In 2021, my grandiose resolutions are out the window. At this point, I’m hoping to get through this year with kindness for others, compassion for myself and health for our community.
Resolutions aside, an intention I’m setting for myself is to move my body daily as I know this helps overall health and happiness. Claire Gray, local Mom, AKA, The Mama Trainer, agrees. She shared some great, and honestly surprising, tips on making fitness a part of my routine, even when we’re riding out a pandemic and my kids have other plans for the day. Here’s what she had to say!
Tips on making fitness part of your daily routine with kids
#1 Change your mindset, know your WHY
We all have goals in mind, but I challenge Moms to think first about their WHY. A common goal is to ‘Start working out more.’ I ask why? Is it because you want to model good behaviour for your family? Keep up with your toddler? Lose weight? Gain muscle? Run a half marathon?
Your ‘why’ will inform the type of fitness that will help meet your goals and help you set tangible and incremental victories that will motivate you. Your ‘why’ will also keep you going when things become challenging.
#2 Set the Kids Up
Working out with little ones around is a reality for Moms. Begin with a flexible perspective and understand that your half an hour workout might take an hour, and that’s ok. If your toddler is playing with your band and that’s your next circuit, skip it and switch-up the order. Kids like to be involved. Create a circuit for them, with appropriate activities like a mat, a band or toys they can use as weights. I also suggest setting up an age appropriate non-fitness related activity in the space beside you. It could be blocks, colouring, whatever they’re interested in, that they can move over to when they need a break from the workout and you want to keep going.
#3 Variety is Best
Moms are muli-taskers and with kiddos, no two days are the same so luckily mixing it up works in your favour. Simply increasing your heart rate is the best way to achieve your fitness goals and there are lots of ways to get moving while Momming.
High intensity interval training or HIIT (pushing your heart rate up for a short period and then resting and repeating) gives you the most bang for your buck and can be done in short bursts, the same as a toddler activity. A fun style of workout is dancing full out to your favourite song and then resting for a slower song (or toddler’s choice) and then dancing again and getting that heart rate up.
- Another day let your kiddo nap in the stroller and take a long power walk.
- Another day hit the local park and try some pull ups, sit ups, lunges while your kids play.
- Another day try jogging with the stroller.
- Another day use your kid as a weight and fly them around the room.
Three days a week of HIIT – jumping jacks, rest, squat jumps, rest, dance, rest and 2 days of low intensity longer exercise – walking or jogging, is a great combo. Both types of movement ultimately burn fat.
#4 Keep Moving
If you don’t have time to dedicate to a workout, integrate movement throughout the day. For a busy Mom, with the kids all day, doing little bouts of exercise or strength training is a good way to keep your metabolism working throughout the day.
Four sets of ten squats over 4 hours is still 40 squats.
Many Moms put pressure on themselves to work out while their kids nap but this isn’t always the best strategy. For me, naptime is chill out time. If you feel inspired to get moving while the littles are sleeping, go for it! But not having expectation that you’ll work out in naptime gives you the opportunity to recharge and relax which every Mama needs.
I was pleasantly surprised at some of Claire’s tips. I hadn’t thought of a dance party as a HIIT workout and giving myself a 10 hour window for 40 squats seems much less daunting than making dedicated time. I also appreciated how she spoke about expectations. If you’re planning to do 30 mins of exercise with your kids around, allocate an hour so you don’t get frustrated. For me, 2021 is about regular movement and taking tiny wins, even if it takes all day to do 5 sets of jumping jacks!
Get more tips from Claire on her website www.themamatrainer.com or follow her at @themamatrainerapp The Mama Trainer App is at monthly subscription to at-home workouts and training calendars that take you through pregnancy, post-partum and into life as a busy Mama. There are programs available for both vaginal birth and c-section recovery.
Jenn Wint is a writer, communications strategist and a public relations specialist. She is passionate about storytelling and community. Jenn lives in East Vancouver with her husband, 3yo son and 1yo daughter. You’ll find them hanging around Vancouver’s playgrounds, water parks, coffee shops and anywhere that bakes fresh cookies in-house!