How I Exercise With Two Kids
During my peaceful, no-kid life, I embraced my love of routine (and morning workouts) and went to the gym for class at 6:15 am. I went 4-5 times a week and then carried on with the rest of my day. That schedule changed when Miles was born, and has changed once again with the addition of Remy. In fact, I know it will change again as they get older and that is one of the key things that I had to embrace regarding fitness and parenthood — flexibility. Fitting in exercise with two kids can seem daunting, but once you get the hang of what works for you, it can be easier than you think.
Here is a look at how I exercise with two kids and I’ll be sure to offer further suggestions that may work in your situation. It’s important to note that we have a home gym, so I don’t have to worry about a commute. As you increase variables and obstacles to getting a workout in, the likelihood of it not happening also increases.
There are two main times when I find time for exercise — either during naptime or before anyone wakes up in the morning (this could be evening for you if you’re not a morning exerciser). Miles goes to daycare three times a week, so those are the easiest days to plan because I only have to worry about one naptime and Remy is pretty predictable these days. This means that I tend to work out during her longer nap, which is around noon. It’s definitely not my favorite time of the day to exercise, but it’s what I’ve got. Before I adjusted to that change, I remember feeling angry and frustrated, but then as I processed those feelings, I realized that these are seasons of time and I have to be more willing to go with the flow. So afternoon it is.
By some miracle, when both kids are home, they have been napping around the same time. So even if Miles is home, I’ve still been able to head to the gym and get a workout in. I have their monitors on my phone and Neil is working from the bedroom, so if I need to come inside for any reason, I can. Will this last forever? No, but for today it’s working and that’s what matters.
Here’s the biggest piece of advice I can give about exercise with two kids: Be flexible.
What works now may not work later. What works today may not work tomorrow. Things come up. This is one of the reasons why I like early morning workouts before the day starts, but I know from experience that this isn’t always feasible. If you have an infant who wakes during the night, you may need to prioritize sleep over exercise. If naptime is nonexistent one day, maybe it’s waiting for another day or choosing a different type of workout like taking the kids for a walk. It’s about figuring out what works best for you and your family.
Either way, you may need to adjust your expectations when it comes with exercise with two kids. Be a little gentler with yourself if things don’t work out exactly as you’d like.
It’s also worth putting on my personal trainer cap and reminding you that it’s important to intelligently return to exercise after kids to avoid injury. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the following posts:
- A Guide To Safe Exercise During Pregnancy and Postpartum
- Best Resources For Pregnant and Postpartum Fitness
- How To Start Exercising Again
And here are some other ideas for how to exercise with two kids (or more):
- Look for a local gym that also has childcare – many more of these are popping up
- Walk or run with a stroller
- Play with your kids at a park or playground
- Make your kids part of the workout – use an infant as a weight, have your toddler sit on your back for pushups, etc.
- Do exercise videos at home
- Break up your workout throughout the day instead of one long chunk – my friend Erin created a program called Mom Minutes that provides workouts to be done in smaller chunks during the day.
- Wake up earlier before kids to exercise
- Join a local program like Stroller Strides
Do you have experience with exercise with two kids (or more)? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments!