health

The reality of doing exercise when you have kids.

Image: Find the calm… somewhere… (via iStock)

After the birth of my second child, I decided to take action about my post baby belly and committed to a strict workout and nutrition plan.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the new reality of working out. Specifically, working out with a toddler.

Mia Freedman: “How I’ve kept exercising while having three kids”

In case you’re in a similar mindset, here are some things I’ve learnt about working out with young children.

1. You’ll need a sports bra

That maternity singlet with the built in bra’s not gonna cut it, I’m afraid. Unless you want to lose an eye on the upward bounce, invest in a good post baby sports bra.

I heard somewhere that exercising without adequate support can cause sagging and drooping. I had visions of my boobs resembling billiard balls in socks so I strapped the girls down the best I could.

Deflated balloon.
Remind you of something?

2. Find some workout-appropriate clothes

I know you used to have some trendy lycra and it's probably laying around somewhere in a drawer, but let's be honest; the crop top and mini shorts are probably not going to be your best friend for now. Personally, I tried on my old workout clothes and was quite surprised at the similarity I had to one of those suction-packed Christmas hams in those net bags.

For now, I'll just use one of my husband's oversized t-shirts and whack some shorts on. Who am I kidding - all of my clothes are covered in poo, vomit or food anyway.

If you don't want to spend a fortune on workout clothes, try these brands...

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3. Purchase a DVD

Set yourself up with several fitness DVDs that will enable you to work out in the lounge room. It's easy with the kids, you'll see!

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I'm sure they will happily occupy themselves while you immerse yourself in '30 minute abs'. Ideally, find one where a stranger shouts encouragement at you, to a level where you wish to punch them in the face. That's how you get results, I guess. God help Gillian Michaels if we ever cross paths, that all I'll say.

It's even easier with pets

Get the kids involved and really feel the burn while they pile on top of you during the 20 crunches you're supposed to do.  Have the remote handy to press pause 549 times to referee fights/prevent your child from eating dog kibble or sticking sharp object into power points and or smear poo on the walls. Also, as per above, beware of pets - the silent assassin.

4. Hydration

Make sure to stop for regular drinks breaks. Not for you, for the kids.

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They will no doubt pick the exact moment you accomplish a perfect downward dog to declare their thirst and commence with the high pitched squeal until you deliver the goods.

5. Be aware of your surroundings

It is highly probable that one of your children will walk in front of you just as you're about to start some high kicks. It's going to be very awkward explaining the children's black eyes to your husband when he comes home so watch your space.

Just remember, children are like little drunks and have no concept of space or timing. They will place themselves in the exact wrong spot at the wrong time and you'll never live it down.

6. Throw $30 down the toilet each week

This is what I should have done rather than signing up to the gym membership I never used. With nothing but good intentions I chose a local club and decided to attend classes three times per week.

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I then found out the first class was during morning nap, the second during the afternoon nap and the 5am time slot I had planned was usually already occupied by the baby attached to my boob.

Oh, and the creche decided to close during the hours I actually could attend. Winning.

6. Go for a walk

This is the only fitness-related activity I could manage during the early years simply because the child is restrained. If you're lucky your baby might sleep during your sweat sesh - but if not, don't worry. Pack a bag of snacks, adequate water, perhaps some toys and, if all else fails, a good pair of earphones.

How do you survive workouts when you have kids?

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