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 may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

6 GYM-FREE WAYS FOR BUSY MOMS TO FIT IN A QUICK WORKOUT

Some days just taking a shower marks a major accomplishment, never mind actually working out.  And gym memberships with excellent daycare can be really pricey.

So how do you fit in a gym-free workout when you can’t even find the time to put on real clothes?

MOTHERHOOD MAKES WORKING OUT REALLY DIFFICULT

While the internet is full of super fit moms who claim that being a busy mom is no excuse to workout, the fact remains that it’s genuinely tough.

When trainer Jillian Michaels became a mom, she issued an apology to moms for being so hard on them about not making working out a priority.

“Parenting is not for sissies,” she said.

I had just become a mom and found these words so incredibly validating. I had spent the previous 14 years (since I was 15) exercising several time a week. I spent years working out in gyms several times a week and had run several half marathons and even a couple full marathons.

Though I was dropping my gym membership, I bought P90X and a nice running stroller. I was sure I’d continue to exercise all the time. I mean, it can’t be that hard to do, right?!?

Wrong.

Motherhood threw me for a loop. My body and my time was not my own any more. So it forced me to get creative with how I could fit in a workout.

And pretty soon, I found myself pregnant with my third child, mother to a 1 and 2 year old. AND working full-time. It was full-blown nuts.

And surprise, surprise: I rarely worked out. For the first time since I was 16 years old, I completely stopped working out.

AND I FELT TERRIBLE.

After my 3rd daughter was born, I vowed that I would never let that happen again. Still without a gym membership, I needed to get creative and be determined. 

And I’ve worked out at least 3-4 days a week ever since!

I know all about having to look in the margins of my day to find space for a good sweat. And I’ll tell ya what: with a little determination and a lot of flexibility, even the busiest mom can fit in a daily workout.

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

 Luckily, with a little creativity you can fit in a daily workout despite your chaotic mom life. A regular workout is totally possible. Even with a bunch of little kids.

BUT FIRST, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING…

Okay, I’m going to give it to your straight: No matter how genius the advice, it all means nothing if you aren’t willing to put in the work.

Is it easy to workout regularly with little kids? Nope! It takes serious planning and dedication. 

But if you first decide that no matter what you are committed to working out and making changes to your health, the changes will happen. If you keep getting up each time you fall, you will get there. 

I promise.

That’s how I lost serious weight after having 4 kids in less than 5 years (check out my story here). 

So before you make any plans, first decide that you will do what it takes and not give up.

Once you’ve determined that your health is important and you want to reap the amazing benefits of regular exercise, you’re ready to find ways to fit in a quick workout!

Here’s what you can do:

1) WAKE-UP BEFORE YOUR KIDS

I know, girl. You are perpetually tired. This seems impossible. I’ve been there.

But trust me on this. 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 check out these 9 tips for waking up early.)

If your husband is home, you can go for a run. If you have to stay home, there are a million at-home workouts on instagram and Pinterest. Or there are a bunch of awesome workout videos out there.

T25 is definitely my favorite. A fun and killer workout in just 25 minutes? Yes please!!!

2) GET A RUNNING STROLLER

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).

Here are a few ways I use the running stroller to fit in runs:

  • End the run at a park: This definitely sweetens the deal for my kids. I stretch and they play.
  • Run to park playdates: I’ll just leave 20-30 minutes before we’re meeting friends at the park and get in a quick run.
  • Literally “run” close errands: I’ll sometimes run to a nearby store for quick errands. I just use my stroller as my cart. I get stares, but 99% sure that is because I am dripping sweat.

Oh man, the possibilites are endless with a running stroller!

 

6 ways for busy moms to fit in a quick workout at home

 

3) DO IT WHILE THEY EAT 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 busy moms who want an amazing workout in less than 30 minutes.

You can do a workout video, a quick bodyweight circuit, or invest in some weights and do a weighted circuit. Check out my Pinterest Board full of at-home workout ideas.

4) USE NAP-TIME

I know that nap time is sacred. It’s the time to jump on your smartphone and decompress.

But if you can quickly get in a 30 minute workout in at the start, you’ll have the rest of the nap to catch up on Instagram, watch The Bachelor, or clean your kitchen.

You know you will be so much happier once you’ve exercised.

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. I’ll throw in squats, lunges, and tossing my kids around and it’ll definitely break a sweat.

Make it a cleaning dance party and not only will you burn calories and bond with your kids, but your house will end up cleaner. It’s trifecta of awesome.

6) WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS: ENLIST DAD’S HELP!

If you couldn’t wake up early and then spent the rest of the day simply trying to keep everyone alive, then you need a plan z.  

When dad gets home, he needs to take over for a half hour 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.

YOU CAN DO IT!

You are a busy mama. But you definitely CAN fit in a daily workout without a gym membership. With motivation, planning, and about 20 minutes you can feel the burn and lift your mood. You deserve health. 

You’ve got this, mama!

 

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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

*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.

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

You want more time, less cleaning, healthier meals, and to spend less money. SO meal prep is basically your golden ticket.

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.

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.

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.

Easy meal prep for beginners

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.

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 want to do, it’s good to pick a day when you can block out a couple hours for meal prep and clean up.

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

This 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.

Only buy as much as you need (to eliminate food waste).

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 lunches to go in the fridge, I love these glass containers. They store well, and you can heat them right up in the microwave without worrying about BPA and all that nasty stuff. .
  • Freezer bags are perfect for spaghetti sauce and chicken in marinades.
  • 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.

For food safety, be sure to let everything cool before going in the fridge or freezer.

6) Put meals in freezer

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 and it’s super annoying.  If you have the space, don’t stack them until after they’re frozen.

When making something in individual pieces (like muffins or meatballs), you can flash freeze them on cookies sheets. When you put them in gallon freezer bags, they won’t stick together.

7) Clean up

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!

And now, 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. With just a little planning and prepartaion, you can save time, money, and clean up by getting started with meal prep.

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

Sometimes you just want to feel smart again. Like your brain is capable of doing something other than memorizing all the words to the children’s movie your kids are currently obsessed with.

Your life may seem like and endless cycle of changing diapers, dealing with tantrums, preparing meals, and chauffeuring. And of course, the endless messes and laundry.

You love your life as a mom, but you crave mental stimulation. Well my friend, you need podcasts in your life. And these 7 podcasts are the PERFECT way to remedy this feeling. 

 

podcasts for moms

 7 AMAZING PODCASTS TO FEEL SMART AGAIN 

1) Freakonomics

This is one of my all-time favs. You learn about about basically everything in a super captivating and entertaining way.

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 any given episode. This is one of my favorite episodes.

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 (of course I may be biased as a history teacher).

This show highlights super interesting (though often overlooked) 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, a bestselling author, and my spirit animal.

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.

7 Amazing Podcasts for Moms Who Miss Learning

4) Hidden Brain

If you’re interested in psychology and human behavior, this one is for you. It’s so fascinating.

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 from sheer happiness.

He sucks you in with very compelling stories and then leaves you thinking for days. I recommend starting with season 1, but I’ve never heard him more eloquent then when he waxes on about the McDonald’s french fry of his youth. It’s brilliant.

6) This American Life

This American Life is a classic. This radio show has been going for ages and now you can get any episode you want on the podcast.

It’s full of entertaining and engaging stories all on a related theme. You’re going to love it. It always sucks me in and helps me see 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 stories about the human experience in a way that is fascinating. Trust me, you don’t need to love science to find this totally interesting.

The hosts are warm and are amazing at explaining complicated things in a way that makes total sense. 

So Pick a Podcast & Get listening!

Ready to ditch “mom brain” and feel smart again? Pick one of the podcasts and listen while you are cleaning, exercising, driving or whatever. Comment below and let me know what you think!

 

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

As I prepared for the birth of my first child, I was bound and determined to breastfeed. I read everything I could and I just knew that I would avoid all the trouble that others had.

Boy, was I wrong. Even amid 22 hours or labor and an emergency c-section, the greatest challenge I encountered was trying to breastfeed my baby. Six weeks of tears and bleeding nipples followed before the pain stopped.

Had I not been so intensely stubborn, I would have started to use formula. But I just couldn’t give up. 

At one point of intense middle-of-the-night delirium, my husband actually begged me to stop. It was miserable. How could something so natural be so insanely hard?!? 

But when I had my second child the following year, I was determined to escape the weeks of misery. And I did. I went on to successfully nurse 3 more babies (for a total of 3.5 years and counting).   

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be as awful as it was for me those first 6 week. In fact, it absolutely shouldn’t be.

Learn from my mistakes and set yourself up for breastfeeding success as early as you possibly can. It will help eliminate a lot of the frustration and increase your chances of nursing as long as you desire. 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, and stock up on diapers.

But how can you really prepare to breastfeed a brand new baby? What can you do to set yourself up for success? Here are my best tips after breastfeeding 4 children:

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. I didn’t bring it until my 4th baby. (I may be a slow learner.)

But the minute your sweetie is born, you’re going to start nursing. And you want to be surrounded by the tools you need.

 Note: Make sure you buy at least 1 waterproof protective cover for the pillow AND your normal covers. That thing is gonna get seriously messy.

2.) Ask for LOTS of help

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. When ANYTHING pops up, ask for help. 

If you feel that the lactation consultant isn’t helpful, get another one or find a nurse who is helpful. Many nurses are absolute treasure troves of breastfeeding knowledge!

With my first baby, I asked for the lactation to come to my hospital room. She made me feel stupid, so even though I was struggling, I didn’t want to ask her back. And then I struggled for the next 6 weeks looking every video and tutorial I could find to no avail.

With any number 2, I had an amazing nurse (the daughter of a lactation consultant) who was uh-mazing. She was so helpful and patient and taught me so many little tricks. She’d pop in during every shift (even when she wasn’t assigned to me). I experienced no pain nursing any #2!

On baby #3, I struggled again. Little did I know, she had a serious tongue tie. But again, I asked for help. And the lactation consultant sent to my room didn’t help. So I asked for another, who ended up being the mother of my old nurse!

So even with the tongue-tie, with the help of a great lactation consultant, I figured it out.

6 Essential Breastfeeding Tips

6 tips for breastfeeding success

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.

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.

And once you learn the ropes, be sure that you then help someone else as they learn to breastfeed.

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

I’m going to take flak for this, but it’s true. A little formula will not derail your breastfeeding endeavors.

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!). A few ounces of formula isn’t going to be the end of the world.

However, 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. I didn’t get breastfeeding clothes til baby number 4 and it was a different world. Breastfeeding was sooooo much easier. For more on breastfeeding clothes, check out my guide here

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.  

When I had extremely sore nipple, pumping gave them a break while still getting milk to my baby.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, but plan to be able to leave your child for a couple of hours, a single pump will do the job. 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, the Medela Pump in Style is awesome.

I’ve cooked dinners, graded papers, and even done squats–all while pumping. You wear a pumping bra 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. 

Remember, 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.