Hero Image
profile picture of Jenna McCarthy
Jenna McCarthy

How to Find Time to Exercise When There Is No Time

Get up, get ready, care for baby, rush to work, rush home, put baby to bed, sleep (sort of), repeat. Where you do fit in a workout?

We didn’t ask fitness experts for advice, because, honestly, they wouldn’t give you anything you could actually use. Instead, real-life, hard-working, fit moms told us the sweaty, creative and sometimes relentless efforts they used to get their old bodies back after having babies.

Become a morning person

“The only way I could get in a workout when I had a newborn was to do it before the sun was even up. I’d walk or jog at 5 a.m. before my husband left for work,” Tabitha K. says.

Look, you’re probably up anyway. Instead of drifting off after that early feeding, strap on a sturdy sports bra and get moving. (Sleeping in your workout clothes makes it harder to flake. We’re just saying.)

“I found a gym that opened at 4 a.m., so I could work out before heading to my full-time job,” Colleen M. says.

Make it short but effective

Can’t find an hour to exercise? You don’t have to. The pros say short bursts of activity throughout the day are as good as one longer workout. Take advantage of baby’s catnaps, your lunch break and daddy-and-baby bonding time. Heck, power walk on the way home from work.

“I would do squats and lunges holding the baby or squeeze in 10-minute yoga sessions I’d find on YouTube whenever I could,” Amanda W. says.

Use your gear

Yep, you forked over a small fortune for all of that baby gear, but the good news is lots of it can double as workout gear. Wear baby in a carrier while you take a long walk, do lunges or push-ups. Put her in the stroller and go jogging or even walking around town or the local mall. “I strapped baby into his little chair and did crunches in front of him,” says Holly J. “He thought it was a game of peekaboo.”

Sign up for a class

You’re never more motivated to exercise then when you’ve paid your hard-earned money for the chance to do it. If you’re all about class action, there’s a bottomless list of options to choose from — yoga, CrossFit, Barre, Zumba, you name it. Some offer free child care and others, like prenatal yoga and stroller fitness, incorporate baby in the workout.

When you can’t make it to a class, make your own

While it’s fun to belong to a fancy gym, it’s certainly not necessary. We’re lucky enough to live in a world filled with a never-ending parade of podcasts, apps, YouTube videos, DVDs and On Demand workouts. In other words, the excuse train just left the station. “I chose Jillian Michaels’s workouts because they were only 30 minutes long,” Amanda W. says.

Get creative

You say the power’s out, baby wants to play and you’ve got a chore list a mile long? Some hard-core moms call that a challenge. “I once mowed the lawn with a rope tied around my waist pulling my kid in a sled, all for exercise,” Melissa M. says. Um, okay, we can’t say we recommend _that. _

Photo: Thinkstock