Before kids, I used to work out…HARD. I trained for a half marathon one season and ran five times per week. For years I took regular spin classes where the sweat would literally drip off me. Sometimes on my ‘light days’ at the gym, I’d casually spend 45 minutes on the elliptical, but not without really hitting some high heart rates and boosting the level up to above a 10. If I didn’t push it to the max, I’d think to myself, “Why bother?”. It felt like wasted time unless I was giving it 110% and seeing a lot of calories burned or my heart level reach 180 or a shirt drenched in perspiration.
Nowadays, this type of workout doesn’t fit into my daily routine. It’s not that I don’t have time to work out. I know if I wanted to, I would make the time. It’s that my kids, my sleep, and my hair take priority to this most days. I’d rather sleep until the luxurious time of 5:30am. I’d rather see my kids after an 11 hour workday. And I’d rather NOT wash my hair every day, because-damn-I spent time on it and a 45 minute hard workout isn’t worth the time another shower and blow out entail.
But, I still do something because a little workout here and there is not only good for your booty, it’s good for your brain. Here’s how I fit “working out” into my daily life without sweating because of so many things, including…my hair.
I take the stairs. Escalator or elevator available? Probably. But what about the stairs? Taking the stairs usually takes one or two additional minutes. Can’t fully commit or really in a huge rush? I know I often am to catch a train or get to the office. I take the escalator fast lane. Do you have one of these? It’s the left lane where you climb the escalator stairs and get up to the top (or bottom) in record breaking speed while also feeling like you just did something for your body.
I use Express Pool. Do you Uber? I take Uber on the regular and use Express Pool. It’s not only a money saver, it forces you to walk a bit. Usually, this is 5 minutes or less from my house, but it adds those steps in and also ups my coffee budget. This isn't available in every city though, so check your app to see if it's an option for you.
I use the gym at work. So I guess I do sometimes still go to the gym, but NOTHING like I used to. I’m fortunate to have a gym in my office and I use it some days instead of taking a lunch break. To be honest, I was getting in the terrible habit of never taking a lunch break (even the kind where you just walk away from your desk to breathe fresh air), and it wasn’t healthy. Now, I try to go to the office gym once or twice a week. Since my time away is limited, I usually only do a 20-30 minute workout, while catching up with a colleague. It’s good enough for me to feel like I actually exercised without returning to my desk smelling offensive for the rest of the afternoon.
I walk for parts of my commute. I mean this is a total default. I literally have no choice. My train stop is about an 8 minute power walk to the office, so I’d say I get a good mile in daily just doing this. If this isn’t part of your daily routine, can you make it one? Figure out how you can squeeze in a power walk mile (even if it’s broken up). Walk from one end of the shopping center to the other if there are multiple stores you need to go to. Park further away from where you’re going. If you have a fancy car, it’s kind of nice to not have it get bumped in the parking lot either when you park away from everyone else.
I do squats while putting my baby to sleep. Yeah, this sounds weird, but for a while it worked really well in my life. My baby would need motion to go to sleep, so I started doing squats. It was magic. Also, I felt like my squats were so much more effective holding a twenty-pound babe while doing them. I call this winning.
I stand on the train. Another default, but did you know that standing vs. sitting burns about 50 calories an hour? A lot of offices now have standing desks to help employees combat back issues and other problems that sitting so many hours of the day can cause. According to my BFF Google, standing for 3 hours a day 5 days a week burns the equivalent of 8lbs of fat a year. Yes, standing. Literally, not exerting yourself in any way except balancing on two feet. Amazing.
So go ahead, mama. “Work out” in these ways so you can be a bad ass with a good ass and your hair will always be on point.