Two girls: two-and-a-half months old and two-and-a-half years old…that’s the story of my life right now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My first daughter started going to the gym with me as soon as the childcare area would allow it – at six months of age. We went through all the stages – from nursing in the parking lot so that I could hopefully get in 45 minutes of my workout before I would be paged that she was hungry (she was a quick but frequent eater and still is) to getting in only 15 minutes of cardio because the gym has a rule that Baby can only cry for 15 minutes before Mom is called. Just when my oldest started to actually like going to the gym, my youngest was born, and we’ve been homebound and will be until she hits the magic number – six months old – when she’ll be allowed to go to the gym’s childcare area.
As a result, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to work out at home. As a group fitness instructor, I have many times heard women say how hard it is to exercise at home. I never understood that – until now. It’s hard to get out in the jogging stroller every day because it’s a million degrees by 9 A.M. It’s hard to do sit ups with a toddler, who has recently outgrown her nap, vying for my attention. And, it’s hard to spend time with my hand weights when the laundry, the dishes, and the precious infant are all calling my name. Now I know how very much I took my gym time for granted!So, how can we stay motivated to exercise at home when, for whatever reason, we can’t make it to the gym? Here are a few ideas:
- If you like to jog, or just trot, invest in a good jogging/trotting stroller. Do your research and try out as many features (such as swivel or fixed wheel) as you can before you make up your mind. And, if you intend to jog with your child before he is six months old, you’ll need to find a jogger that has an infant car seat adapter. Check out this site: http://www.joggingstroller.com/catalog/product_matrix.jsp?groupId=102&categoryId=220&ascending=true&sortKey=NAME.
- If you have an MP3 player, instead of using ear phones, get small speakers so that Baby can jam to the music with you. Download a motivating playlist and change it often.
- Keep your hand weights in an accessible place from the time you wake up until you go to bed. With your weights staring at you throughout the day, you’ll surely pick them up at least once. It’s also easier to use them during those two- or three-minute breaks while kids are happy if you don’t have to drag the weights out of the closet each time. It has worked for me.
- Keep a star chart. Make a goal and give yourself a star for each day that you accomplish your goal.
- Include the kids in your workout. Here’s my oldest doing bicep curls and shoulder presses with me (using toilet paper rolls):
- Get it done early. If your schedule and your children allow, wake up 30 minutes earlier to get it done before the to-do list, the demands of the day, and sheer exhaustion get in your way. Whatever time you choose to do it, get into a regular routine so that working out is just another part of your schedule. If you do exercise in the morning, try sleeping in your workout clothes. I did this for about a year several years ago, and it worked very well for me. If you don’t want to sleep in your spandex, at least set out your clothes so that you don’t lie in bed and make the excuse that you don’t have the energy to dig for your workout attire. Also, if you set out your clothes the night before (or sleep wearing them) and then sleep through your workout, you’ll feel guilty, and guilt works wonders as a motivator.
- If you use workout DVDs/videos, try playing them on your laptop rather than on your TV so that you can move from place to place throughout the day rather than being locked into one spot.
I hope that you find what works for you and that you’ll soon be saying “there’s no place like home” for working out!