“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ”
-Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
As a parent, I find it extremely hard to find time to go to the gym. In a perfect world, I would find the time to workout regularly with a personal trainer who could develop programs specific for my workout goals. There would be unlimited time for me to workout and my babies would be perfect while in the daycare provided by the gym. In my world (and I’m guessing many of your worlds), that is not going to happen.
Before I got married, I tried going to the gym. I wanted to lose my baby weight and look wonderful as I walked down the aisle. I did look wonderful, but my experience going to the gym was that I could not commit to the three times a week the personal trainer wanted me to attend. The welcome personal training package was not the package I thought I was getting, and I was interrupted multiple times because my 7 month old baby was crying. I ended having to skip out of a couple of classes I had paid for because the daycare (which I had also paid for) wouldn’t watch a crying baby and spend the time to console my son because they had too many children.
Needless to say, I found the gym frustrating. I found it took all your money, and unless you have the time to devote a couple times a week, it was not worth it. Especially as a mom with young children.
Over the past three years, I have looked for alternative ways to work out so that I can complete quick and easy workouts at home while my children are sleeping, or find a workout I can do with them. The workouts I am about to suggest are free. You can do them at home around your kids. And they are short. What else could you want?? These workouts include kettlebells, workout videos, video games and walks!
The one bonus and worthwhile thing that I did learn about at the gym during my time there was the kettlebells. It is a full body workout that can be completed in your home or backyard. (Careful swinging them around anything valueable!) I found out about the kettlebells because I wanted personal training that gave me cardio and weight training, for a reasonable amount. This was my answer and I am SO glad I took the course! Once I learned the basics, I was able to buy my own kettle bell (totally worth the investment!) and now my husband and I do kettlebell stuff after the kids go to bed. Personally, I would recommend you take a course before you do it, just so that you don’t risk hurting yourself, but there are LOTS of videos you can find on youtube that have the training you need to learn the correct form for doing the kettlebell exercises.
Once you have learned the kettlebell basics, there are LOTS of different circuts you can do which are available for anyone on the internet. Check out some of these links if you are interested!
Photos and Explanations
This website shows drawings that breakdown the movements of the kettlebell exercises for you
The Mens fitness website give you a written description of 5 beginner workouts you can do with the kettlebells
This video shows you 7 basic moves that you can do with your kettle bell. The instructor does a good job at showing proper form.
This video is very detailed in terms of what you need to do when doing the kettlebell exercises. It is typically used for individuals who want to get their Level 1 training, but the movements are broken down very well and there is also a great introduction about safety for those of you who are brand new to the kettlebell world.
This is the Level II training video that gives you more moves you can learn.
There are lots of other videos you can find online, just make sure that the videos are done by a trusted source so that you can learn the technique properly. Kettlebells are heavy, and you don’t want to learn improper technique and end up hurting yourself.
Workouts and Circuits
I really enjoy this circuit, and it has a video at the top which breaks down all the movements that they tell you to do in the circuit.
When you google kettlebell workouts, you can take a look at the images that come up, and there are hundreds of different workouts you can choose from! You will never get bored. I promise!
This website has 25 different workouts that you can choose from. There is some great variety!
I’ve always felt that there is a bit of a stigma when it comes to workout videos. But personally, I love them! There are such a wide variety available that are free, and you can get a great workout in that is only 20 or 30 minutes, which is something that I love. Plus, you can find a workout that suits your interests. If you want yoga, you can get yoga. If you want cardio training, you can try cardio training. There are also kickboxing/martial arts, dance workouts, pilates, the list goes on and on. Another thing I look for in a video, is that If I’m going to workout, I want it to be short and effective. Youtube has lots of different workouts available for free, but you can also buy videos from Itunes or online if you want a real dvd.
A couple months ago, I tried the 30 Day Shred. I have to say, I loved it. Its 20 minute videos that you do for 30 days (I took sundays off). There are 3 levels, so I did 1o days for each level. They are pretty hard when you aren’t used to them, but I could really feel my body changing as I did them. By the end of the 10 days, I was rocking the level I was on. If you choose to do this workout (It’s free on youtube), I recommend that you watch the video first so that you can learn the moves, and then start the workouts. I found that the first time I did it, I did not get the workout I wanted because I was trying to learn the moves. There are lots of other videos that you can do other than the 30 day shred that Jillian Michaels has, but this is the one that I started with, and love because of the short, intense workout you get.
This website gives you a list of 15 different workouts you can try. All of them are under 20 minutes! I would just look them up online and see if you can find them.
Exercise TV used to have its own website, but now you can get all their videos on youtube. There are lots of different varieties of workouts, ranging in time from 10 minutes to 40. Just take a look and see if there are any you are interested in!
Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, we can now work out on our gaming systems. Personally, I am a dancer, and LOVE the dance games you can now play. Here are some different workouts you can try on your systems. Plus, you can get your kids to do these games with you!
Just Dance! Has multiple different versions out, and many of them have their own workout options. Of course, you can just pick different songs to dance to. I promise these will leave you sweaty and breathless as you dance around to some of your favorite songs! The game does track your movements and tell you if you are on or not, but I think the important part is that you are moving and getting into the dances. Don’t worry about the score!
Zumba is a workout that focuses on latin dance moves. There are lots of classes you can take that are available at many gyms, but the other option is that you can play it on your gaming consoles. The games track your movements and tell you if you are doing the right movements, similar to Just Dance! Once again, if it is cardio you are going for, don’t worry so much about the score and just have fun!
Wii Fit has lots of different activities you can do such as yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance. I really like the yoga because it can tell if you are off center, which is pretty cool. It also has body tests that can help you with weight goals and track your progress.
The first three workout options are things you would do while your children are sleeping or playing. But, another option, which is one of my favorite, is just going for a walk with my kids. It may sound easy, but if you go for a walk while pushing a stroller, or wearing one of your children, it is a GREAT workout! Go for an hour or two, enjoy the scenery, spend time with your kids, and have fun! If you can find a hill, go up the hill! That may not be as fun, but I promise it will be a great workout. The longer the walk, the better. I started going for short walks with my kids, and then worked up to longer walks. At the beginning, my kids were only happy for about an hour, and now we can go for 2.5 hour walks without anyone fussing! I can’t say enough about walks.
So, now you have four different alternatives that are free, or mostly free! If you are interested in working out, you have no more excuses! Besides, exercise makes you happy, and happy people don’t shoot their husbands. Unless provoked. 😉