7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

Best At-Home Workout Finds on Amazon

Health & Wellness
Outdoor workouts at home

My husband and I have been working out at home long before the Covid-19 pandemic. After we had our first baby, we wanted to spend more time at home to be close to him, but it was still important for our mental and physical health to get our workouts in. So, we made a mini makeshift gym in our house with free weights, resistance bands and a floor mat to do what we could until we were ready to go back to our official gym. We ended up liking working out at home so much that we recently built a more legitimate gym in our garage! But, I still find myself working out all over our house – running the stairs while baby naps in her nursery, jumping rope and lifting free weights in the backyard while our toddler rides his bike, doing yoga in our living room, and other creative at-home workouts. We’ve found that there’s really no excuse not to squeeze in a 20-minute workout at home – especially when you have the right gear. Plus, we’ve saved tons of money by getting rid of our expensive gym membership!

Below, I’ve put together a round-up of my favorite at-home workout gear that you can easily find on Amazon. I also will be sharing some of my favorite workout moves on Instagram, so be sure to follow me @maggiehjackson for frequent updates.

Resistance Loop Bands

I use these resistance loop bands all the time for booty workouts. I love that they come in a fun pink palette, but they also come in a muted gray color palette for guys or those who aren’t super into pink like me. These hardly take up any space at all, so they’re easy to store for at-home workouts.

Ankle and Wrist Weights

I use these ankle weights way more than I ever thought I would. When the baby is napping and I want to do cardio, I’ll often strap these on and run up and down our stairs.

Yoga Mat

This pink yoga mat comes in six other colors. I don’t love the super thick yoga mats, because I want to feel steady when I’m jumping up and down and happen to step off the mat, so this 1/4-inch thick mat is perfect. I also like that it comes with its own carrying strap to take to a yoga class.

Jump Rope

Another great tool for at-home cardio is this jump rope. It comes in six colors, and for under $10, it’s a steal. My favorite way to use the jump rope is to break up weight training. I’ll jump rope for 1 minute straight, then do a weight circuit, and repeat.

5-Pound Free Weights

10-Pound Free Weights

We have adjustable dumbbells that go up to 50-pounds each, but I find myself always going back to my 5-pound and 10-pound free weights. I like that they are easily transportable, so I use them in our garage gym but also take outside or anywhere in the house where the baby is napping or playing.

Functional Trainer

We worked at home for a couple years before pulling the trigger on getting this functional trainer. If you want a full-body weightlifting workout, this is the only gym equipment you need. We’ve transformed our garage into an at-home gym and use this there.

Weight Bench

This adjustable weight bench works great with the functional trainer, but I also use it for other workout moves, like as a step-up bench for some cardio.

Perfect Pushup

I bought the Perfect Pushup stands for my husband as a gift several years ago, and they’re still used all the time in our at-home gym. They help keep uncomfortable weight off your wrists and encourage you to do a pushup with better form.

Home Gym Flooring

Get this home gym flooring to protect the floor in your home, as well as provide a safe, soft ground for your workouts.

adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Shoes

I have these adidas Cloudfoam shoes in black but heavily considering getting them in pink, too. They’re affordable and comfortable, so great for at-home workouts, running errands or chasing the kids around the park. I use these ONLY for weight and HIIT workouts – NOT running. These do not have the support I need for running. There’s so many color combos, so you can pick exactly the shoes you want for your style.

Workout Leggings with Side Pockets

These workout leggings are by 90 Degree but are so similar to my Lululemon Wunder Unders. In fact, I find myself wearing these leggings more than my Lulus these days. They have a side pocket, so they’re super convenient when I’m running around with my phone (or baby monitor!). The best part is that they’re about one-fourth the price as Lululemon leggings!

adidas Workout Cap

If you’re going to workout outside, like I often do, I like to wear a breathable cap to protect my face from the sun and keep me cool. This adidas workout cap matches with the Cloudform shoes that I recommended.

So, that wraps my Amazon list of fitness gear for home. What else would you like to see? Want to know more of my workout routine? My fave workout clothes? Let me know in the comments or contact me on Instagram.

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.