At Home Work-Out Options For Moms Whose Kids Barely Nap


Have you heard of the Denver Hot Mamas?  They are serious about getting mamas into shape.  Here's an excerpt from their website: 

Do you want a rock solid core? A tush from which you can bounce a quarter? Longer,leaner, lithe muscles? Better posture? A better sex life?

Hello, yes.  Yes I do.  I'd love to be a Hot Mama.  But, despite the fact that they offer studio classes (with childcare!!) AND stroller classes…it's not gonna happen.  Most days, I can barely get the three of us out of the house with sanity intact, and now adding in an element of having to be on time?  Yeah.  Wow.  Nope.  

My only chance of accomplishing my half-hearted "think about maybe getting in shape" resolution lies in a workout that I can do at home.  And it must fit into either the small slice of time between R going down for his short little nap and P waking up to nurse…or the 30 minutes immediately after my husband gets home from work (any later and I'm too tired).  

And I don't want to do it everyday – so results have to be possible on just a few days a week.  This work-out window competes with my "shower and dry hair" window…or my "eat lunch" window.

(Wow, this post is depressing.  I can almost hear my motivation running away screaming.)

But the good news is that even the sleep-deprived, un-showered, mom-of-kids-who-hate-napping can find not one but FOUR possible workout options.  

Screen shot 2011-01-02 at 10.53.46 PM  1.  Have you done the 30 Day Shred?  It's crazy.  This DVD contains three workouts – a Level 1 workout, a Level 2 workout and a Level 3 workout.  Each workout is 20 minutes long.  And you are moving' for all 20 minutes.  Like SERIOUSLY MOVING.  Like panting, flopping over, and begging to stop, MOVING.  I challenge you to do this one several times a week and NOT see some serious results.  

It sounds horrible?  Yes.  But remember:  only 20 minutes.  Genius, really.


2.  If 20 minutes is too much of a commitment, how 'bout 10? The 10 Minute Solution: Pilates  Screen shot 2011-01-02 at 11.24.39 PM DVD has great reviews, is currently on sale at Amazon for $8, and comes with 5 ten minute workouts, which you can choose to do one at a time, or all at once.  Perfect for moms squeezing this into naptime.  Do one…he's still sleeping?  Yeessss.  Do another.  Still sleeping?  Oh baby.  Mummy's going CAH-RAZY today….


3.  My sister-in Screen shot 2011-01-02 at 11.00.43 PM -law swears by Tracy Anderson.  She started with her Post-Pregnancy workout (BTW – I LOVE that Ms. Anderson created a post-pregnancy workout…why aren't there more of those?) and then progressed to Tracy Anderson's Dance Cardio workouts.  And my sister-in-law is in good company:  apparently, Gwenyth Paltrow and ummm…Madonna(!!) swear by the "Tracy Anderson Method" as well.

The Post-Pregnancy one is great for toning, and is at a nice pace for new mom bodies recovering from 9 months of pregnancy.  But the Dance Cardio workouts?  Once you learn the routines, they are fun.  However, you will, most likely, look like an idiot.  But they certainly make the 45 min workout fly by.  One reviewer mentioned that once you learn the dance, you can do it to any music you prefer.  Nice.  And you might be able to do this one with the kiddos – just call it a dance party.   

4.  I discovered Chaz and his (free!!) Yogamazing podcasts a few years ago.  Each video podcast is Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 2.53.00 PM available for free on iTunes, and is usually around 20 minutes long.  Chaz typically keeps each podcast tightly focused, so you'll find "Yoga for Runners" or "Yoga for Neck and Shoulders" among the titles (even a "Yoga for Real People").  You can purchase all of his old video podcasts here, for $4 each, or his iPhone app.  How's that for no excuses?

Any other ideas, Mamas?  




  1. I totally love TA Method!! Love love love it. It whipped me into shape like not other workout (and fast!), and though preg and too tired to be consistent right now, I know that TA will be there for me when I need it! Seriously love it. I can’t do the Dance Cardio with my daughter (although she would love it if I did) — too much interruption and toddler underfoot. Recommend: Mat workout, PP (tough!) and definitely Dance Cardio. I have always been very anti home workout (dvds), but now? with a kiddo — a must.

  2. I used the 10 Minute Solutions Kickbox Bootcamp postpartum, once I felt I could exercise and had the Dr’s OK. I liked the 10 minute spurts, just like you said. It was nice because I felt like I was getting a toning workout as well as cardio, so I saw the results pretty quickly, a big mood booster!
    Now, any ideas for Moms of kids who don’t nap and are too tired to get up early or stay up late?! ; )

  3. I have the EXACT same problem, and I plan on doing the 10 minute solutions Pilates (before you even posted – go figure!). I used that DVD before my wedding, and it definitely works, especially for someone like me who hates to workout but also hates her pooch.

  4. Amen! Thanks for writing this!
    When I finally started working out after my oldest was born, a friend gave me Leisa Hart’s fitmama postnatal workout. I only used the bonus “fitmama & me” workout, where you hold your baby and use him as a weight. Brilliant, and he loved it.
    This year I’m hoping I can use the Kinect with my preschooler to sneak some workouts in. When I commit to it, Kinect Adventures *does* work up a sweat, though I’m anxious to buy some dance and exercise games.

  5. I finally lost my baby weight after 2 under 2. I recommend Gilad on Fit TV. He has a few shows that are great, around 20 mins and you can DVR them. Right now I am hooked on Total Body Sculpt and Bodies in Motion is a classic.

  6. I’m pretty sure the 10 minute solution pilates video is available to those who can stream Netflix as well. They have some decent workouts available on there, all ready to stream instantly to your PC, mobile device, or, if your husband is a techie nerd like mine, on your TV via the wii or PS3. At home workouts are the bomb when I am too lazy to actually get my butt out of the house!

  7. It’s a little more pricey than the options you’ve listed, but we recently got a Kinect to go with our Xbox, and the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved game is fabulous. When you set it up it scans your body for things like leg length and shoulder width, asks you what you want to work on, does a fitness level test, and then creates a personalized workout plan. The actualy routines are usually no more than 20 minutes each, and some are between 5 and 10 minutes. I love that I can do it at home, the game analyzes my form, and it’s personalized to my target areas!

  8. Beachbody has some pretty good work-out at home workouts. I just finished 2 months of Turbo Jam and lost 20.5 inches and 14 pounds. I like it because you have multiple choices for your workouts. I got bored with the 30 Day Shred after the first week ๐Ÿ™

  9. You guys rock! These are amazing suggestions – thank you!!!
    Tricia – I’ve done Yogamazing workouts with the little man underfoot. He basically sees me in a yoga pose as his own personal jungle gym…which gives new meaning to the word, “focus” LOL.
    I need to check out these other recommendations though – they sound awesome. And my husband has been dying for a Kinect…hmmm…

  10. I love you, S. Really.
    I’m doing C25k (“Couch to 5k”) with the precious 3 extra hours I’ve squeezed out of our childcare, but I still need a workout or 2 to do at home during the week. Thanks SO much for all these recs.

  11. I really like Lindsay Brin’s Postnatal Bootcamp DVD.
    It keeps in mind that you’ve just had a baby, and the workouts are short so you can sneak them in even if you’ve got a short napper. Don’t be scared by the “bootcamp” in the title – you don’t have to kill yourself to do this one, but there are 3 levels to follow (easy, medium and hard).

  12. Tracy Anderson is the best-her workouts are based on exhausting all your tiny muscles not just your dominant ones and focus on dance/ballet moves. I am a HUGE fan of barre classes (very similar to TA) and took them in studio throughout my pregnancy (up until 39 weeks!) and then TA following. All weight lost in 10days post partum due to barre during pregancy and then another 5lbs lost due to TA post partum. Shana you would love the ballet infulence of both and the results are teeny tiny but STRONG muscles!
    The BEST!!!!

  13. I’m not sure I could ever motivate myself to exercise on a program unless my house was spotless, my kids were happy, the to do list was all done, the laundry was all folded and away… and since that hasn’t happened in – well, let’s not SAY how long – I can’t really envision myself taking time specifically to exercise. (Although, I do love a nice long walk with stroller or wagon in tow!)
    For the newborn period, I will say this, though… there is no better way to burn those calories than by doing housework while babywearing! You can stand and bounce your baby to sleep in the Moby wrap or similar while folding laundry, putting dishes away, dusting, sweeping, even vacuuming (many babies find the white noise soothing, I hear, never tried that particular one myself). Bonus points, of course, if like me you have fat babies and a two story house! And, you know, babywearing is like a weighted vest, only cuter… and that snuggle and bonding time is great for both of you.
    Or, for those actually wanting a *workout*, not housework, Moby even has suggested exercises to do while babywearing…
    (And no, I don’t work for Moby Wrap, I just love love love their product for the newborn days…) ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Another vote for Lindsay Brin! I’ve tried several of her workouts and they’re all great. Her Core Firing Sequence DVD is really great for getting those post partum abs back into shape.

  15. Amy – You’re doing a 5K???? Hats off to you Chicky. And thanks for the love. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kate and Krista – thanks for the Lindsay Brin reco! Am checking her out now…
    Amber – You are bad @ss. It’s crazy how fast you bounced back – good for you! And yeah – the TA method sounds right up my alley. Ideally, I’d love to get my butt to an actual ballet class, but until then…
    Natalie – Chick, I LOVED your comment. So nice that someone is validating my long-held suspicion that I actually *have* been working out somehow. All I know is that I’m exhausted at the end of each day, LOL. And how funny that the Moby guys give exercises…(I’m a huge baby-wearing fan also)
    Know what else I love? When reader comments are waaaay more helpful than my post. You guys rock. xoxo

  16. I have the 30 Day Shred and it really is a great 20 min. workout. If that’s all you can do, definitely do it. And invest in a pair of 3 lb. hand weights from Target for $8.
    Then, when you’ve got an hour a day to spare (ha!) try out P90X. Even if you’re a beginner (okay, maybe not I’ve-Never-Worked-Out beginning, but I-Used-to-be-Active beginner) you can do the workouts and modify them. It kicks your A$$ into shape in a hurry.

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