Quick Workout Ideas for a Busy Mom, or 3,500 Calories Equals a Pound.

January 25, 2012

Posted By: Shaunescy

Montana Parent reader, Stephanie, asked on our Facebook page, "Hey, I have a question for you and I hope you can help me out! Do any of you have any quick workout ideas for a busy mom?"

I thought about what I do, Yoga videos on Hulu.com, hiking with my kids - which has the added weight of usually carrying one of them for a large part of it, good ol' sit-ups and push-ups. But, if I am honest, gosh, I felt like it was a bit of a challenge to give anyone workout tips because, although pretty active and reasonably in shape, I don't have a structured work-out plan. In fact, there is a lot I don't know. Whenever that happens, I try to get smarter people in the room.

So I asked Amy Sowers for some advice. Amy is a dynamo. She is the current reigning 2 time National Boxing Champion in her weight class. The chick is impressive. She the kind of girl who says, "Well, I had a little extra time this evening so I ran Drinking Horse again, I just didn't get enough of a workout when I ran it this morning."

Ok. Her level of fitness may be way out of your league, but the thing about Amy that is useful to gals like us is her facility with the numbers of fitness and brilliant, yet simple workout ideas. We also talked about fitness goals, assessment and realistic strategies.

Do you want to maintain you current weight or lose 10 pounds? Do you want to have more stamina and just be a bit more healthy? Do you just want to start doing something so when your son or daughter is 10 years old they can't outrun you? Or do you want to do the Ridge Run? All these are personal questions and valid goals. Since fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, let's start by looking at tools for assessing calorie needs.

Amy suggested this website from Self Magazine and this calculator because of it's accuracy and it's a good baseline for self-assessment.


It's very simple. You pop in your age, weight and activity level and it gives you the number of calories you need to consume daily to maintain your current weight. So let's say, you've decided that your goal is to lose 10 pounds and increase your overall fitness. In that scenario, the simple math is to reduce calories and move more. Amy suggested that most people can find 500 calories in their daily diets to do without. She just has those numbers in her head, but you might find this handy.


One way to approach this is to keep a food journal for three days. Write down everything that you've had to eat or drink. Don't change your habits, just write it down so you can inform yourself and begin to gain a mastery of these numbers so you can make good food choices. The tracking and logging of food on the site requires that you create an account, sign in and spend some time building your food profile. But no purchase is required, and you can opt out of email notifications. There are other ways to track and inform yourself about calories and nutrition, but if you are a tech-friendly person, this is one way to do it.

Well, now that you know everything about your calorie intake, let's get back to the original question of workout ideas for a busy mom.

Here is Amy's suggestion to get you started:

  • find 20 minutes
  • do 10 push-ups (You know you have the upper-body and core strength from all the baby-juggling that you do.)
  • 10 sit-ups
  • jump rope for two minutes
  • repeat circuit till the 20 minutes is up

Sit-ups and push-ups are great because they work your strength and they do not require anything but you and a small space. And  jumping rope is one of the best short-on-time but high-benefit things you can do. It's cheap equipment, again doesn't take up much space and works on core-strength and balance, as well as having aerobic and anaerobic (super-heart healthy) benefits.

The first few times that you use a jump rope for fitness, you may not get much of a health benefit because unless this is something you do routinely, your body is relearning that muscle memory. Try to skip the rope as low to the ground as possible. Once you feel more confident switch it up a little by varying the speed of your jumping and the height of your knees as you jump. Speeding it up and slowing it down is where you gain the important anaerobic benefits of your work out.

Here are a couple more websites that the champ said were her go-to's.

www.Caloriesperhour.com   Good calories burned calculator.

www.Myjumpropeworkout.com   Has a good jump rope work out. 'advanced' has jumping, situps, squats, pushups. Perfect for a good well rounded short workout.

I hope that helps. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback feel free to post a comment below. Montana Parent promises to never share, sell or spam your email. I know it's obvious, but please consult your Doctor before starting any fitness regimen. Be safe.

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