Lately I've been finding myself chuckling about how I thought I knew it all when I had a 6 month old baby. Spewing out workout tips and how-to's like crazy. And then I had a toddler. And then I had 2. And what they say is true - "The older I get, the less I know".
So here's the deal: today I'm gonna give you a real peak inside my workout life.
Spoiler Alert: it's not all that productive some days.
I've learned so much in my 3.5 years of parenting (I know...basically nothing compared to be a parent for 18 years (or 32, like my mama!) but if I've learned anything, it's that every. single. kid. is different. And what worked with my oldest doesn't necessarily work with my youngest. And what works for us might not work for you. And what works for 1 probably doesn't work for 2. And really probably won't work for 4.
So take these tips in stride.
Maybe you already figured this stuff out.
Maybe you're just coming into this stage and need some ideas.
Maybe you are so much more experienced than me that you're saying "oh just wait mama".
But regardless, I thought I'd share. Maybe it will give you the motivation or some ideas just to try it. Or maybe it will just give you that warm fuzzy feeling that you're not alone in the chaos. Cuz I'm right there with you fit sista.
Tips for Working out With Kids!
1. Take it outside - I know one thing for sure: that sunshine and fresh air make everyone happier. When toddler days are tough - take it outside. Go play in the backyard or load up the stroller and get running. Hands down the best way to break a sweat and tame a tantrum.
2. Schedule it. If you make exercise a priority, it's far more likely to happen. Put it on your calendar just like doctor's appointments and play dates. Make a naptime plan or schedule a time to run with a friend.
3. Join a Mommy & Me class. These classes are just a win-win-win for everyone. Mom gets to workout, kids get to come, and you get to make friends (for mamas and littles!). Plus you don't have to think about what to do, just show up and work! Do a search in your area for a local group (I teach one here in Kingsville!)
4. Do quick circuits lots of times. When doing strength workouts with littles around, I like to do moves that involve multiple muscle groups to save time, and create little circuits that I can do multiple times. That way, if I get interrupted after 10 minutes, I didn't just do 3 sets of 15 bicep curls. Instead, I maybe made it through a round of Squat and Press, Lunge and Curl and Walking Planks. That 10 minute workout hit it all! If you get lucky and can keep going, then you can go as many rounds as possible!
5. Alternate sides often. I learned this one when I was doing some yoga at home. There was a flow that did a ton of stuff on the right side first, and then all of those things again on the left. Baby woke up from a nap 20 minutes in and I only got right side yoga that day. For a 1 hour class at your yoga studio, this is great. But when you might not make it through the whole flow, I'd rather get a few warriors on each leg before having a mini-warrior climbing on my head.
6. Wake up early. This seems to be the most fool-proof way to workout with kids. Do it while they sleep. I prefer mornings because it just makes me a happier mama all day. Set that alarm and just do it.
7. Get a running stroller. Running is personally my go-to workout with my kiddos, mostly because they are CONTAINED!! It's the one workout that doesn't involve a child hanging off of a part of my body. Bonus - after doing most of your runs with 50+ lbs of kids and strollers, your solo runs will feel AMAZING. We LOVE our Bob Revolution (single & duallie!)
8. Involve Them. This is probably the trickiest of all, but oh so rewarding. From a really young age, your kiddos can take part in your workouts and I love watching them learn to love fitness like their mama! Wear your newborn out on walks and for squats and lunges. Let your toddler do yoga on a mat next to you (and under you), have your preschooler join in on squats and help you count, do family races with your big kids. You may not get the biggest calorie burn with these workouts but the impact you are making is HUGE!
The world of social media often shows us picture perfect workout conditions. But luckily, there are lots of mamas showing the real life chaos of working out with kids. Here are a few of my virtual (and real life!) friends and their tips for you!
@audreyrunsalot getting it done with her whole gang!
Photo Credit goes to the 4 yr old. naturally.
Her Tip? Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. I don't always have a lot of time. But I have a will to get it done, a way to make it work, and two wild boys to make it fun"
Esther is a busy mama of 3 under 6 but always finds a way to stay moving!
Her Tip? Just get outside, breathe fresh air and just go, no matter how crummy you feel, getting to the trail or you "start line" is more than half the battle. Yea it sucks having to pack snacks and worry about potty breaks but just get out there and make the most of it, my little people are constantly following my lead if not physically with their eyes.
@FitasaMamaBear with her adorable little weight vest!
Her Tip? "roll with it"! Workouts rarely go as planned/smoothly. You'll stop a zillion times to read a book, bounce, and play but it's all worth it and it'll get done. Just go with the flow". My girl is always climbing on me in workouts!
Gnarly Nay getting her daily dose of Vitamin D + Exercise with her little on their bike!
Her Tip? "Working out with kids can be awesome, like when they try to do burpees next to you, and horrible, like when they turn into a crying tantrum throwing mess on your yoga mat. But overall I love it, she runs around, plays with other kids, and see mommy working out and being tough! She learns that girls can sweat and grunt and be tough! She learns that push ups aren't just for boys, and she learns the value of a group of women doing something to better themselves! All things I'm proud to show her! "
Do you workout with your kids?
Join the real life movement by hashtagging #reallifeiworkoutwithkids and comment here with your practical tips!
This post is dedicated to my first real running buddy, Amanda. She's one of those friends who you meet once and you know you're going to be best pals forever! We've gone through college graduations, weddings, half marathons and now...babies together! She's due with her first sweet baby (a girl!) later this month.
We were talking the other day about how the anticipation for labor and delivery is a lot like a big running race. There is so much preparing and build up and nerves, and then it just happens. You just do it and it's awesome. It got me on this tangent all about how running races and having babies is TOTALLY THE SAME THING. It's probably why so many moms like to run. We're just super awesome at the whole process. It's in our genes.
So, whether you're a runner thinking about having a baby, or you've had a baby and you're thinking about running your first race, just know, YOU'VE SO GOT THIS.
So....you sign up for a race. The only real difference here is that sometimes you don't exactly choose to have a baby, and I don't know of anyone who has been secretly registered for a race without their knowledge. Regardless. You take that pregnancy test, you submit your race form and BOOM - all of a sudden there's a big date circled in your calendar several months away. The countdown (and the training!) begins.
Your body hurts. From sore hips and lower back to other achy muscles, your body goes through lots of changes when you start running more mileage AND growing babies...and it usually hurts!
You're hungry ALL THE TIME. Runners call it "Runger". Preggo mamas call it eating for 2. Whatever you call it. We eat all the time. Best to keep it to lots of healthy fats and protein, but let's face it, sometimes some icecream is necessary too.
You lose sleep at night. You're exhausted from growing babies OR running miles...but somehow when your head hits the pillow you can only think about a million worries about babies and pregnancy, or where your next run route will be, or what you'll eat for breakfast...
You've gotta get ALL THE GEAR. Once you start running more, you'll find yourself addicted to finding the best gear. You need some new shoes, oh and a running water bottle, Maybe you need a new Garmin. Of course you hit the fitness section in every clothing store. And babies...duh. You need everything. You're shopping for all their gear PLUS some new stretchy waisted clothes for yourself!!
Don't forget about your core! Keeping your core strength strong throughout pregnancy is so important! It will help with back pain, and strength to deliver and recover quickly! It's equally important for runners as your core is wear your power and stability come from!
It's helpful to have a buddy. Running buddies are the best thing ever. They keep you motivated, and are someone to make those long runs feel shorter. Plus, they probably won't mind you talking about all of your sleepless running thoughts. Same thing with a pregnancy buddy. It's awesome if you can find a fellow preggo mama with a nearby due date, so you can compare notes/worries and go through all of the stages together!
You drink water constantly. It's so important to stay hydrated when you're running all the miles, and growing all the babies!! Keep a water bottle with you all the time!
You become a Pinterest addict. We all get really research-y about our coming challenges. Mamas build boards full of dream nursery's, newborn photos and what to pack in their hospital bag. Runners have all the latest speed workouts, foam rolling tutorials, post-run smoothie recipes and motivational quotes!
Race day is near and you seriously consider your ability to finish. I'm pretty sure every future mother and every racer has had AT LEAST one freak out. "How in the WORLD will I EVER be able to DO THISSSSSS?????"
Labor / Race Day
You should eat a high quality pre race meal. Of course with labor, you often won't know the day you'll end up in the hospital. With a run, it's best to always fuel up the morning of a big race! My go-to race day breakfast is a gluten free waffle with peanut butter and banana. It's no big surprise that that is also what I ate the morning of my induction for baby #2!
Your husband better be there to cheer you on. It's always amazing to have the ones you love cheering you on at the finish line of a big race. You might want all of those loved ones in your delivery room cheering you on too! Or at the very least...that husband BETTER be there. That extra boost of motivation and support is just what every racer/mama needs to push to the finish line!
You should pick a mantra. Having a positive affirmation or mantra can be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus for a race or during labor. Things like "I am strong", "My body was made for this" "or Just Breathe" are all equally great for runners OR mamas!
"My Body Was Made For This"
All you can think about is food. Maybe it's just me, but with both of my girls, all I could think about while I was in labor was how hungry I was. Likewise, usually the second half of my long races consists purely of me deciding on my post-race meal. After I had baby #1, they brought me gluten free french toast and bacon. I have to say, it may have been the best post-race meal ever!
You're pretty sure the race will never end. There's a point in the day when you're pretty sure that baby might just stay inside forever. And that finish line looks SO FAR away. But guess what?! You'll get there. That baby will arrive, the finish line will come into sight...I promise!
Delivery / The Finish Line!
All of a sudden, the finish line is in sight! You can see it! Up ahead! The crowd is cheering and just like that, you have a boost of energy and start sprinting! Or...they say..."baby is crowning...it's time to PUSH!"
That final push to the finish is always the hardest! You're already exhausted. But those final pushes and that last big sprint are always the hardest!
Side note story. When I was delivering my first daughter, my nurse midwife was actually one of the participants in a bootcamp class I had taught. She of course was loving the fact that I was the one getting my butt kicked for once, but also knew just how to coach me through the final pushes. She kept saying, "it's just like a marathon Alyssa, you're ALMOST to the finish line! Finish strong!" So apparently this blog post has been like, 3 years in the making.
You did it! You get that shiny medal/adorable baby handed to you and the last 10 months of work just slips from your memory. You can't stop looking at it and it's best to just put it right up on your chest for a couple hours. Snuggle it and wear it proudly.
Bring on the post-race pictures! You've GOT to have lots of pictures to remember this day! So many pictures of the baby, the mama, the racers, the fans, the daddy...so many pictures all the way around.
Bring on the post-race drinks! Ok maybe not RIGHT away for the mamas. But I love having a little post-race margarita later in the day, and you can bet those mamas are excited to have a drink sometime soon too after a long 9 months!
Eat ALL THE FOOD! Have I mentioned that all of this is really just about the food. Oh yeah. I think you've got that. Refuel that body! You'll need it for muscle recovery and energy!
Everything hurts. You're gonna be sore the next day. It's just inevitable. Your body just did an amazing thing!
Taking a bath feels AMAZING. Epsom Salts and oils are where it's at y'all. My post-baby baths became a weekly thing for a while and it was the best half hour of my day. It helped with healing AND stress! Runners, the same baths will feel amazing on your tired muscles!
You might need some time off. Mamas - take those 4-6 weeks before jumping back on the workout train. Let your body really recover! Did I mention it just did an amazing thing? Runners, you may need to give your body a few weeks of recovery as well. Keep moving, but maybe keep the intensity a little lower.
And then you do it again. Most likely you'll get addicted to the swag, the runners high, the adorable babies... and sign yourself up to do it all over again!
Are you a mama? A runner? Both? What comparisons did I miss?
As a special Amanda's-baby-month treat - I'm opening up just 5 of my
Baby on the Way Essentials kits for sale this month!
They are super affordable and include all of my favorite oils for pregnancy, labor
and even new baby care PLUS a diffuser and fractionated coconut oil. Literally everything you need to get started using oils.
These are all really beneficial to runners too! Imagine that!
You'll also get special access to my Oily Mama's
group and 25% off future doTERRA purchases! These will go FAST, so click the image below to order, or message me with questions or to claim yours!
This post is sponsored by EverlyWell & SweatPink. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been blessed with two amazing breastfeeding journeys. Besides some killer bites lately (ouch!) I really have nothing to complain about. I realize that this isn’t always the case for everyone, so I applaud each and every one of you who has figured out the best way for YOU to feed your little love bugs. Personally, I love knowing that breastmilk is the near perfect mix of vitamins, fats, protein and nutrients - and it's ridiculously convenient for a stay-at-home mom like myself. I ended up breastfeeding Miss Mak longer than I had expected to (17 months!) and am well on my way to hit the 1 year mark with Little Hallie. Time will tell how long we continue with her!
In both of my pregnancies and while I'm nursing, I try to pay extra attention to what I’m putting in my body. A variety of healthy foods, lots of water and a high quality daily supplement. What goes into my body goes into my girls’ bodies, so that definitely makes me want to make good choices. Plus, it’s important for me to be fueling my body well so I can continue “mommin’” the best I can! But how do we REALLY know if we are providing them all of the nutrients they need? Not everything has glaring signs of deficiency.
When I had an opportunity from EverlyWell to do a DHA test on my breastmilk, I jumped at the chance! I had never heard of breastmilk testing so I was definitely intrigued. First, I had to remind myself of what DHA was. I know I learned about it in College Nutrition 101 but I was still a little shaky on it. So, according to the awesome resources I received from EverlyWell, “DHA is a vital Omega 3 Fatty Acid for a baby’s health as they grow during their first 2 years.DHA is crucial in a child’s early development, in particular for their visual acuity and cognitive development.”
Well cool! I was definitely hoping to hear some positive results. But here’s the thing – it’s estimated that about 75% of American’s are actually deficient in DHA, so I wasn't holding my breath!
So here’s how it all works.
I was worried that I’d have to go into a lab somewhere (which was SO not happening with my 2 little ones in tow), so I was PUMPED (haha see… what I did there?!) to see that I could collect my sample at home, and actually, without even using a pump! I only needed a few drops of my first morning milk (no food or supplements yet) onto a little card. They actually mailed me everything I needed ahead of time, with really easy to follow instructions.
I collected my sample, dropped it on the card, placed it in the the provided bag, put everything back in the box and shipped it off with the free shipping label. All of the shipping was free! Then I just had to wait a week or so to receive my results via email.
Dun da dun….my levels came in at Optimal! I was actually a little surprised considering the statistics, but really overjoyed! I’m so glad my girlie is getting lots of DHA for that little brain to grow!
One thing I LOVE about EverlyWell, is that they are great at empowering you to be even healthier, rather than making you feel bad about less than optimal results. They included ideas of how to increase DHA levels like eating fatty fish, liver, eggs and microalgae. I rarely eat these things except for eggs, so I’m chalking my good levels up to high quality eggs and great DHA supplements!
Another awesome thing about this test is that my results were reviewed by a physician IN MY STATE, and can be easily shared with my own physician. FSA accounts often cover the cost of this as well. There is literally no easier “lab work” I’ve EVER done.
For those of you who are dying to try this – I’d love to share a 15% discount on this test for you! Just enter HFF15 at checkout HERE!
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
Subscribe here for the latest blog post delivered to your inbox!
I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
In order to support all of this blogging fun, affiliate links will appear on this blog from time to time. Purchasing from links on my blog provides me with a commission but will not affect your prices. I only promote products I use and love!
I really appreciate your support!