When I was pregnant I naively envisioned long luxurious coffee playdates, plenty of sleeping and good long workout sessions every day. I don’t know why I even thought that was going to be possible, but wow wasn’t reality different! 

I barely had time in the day to have a shower let alone good long workout sessions! I soon became completely overwhelmed as I tried to balance the idea of what a workout session should look like with the reality of what I was actually capable of achieving.

One more child later and I’ve finally found my sweet spot, so today I wanted to share with you 5 tips for fitting in a workout when you have a baby.

Letting Go of Expectations

Firstly, you need to let go of any expectations around what constitutes a workout. For most people, this ‘perfect’ workout is doing a class or going to the gym that last for the traditional 60 minutes. A workout doesn’t necessarily need to last that long, in fact research has shown that a 20 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout is a really effective cardio and strength training workout and continues to burn fat for hours after the workout. Having said that, sometimes a 20 minute workout in your day isn’t even a possibility. On those days you need to keep in mind that a 5 minute or 10 minute workout is still more than no workout at all.

Chunk Away Your Day

When you have a baby or a young child you often start the day enthusiastically with all the plans and you end the day wondering where the time went. It is much easier to find time in your day when you find small chunks. For example, if you can schedule in 5 minutes at breakfast, 5 minutes before lunch, 5 minutes before you cook dinner and 5 minutes after baby goes to bed, that’s 20 minutes of exercise you have achieved in your day. In fact, here is a 5 minute workout for you to get you on your way: http://bit.ly/5minworkout_MumMeFitTime

Intentional Incidental exercise

Most people have heard about the term incidental exercise. This is where you are going about your everyday tasks but increasing the opportunities for movement. This could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car a bit further away from the shops or even doing the housework. Intentional incidental exercise takes it one step further. This is where you intentionally do some exercise during those incidental moments. For example, the children might be in the bath so you do some squats while you watch them, you might be waiting for the kettle to boil so do some push ups, you might be on hold on the phone so you do some lunges. 

Turning play into a workout

When you have a baby or young child, you are guaranteed to have some form of play taking place in your day. Take advantage of these opportunities and get a little creative. Babies love being used as a weight (within reason – don’t go swinging baby like a kettlebell). Love kissing your baby? Do push ups with them underneath you and give them a kiss each time you lower down. As babies grow into toddlers and preschoolers there is even more creative fun to be had. Mum doing a plank makes a great tunnel to crawl under and active songs such as Hokey Pokey or the Macarena can be great fun to do together!

Use What You Have

A  workout isn’t all about lifting weights or pushing yourself to a state of breathlessness. Use the resources that you have. For example taking your child for a walk is a fantastic way of increasing your daily movement and pushing a pram up a hill is no easy feat! Similiarly, baby swim lessons can be quite taxing on the arms and provides an excellent resistance workout as you walk/swim your child through the water. If you happen to find a spare 20 minutes in your day, here is a great little stretch video that will not only leave you feeling fantastic but will energise you to! http://bit.ly/MumMeFitTime_Stretch

At the end of the day, it is about finding a way to workout in your day that is going to fit for you. One of my favourite quote’s is “Every step I take brings me one step closer to achieving my goals”. I have no idea who wrote that quote, but I challenge you to consciously keep that in mind when you are aiming to reach your daily exercise goals.

If you would love further workouts that are easy to do at-home without the stress of packing the children in the car or finding babysitters so that you can go to the gym, then check out my Mind & Body Bootcamp. Registrations are now open for the October round.