2018 Update: We still stand by these quick workouts for busy moms — but you may also want to check out our most recent discussion on the best free YouTube workouts for working moms.
I was talking with someone last week about how moms have no time for working out, so I thought I’d round up a few of the methods that I’ve found over the past few years. I still find it really, really (REALLY) hard to take the time for myself (and away from kids, my husband, my business… there always seems like a better way to spend the 20-60 minutes!), but this time around, postpartum, I’m forcing myself to take the time, both to regain my strength, be healthier for my family, exercise the crazies out, and, hey, lose some weight. I forgot how much better I feel — everywhere, in every way — when I work out, and I hope the benefit in my mood and energy, at least, helps the family. SO! Without further ado, here’s my list — readers, what do your workouts look like, post-kiddo(s) — when do you do ’em, what do you do? Moms with older kids, was there ever a magical time when you felt you suddenly had time to workout? (Oh — and I only JUST tried this, but man it made a difference: if you wake up feeling exHAUSTED, try a bit of peanut butter or almond butter before bed — it stabilizes your blood sugar or some such so you get better sleep.)
(Psst: Still pregnant? Check out our discussion on prenatal exercise…)
Quick Workouts for Busy Moms If You Seriously Don’t Have Time:
- SuperMom app. This iTunes app is actually designed to help you get a workout in when you’re caring for your baby — squats to do during bathtime, etc.
- Get Your Body Back. Six minute workouts, people! I find the instructor to be a bit grating, but I used this a lot with my first baby, when I wasn’t quite sure how long he would stay asleep, etc.
Quick Workouts for Busy Moms If You Have 10-20 Minutes
(These short videos are particularly great if you’re trying to get a bit of a cardio warmup before lifting weights. After our recent discussion on Corporette, I’ve been doing the workouts prescribed in the New Rules of Lifting for Women and am really loving them thus far — and I’ve found the time required to be around 20 minutes for the workouts.)
- 10 Minute Solution workouts. I downloaded the abs and the kick boxing one to my TiVo to have ready access, but now I’m getting into the fun that is ripping my entire DVD library for viewing via Plex. (I’m also starting to rip the various movies my preschooler gets obsessed with — so far we only use them when we’re stuck waiting somewhere like the airport, but I can see them being brilliant for dinners out too.) I particularly find the 10-minute videos helpful if you’re trying to tack more exercise onto your day, like 10 minutes at night or midday. (I used to do some of these in my office back when I was working in BigLaw!)
- Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix. There are three twenty-minute workouts on this DVD, and very little equipment needed (5 lb weights, maybe?). You need a bit of space for the “suicides” (running from one side of the room to the other), but you can always do some other high intensity cardio to substitute (jumping jacks or whatnot).
- The Firm’s Turbocharge Weight Loss. I always love The Firm workouts, and these two twenty-minute videos are no exception — they’re really great ones.
- Lindsay Brin’s Postnatal Bootcamp. I’ll be honest: I haven’t done this one, but I own it! I did some of her prenatal videos, and liked the instructor. The video is one of those build-your-own-workout kind of things — I believe the main cardio sections are 17 minutes or so.
- There are also two shorter workouts that come with two longer videos that I’ll mention also:
- Get Chisel’d (one of my favorite 40-minute workouts, also by The Firm) comes with a 15-minute cardio blast video that can be done by itself.
- The Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells DVD with Lauren Brooks (one of my favorite kettlebell workouts, also around 40 minutes for the main workout) comes with a 12-minute “full body blast” — it’s less aerobic/interval training but it gets your heart rate up there.
Quick Workouts for Busy Moms If You Have 30 Minutes:
- Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred — the classic! This is actually something like 25-30 minute videos. It gets your heart pumping, doesn’t require a ton of equipment, and can generally be done in a small space. I believe she also has one with kettlebells.
- Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training — This one isn’t aerobic but your heart rate does get up there during some of the workouts. (Since I’m doing the NROLFW workouts I’m not doing this one right now.)
- Couch to 5K — I’ve always loved Couch to 5K as a way to start running after a long absence — and I credit the program with teaching me HOW to run when I first started. The workouts take about 30 minutes, and all you need is a good pair of running shoes (ok, fine, and a good sports bra).
- Look into general HIIT training. Some of the videos mentioned above already have a version of high intensity interval training (particularly the FIRM videos and the Jillian Michaels videos), but there’s a ton of reading out there. Particularly if you’re more of a machine person (elliptical, bike), it can be a great way to maximize your workouts and get the most bang for your buck in terms of limited time.
Ladies — what are your favorite quick workouts for busy moms, whether postpartum or otherwise? How do you get your workouts in?