If you’re a WAHM with a newborn like me, you want to get fitter and stronger than you were before you got pregnant, but you have less time to work out than you’ve ever had.
On top of the time crunch, you need to “nap when baby naps” to keep sleepless zombie-status away! So if you can’t exercise during nap time, where does it fit in your busy day?
Here’s what has worked for me.
1. Add strength training to stroller walks
Walking lunges and squats are two moves you can easily do with your hands on the stroller bar. I pick a long-ish section of sidewalk to challenge myself to get the end, and do a walking lunge with each leg, then squat, and repeat. Jump squats (alternate feet in and out while moving stroller forward slightly) are great too.
Use park benches for step ups, pushups, split squats (one leg on bench behind you), knee tucks (plank position, feet on bench and hands on ground, slowly alternate one knee in to chest at a time), and Spider-Man plank (like knee tucks but bring knee to outside of elbow).
2. Make exercise look fun while baby’s playing nearby
If you make the exercises look funny enough, baby will be too busy laughing to be upset you’re not holding her (my daughter would let me hold her all.day.long, but alas, I’d never eat or use the restroom, so we’re practicing independent play, even if it’s just 10 mins at a time!). Even things like squats have made my little one laugh at me since she was about 3 mos old!
3. Set out a special toy basket
I bring out a special basket with a few household items baby likes to play with when I’m working or exercising, then put it away afterward. The items keep her interest longer because she knows they won’t be around all day (this is an idea I got from the Montessori treasure basket).
4. Workout in multiple 10 min sessions
If baby gets bored and cranky by the end of your 45 min workout session, try splitting it up into 8-10 min circuits. When I do this, I write down the exercises I want to do on a marker board in the kitchen (central location where I can see it most of the day) and do a round or two before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No need to warm up every time because you’re always warm from chasing baby around, right? 😉
This is actually great for your metabolism because you’re starting and stopping your muscles multiple times, which requires more energy than one continuous session.
5. Keep in your head a supply of simple, challenging moves you can do anywhere so you’re always ready to roll
(I had to. Haha!)
Whenever you get a break (while dinner’s cooking, while daddy takes baby on a short walk after work, right after baby goes to bed) turn those moves into a Tabata (8 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, for a total of just 4 minutes!). These are AMAZING for lighting your metabolism on fire–don’t underestimate them! Work hard for 20 seconds and feel your muscles quiver after a couple rounds! I love to do power exercises this way–kettle bell (diaper bag? Book bag? Gallon of OJ?) swings, jump squats, mountain climbers (keep that core tight!), and pushups are a few favorites.
On a hardwood or tile floor, towel exercises are killer for abs. Place a towel under each foot and tuck both knees in and out, or alternate knees in, or do pikes (straight legs hinge at hips and bring toes in to make body an upside down V).
Got stairs? Climb 2 at a time, or use them for pushups, split squats, or side plank hip raises (feet on higher step than supporting hand).
I hope these ideas help some mommas out there that were struggling like me to adjust to workouts after baby. Let me know in the comments your best tips, too!