT
“I have learned to take advantage of biking to my dentist appointment instead of taking the subway, or, if the stars align, date night with my husband to a yoga class!”
– Tanya Sripanich Burton, instructor at Lyons Den Power Yoga