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Three Workouts with Mom

For me, the chances of sliding out of the house undetected for an hour of alone gym time is exactly 0%, and a membership that allows for in-facility daycare is not an option, either. Although these two obstacles could be perceived as insurmountable, I’ve found that I’m better off in this predicament; learning to adapt my workouts so they are quick and in proximity to my kids means I’m not adding to the stress of making the stars align for me to workout in the traditional sense. And why fight it? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em (or maybe let them join you)—which is easy to do with these three quick and simple workouts!

The Reverse Pyramid Workout

  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 90 high knees
  • 80 butt kicks
  • 70 mountain climbers
  • 50 toe-touch kicks
  • 40 knee-to-opposite-elbows
  • 30 jump squats
  • 20 inside toe taps
  • 10 burpees

The beauty of this workout is how easily it can be adapted. Mommy-bladder making you question the audacity of suggesting 100 jumping jacks? Substitute it with mountain climbers instead. 100 of anything sounds like a number that existed as a possibility only before kids and wine? –Start your pyramid at 50. Need more of a challenge? Insert a trip up and down the basement stairs or a run from one end of the driveway to the other between each set. The options are endless! Go through the list once, or challenge yourself to see how many times you can repeat it. Maybe even time yourself to push through to the next level! Regardless of what you do, dare your kids to do it with you, ask them to count your reps (Look, you’re helping them learn to count, too! You deserve an award!), or — for the kiddos who can already read — give them the order of things to do and have them tell you what to do next from the list as you finish each exercise (they’ll feel ridiculously empowered by the opportunity to be your drill sergeant!).

The Playground Workout

For those of you like me who lost any sense of concern for what others thought the second that every single intern within a 30-mile radius showed up to witness the birth of your child, playground workouts are great. Yeah, there may be a few surprised observers who didn’t expect to see you getting your sweat on while simultaneously earning mom-of-the-year status for taking your kids for an hour of fun, but I can think of way worse.

  • 25 tricep dips (using a bench)
  • 1 lap (around whatever area you feel appropriate)
  • 25 deep squats
  • 1 lap
  • 25 arm circles
  • 1 lap
  • 25 calf raises

Again, this is easily adaptable…you can go through the list as many times as you want, increase or decrease the number of repetitions for each exercise, etc. What’s great is that your kids are having their own fun while you are burning calories, and none of the exercises on the list require you to look away from your kids for even a second!

The 15-Minute Miracle

There’s no doubt that squeezing in a workout — even at home with the kids present — can still be challenging. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the probability that there may be distractions (crying babies, dirty diapers, etc.) and time crunches (we are unofficial taxi drivers, after all) that are problematic. With a 15-minute workout option, though, it’s hard to say, “Working out is just not possible for me as a mom.”  The only thing you need for this one is a timer!

  • 2:00 burpees
  • 2:00 lunges
  • 2:00 push-ups
  • 2:00 mountain climbers
  • 2:00 squats
  • 2:00 tricep dips
  • 1:00 sit-ups/crunches
  • 1:00 wall sit
  • 1:00 plank

Since it only takes 15 minutes, you can likely keep the kids distracted with their own activities while you run through the set, but feel free to include the kids in the exercises, have them watch the timer for you, read off the list as you complete each round, or–if you’re feeling brave–blow a whistle at you every time the clock runs out!

If you’re lucky enough to have time available to workout independently or at a gym that provides daycare, more power to you; relish in the freedom to do so. But know that these three workouts are still worth a shot, because you’ll be building more than just muscle—you’ll also be strengthening your relationship with your kids as well as their familiarity with healthy choices.

About the author:


Sarah Martin is the lucky mother of two girls, ages 10 and 14. After a short stint in the corporate world, she has spent the last 15 years teaching English in the same high school as her husband. She loves working out and being active with her family and their two dogs.

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