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7 Surprising Ways to Find Time for a Parent Workout Every Day

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Parent workout

Having kids means experiencing the unbridled joy of forced insomnia, an overwhelming daily to-do list, an underwhelming amount of time to do it in and an endless treasure trove of cheerios in the cracks of your backseat. It also means loving someone more than you ever thought humanly possible which makes it all worth it. Eventually… it’s what I’ve been told. Being a parent also means it can be near impossible to find the time to take care of yourself. You’re too busy putting everyone and everything else first to shine the proper spotlight on yourself. As long as everyone else is taken care of, then all is well! At least that’s what you tell yourself when your schedule is jam-packed. 

Loving (and taking care of) yourself completely is what allows you to love others completely, as well. Imagine you’re a leaky rowboat tasked with ferrying your kids across a large, treacherous lake. Even though you have a leak and are taking on water, it’s not rapid or powerful enough to keep you from floating. Assessing the risks and deeming yourself seaworthy, you decide to set sail fully intent on providing safe passage to your little ones no matter what. However, about halfway through, the leak becomes too intense as your once-steadfast ship begins to sink. What I’m getting at is: taking care of yourself is like patching that leak and fortifying your back to carry the burden of parenthood before you find yourself drowning yourself in the midst of it.

Since every family dynamic is different there is no “one size fits all” solution to sneaking in workout time for yourself. Be that as it may there are definitely a lot of tips and tricks to share on the matter. Here are seven creative ways parents can sneak in a workout.

Introduce the Birds to the Bees

I might as well get the most obvious one out of the way… The details of this one are highly personal and left up to you.

Incorporate “Playtime” Workouts

Depending on how old your kids are, you can either workout with them or workout with them. The first involves things like challenging them to rock out some of your favorite exercises or making outdoor sports/games/hikes a regular thing to do together. The second means making them a literal part of your workout! Squatting whilst holding a baby or planking with a toddler on your back not only adds up if you’re consistent enough but will also help influence your youngsters to be health-conscious in the future. Win-win!

Get Hungry for “Exercise Snacks”

An “exercise snack” is the physical equivalent of grazing the appetizer table, but with fitness instead of delicious chips and cheeses. If you don’t have time to get in a full “meal”, then feed your fitness appetite with mini-workout sessions throughout the day, instead! You can make a list of some of your most beloved and essential exercises with a corresponding set of reps to be done when you have a few free minutes (sometimes that’s all you’ve got) and cycle through them as many times as possible:

  • 20 Push-Ups
  • 30 Squats
  • 25 Jumping Jacks
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 5 Staircase Climbs

You can alter the list each day with different exercises, even creating a theme (upper body, core, legs, cardio, etc.) if you want to take it up a notch. It all accumulates into one big workout by the end of the day!

Create Your Own “Home Depot”

This doesn’t mean grab a sweet orange vest and develop omniscient deck building skills, but rather develop an excellent backup plan of “tools-at-home” to exercise with when you can’t make it to the gym. With some thrifty shopping you can find affordable BOSUs, TRXs, dumbbells, resistance bands and anything else your heart desires to create a home space fit for living fit. The best part? You’ll get better at using the equipment in the gym from your at-home sweat seshes while also providing a constant visual reminder to keep your head in the game.

Schedule It 

Instead of saying you don’t have time… schedule the time. You schedule everything else, why not schedule 20-60 minutes of “you” time, too? Don’t get me wrong, I know this isn’t possible every day, but it’s possible most days. Try making time in the early morning before the kids are up, late at night when they’re already in bed or in the middle of the day before you head out on errands. If you write it down or plan for a workout on your daily agenda, it’s a lot easier to hold yourself accountable to it.

Eat for Health

Despite how great our bodies feel when we fuel them well, it isn’t always easy to stay on track. When we eat with our health in mind, our quality of life tends to go up drastically—but if it were easy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Simply put, we’re creatures of instant gratification who unknowingly (or knowingly) turn to food in an effort to soothe our emotions. If you set your sights on the big picture of feeling well and keep your eating as clean as possible, you’ll feel much more up to the task of sneaking workouts in instead of feeling lethargic and unmotivated.

Turn Screen Time into “Me” Time

These days, we are completely surrounded by all kinds of screens. TVs, smart phones, tablets, and laptops are populating our households at an epidemical pace making screen management a hugely difficult undertaking. With the right perspective though we can use this to our advantage! If you’ve given your kids a daily screen-time allowance, odds are they covet their time with tech. When they’re lost in their tablet or TV time, take it as your chance to throw the hammer down on some personal exercise time! Challenge yourself to use this technique along with another from the list. You’ve got this, don’t be afraid to double up!

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Bodyweight Strength Training You Can Accomplish Anywhere

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Our mission is to help you make healthy happen all the time, and sometimes you just can’t make it into the gym. We get it! Busy schedules, kids, work, partners… the list goes on and on and sometimes making it into the gym gets cut first from the to-do list. When that happens, we want to equip you with workouts that can be done anywhere and don’t sacrifice intensity or effectiveness.

Enter: bodyweight workouts. Bodyweight workouts are workouts done utilizing, you guessed it, bodyweight in lieu of gym equipment. These workouts are the perfect solution for the can’t-make-it-to-the-gym blues as they can be done anywhere!

The exercises will mainly target the muscles that surround your knees, hips, and shoulder joints. These unilateral exercises will help you increase your muscular strength by using your bodyweight alone.

Even though this is just bodyweight strength training, you will feel muscles being used that you might not typically feel from a free weight or resistance machine exercise. Trust us, when you do the lateral lunges, you will feel it the next day! So, let’s get going with workout one. There’s no reason to wait!

Bodyweight Strength Workout 1

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 1


Bodyweight Strength Workout 2

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 2


Bodyweight Strength Workout 3

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 3


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Challenge Yourself with this Total Body TRX Workout

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Whether you’re new to the gym scene or a seasoned vet, you’ve likely seen the TRX hanging around the gym and wondered, “What in the world is that thing?” or “I know what it is, but can I really get a great workout with it?” You’re in luck, because this blog answers both questions.

The TRX Suspension Trainer was created by Navy SEAL squadron commander Randy Hetrick while on deployment. Using a jiu jitsu belt and parachute webbing, he created a way to get a total body workout using minimal equipment that would be easy to move around and travel with.

Suspension trainer exercises are even better than bodyweight exercises because they support a variety of back exercises that are difficult to do without equipment. And it adds an element of instability that challenges every muscle—especially the core. Even better: Most exercises on the TRX are easily modifiable for all levels of fitness.

Now that you know what it is and why it’s awesome, go ahead and give it a try! The total body workout below will get you started. For the Overhead Raise, One Leg Wide Row, Fly, Curl, Modified French Press, and Side Bend, you can modify it and make things a little easier by moving your feet farther away from the wall or TRX anchor. To make these exercises more challenging, move your feet closer. For all exercises, remember to keep your core engaged to help maintain good form.

After you complete this workout, you’ll have a new piece of equipment and eight new exercises in your fitness arsenal, not to mention you can show off your skills when the next newbie drops in. Spread the TRX love!

Total Body TRX Workout

Reps: 15 | Circuits: 3 | Rest: 60 seconds between circuits


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Foot Up Split Squat

One Foot Split Squat

1 – Stand upright with one foot looped in the handle and your arms by your sides.

2 – Drop your body down toward the floor, bending at your hips and knees and leaning your torso slightly forward.

3 – Push off your front foot to return to the start position.

  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Push-Up

TRX Push-up

1 – Place your hands on floor in front of you and your feet in the handles behind you, with your elbows bent and your chest nearly touching the floor.

2 – Push up until your arms are straight, keeping your hips in line with your shoulders.

• Lower back to where your chest nearly touches the floor and repeat.

Overhead Raise

TRX Overhead Raise

1 – Lean back holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your feet flat, and your palms facing down.

2 – Pull the handles overhead with your arms straight and hands close together.

One Leg Wide Row

TRX One leg row

1 – Stand on one leg and lean back, holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your foot flat, and your palms facing down.

2 – Pull your chest up to the handles, bending your elbows.

• Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Fly

TRX Fly

1 – Lean your body forward with your hands in the handles, arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height, and your legs straight out on your toes.

2 – Pull the handles together in front until they meet over your chest.

• Keep your arms straight throughout.

Curl

TRX Curl

1 – Lean back holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your feet flat, and your palms facing up.

2 – Pull your body up to the handles, bending your elbows and curling your hands toward your shoulders.

Modified French Press

Modified TRX French Press

1 – Lean to one side holding the handles overhead with your arms straight.

2 – Arch your torso over to one side and reach your arms to this side.

3 – Pull your body back up to the start position.

  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Side Bend

TRX Side Bend

1 – Lean to one side holding the handles overhead, with your arms straight.

2 – Arch your torso over to one side and reach your arms to this side.

3 – Pull your body back up to the start position.


Download This Workout

Tips You’ll Need for a TRX Workout

  • Make sure to change the length of TRX straps to best fit your intended movements.
  • The farther away you stand, the easier the movement will be. However, the closer you move underneath the straps, the harder you’ll have to work!
  • Try a pushup or a chest fly and work your core like crazy. TRX workouts are no joke!

Find more workouts like this in the Anytime Fitness App.

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Exercise

Everything You Need to Know to Get Rolling

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What Is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_release) release technique used to alleviate muscle pain and increase blood flow. It uses body weight to generate direct pressure to the “knots” or trigger points in the body. Often thought of as an “athlete’s only” piece of equipment, the foam roller is a great tool for anyone needing to release muscle tension (and we ALL have a bit of muscle tension from sitting too long, exercise, or general tension). Imagine using a rolling pin to roll out lumps in bread dough and you’ll get the picture.

What Are The Benefits?

Rolling is beneficial before and after your workout. Foam rolling prior to a workout can help decrease muscle density and allow for a better warm-up. Rolling after a workout can aid in recovery from a strenuous exercise. Other benefits of self-myofascial release include:

  • Improvement in joint range of motion
  • Ease of muscle soreness and joint stress
  • Help in maintaining functional muscular length

The Product

The roller is a foam cylinder and it comes in a variety of sizes. Most commonly in the gym setting, you’ll see a longer roller, measuring 36 inches with a 6-inch diameter. The density of the foam can vary as well. If you’re new to foam rolling or have particularly tight muscles or trigger points, opt for a softer foam roll. Typically, white rollers are softer, while blue or black rollers tend to be firmer.

Key Points for Foam Rolling

Rolling can be effective for many muscles, including calves, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, latissimus dorsi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latissimusdorsimuscle), and the thoracic spine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoracic_spine). Place the foam roller under each muscle group and roll, long strokes, for 60 seconds until a tender area is found. Once a knot is found, maintain pressure on the knot or trigger point for 30 to 60 seconds by moving back and forth over that surface area. Follow up by performing a stretch for each muscle group you just have rolled for maximal benefit.

Tips for Foam Rolling

  • Sometimes, it hurts so good! Foam rolling may be a little uncomfortable and that’s ok. Stick with it!
  • Spend at least one minute per area when you foam roll to make sure you’re making an impact.
  • Find a friend to hold you accountable to foam rolling after a workout. Think of it as your new cool down!

Easy Foam Roller Routine

Try these simple foam roller exercises and stretches to target areas where most everyone could use a little love: the upper back, glutes, and thighs.

Foam Roller: Thoracic Spine (Upper Back)

  • Begin with the foam roller underneath your shoulder blades.
  • Place the hands behind the head for support, or cross the arms over the chest.
  • Lift the hips up slightly off the ground, maintain a slight curve in the low back (almost like you are performing a small crunch).
  • Use your feet to push forwards and backwards to roll out the upper back, rolling from the shoulder blades to the mid-back.

Stretch: Quadruped Cat/Cow

  • Begin on hands and knees with back in a neutral position.
  • Inhale and lift the chin and tailbone towards the sky, creating an arch in the back.
  • Exhale and tuck the chin and tailbone towards the ground, rounding out the spine.

Foam Roller: Glutes

    • Begin by sitting on the foam roller, knees bent and feet on the ground.

Shift slightly to the right and begin to roll up and down the length of the glute. Switch sides.

Stretch: Supine Knees To Chest

  • Lie on your back and draw both knees into the chest.
  • Keep head and shoulders grounded to the floor

Foam Roller: Quadriceps

  • Begin with the foam roller underneath the quadriceps (fronts of the thighs).
  • Lift the legs slightly off the ground and place the weight of the upper body on the forearms.
  • Push with your arms to roll out the quadriceps by moving forward and backwards from pelvic bone to the knee.

Stretch: Standing Quadriceps Stretch

  • Stand on the left leg and bring the right foot towards the glutes.
  • With the right hand, grab onto the right foot, keeping the knee pointed towards the ground and legs close together.
  • Switch sides.

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