Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pack Your Bags: Work-out on the Go

Moms, answer this question:
I do not workout regularly because:
A – gym membership is too expensive
B – I’m too busy
C – my kids are too busy
D - I don’t know what exercises to do
E – all of the above

If you answered this question at all, keep on reading.

Motherhood is a wonderful thing, but keeping up with kids and eating birthday cake every weekend and the leftover French fries can be a challenge for any fitness and weight-maintenance goals.  With four kids, I’ve gone through that many cycles of weight-gain and loss, complete with diets (Flat Belly, South Beach, yeah – all of that) and exercise.  As the kids have gotten increasingly busy with their own activities, it’s harder to find time to workout.   I’ve figured out that I can use the time I spend waiting around for them to fit in some exercise.  I run around the track while they are at swim practice, hit tennis balls during basketball practice, run around the neighborhood during play rehearsal.  I mix in some light strength-training with hand-weights, too.  It’s my “mommy workout”.

After the birth of one of my kids, I found Valerie, a personal trainer who was also a mom, and she helped me to get back to a shape other than round.  This wasn’t on the Oprah/Beyonce level, she didn’t move into my house and bring a personal chef or anything like that.  We met for an hour once a week and she helped me come up with a workout plan I could maintain on my own.  I asked her to share some tips for fitting in a workout while shuttling kids to their activities and watching them at the playground.

Top gym bag must-haves so you can workout anywhere
There are things you can do while shuttling kids that will keep you fit, maximize your time, and reduce any I should’ve worked out guilt.  One of the best things you can do is to keep a gym bag in your car at all times.  In addition to the gym bag - water, towels, sports bra, and fitness shoes - I want to give you some of my favorite must-haves that won’t weigh your bag down and might even bring some new life to your workouts. 

As you can see, I have a variety of items in my bag; they don’t take up a lot of space but they play a vital role in my fitness.  Here goes from left to right.

  • Jump rope - This handy piece of fitness equipment is light yet very effective for an intense workout.  Studies show that 15 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of walking.  The beauty of jumping rope is you can do it just about anywhere.  The next time you take the kids to the park try jumping rope; even if you can only jump five minutes at a time (in-between the swing, slide, you know the drill), before you know it you’ll be at your 15-minute goal.  I use and highly recommend the Buddy Lee jump rope
  • iPod – Studies show that music can make the difference in your workout.  The better the beat, the more likely you’ll workout at a higher intensity.  Be sure to have several workout tracks to go with your various workouts: intense, moderate, and cool down with stretching. 
  • Notebook – Tracking your workouts is good for several reasons.  First, it gives you feedback of your progress and second, it can help you vary your workouts to prevent boredom.  I track different workouts and use my notebook to make sure I’m reaching my goals.  However, you use it, make it a habit to update to see your workout patterns and you’ll see better results.
  • Skincare stuff – Tom’s Deodorant, Arnica Gel, and Neutrogena SPF 70 sunscreen.  I don’t recommend antiperspirants when you exercise since sweating helps rid the body of toxins - I personally don’t want to prevent toxin release.  Arnica Gel is my go-to gel for after workout soreness or bruising (I bruise very easily, it’s in the genes).  It goes without saying that you need a sunscreen of 30 SPF of higher.  It’s helpful to wear a hat and sunglasses too.
I'll come back tomorrow with Valerie's tips for exercises to do on the go.  In the meantime - pack your gym bag for a great workout!

Valerie Merriweather is the founder and Chief Exercise Officer of Fitwell Training Solutions in Silver Spring, Maryland.  As a busy mom of four, Valerie is passionate about helping women find their fitness niche in the midst of hectic schedules and family responsibilities.  She shares her insight at her blog, Curling Iron for Your Body Not Just Your Hair as well as Fitness at Any Age where she serves as a Discovery Health Fitness expert.  Valerie is a regular contributing writer for her community newsletter, Northwood News and leads the highly successful Fitwell Personal Boot Camp at Forest Knolls Elementary School.  She is a sought after consultant and speaker on the topics on health and wellness for busy moms and teaches seminars on how to make healthy living a reality for families.

For more health and fitness tips connect with Valerie on Facebook or on Twitter at #vmerriweather.

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