How to Workout with Kids

For those of you who have kids and want to start a fitness journey, or for those of you who just wonder how moms juggle family, work, obligations, AND stay in shape, me too. I’m curious, too. Since I became a mom almost 9 years ago, I think I’ve tried to get back in shape more times than my 5 year old has asked me for gum this afternoon (that’s, like, a LOT of times). You wanna know how many times I’ve been successful? Um… once. But it didn’t last long.

Over Christmas this year I decided I was going to do it again. But for real this time. Each year my office closes between Christmas and New Year so it was the perfect time. I’d be home. I’d cleanse my diet. I’d restart my body. Trick it to think it doesn’t want that massive piece of chocolate cake from the grocery store, like I trick my kids to think that Chick-Fil-A doesn’t sell ice cream on the week days. It’d be so super easy. I even have everything I need at home in the form of workout DVDs. Bam.

Day one was AWE-SUM. It was great. My kids are obviously now old enough for me to reason with.

“Kids, I’m going to be in the basement for 20 minutes to workout. Everyone has snacks and drinks, everyone is good, right?”
“Yes, Mommy! We’re good!”
“OK! I’m going to close the door so that the dogs don’t come down but if you need me, you can come get me, OK?”
“OH KAAAAY!”
“But if you come downstairs, please don’t let the dogs down.”

Y’all, hand to Heaven I got 20 minutes with my Piyo DVD. It was so refreshing and I felt so alive. I was all,

“I got this. This time tomorrow I’ll be down to my fighting weight. Just to make sure I’ll have a smoothie for my after-snack snack.”

The next day was fairly similar.   Got ma fit-nass on (please read that as “own” for dramatic effect). BAM! But… It didn’t last long. Pretty soon, I was getting maaaybe 10 minutes in before Pandora opened her shatty box of cray-zee, Roman opened the basement door to demand I help him put on my gold pants (because he thinks they make him look like Slash), and our 50-lb lab, Georgia, came FLYYYYYYY-ing down the stairs and tackled me while I was attempting to perfect my push-ups which meant I was at the perfect height on the floor for my Chihuahua, Lola, to lick me up the nose. Yes, UP the nose. Her tongue is so long and slender that it actually fits UP MY NOSE.

Then Roman wanted to play the drums for me while I worked out. But I couldn’t hear the lovely Chalene Johnson! I asked him to play quietly but then he started crying because Guns n Roses doesn’t play the drums quietly! So that finished that day. Subsequent attempts were even worse… so I finally gave up. And by “finally” I mean by the third day.

“Oh, I know!” I naively thought to myself, “I’ll sign up for the special I saw on Facebook for the Krav Maga combat fitness classes! Three classes for $20. Done. I’m so gonna rock this. If I pay for it I’ll totally do it cuz I don’t wanna waste money!”

I took the first class on the last Wednesday before going back to work. Class started at 6. I had to wait for my hubs to get home from work to relieve me from my parenting duties so I was runnin’ a little late! Sue me! Weeeell, they very well may. Someone from the studio called me to make sure I was coming. I got there at 6:05. Intense. “Something tells me we’re not in LA Fitness anymore.”

I was the only person in the class who had never done it before. Everyone in the class… EVERYONE had on shirts and pants with the studio logo on it. I busted up in there in a hot pink sports bra, yoga shirt, and bright running tights. Like, have you ever gone to a costume party only to realize you need to stop at the store on the way so you’re walking through Target dressed like a giant poo emoji? Yeah. That was me.

And I was totally lost. Like a female pro bowler trying to be a Lakers Cheerleader. Lost like that. I loved it but felt totally lost. It was a great workout. But I knew that once work started back I wouldn’t be able to make those classes without, at best, being 10 minutes late. The schedule just didn’t match mine.

I realized something over the break. I’ve been going about this “all-or-nothing” for so long… it’s not fair. Not fair to me. So I’m going to do my best. Some days my best might mean I eat 1300 healthy calories and a refuse that break-room cupcake. Some days I may kill those 1300 calories by breakfast. Oops. But it’s about being more aware of my choices and creating realistic expectations for myself.

Do I want my abs to come back to me? Yes. Do I want to take care of myself? Yes. But I also know that with the kids’ schedules, my schedule, and my husband’s schedule, sometimes it’s all I can do to get them in bed before I fall asleep in the hallway on the way back to my room. Step by step, choice by choice, I’ll get where I need to be.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

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OrangeTheory. Period.

Over the past few years I’ve seen these OrangeTheory places popping up all over Atlanta.  Usually there’s also a certified sign tosser showing off her mad skills on the side of the road with an OrangeTheory sign outside the locations to cause wrecks attract customers.

I had no idea what OrangeTheory was until my neighbor, Moet, told me about it.

I thought maybe it was a new cult.  That’s the thought that always pops into my brain first when I see a new establishment but don’t know what it is… I think I’ve watched too much Dateline.  No, that’s not possible.

It sounded cool!  A group fitness gym that guides you through pre-set workouts with an instructor.  You show up, get a heart monitor, go into the fitness room, and get ready to work.

Full disclosure, I’m a female meathead.  I love working out.  I love challenging myself and beating other people internally competing against other people.  If the guy beside me does 30 pushups, I’ll do 50 and laugh.  If the chick beside me does 100 crunches, I’ll do 200 and laugh.  If it’s just me, I’ll work until I hurt and do 10 more and cry.  It’s how I relieve stress and center myself.  I’ve done power yoga, body building, step, weight lifting, boxing, tai chi, “normal” yoga, boot camp, running; you name it, I’ve done it.

So, I was excited to try OrangeTheory with Moet and Candy.  We were all set for the 8:45 class Saturday morning.  I got up, got dressed in my cute little purple tank and white shorts, tied up my shoes and was off.  Moet drove cuz she just got a sweet new ride.

The class was pretty full.  I got signed in, got my heart monitor hooked up, and walked in the fitness room.  The room is broken into 3 sections: the treadmills, the rowing machines, and free weights.  Half the class started on the treadmills and the other half started on the weights/rowers.

I jumped on a treadmill.  One thing I noticed right away was that there were monitors positioned on the walls with everyone’s screen name listed in a square.  Your square is either in the green, orange, or red zone depending on how hard you’re working.  For every minute you spend in orange or red zones you get a point.   So that tells me instantly how hard I need to work to win challenge myself.

The half of the class that started on the treadmills spent about 25 minutes there.  It goes by really quickly.  You choose a base speed that you’re comfortable at, then the instructor will signal you to get ready to push yourself.  Your “push” speed is just a little faster to get your heart rate up.  Next is your “all out” speed.  This should make you very uncomfortable but you don’t stay there long.  For those of you who know the “lingo”, it’s interval training.

All was great.  I was in my groove, I was running comfortably on the treadmill, then I noticed something.  I’m terrified of falling off of a treadmill.  I’m convinced that at some point I’ll trip over my feet, go flying off the back, and possibly take out some unsuspecting people on my way down.  This was different.

Remember those white shorts I mentioned?  Well, I started my period.  In the middle of my workout.  Totally unprepared.  Remember that thing about sometimes hating my female form?  Ugh.  Usually I have a warning!!!  What tha face, body!?

So you know what I did?  Nothing.  I pretended like everything was normal.  Luckily, it wasn’t horribly noticeable.  We were all working hard and I wasn’t bending over at that point so it was ok.  Plus, if anyone had said something stupid I would have just yelled at them for being perverted and told management that I felt harassed.  #problemsolved

Who knows, I could be Facebook shamed soon.  If so, I’ll do what everyone else does and just deny it.

“Oh, no, that’s totally not me.  Can’t you tell that someone put my face on someone else’s body???”

But then I had to get off the treadmill.

After 25 minutes or so it was time to switch with the other half of the class.  This next 25 or so minutes was weights/rowing.  Trickier for me in my new predicament.  So I did what any self-respecting female who just started her period in the middle of a workout class would do… I stayed in the back of the group!

It definitely helped that the room was dimly lit.

We did squats (ugh… of course we would), lateral raises, and 100 meter row for as many sets as we could until the instructor signaled that it was time for us to go to the next set.  Then we did ab work and TRX band work, which I’d never done before but really liked.

The class is right at an hour long.  It was high energy, fun, and I felt like I got a really good workout in, despite my, um, condition.

I believe that as long as you are working on getting or staying fit, you should do whatever gets you motivated and keeps you moving.

In my opinion, OrangeTheory is perfect for those of you who may be just starting out or who need a group setting to keep you interested.  The format the always the same but the workout is always different.

Also, it’s not as “raw” as Crossfit, which can be intimidating and scary for some people (not to mention you can really hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing).

At the end of the class you get a summary of your workout emailed to you so you can see how hard you kicked ass.

OrangeTheory has various monthly membership packages or you can get class bundles.  If you aren’t ready to commit to a monthly membership just yet, you can get a pack of 10 classes just to see how it goes.

I’m a little weary of fitness fads but I think OrangeTheory has what it takes to stick around for a while.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!  But take a tampon, just in case. Unless you have a penis. You know what, bring one anyway.

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