6 Gym-Free Ways for Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout

6 Gym-Free Ways for Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout

6 Gym-Free Ways for Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout

 

*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission).  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

For busy moms, just taking a shower marks a major accomplishment some days. Our lives are crazy and chaotic, despite the plans and schedules. And gym memberships with excellent daycare can be really pricey. So how do we fit in a gym-free workout when we can’t even put on real clothes? There are a lot of ways to fit in quick workout even while being a super busy mom–it just takes a little planning. 

Why Workout?

Working out–even for 20-30 minutes a few times a week–is like a miracle drug for mamas. It will basically improve every area of your life. Exercise gives you more energy, makes you happier, helps your weight, skin, brain, sleep quality, and love life. And the great thing is that you don’t need to workout for hours to take advantage of all these amazing benefits. With just 20-30 minutes of a solid workout a few days a week, you are going to see results. Schedule the days you want to workout in advance (planning ahead increases your chance of following through) and decide when you will workout. So where can you sneak in a workout?

No time to workout? No problem! Here are 6 ways even the busiest mom can fit in a quick workout at home.

6 Gym-Free Ways for Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout

 

1) Wake-up Before your kids

I know, mama. You are perpetually tired. This seems impossible. I’ve been there. But trust me–working out before your kids wake up will be like giving yourself a gift every day. Breakfasts will be calmer and happier if mama has gotten her sweat on. For tips on waking up early (even if you are NOT a morning person) check out my post here

This is the absolute easiest way to fit in a quick workout–and it’s the best way to start your day! You don’t have to stress out while trying to juggle your kids and hope they stay occupied for 20 minutes to fit in some sweat time. If you could just get up 20-30 minutes before you normally do, you can fit in a quick body-weight circuit, workout video (T25 is my favorite), or run (if dad is still home) before the mini-humans are ready to rumble. While I tend to do a lot in the mornings before my kids wake up, the most important thing I do–hands down–is work out.

2) Get a Running Stroller & Make it A Family Event

My kids LOVE going on runs with me. Investing in a running stroller was well worth it. We load up the double BOB stroller with kids, a couple toys and snacks, and I can usually get in a quick 30 minute run without any problems (I’ll add intervals to make it more intense).

And if there’s time in our schedule, I like to end at a park near our home so they get to run around and play while I stretch. Sometimes I schedule park play dates for just after runs to help motivate me. I just leave 20-30 minutes earlier to get in a run! As for running strollers, there are several great options depending on your budget. I highly recommend the BOB stroller, but it is a bit pricey (at least for me it was!). If you have the funds, it is beyond amazing and 100% worth it if you want to run or walk with your kids.

3) Do it while they’re eating breakfast

If I don’t wake up before my kids, for whatever reason, this is my go-to backup plan. While they are eating, I’ll throw on a T25 workout and get my sweat on for 25 minutes. It is the perfect workout for bust moms who want an amazing workout in less than 30 minutes. If I have to stop and help them with something (let’s be honest–basically every single workout), I just pause, meet their needs, and get back to it. Once they’re done, they often join me so that they “can get stronger too.” While I am hopping over them sometimes, it’s just an added workout. I love it! You can do a workout video, a quick bodyweight circuit, or invest in some weights and do a weighted circuit (Pinterest is full of great ideas).

4) Use Nap-time

I know that nap time is sacred. But if you can quickly get in a 30 minute workout in at the start, you’ll have the rest of the nap to enjoy while you fee like a million bucks because you raised your endorphins. You will be so much happier once you’ve exercised. Physical Kitchness has awesome workouts geared towards busy moms.

5) Have a Dance Party

This is a great way to sneak in a quick workout while having a blast with your kids. Using iTunes on my cellphone, I’ll pair it with my portable bluetooth speaker  and we can have a dance party anywhere in the house. My kids love to put on fun music and dance! Sometimes we’ll even add in some quick cleaning as we dance. All it takes is promising them a quarter and they go into turbo cleaning mode. So the house gets clean, I burn calories cleaning and dancing, and my kids are with me every step of the way. It’s trifecta of awesome.

6) When All Else Fails–Workout once dad is home!

If you couldn’t wake up, breakfast was insane, and there was no time to muster the energy to workout any other time, use dad when he gets home from work. If it didn’t happen earlier, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve got a lot on your plate. But you deserve health so DON’T give up! When dad gets home, he needs to take over for a bit so mama can have some alone time and recharge her batteries. Go for a run/walk and get your heart rate up. You’ll be refreshed and ready to handle the crazy when you get back.

My Favorite Resources (from suggestions above)

Start TODAY!

Pick what works best for you and get started now. Just do it. If you are doing a video in the privacy of your own home, you don’t even have to put on workout clothes. Just do it in your underwear! The bottom line is just start now. I’ve never been like, “Wow, I’m so bummed I just did that workout”. Instead, it’s like “Ohmygosh, I am so HAPPY I just did that workout cause I feel fantastic”! If you make the commitment to fit in a workout, you can do it. You’ve got this mama. Write down your goals and your plan, and get ready to reap the benefits of regular exercise! SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

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The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

 

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small comission). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Basically, no matter what you’ve got going on, if you want more time, less cleaning, healthier meals, and to spend less money–then meal prep is absolutely for you. But it can get overwhelming trying to figure out how exactly to start prepping meals ahead of time, especially if you haven’t done much of it in the past. Well, sit tight and stop worrying because meal prep is EASY and will save you so much time and hassle while helping you eat healthier.

 

A while back, I realized that we were spending, on average, $219 a month on fast food and take-out. I was floored because I did not feel like we ate out that much. But then I thought more about it.  With 4 little kids and a very busy life, it was so easy to roll into Chick-fil-a for lunch as opposed to taking time and making a mess in the kitchen preparing a meal. And on nights I had to teach, it was so easy to just have my husband pick up take-out on his way home since I was busy taking care of the girls and prepping my class. I’ve always done meal prep, but it was time to up my game and do it simply and weekly.

 

Want to start prepping meals in advance, but not quite sure how to start? Here's a simple meal prep guide that will help you start saving time right away.

 

 

Why Meal Prep?

 

Meal prep is amazing:

 

  • it saves so much time because you only have one time for chopping and preparing all the food and one time cleaning up the mess.
  • It’s healthier than takeout.
  • It will save you money. On busy days, you can simply pop something out of the freezer instead of sliding through a drive through. Y
  • It can be incredibly simple and just take minutes.

 

Meal prep can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Some people will spend hours making dozens of meals at once while others do it on a much smaller scale yet still reap so many benefits. I’m all about maximum efficiency so I like quick and simple. You can prep your lunches for the week and have them in containers in the fridge (these mason jar salads are a personal favorite). Or you can make a dozen lasagnas and have them in the freezer. If you are busy, you don’t have time NOT to do meal prep.

 

 

 

GETTING STARTED WITH MEAL PREP

 

 

 

1) Pick out a couple meals that you you want to prep in advance.

 

The sky is the limit with which meals you can start with, but it’s best to start with meals you already make and you know your family likes. If you are at a loss, 2 super easy places to start are spaghetti sauce and marinated chicken breasts in quart bags to go in the freezer (these marinades are amazing–I have made them all). Both are easy and you you can make a ton without too much effort. If you haven’t done much meal prep or are short on time, I’d stick to maybe 2 things max.

Here are some amazing (and super easy) make-ahead breakfast recipes that my family lives on. 

 

2) Pick out a day of the week to do your meal prep

 

Depending on what you plan to do, it’s good to have a couple hours blocked out for meal prep and clean up. I tend to make a bunch of stuff at once and so I am racing around the kitchen for 3 hours, but then at the end, I have 10 dinners for my family, a bunch of pizza rolls, and like 60 protein muffins for breakfasts and snacks.

 

3) Make list of the ingredients you need & do the shopping

 

With 4 kids 5 and under I only go shopping once a week, so planning ahead is crucial. There is nothing worse than settling in for a nice meal prep session and realizing that you are 1 or 2 items short. Take the recipes that you want to make and decide how many meals you are looking to have on hand. If you want to a 5 meals, make sure you multiply all your ingredients by 5. Unless you use the ingredients all the time, only buy as much as you need. I find that meal prep helps me eliminate food waste. I get a bunch of veggies, chop them all, and use them immediately.

 

4) Be sure you have the appropriate containers

 

You’ll pick your containers depending on what you are trying to do. If I’m prepping meals to go in the fridge, I love these glass containers since they store well, and you can heat them right up in the microwave without worrying about BPA and all that nasty stuff. If it’s a sauce or chicken in a marinade, I just use quart freezer bags. These little guys are amazing for helping fill the freezer bags without awkward spills. I use these aluminum foil dishes for lasagna and enchiladas and I used to use these smaller foil dishes with lids when our family was smaller. Make sure you label everything–preferably before you fill it with food.

 

5) Prep your meal

 

It’s magic time! Stick on some great music, a podcast, or whatever strikes your fancy and follow your recipes. The more recipes you try at once, the trickier it gets. However, with practice meal prep will become more efficient and easier. For food safety, be sure to let everything cool before going in the fridge or freezer.

 

6) Put meals away & clean up

 

If using quart freezer bags for sauces, soups, or chicken, be sure to lay them flat when you put them in the freezer. Otherwise, they can get stuck to things as they freeze. If you have the space, don’t stack them until after they’re frozen. When making something in individual pieces (like muffins), flash freeze them on cookies sheets. When you put them in gallon freezer bags, they won’t stick together.

 

I try to clean up as I go along. The great beauty of meal prep is that you have just one clean up session for all the meals you make. This is probably my favorite aspect of meal prep!

 

7) Celebrate because you are on top of it mama!

 

There is something so satisfying about seeing a bunch of meals on your counter or in your freezer. There’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, plus peace of mind knowing that you’ve got a stock of meals for your family.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Amazing Podcasts For Moms Who Miss Learning

7 Amazing Podcasts For Moms Who Miss Learning

7 Amazing Podcasts For Moms Who Miss Learning

As moms, it can be easy to feel shut off from learning and personal enrichment. With repeating days of changing diapers, preparing meals, chauffeuring, and endless messes and laundry, sometimes we just crave adult interaction and mental stimulation. One friend just recently lamented “I just don’t feel smart anymore!” Well my friend, podcasts are the PERFECT way to remedy this without taking any time out of your already busy day. In fact, podcasts can even make you want to do things like fold laundry and deep clean your kitchen. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

 

You Can Learn About ANYTHING With Free Podcasts

Using your smartphone’s podcast app, you can access literally thousands and thousands of free podcasts about literally anything that you can think of. If you don’t already listen to them, I’m sure you’e heard people talking about them. I was playing with my iphone a few years ago, deleting unused apps when I decided to figure out what the podcast app was all about. In exploring, I found a bunch of podcasts that looked super interesting and I couldn’t believe that I could just subscribe and download whatever I wanted FOR FREE. It was better than Christmas, for this nerdy mama. Goodbye paying for audiobooks to listen to on runs! Instead, I can learn about, oh everything.

podcasts for moms

How to Listen

So where are you going to find time to listen to podcasts? While you are doing stuff you already have to do! It makes mundane tasks enriching and enjoyable. I listen in my car using bluetooth as I drop my kids at school or run to the grocery store. I plug in headphones and listen while running or at the gym every morning. At home, I use an inexpensive bluetooth speaker(affiliate link)  and I listen while cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms–whatever. Here’s the miracle: with podcasts, I actually look forward to folding laundry. Folding laundry, one of the worst things in the world, is made pleasant by the sweet sounds of entertainment and learning emanating from your phone.

As I said, there literally thousands and thousands of podcasts. But here are some amazing ones to get started with if you are a mama who misses learning and wants to fir up the ol’ noggin to something more than contemplating the plot on Sofia the First (something I actually do fairly often).

 

 7 Amazing Podcast to Listen to Now

 

1) Freakonomics

This is one of my all-time favorite podcasts, hands down. This is a great podcast for moms. You learn about about basically everything in a super captivating and entertaining way. I especially like that many episodes are dedicated to personal growth and development. Listening to this actually improves my life and helps me be more efficient. You may have heard of or read the book Freakonomics written by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner (if not, it’s fantastic). Dubner hosts this podcast and he is absolutely delightful. You will feel 10x smarter after listening to this podcast. This is one of my favorites.

2) Stuff You Missed in History Class

As the title suggests, this podcast is about history. Before you say “But history is boring!” just remember that history isn’t boring– your history teacher was boring. History is super fascinating. This show highlights super interesting stories from the past and delivers it in short and engaging episodes. I burned through about a dozen painting a bathroom recently. This is one of my favorite stories they covered from the French Revolution.

3) Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is a happiness guru, is a bestselling author, and like a cool breeze on a warm day.  This podcast, as the name suggests, is full of practical and actionable steps to lead towards greater happiness. And it’s packages in short little episodes. I love it! Want to learn way to be happier and more productive? This one is for you. This recent episode really changed my perspective.

4) Hidden Brain

If you like psychology or understanding human behavior, this one is for you. This one always gives me a lots of food for thought. It basically helps you understand the world and human actions better. If you struggle to keep your house clean, you may like this one: Why Disorder May Be Good For Us.

5) Revisionist History

I love Malcom Gladwell. Reading his books always makes me feel smarter. When I found out he was starting a podcast, my nerd heart almost burst. He sucks you in with very compelling stories and then leaves you thinking and ready to share your new knowledge with a friend. I recommend starting with season 1. It’s brilliant.

6) This American Life

This is a classic. This radio show has been going for ages and now you can get any episode on the podcast. Delightful human stories, deeply engaging content all on a related theme–you’re going to love this if you haven’t listened already. Always different, and it always sucks me in and makes me se the world a little bit differently. Trying to pick a favorite episode is liking trying to pick a favorite pastry in a French bakery–it’s impossible. You can’t go wrong with any of the episodes here.

7) Radio Lab

I wouldn’t call myself a science buff, but this podcast weaves science and very human stories in a way that is both fascinating and totally engaging. Trust me, you don’t need to have an interest in science to find this totally interesting. The hosts are warm and are amazing at explaining complicated things in a way that makes total sense and leaves the listener feeling much smarter.

Nerd Bonus: RadioLab Presents More Perfect

Okay, I love Supreme Court history, but before you roll your eyes and dismiss me as weird, you should realize that the US Supreme Court has had a massive impact on our country, for good and ill. This podcast explores the history of some of the most pivotal cases. Here’s one of my favorites.

 

So Pick a Podcast & Get listening!

So which podcast seems the most appealing? Pick one and give it a try while you are cleaning, exercising, driving or whatever. Comment below and let me know what you think!

 

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6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

 

Breastfeeding is hard. Magical, beautiful, bonding, and–for many moms, including myself–really, really hard when first starting out. In fact, only about 60% of moms who start breastfeeding actually continue for 6 months or more. Many moms want to continue, but it becomes overwhelming. While you should expect some difficulty at the start, setting yourself up for breastfeeding success as early as you possibly can will help eliminate a lot of the frustration and increase your chances of nursing as long as you want to with both you and your baby reaping the benefits.

 

But the tricky thing about breastfeeding is it’s not something you can really practice until game day.  You can decorate a nursery, buy all the baby clothes, stock up on diapers, and even practice soothing and diapering other babies. But how can you really prepare to breastfeed a brand new baby? What can you do to set yourself up for success? You can watch a million videos about the correct latch (and you should--here’s a great one), but until you are with your brand-new baby, it will be minimally helpful.

6 tips for breastfeeding success

 

My Experience

 

Honestly, breastfeeding my 4 children has been one of the sweetest, most rewarding, bonding experiences of motherhood.  But it was the absolute hardest thing that I experienced as a new mom–more difficult than 24 hours of hospital labor followed by an emergency c-section.

 

After well over 3 years combined of nursing (including nursing a baby with an undetected tongue tie), here is what I wish I knew from the start:

 

Here’s my Top 6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

 

1.) Bring your nursing pillow to the hospital/birthing center. 

 

This may seem obvious, but in the rush to get to the hospital, many moms don’t think about the nursing pillow. I certainly didn’t. But when you baby is first born, the nurses are going to immediately help you start nursing. This is the beginning of your relationship with nursing and you will be surrounded by help.

You want to be surrounded by the tools you need.

If you have your nursing pillow with you, they can help you figure out exactly how you can use it instead of starting when you get home and are in a bewildered daze wondering why they even let you leave the hospital with this new baby. Note: Make sure you buy at least 1 waterproof protective cover for the pillow AND your normal covers.

 

2.) Use the lactation consultant at the hospital/birthing center.

 

If you are afraid to ask for help, you need to get over that right now. Use the lactation consultant and all the nurses to ask question after question, and get as much latching help from the get-go. If you feel that the lactation consultant isn’t helpful, get another one if available or find a nurse who is helpful. Many nurses are absolute treasure troves of breastfeeding knowledge!

 

3.) Have a support system in place. 

 

This is one of the most overlooked resources in this world of do-it-yourselfers, but is probably THE most important key to success. I’ve seen some advice given to hire a lactation consultant before you even have the baby.

But who can afford that!?!

For thousands and thousands of years, people successfully breastfed without having to hire in-home help. What people have had, historically, is a knowledgeable breastfeeding support system. There is a good chance you have experienced breastfeeders in your circle somewhere.

I highly encourage you to read this article about research done in communities with high breastfeeding success rates. Women around the world have the same struggles, but the most successful breastfeeding societies have strong breastfeeding support systems.

Consider asking relatives, friends, or close neighbors  if they’d be willing to help once the baby comes. The vast majority of experienced breastfeeders would be downright thrilled to help you out. Heck, email me if you need help! If you are feeling modest, I’m telling you–after labor, you won’t care who sees your ta-tas.

 

 

4.) Don’t stress out about a little formula supplementation.

 

If you’ve done much breastfeeding research, you’ve probably heard that supplementing with formula will affect your supply. And it certainly will–if you do it regularly. But let’s say you are in so much pain from a bad latch and are basically delirious from pain and lack of sleep (been there!). One bottle of formula isn’t going to be the end of the world. But it may give you the chance to get sleep, give your nipples a break, and try again a bit later with a little more sanity at your disposal. You can have breastfeeding success with a little formula.

 

 

5.) Buy nursing clothes.

 

Perhaps you’ve already looked, but they seemed pricey. It’s worth it, trust me. You’ll thank me later when you can breastfeed discretely and with ease in a public place as opposed to pulling your dress over your head in a nasty public bathroom stall or your car. I cannot tell you how much this completely changed my breastfeeding experience. This makes breastfeeding so much more convenient. Remember, it’s all about removing obstacles to breastfeeding success.

With my first 3 kids, I relied on deep-v t-shirts, button up tops, and nursing bras to pop ’em out easily, but it got tricky when I needed to wear something less casual. For my 4th child, however, I decided to invest in some actual nursing clothes and I cannot believe how much easier it is.  Nursing clothes make nursing quick and discreet since usually the top of your breast is covered . My children never tolerated nursing covers, so I felt so much more comfortable nursing in public spaces in nursing clothes without giving anyone a show. This Undercover Mama dress is my absolute favorite. Super comfy and it snaps right into your bra so it is so insanely convenient to quickly nurse anywhere.

 

 

6.) Get a suitable pump. 

 

Not everyone needs a pump, but you don’t need to be a working mom to find incredible value in a good pump.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, but plan to be able to leave your child for a couple of hours, the medela swing is perfect. I loved it until I started working part-time. If you plan on working or being away for 3 or more hours regularly, or you are not comfortable breastfeeding in public and want to bring bottles, I cannot rave enough about the Medela Pump on the Go. I’ve cooked dinners, graded papers, and even done squats all while pumping. You wear a pumping bra (I like this one) and can pump both sides, hands-free. It’s awesome! I feel like if I had gotten a double pump with my 1st two kids (I didn’t get it until #3) I would have been able to nurse them longer.

 

And Above All: Be kind to yourself, mama. 

 

Breastfeeding is not a stick to measure yourself up to anyone else. Your mental and physical health is the most important thing you can offer your new baby, not breastmilk. Do the best you can, and love yourself. You created human life. That’s pretty amazing, mama.

 

I wish you great breastfeeding success! May the milk freely flow and the nipples be pain free.

 

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