Working it out...at home!

"Everything changes when you have a baby." I can't tell you how many times I heard this while pregnant...and for good reason- it's absolutely (and obviously) true! Everything changes. Even the things you don't really think about beforehand- being able to watch an entire season of Seinfeld in one sitting, staying in bed for hours on a Sunday morning, surfing around the internet, bored, on a Tuesday evening, making a quick trip to Target at 9pm by yourself, just because. For me, another bullet on that list would being able to go to the gym whenever my little heart desired. Of course I wouldn't trade my Henry-time for anything, but coming from someone who pre-baby found their self at the gym close to everyday, it was a bit of an adjustment once my number one priority wasn't...me. It's interesting how all notions of selfishness fly out the window when you have a child. And not that taking much-needed time for yourself is ever selfish, but now, my time isn't really mine...there's a certain little guy who dictates most of it! ;) So, due to this new schedule I am on, I've had to become a little creative in my workouts.  Before Henry I would often get up at 4:45am and arrive at the gym by 5, workout until about 6am or maybe even 6:30, then come home and be at work by 8. This was ideal to me, and getting my workouts done and out of the way has always made me the happiest. Thanks to my extremely supportive husband I still get to the go to the gym in the evenings when it works out with our schedule, but I can't always make it if one, we have plans with family or friends or two, the only time I'll have for the three of us is that night. And "the three of us" always wins in my book.

So, I try to get a little creative while Henry is napping. We don't yet have an elliptical (soon!), so if a gym visit isn't in the cards my cardio is done either via video, or by taking Henry out on our often-daily walks. If you're not a mama, you can go the video route, or just take yourself on a walk or run outside. It's always good to mix it up, so I try to never ever do the same cardio two days in a row. Even when I'm able to go to the gym five days in a row I mix it up by breaking up my say, 40-minute cardio session into two twenty-minute segments on different machines, or if I have an hour I'll do the same but on three different machines. Variety is key.

My very favorite magazine in the entire world is Oxygen. You may have already seen this magazine on your newsstand but if you're not into the super muscular look of fitness competitors you may have just passed right over it. The women on the cover are typically ripped- all muscle and very low-body fat. At first glance you might think, "this magazine is NOT for me." But I swear, it is!


Oxygen is amazing for a woman just getting into working out, all the way up to the expert or fitness competitor. It includes fitness plans, weight training routines, clean eating inspiration (from the clean eating queen herself, Tosca Reno). Everything is extremely easy to understand. In fact, I recommended Oxygen to a far-away friend who couldn't afford a trainer, and she was able to learn and implement one of the weight routines into her workout quite easily. So, if you're looking for some fresh motivation definitely pick up an issue, or at least thumb through one next time you're at the bookstore. This magazine will help you both in the gym and at home, as it provides all sorts of workouts and moves for each environment. The only negative about the magazine is the over-abundance of diet-pill/protein powder/wonder product ads. They can get annoying but the content is so good that I skim right over them.

Next up, videos. I am going to recommend a few tried and true videos that have been in my rotation forever.  The first is my favorite video ever- Billie Blanks' Ultimate Tae Bo.  This video is HARD and is a full 90-minutes long (although at 60 minutes Billie gives you the option to stop or go on). When I'm in the mood to really sweat I pop in this DVD and I am never disappointed. Plus, Billie is kind of ridiculously funny in all of his seriousness that you just have to smile and love him and his extreme cheesiness. And don't forget to pay attention to all the other people in the video too- they are really hilarious and always make me laugh. Oh, and "Tae Bo Get Ripped: Advanced" is also very challenging if you'd like another Tae Bo option. Both are full body workouts that rely on Tae Bo's traditional non-stop combinations to get your body in tip-top shape. If you're a beginner and the moves seem challenging, just go slow and stick with it- you'll get it in time. And the best part of all- you don't need any equipment.


The second video I adore is Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred. To me, this video is easier than the Tae Bo videos, but I really enjoy it and I think it's a great workout that utilizes various exercises and body parts. Plus, I love love love Jillian!  For this video you do need a set of hand weights and possibly a mat, but you could always improvise and use water jugs or soup cans if you want to get crazy! ;)  This video is made for all levels, and as you progress you can change it up. Best of all, the workouts are short which makes this video a great option for mamas with limited time. If you're serious about getting in shape though, I'd add in additional cardio on your own.



Thirdly, I love P90X. Now this program is not for everyone, but I thought I would just throw it into the mix because I really love these videos for an at-home workout. A lot of people have asked me about them once they find out that Hank and I use them, and yes, they do work...and yes, they are hard! A couple of years ago I did the actual program, but I need variety outside of working out at home to a video everyday, so now I just work them into my routine on occasion.  I will say though that all of the Beach Body DVDs I've tried have been great, so check out their site if you're interested.


Outside of the videos, it's always good to have some cheap equipment at home. There's no need to run out and buy a million things...you just need a few items that have multiple uses. First off, resistance bands! 





I'd recommend getting a set of these at Target or similar retailer- they're inexpensive and often come in a set of three various resistances. I like to use these in place of weights now and then, and they are the BEST if you have to travel for work or play; simply stick them in your suitcase and you can do resistance training anywhere. The premise behind these bands are the same as weights, but they are a lot more versatile. If you're interested in workouts using these bands you can check out this link for some basic moves, or simply google the term. Oxygen mag often integrates them into workouts as well.

I'd also recommend getting a cheap set of hand weights. I say a set because if you just get 5-pounders you'll soon grow out of them for some of the larger muscle exercises and need 8+ pounders, and you'll spend more money buying them separately than all at once, together. At home we have 5, 8, 10 and 12. At the gym I use more but these are a great mix for at home workouts. You can also look into kettlebells too- they are an amazing calorie burner/muscle toner. And again, Oxygen mag is a GREAT resource for using weights safely and properly, and Jillian Micheal's videos do a good job of explaining as well.



The last simple item I'm going to recommend to get your "home gym" started is an exercise ball!  I use our beloved ball for all sorts of ab work, I sit or lay back on it while doing various exercises with weights, and it's also a comfy chair for an extra guest. This is a great site for workouts using this tool!






So, these are just a few things you can do now to get a small home gym started and to get your body moving!  There is always a way to get active, even if you can't get to the gym or have time for hours of working out.  Quick videos, circuit training at home, walks outside...they all work. There is no better time than now, so make yourself a priority and start small. Every bit of change you make will make a difference, so remember that when you feel discouraged.
I'm going to be posting about motivation and what works for me next week, so stay tuned for that too!  And if you have any questions, please ask away, and check back in the comments for my answers.

and p.s...80s babies, remember this?! hahaha!