For the last two weeks I’ve been on vacation with my family, including two new moms and two new babies; one baby seven months old and one baby nine months old.
Now, for those of you who don’t have kids, babies this age are pretty awesome. But they are needy, with a capital N. Which means that as a mom or dad you’re pretty much giving care non-stop. Even when the babies are sleeping.
“Free time” – it’s a luxury. And getting to a gym that doesn’t provide daycare services – it’s a pipe dream.
But here’s the thing. Gyms aren’t actually required for a great workout. Neither is baby-free quiet time.
In fact, during this trip, we’ve worked out every single day. And in today’s article I’d like to show you how we did it with minimal time and no gym access.
One example workout day
One random weekday during our vacation, we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. It was early and the temperature was perfect.
So, after breakfast, we grabbed the strollers and the babies, and we made up the following workout.
So, as you can see from the sequence above, the busy moms just got out there and had some fun with exercise.
They pushed the strollers. They used their body weight. They lifted the babies for added resistance. (I even jumped in on the exercise too, after I snapped each picture).
There wasn’t a “workout program” or a specific sequence of movements with a pre-defined number of sets and reps. There was just movement. Some upper body moves. Some lower body moves. Some core moves. Until you’re pooped out.
Truly, it was a lot of fun. It was also a lot of hard work. But the entire workout took only 20 minutes. And all 3 of us adults, who are in pretty good shape already, were a little sore the next day.
Another workout day
If you’re a person who either needs a little structure (or doesn’t quite know which moves you should be doing), here’s another workout plan we used for the days when the weather wasn’t great or when we just felt like doing something simple at the condo.
This workout also takes 20 minutes or less. And no matter how good your conditioning is, it’ll prove a challenge if your form is good and you concentrate on really squeezing your muscles.
Dynamic warm-Up (3-5 minutes)
For the warm-up, we chose 5 or 6 dynamic stretches, mostly yoga moves that concentrate on each of our tight areas, and went through a circuit or two of these movements. The total warm-up duration is about 3-5 minutes. And usually the babies just watch in awe.
Workout sequence (10 minutes)
Air Squats x 20 reps
Push-Ups x 20 reps
Hip Bridges x 20 reps
Partner Assisted Seated Row with towel x 20 reps
One-Leg Deadlift x 10 reps per leg
TVA Stomach Exercise (above) x 10 reps
Repeat 2 more times (for 3 total rounds) with no rest between exercises
But can’t I just go for a walk?
Sure you can. And during our vacation we did go for a lot of walks with the babies. We even did quite a bit of swimming in the pool and in the ocean.
However, here’s the honest truth. Low intensity activity like walking, jogging, swimming, etc. – while better than nothing – just isn’t enough.
To look and feel your best you need both calorie-burning cardio exercise AND muscle preserving resistance exercise. So that’s why we included walking, swimming, and the resistance-based exercises above.
And here’s another important piece of advice.
If you’re even more time-crunched than we’ve been, skip the cardio stuff in favor of resistance exercise. When time is limited, the resistance exercises covered in this article are much more effective than cardio exercises.
The real lesson: Keep it simple
I think one of the reasons people skip workouts – when traveling, when on vacation, or even when they have a new baby at home – is that they think working out has to be this big event.
They think you need lots of time, the right clothes, the right equipment, and the perfect workout program. Well, frankly, that’s bullshit.
Sure, my regular workouts – which take me about an hour or so to complete – are performed at a gym. I do wear some nice workout wear. And I do follow training guidelines from one of my coaches. (The moms in this article are the same. They normally do longer workouts planned for them by their coaches).
However, when we don’t have the luxury of a gym, or even time, we don’t bail on the whole thing, “all-or-nothing” style. Instead, we subscribe to the “always something” philosophy.
We keep it simple and do the best we can. And here’s the funny thing. The best we can is usually good enough.
Eat, move, and live… better.
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