Find a Way or Find an Excuse: A Fitness How-To for the Busy Mom

Katie, the "Wellness Mama"

Guest Contributor

Women's Fitness

The following is a guest post from Katie of


In a time when many are plagued by obesity and related disorders, it is no secret that we all should be getting exercise. For some, exercise means a regimented gym schedule, for others a daily jog or martial arts classes.



As the economy dips and schedules are busier than ever, making it to the gym regularly can be a tall order for many people, and more often, lack of time or energy is an excuse not to make it to the gym at all.


fitness for workings moms, busy mom fitness, working mom fitnessFor me, with four small children, it is extremely difficult to leave for an hour or more each day to drive to a gym, work out, shower, and get home without taking a lot of time away from the family. At the same time, fitness is more important to me than ever, since now it is not only something important for my health, but as an example for my children.


I've heard it said that "if it's important, you'll find a way; if not, you'll find an excuse," and I think finding an excuse is easy for many people to do. When life gets crazy, fitness can become a last priority, even though these times are when your body needs it the most.


Over the last five years of being a work-from-home mom, I've found some simple strategies to keep fitness a priority without taking time away from my family or my work commitments. What I didn't expect was that some of my simple strategies I designed to just maintain fitness would actually help improve my fitness level more than my intensive training programs I used before I had kids.


In my work with clients, I've found this type of program is helpful not just for those who work from home, but for people who travel and can't regularly visit a gym, those in climates that don't always allow outside activity, and those who just don't have time to squeeze in a gym commitment.


To qualify for my at-home training regimen, an activity had to meet the following criteria:


  • It must require minimal equipment and space
  • It must be doable without leaving the home
  • It couldn't require a partner
  • It couldn't take more than 20-30 minutes a day.
  • There most be some version of it that my kids could do also (this part was semi-optional, but still important)


From this list, I developed a list of possible activities and have refined them to meet my needs. My favorite fitness activities based on those criteria are:


  1. Kettlebells- meet all the criteria perfectly. They take up very little space (under my bed), I can do a workout quickly at home, and the kids can dead-lift the smaller size kettlebells.
  2. Pushups, pull-ups, chinups, planks, burpees, goblet squats and other body-related exercises.
  3. Occasional high intensity sprints - when weather allows and I have the time. I use a jogging stroller for this one.


Fitness, Children, kettlebells, strength training, mothers, family fitness, fitness routines, women's fitnessMy at home "gym" consists of various size kettlebells, a door mount pull-up bar, 25 and 35 pound dumbbells for squats and lunges, and various children (weighing 20-45 pounds) who are happy to assist in weighted pullups and pushups!


An average workout program with these elements would consist of two days of high intensity kettlebell training per week, two to three days of weight related exercises, and one day of high intensity sprints if weather allowed.


I've recently added deadlifts at a neighbor's home gym, though I only do these once a week.


A weekly workout schedule would look like this:



  • Deadlifts: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps
  • Chin-ups: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps (started these with assisted or negatives to work up and now working up to weighted)
  • Turkish Get Ups with kettlebells: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps



  • Kettlebell swings 75-200 swings without rest using maximum weight kettlebell that allows maintained form.



  • Pushups: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps (starting with wall pushups if needed and working up to handstand or negative incline)
  • Dumbbell press: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps
  • Burpees: 20-50



  • Kettlebell swings 75-200 swings without rest using maximum weight kettlebell that allows maintained form.



  • Goblet Squats: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps of maximum weight with maintained form
  • Weighted lunges: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps with maximum weight with maintained form
  • Pull-ups: 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps (starting with negatives or assisted and working up to body weight or weighted pullups)



  • Hike with family or high intensity sprints if weather allows, or rest day if needed.



  • Rest day


Fitness, Children, kettlebells, strength training, mothers, family fitness, fitness routines, women's fitnessI should also note that for the past few months I have incorporated intermittent fasting and very heavy lifting as a fitness experiment, and I've been very impressed with my results. The only aspect of this I couldn't do at home was deadlifts, and that was only a 15 minute commitment once a week. In three months of this program, I've taken my deadlift from 115 pounds to 205 pounds, and have seen parallel improvements in other weight activities.


I do most of my workouts in a fasted state, and have been able to increase strength pretty rapidly by doing this.


The Bottom Line:


In a world where gym memberships and fitness equipment are booming industries, fitness can still be simple and effective from home.


Even a simple program, done consistently, can make a big impact on health in the long run, and anyone can make the time for 15-20 minutes of exercise from home each day.


If not having time, money, or energy to make it to the gym has been your excuse, make a commitment to your health by incorporating regular fitness from home. For less than the price of a gym membership, you can get weights, kettlebells, and a pull-up bar to begin a from-home routine.


What is your favorite at-home fitness routine? Do you have any tips or tricks? Please share in the comments below!



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