Quick, effective workouts for time-crunched moms
I’m happy to report that I’ve found an amazing physical therapist who understands runners and running and is helping me to correct some imbalances and joint dysfunction that have likely been leading to recurring running injuries all of these years. My hamstring is doing well and wasn’t sore even after a tough interval workout on the track yesterday (yay!). I’ve been much better about properly stretching and cross training as well.
To supplement my running, I’ve been strength training, completing core exercises, and regularly stretching. How do I have time for this all? I still have all those kiddos after all, and my sweet, once extremely laid-back baby boy has morphed into Todzilla. We affectionately refer to him as Thomas the Terror. The boy hits everything within arm’s reach and turns random objects (plates, plastic animal figures, diapers, sippy cups) into balls. “Ball!” he shouts just before he freely hurls the non-ball object at people, breakable objects, and onto plates filled with food on the dinner table. I’ve always been wary of stereotyping boys and girls or squeezing children into stringent gender definitions. My oldest always seemed to fit more into the boy parameters, for example. She was really active, has broken several bones, and preferred pirate parties to princess ones. But she didn’t throw things like our little Nolan Ryan or just plow into others (or walls) for the fun of it, so I would say that in my experience with three girls and one boy, this XY chromosome carrier is far more physical.
Part of my regular workout obviously consists of keeping Thomas from killing himself or one of his sisters. This requires plyometrics and endurance and strength. Aside from this regular fitness, I get up early – 5:15ish usually – to run several days a week. I usually run at least four days a week, and I frequently run five or six days. However, I always try to take at least one complete rest day and when my hamstring was bothering me, I rowed on a rowing machine to cross train rather than running so much. Since I homeschool and can avoid the early, mad-morning rush, some of my kids (two out of four) sleep in closer to 8 a.m. The early birds fend for themselves until I’m finished with my run and have showered (i.e., the 5-year-old reads quietly while the 4-year-old cuddles with Daddy before he gets ready for work). On busy days, I skip the shower. One day recently Thomas wanted to nurse but when I lifted my shirt and he caught a whiff of my sweaty musk, he said, “Ewwww,” and climbed off my lap. There’s a weaning tip for you if you’re ready to wean and your toddler isn’t. Get all stinky and don’t shower before offering them the breast.
After my runs, I’ve been doing an excellent DVD I read about called Exhale: Core Fusion – Body Sculpt. I’d heard the video was great for people wanting to supplement a regular exercise program (like running or biking) and also for people who crave variety. I like to mix things up, and this has been perfect. The program consists of five weeks of different 20-minute workouts – six workouts for each day with one rest day incorporated into the routine. It’s challenging for someone who has taken barre classes. There was one move I physically could not do, and I’m not sure it’s because I am a complete weakling or just terribly inflexible (flexibility has never been my strong suit). The workouts also keep me from growing bored since each day includes new moves. The workouts combine yoga, pilates, and strength moves. I highly recommend it and no, I was not asked to review this DVD. I purchased it with my own moula off Amazon.
My husband and I also enjoy working out together at night when the kids are asleep. We have a mini gym set up in our basement/classroom/television room. This is when I stretch and strength train.
I’ve also discovered 8 Minute Abs and 8 Minute Arms, thanks to Hungry Runner Girl. I’ve been doing the 8 Minute Abs almost every day. We all have eight minutes to spare, right? The cheesy music and super-cool leotards keep me entertained as my abs begin to burn. I’ve only completed the 8 Minute Arms once. It’s a good arm workout that covers all the muscles, but make sure you’re using heavy enough weights to make it effective. A zebra-striped leotard may help you feel the burn more, too.
Here’s my challenge for you this week: Carve out just 8 minutes to devote to fitness every day or at least six out of the seven days this week. You can do it!
If you have a favorite, quick but effective workout, share it below, please!