10 fitness cheats for time-poor parents

Mum and baby yoga

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a cheat’s way to the healthiest post-baby body? Well, we can’t offer you a miracle but we can give you some awesome tips and tricks to make it easier to find time to exercise and stay motivated.

We’ve come up with 10 top fitness tips for mums and time-poor parents that will get you moving and eating right – the easy way.

1. Join a pram workout class

Pram Exercise Class

No need to find a babysitter for your workout time, baby can come too. Take a look in your local paper or ask around about mother and baby exercise classes in your area. These ‘strollercise’ classes usually meet in a park and use your pram as part of the workout! If you can’t find a local group, get together with your mother’s group for regular brisk walks or jogs with your prams. You’ll get exercise, social interaction, and baby will love the outings. Win-win.

2. Try the 5:2 diet

diet

You may have heard people around you mentioning being on a ‘fast day’ or ‘500 calorie day’ and wondered, what madness is this? Well, according to science, it’s not mad at all. The 5:2 diet has been popularised by British doctor and BBC presenter Dr Michael Moseley, whose research showed that intermittent periods of fasting resulted in health benefits and weight loss. In order to make the ‘fasting’ part achievable, Moseley devised a method where you restrict calories for two non-consecutive days of the week, and eat normally on the other days. Converts say that because periods of deprivation are so short-lived, it hardly feels like ‘dieting’ at all.

3. Track your activity with I’MFIT

I'MFIT activity tracker

Sometimes the small amount of exercise we have time for seems like a drop in the ocean. You just can’t see that it’s going to make a difference, so you skip the gym and have another muffin instead. Time to get some tech help to get you on track!

I’M FIT Activity Tracker Motion ($99) is an excellent motivation tool for the time-poor. The tracker fits inside a wristband that you wear 24/7 (in a range of colours to match your outfits, of course!). It then tracks all your movements and gives you precise feedback on your exertion, calories burned and even your sleep quality. It also uses gentle vibration alarms to remind you to exercise! Download the free App to set goals, see your accomplishments and gain the momentum you need. Once you start seeing results, you’ll be hooked.

4. Make healthy lunches in advance

Salad in a Jar

We’ve all done it. You’ve been looking after the kids all day without a moment to yourself, it’s 3pm and you haven’t eaten a thing – suddenly you’re starving, so you reach for a fatty, sugary hit to get you through the afternoon. Avoid the temptation of eating on the run by preparing a week’s worth of healthy lunches in advance. You can pack salads in to jars by layering the dressing and wet ingredients on the bottom and the leafy greens last. Seal tightly, and when you’re ready to eat, simply shake! Make a few for the days ahead and keep them in the fridge for yummy, easy meals. Get some salad-in-a-jar recipe ideas here.

5. Go jump

Bounce

Trampolines are not just for kids! Indoor trampoline centres are all the rage right now, so take your wee ones along and join them on the tramps for a bouncy workout. NASA has proved that 10 minutes of bouncing is equivalent to going for a 30 minute run, which is great news because it’s a lot more fun than jogging! Investing in your own backyard trampoline could be a great idea too – it will probably get used a lot more than a gym membership and everyone in the family will benefit.

6. Exercise with baby

Exercise with baby

Who needs resistance training? If you have a baby, then you have your own built-in daily workout program! All those hours rocking, cooing and lifting bub can be augmented with a few exercise moves: lunges when you’re carrying baby down the hall, squats with bubba in a front carrier, or planking next to baby while they are having tummy-time. (Just make sure you have good balance and baby is always safe, of course).

7. Do yoga

Yoga

Yoga works the mind and the body, so it’s perfect for the-time poor. This one activity takes care of your fitness and flexibility needs, plus offering relaxation, stress-busting and me-time. If it’s just not possible for you to take time out for a class, get some yoga DVDs and flex while your kids are napping, or sign up for a mum and bubs yoga class.

8. Try High Intensity interval training (HIIT)

Exercise

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a method of exercise that combines intense bursts of activity with short recovery periods. It’s no leisurely stroll in the park – you’ll have to be willing to go flat out, and you’ll need a good base level of fitness to start with … but the advantage is that it only takes a few minutes per day. Yep, by keeping your heart rate up you can burn more fat in less time, meaning you can work out in short bursts. Perfect for slotting in around nappy changes and loads of washing! You also don’t need any equipment, and it can be done at home, in the park, the backyard, or the laundry room.

9. Find a fitness buddy

Fitness buddy

Having someone to motivate you is a key way to keep your fitness goals on track, but we can’t all afford a personal trainer! So find yourself a fitness buddy to hook up with. Grab a friend who shares your focus and agree to support each other, ring each other for pep talks, go to the gym together – or do regular babysitting swaps so you can both set aside time to excercise.

10. Join the 28-day challenge

Exercise

The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a month-long program specially designed for busy mums. Challengers get daily access to meal plans, shopping lists, a library of healthy recipes, achieveable at-home exercises, and support from a community of like-minded mums. It runs six times per year, but you can jump on board anytime to get started.

(this post is sponsored by I’M FIT Activity Tracker Motion)