*Guest Blog Post*
How Busy Moms Can Find Time To Workout!
Tips and Tricks from Exercise Expert and Mom of Triplets
By Dana Pieper
Busy Mom…is there any other kind? As a mother of triplets, I constantly get asked, “How do you do it? Is it getting any easier?” My answer is always the same… “As one thing gets easier, something else gets harder.” This is likely true whether you have one or three at a time! Trying to juggle it all often means putting the needs of kids and family ahead of yourself. While this is an honorable choice, if we neglect ourselves long enough, we become unhappy and resentful, making us less effective as positive role models for our children.
Truth is…we deserve to treat ourselves with respect and that starts with taking care of our bodies.
As a group exercise teacher, I was sure that once my kids were born, everything would just hop back into place. I distinctly remember waking up after my c-section and asking my doctor if he forgot to take out one of the babies! A few weeks after giving birth, a store employee asked me when I was “due”–a wake-up call that getting back into shape was going to be harder than I expected. Delivery, nursing, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on ones physical and emotional well being!
I was always a healthy eater, and while I’m not a Registered Nutritionist, I can tell you that half the battle of getting myself back to where I wanted to be was dealing with eating habits. You are in charge of your household. Don’t even buy those unhealthy, easy “go-to” snacks to have in your house for you and your kids to nosh on. Fill your cabinets and refrigerator with fresh fruit, veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes), low-fat string cheese, lean deli meats, tofu, whole grain breads, oatmeal, nuts (if not allergic), non-sugared cereals and baked snacks instead of fried. This is a simple and easy change that will help you in many ways: your children will see you make these choices and they want to be “just like you,” and also you will feel energized by fueling up on nutrients that are good for you.
Now…my expertise comes in the form of exercise. If your reaction is “Yeah, right– who has that time,” my answer is, you do, if you make it and yourself a priority! You schedule your children for sports, enrichment classes, play dates and more. Now, make a schedule for yourself. If exercise is on your “to do” list, you can’t skip it–just like your daughter cannot miss ballet or gymnastics. Make dates to work out with other moms so it’s harder to put off or cancel. Give yourself rewards. If your goal is to exercise three times a week and you hit the mark, treat yourself to a manicure or that new exercise top!
If being a member of a gym is not in the cards for you, there are countless DVDs on the market that you can pop in your DVD player at any time of the day. If climate allows, you can walk or jog for at least 20 minutes to get your body moving. If you want more than 20 minutes, but that’s all you can find in your day….do that 20 minutes, and when your kids are finally asleep, try another 20 minutes. It all adds up! I sometimes like to sit and chill in front of one of my favorite TV programs after the kids are in bed. Make this time both relaxing and effective: when the commercials are on, instead of fast forwarding through them (for DVR watchers), pick a body part to focus on for each commercial break. For example:
- Break 1: abs
- Break 2: push ups
- Break 3: jumping jacks or jog in place
- Break 4: triceps dips off couch
- Break 5: arm circles
Use a small towel or t-shirt to do the following exercises to strengthen your core:
Hold the towel/shirt rolled up into a long twisting piece, one hand on each end so it’s stretched out in front of you.
1. Squat and lift your knees to your chest, alternating sides lowering your arms down on the squat and up on the knee lift, keeping that towel/shirt taut and your tummy tight. **10 repetitions on each side
2. Legs are wide in a deep plié, toes turned out. Raise your arms overhead and tip over like a teapot to the right and then left. **10 repetitions on each side
3. Take two steps to the right in a squatted position, each time twisting at waist (arms out in front of you), then two steps to the left twisting the other way. Focus on the oblique muscles in your core. **10 repetitions on each side
4. Legs wide, reach up to the ceiling and rise up onto your toes and count to 3. Immediately lower heels, bend knees, reach your arms down to the ground and try to touch the towel to the floor in 1 count. Blast back up to your toes and count to 3 again, repeating this series 10 times.
5. Set the towel down, place your hands on your couch or chair and step your feet back so you are in a pushup position. Bring your knees in one at a time. See if you can do 10 alternating knees at a slow pace, and then do 10 alternating knees at a fast pace. Do this 3 times though, resting in between if necessary.
6. Sit on the edge of your couch or chair and place your hands behind you. Lift your legs off the ground but keep them at a 90 degree angle. Maintain that 90 degree angle and try and tap your toes to the ground and then lift them back up. Attempt this 10 times.
Good luck! Also, please be sure to check out my blog for other tips and my “Move of the Week” http://every-body-fitness.com/blog/.
Contact me at http://every-body-fitness.com/contact/ and let me know how you are doing (or ask questions!) Mention BabyGizmo and I’ll pick two responses at random to receive one of my new videos: EveryBody Fitness: Total Body Conditioning and EveryBody Fitness: Cardio Kickboxing!
About the Author: Dana Pieper is a fitness leader and innovator with a history of athletic and performance success. She has been on the move since infancy, applying her love of motion to competitive gymnastics, professional dance and theater. Dana’s active lifestyle took an exciting but challenging twist when she became pregnant with triplets and found herself on hospital bed rest for 12 weeks. After the birth of Hayley, Casey and Abby, she faced the daunting task of overcoming atrophied muscles, exhaustion and limited free time to return to her prior level of fitness. She rose to the challenge, developing an extremely efficient interval training approach that combines cardio, plyometric and weightlifting moves, melting fat and dramatically sculpting muscles. Dana continues to stay in amazing shape exclusively by doing her Kickbox Challenge and Total Body Conditioning programs. She wholeheartedly enjoys motivating others and helping them reach their fitness goals. Her mantra: “If I can do it, you can do it.”