If you're a stay-at-home mom or dad (or even a working 'primary caregiver parent') with small children you might believe it's impossible to get really fit (and may I dare suggest 'ripped'?) with the daily challenges and time constraints that you face while caring for your youngsters.
However, there are several ways to get a great workout in within the day if you know just how to 'play' it.
Yes, New Parents! 'PLAY' is the operative word here.
Kids love to play, right? So, what's stopping you from either joining them… or better yet, having THEM join you in your workout?
Let's start with the easy suggestions. Kids love to tear around the room at the highest mach-speed they can manage right? Little bundles of energy, those tykes.
So, tear around with them. Play tag in the backyard (or in the house) or even hide and seek. You could even pull those old clunkers out from our own childhoods like 'Kick the Can' and 'Marco Polo'.
Feel free to offer up piggyback and horseyback rides. Swing on the swings, if you have them (or if you're at the playground). Just because you're the grown-up is no reason to actually ACT like one!
Merry-go-rounds need pushing… teeter-totters need riding, slides need sliding down. Your kids will LOVE it if Mom and Dad play, too.
If it's Summer, a dash or fourteen through the sprinkler will not only be refreshing and fun but gets that heart rate up quite nicely, thank you.
How about setting up a slippy-slider and the hose and having some good old fashioned slippery Summer fun in your bathing suit? Why should all the fun be left to the physically young? The young-at-heart will be more than welcome to play along.
If it's Winter, build a snowman … or better yet, a snow fort! Do you know how much kids love forts? Once you're finished building the fort you can make up some great games to play in it. Or grab the sled and head to the steepest hill. Climb up, sled down, repeat ad nauseum and tell me that's not a great bout of interval training.
And talk about the bonding session. What's better for bonding with your kids than doing what THEY love to do?
Ok, so you've had your fill of kid-oriented activities and just want to get down to some good heavy lifting but you're worried your kids will get in the way? Or, that it's not safe for them to be around the equipment?
There ARE ways to manage that.
Make your weight training session into a game. But first, make sure you either have some toy dumbbells or some VERY light dumbbells for the kids to use.
Now, its "Copy Mommy or Daddy" time. Modify that old game of 'Simon Says' that we used to play and make it into a fun session of 'copy cat'.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with handing your tykes very light or toy dumbbells to follow along with what you're up to. Have you ever seen your kids copy you when you're doing housework or working in the garage? This is second nature to kids. They love to learn and grow by copying the grown-ups.
So get to work on your routine and let them know it's "Copy Mommy or Daddy" time. Not only will they get some great exercise but they'll be so busy trying to copy you and keep up that they won't have time to think about coming closer to your heavier equipment. It won't even be a curiosity to them. They have their own set. Just like that toy vacuum cleaner, toy oven or toy wrench in their toy cabinet.
And hey, if they do decide to wander too close to the equipment, a quick reasonable explanation of 'grown-up toys and ow-ies' should do the trick. And if doesn't then offer to let them try to pick up one of your heaviest pieces. Since they won't be able to that should bore them pretty quickly.
If you want to do some good indoor cardio get them to compete with you. How many burpees can you do? How many can the kids do? Or see who can jump rope the longest out in the backyard. I bet they beat you, and that's the most fun a kid can have, when they can beat their parents at something they consider a grown-up activity.
Or you can make a game of racing to the fence then seeing who can walk back the fastest without cheating by breaking into a run (over and over and over again). There's some MORE great interval training for you.
The possibilities are endless, and you don't have to wait for the kids to be down for a nap. Involve them wherever possible and feed your energy with their energy. You'll be the fittest family on the block, not to mention the closest!