REAL Exercise for Stay-At-Home-Moms
“I don’t have time to exercise!!”
I’d be wealthy enough to afford a nanny if I had a dime for how often I have screamed this to myself, or sullenly hissed it at my husband, over the last 5 years.
“When you’re ready to commit, you’ll make time” was usually his reply. Yes, I had to keep myself from scratching his eyeballs from his head. He’s a certified personal trainer, Herbalife distributor, and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in kinesiology, so he knows that 80% of your fitness journey is mental. He KNOWS that I know how to push and train and sweat. He knows how to work in his workouts between a demanding day job and his side-hustles.
…and I know he’s right.
“There’s nothing worse than arguing with someone who’s right.” One of my favorite quotes from my favorite show, Call the Midwife (Season 3), rings so true in this situation. It’s not like I don’t know HOW to work out. I’ve been an athlete most of my life.
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Gymnastics, dance, hunting, hiking, running, cheerleading, powderpuff football—I’ve done it all!
While watching a video of my high school cheerleading team, I realized just how much my two babies have changed my body. Not only the pregnancies and breastfeeding, but the 4-6 hours a day not doing hard, physical activity, has all drastically changed my shape and ability levels!
There my 16 year-old-self was, balancing on one foot, holding the other foot behind my head, while being held 6 feet above the ground by my teammates. Dammit! I thought. “I’m just GONE! My awesomeness disappeared when I got pregnant in 2013!”
I cried angry, wet, ugly, frustrated tears after seeing that old video.
It’s taken my youngest being more self-sufficient and my oldest starting a half-day of preschool for me to “figure out” how to workout on a consistent basis. Up until now, if you’ve read my “Postpartum Health and Weight Loss series,” the primary form of exercise I’ve gotten has been walking the babies in a stroller.
It worked great after my firstborn, but didn’t have the dramatic fat-burning bliss after secondborn.
In June this year, Hubby really got into his Herbalife community. Since he’s a certified personal trainer, a local nutrition club requested him to run “Fit Camps” 30-60 minute workouts held at convenient times for working people.
On alternating nights, some of the lady distributors also started hosting “Dance Cardio” and “Dance Cardio Toning” classes.
Eager to help me “get out of the house,” as well as, get healthier and feel better about myself, Hubby made an effort to get home earlier to watch the babies, so that I could go workout and visit with other women.
It was fantastic!
I forgot how much I LOOOOOVE to dance!!
However, going 3 nights a week, quickly began putting a tax on the family—and me! Missing dinner and only seeing Hubby in passing got old quickly, plus Hubby’s work schedule really began making it tough for him to be home, so I stopped going.
My body was NOT happy about it.
Suddenly, I was always tired, quick to anger, my creativity dropped through the floor, and my clothes that had started to feel looser, suddenly started to tighten again.
Nope! This is NOT happening again!
One afternoon, after drinking a Liftoff (my favorite Herbalife product and pick-me-up for when I have a ton of things to do), I scrolled through YouTube, looking for “dance cardio” routines. Oh mama! There are plenty from which to choose! The only problem then, was working out a time to actually work out.
I tried doing my 30 minute routine while the babies were happily playing in their room. It didn’t work. My younger one was clinging to my bouncing leg, the dog was trying to jump on me, and my oldest was plugging his ears and screaming.
Finally, after trying a few different rooms and times, I’ve figured out that I can put them to bed at night (which is my preferred exercise time, but you can always do this during nap time, or *shudder* early morning, before they wake up), move a few things in my kitchen (the dog barks if she sees me working out in the living room *eye roll* and set up my iPad or phone to play the video on the counter.
I put on a sports bra and workout shorts or pants, lace up my tennis shoes, and get after it! There’s no self-consciousness of having to rewind the video to re-learn a step. There’s no embarrassment of reeeeaaally getting into the moves, and I can make myself a Rebuild Shake (with the blender in the garage to muffle the sound) right after “class” is over. No socializing or driving involved!
Can you tell I’m an introvert?
My point is, there is a way for you to work out if you want to feel better. There is a way to motivate yourself to reclaim some of that person you were before you were a mom. There is a way to figure out how to stay healthy and channel those frustrations into some booty-shakin’ club dancing-even if it’s in your dimly-lit kitchen.
I hope this motivates you to find your own routine. I’m waaay past the “postpartum” period, so my abs have “fused” back together, my youngest is only breastfeeding 3-6 times a day, and I was still in moderately decent shape. If you’ve never been an athlete, a lot of the videos have modifications, and if you are still “postpartum,” ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe before getting into dance cardio.
My primary advice for getting the most out of those 30-45 minutes?
Mimic the teacher as closely as possible!
You will burn more calories and strengthen your muscles much better and faster if you do the full plié (squat), if you do the full lunge, if you shake it like Beyoncé—every. single. time!
This video is my personal favorite. It always makes me drip sweat, then I add some ab training (V-Ups, planks, side-crunches, scissor kicks, leg lifts) and push-ups before the cool down and stretching (just pause the video).
Good luck and take care of yourself, Mama!
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