Summertime Kids-at-Home Workouts.

Subtitle: Yeah, at first I thought these people were messing with me via email as we’d just done a podcast on this very subject!

Hiya Miz, I need help. You talked last week about Living Not Blogging and I was jealous. You work in your playouts :) even with your Tornado around and I’ve become derailed and the summer has just started. How on earth can I fit in fitness in a hectic summer schedule with kids home?? Please please email me back.

Ahhh, summer. I have to admit that, when many of my mama-friends began panicking about the same thing back in May, I was entirely caught by surprise.

I hadn’t though much about the fact they were used to a big chuck of time during the day in which to work/workout and the aforementioned chunk disappears for a few months every summer.

Since Im always rollin’ with my homie the Tornado it was a no-brainer to help my friends come up with a list of options they could work into their days.

(This list does NOT include utilizing a gym daycare facility.  That is definitely a fab option but one many of us dont have at our disposal.)

Please to enjoy MizFit’s Magnificent List Of Workout Options With The Kids Underfoot 2009.

(AKA: M.M.L.O.W.O.W.T.K.U.)

  • Get up at the crack of dawn and MOVE. This is what Ive chosen to do and, while not my fave thing initially, it works for me. Im a far more patient mama when Ive had my time to destress.  Remind yourself that this isnt forever and that you can do ANYTHING for a few months.  Dont have any equiptment at home? Pick up an inexpensive exercise band.  Check out ON DEMAND exercise programs on television. Rent exercise DVDs so you know what you like *before* you buy.
  • Involve your kids: Another no-brainer yet one we mamas seem to not do frequently enough.  How do you raise kids who like to exercise? You show them that working, errr, PLAYing out can be fun!  Are you a weight training mama? Hand your littletlittles rolled up socks and let them train along side you!  Are your kids more toward the tween years? Try incorporating body weight routines and have them push up or lunge right with you!  You may find that your workouts take longer (“running” with a 5 year old might necessitate more frequent stops & starts) but you WILL FIND they are more enjoyable.
  • Incorporate the silly: Nothing works the core better than a GOOD, HARD belly laugh.  Skip the traditional workout all together in favor of some LOUD MUSIC & a good old fashioned dance party!  Make up silly yoga poses which mimic the appearance of different zoo animals! How long has it been since you’ve played leapfrog? Jumped rope? Heck, even a vigorous game of freeze tag, dodge ball, hopscotch or duck, duck, goose! can get the heart rate up when done with childlike glee.  Too hot to even consider the outdoors? Raining? Create an obstacle course in your home and, perhaps, time each other to see who can complete it the fastest.  Think outside the box.  Think like the children you’re trying to amuse’ertain.
  • Make every movement count: Once upon a time MizFit took four months off from working out.  Once upon that time she really didnt notice that much of a change in her body composition or strength.  What kept me kindasorta in shape? Two thingsI didnt take the break from working out as a ‘reason’ to toss in the clean eating towel (important to remember!) and I made the most of every opportunity to squeeze in some N.E.A.T. Perhaps start accidentally (wink) forgetting something upstairs when you are down.  Take that stairclimb to squeeze the glutes and SQUEEZE in a bit of cardio.  View your entire day through the lens of: how might I use this time to burn a few extra calories (and some stress!) off?


That’s what Ive got people.

Up in herre? We tend toward this:




And you?

Do you bring the kids to the pool and CHOOSE to spend that time aqua-training not lounging & reading?

Have you perfected the McDonald’s Playscape Playout Routine & care to spread your knowledge?

Parents & busyworkinglifeslammed individuals alike please to hit us all up in the comments.


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  1. Bea says

    I like this suggestion:
    how might I use this time to burn a few extra calories (and some stress!) off?

    I do think if I had that in my mind all day with the twins I’d find time I didn’t know I had.

    Someone said the other day they cannot see the links on their computer.
    I can’t either!

    I just saw the word NEAT was a link by accident.
    Is it my computer screen??

  2. Nan says

    I have totally done the obstacle course thing with my nieces and nephews when I’ve babysat (thanks for including us nonparents in here too).

    I have to say I salute the parents though as those kids are tiring and an entire summer would exhaust me and I’m in my 20s LOL

    Love the pics of you and your daughter.

  3. says

    I have so much admiration for you parents who juggle kids and workouts!

    Um, whoops, didn’t mean literally juggle them… though that might really make for a great upper body and core workout!

  4. says

    No kiddos. Love the pics though!

    I think a lot of my face to face friends are a little challeneged in this area. I’ll have to keep these in mind when it comes time for kiddos of my own!

  5. Miz says

    laughed outloud at the JUGGLING comment as I’ve just started a post on that Cranky which was an outgrowth of an email I’d sent to you lamenting all the (waitforit) JUGGLING.

    Alas the post involves no childtossage.

  6. says

    I’ve had to set aside official organized workouts while the kids are out of school, but I’m finding ways to keep moving with them.

    We take the dog for walks with a few mini races. I’ll swim for about 20 minutes of every hour we’re at the pool. I hop in about 10 min before adult swim and play with my kidlets, then do some official swimming while they’re on the sidelines. We’re usually there for 2-3 hours, so it adds up.

    We do the normal diving for rings, monkey in the middle and “mommy, throw me/pull me on the float”, but we added something new this summer. One (or both) of the younger kidlets face me from the opposite end of the pool float, and we kick at each other. The goal is to push the other person past the ladder.

    B1 (teen) can push me, when he decides to hang with the family. B2 (9) can kick hard enough to maintain a stalemate, and DD (8) makes me work for the trip across the pool. B2 & DD team up to get me, which I think is great.

    It’s not the long rides/runs I’m looking forward to in August when school starts, but it’s doing a better job of maintaining condition than I’d hoped for.

  7. says

    My tiny tyke is still pretty young (22 months) so I often use the running stroller, but if it’s raining (as it has been) that’s a no go. We also have a stationary bike and row machine in the finished basement. I bring down a bunch of toys and let the munchkin go house. When I do the bike sometimes I read to her (per her request). If none of that works, then I exercise at 8:00 pm after she’s asleep. Getting up early would be tough. She’s up at 5:00.

  8. Carrie says

    I am with Katie.
    My son gets up around five and if memory serves your Tornado is an early riser too.

    What time do you get up and how do you stay motivated??

  9. says

    You and Torando should do a workout dvd. I’m totally not kidding. When I grew up- we had Mousercise (remember this???) and it was such a fabulous way to get kiddos moving. I think a mommy and me (Mizfit and me) workout would be so cute.

  10. Tara says

    I was going to say the same thing as Erica.

    have you thought about selling a dvd or book??

  11. says

    I’m going to use these same techniques on my 55 year old sister when I get to work this morning.

    I *do* get up at the crack of dawn but then I lay here and read Miz and Cranky and juggle my coffee cup.

  12. says

    I’ll just save this page for later….when I have kids :)

    Monkey see, monkey do! How true it is, we need to show our kids what a healthy lifestyle means, not just tell them to get their exercise in!

  13. says

    Mizfit, the timing for this couldn’t have been better. While I don’t have the same struggles you mention, I do have a 12 year old who needs to get control of hit eating and fitness habits while he can. That is a topic I plan on addressing on my blog soon.

  14. says

    Aw, you and the Tornado are SO CUTE!

    When I used to babysit/was a nanny I got in tons of exercise just by playing with the kids. They were happy to play and I was happy to get a good workout. I’m pretty sure that people can get in a BETTER workout with kids around… just running after them is tough enough!

  15. Meredith says

    Another babysitter here.

    We play a LOT of indoor freeze tag in the summers.

    (And have been known to run through the mall to burn off energy. Shhh ;))

    Love the pictures, Miz.

    Than ks for sharing them.

  16. says

    FYI, Comcast’s on demand exercise TV is free. Some are only about 10 minutes, and some are Jillian Michaels workouts.

    And you two look so cute working out together.

  17. says

    I’m not a mom (yet) but these are great tips!

    You and the tornado look so cute together, you can tell she adores you!

  18. Miz says

    Peeking in from my newest great!idea!

    Skates for me & the Tornado.
    (I’ve not skated in 18 years so we’re starting on the carpet. ROLLER DERBY 2012? Here we come!).

    She is up around five and, for now, to get some WorkOutTime and some WorkTime I’m up at 4a.

    It took some getting used to BUT I keep telling myself this isn’t forever and I find I now look forward to the am quiet.

    More thank you’d wanna know/more tips in the podcast I linked above.

  19. says

    Those pictures of you and Tornado are beautiful. She has a great mentor for growing up healthy.

    I love being a kid with my kids. We run around catcing fireflies, have water gun fights (why am I always the biggest target?), swing at the playground and go down the slide (sit on a piece of wax paper to go FAST on the slides), and just enjoy being goofy. We bond and burn off some calories but we have fun doing it.

    One of my favorite things to do is have big wrestling/tickling matches. By the time it’s over we’ve had a lot of laughs and we’re exhausted.

  20. says

    I do have a gym daycare now but still I like to pop the kiddo in the jogger and get in a run (man it’s sooo much harder to run pushing 30 pounds around).

    Or if I’m in a crunch, I have Gilad on DVR and he whips my butt. Great suggestions! I always laughed at the “park far away from the store” thing until I did it and it started working!

  21. says

    Oh wow, she gets up at 5?? That is rough! Those pictures are adorable, though.

    I have to say one of the things that scares me when I have kids is not having time to exercise. But I know it is possible, so I will have to keep these tips in mind.

  22. says

    You always have all the great tips and answers!!!

    My toddler and I play outside a lot. I try to play what he wants to play — golf, baseball, running around being crazy. It keeps us somewhat active but I know I could do more.

  23. says

    Great Article! Depending on the weight and size of the child, you can use them as weights in your workout. First stretch with them. Put them on your legs and do leg lifts (hold on to their arms). Put them on your tummy for added resistance while doing crunches. Bench press them. Let them lay on your back while doing push-ups. Use them for bi-cep curls. Swing them between your open legs to work the shoulders and add in a squat. They’ll be cracking up through the entire workout and beg you to not stop.

  24. Sarah says

    Ok Miz I have to share since I know you IRL that you once said to me:

    You’ll be tired at the end of the day whether you get up a little earlier and exercise or not.
    Get up.

    That changed my life.

    Love ya!

  25. says

    Do kids nowadays still do summer camp? 😉

    I don’t have kids, but they were a SAVIOR for my busy mama. That and a husband who was willing to tire us out with endless games of catch.

  26. says

    Hey Miz! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your ideas. I don’t have kids yet, but I already have to get up pre-dawn to work out. It’s hard at first, but it sets you for the whole day. Good tip.

  27. says

    I have no kids but I think this is such a great post. LOVE the pictures and that is one beautiful little tornado you have!

  28. says

    I am soooo not an early riser (for work, yes…for workout, not so much), so in the p.m. I pop in the earbuds and plant myself on the elliptical for 30-45 minutes. The kiddos know that they can talk to me, but I prolly won’t talk back since I can’t hear them! They kind of know (since I spelled it out for them) that it’s hard for me to solve the latest world crisis (mom!!she took my Barbie!!!!!) while I’m jammin to Katy Perry.

    Other times, I’ll put in the Jillian DVD and they sweat right along with me, or we head outside and shoot some hoops or jump on the trampoline.

  29. Leslie says

    What a fun podcast!

    We are big Yo Gabba fans here too and I try to get moving with the twins when they dance to the music.

    I’d love a MizFit DVD!!

  30. says

    The pics of you and the Tornado are so cute! I love how she’s also working with the band and stretching!

    You’re a great mama!

  31. says

    I adored the pictures of you and the Tornado. Absolutely adorable.

    As a busy working wife with a hellish commute and hot humid DC summer months upon us—I have had to accept that I just have to wake up early. Like you said Miz, it isn’t forever and it isn’t every day. I can suck it up. The fact it is bathing suit season is what keeps me motivated.

    Happiness Awaits

  32. Ellie says

    Thank you for recognizing that one can not have kids yet still have a hectic life.

    I’m with you and have to get up early and just Git Er Done LOL

    Or I skip it.

  33. says

    No kids, so advise there. Except I visited a park with a friend last week -saw the kiddie play equipment and immediately thought that adults should it for an obstacle course. If I had kids, we’d make a new track up every couple weeks and race each other.

  34. says

    childless here but would like to add on a v shallow note… how great is your hair? and your wee girl is beautiful. hoping that spinning round in my chair here at work is burning some cals 😛

  35. MizFit says

    before the Tornado arrived there was nothing I loved less than people who assumed my life was all sloweasy and fraught with birds waving garlands in my hair (thanks DietGirl!) while I worked out for hours on end.

    Now that I have the Tornado I have to say that life is BUSY and it is DIFFERENT BUSY but I was fo’ sho’ slammed before and utilized MANY of the same tips to get in my workouts.


    Thank you for recognizing that one can not have kids yet still have a hectic life.

    youre welcome!


    Thank you for recognizing that one can not have kids yet still have a hectic life.

    kinda sad you need to thank me.

    All y’all :)

  36. says

    Love all your ideas and wish I could find the teen edition. Vocal chords and slacker positions are fully engaged but I don’t think that counts as exercise. Woe is me.

    Could the Tornado be any cuter?!

  37. says

    As you know, I have a Tornado the same age as yours and this has been a challenge for me. She is also up at 5am. I am so not a morning person but maybe I can change.

    May I ask, what time does Miz get to bed at night in order to function at 4am??

  38. says

    Holy crap, I LOVE those pics. Especially the second one, where she’s looking at you adoringly. Enjoy that while it lasts. 😉

    I’d totally buy a Miz/Tornado DVD. Even though I have no kids (but I love me some Mousercise! I’d totally forgotten about that!).

    And Sarah’s comment about what you’d said to her:
    You’ll be tired at the end of the day whether you get up a little earlier and exercise or not.
    Get up.

    Wow. Never thought about it like that, but yeah. I guess the end of the day will be the same anyway, huh? Food for thought . . .

  39. Miz says

    yeah, Marste, friends either love or hate when I say that—and I say it a lot :)

    I think the greatest thing was when Ren Man just began getting up and working out (w/out announcing he was starting).

    Later when I asked about it he referenced precisely that (You’ll be tired at the end of the day whether you get up a little earlier and exercise or not.) & Id never even thought he was listening…


    MizEarly2Bed (in bed at 9 reading…)

  40. says

    I get up super early to do the blog stuff and exercise. I don’t just count my walk/run as exercise though, I also make time during the summer to do things with my 7 children like swim, play basketball, help them learn to ride their bikes, etc. Every chance I can I move with them. I think this change in attitude has helped me maintain my 150 lb weight loss! Thanks for a great post and really good pictures!

  41. says

    Love the ideas. I had a blast playing “catch” with my friend’s kid (catch = he threw the ball somewhere in the house and I would dive/crawl to go get it, I guess more like fetch…) and it sure got my heart rate up!

    I remember my mom used to send me to all sorts of classes – I hope to be able to be up on the diving board, skating around, and tumbling with them in the backyard if kids are in the cards for me someday. :)

  42. Hallie says

    Thanks for a great post!

    The biggest thing for me will be remembering to look at my whole day as an opportunity for exercise (LOVE how you also added lessening stress) not just 30 minute chance.

  43. says

    Some great ideas! My kids are younger than school-aged, so we do our “exercises” together – lots of dancing, jumping and laughing!

  44. says

    oh, I love the pictures—and so wish we were neighbors so we could do this together!

    I try to squeeze in movement whenever possible, even though my neighbors sneer at me as I lunge/squat/jumprope/andpushup away in my driveway. They are just jealous, of course! 😉

    I need to work on the getting up early though because even though I love my tiny workout partners, I miss being able to workout without hearing “look at me mommy!” 75 million times!

  45. Liz says

    The way she is looking up at you makes even ME want a kid!

    I love your N.E.A.T. video.
    I’m going to use those tips for the office.


  46. says

    What a great post. I know it’s challenging for many mother’s with smaller children.

    My girl is 15 years old so she could actually exercise with me if I can get her too… (lazy phase right now)…

    The Tornado is adorable. I’ve never seen her before… for some reason I thought The Tornado was a 2 year old boy… hehe.

  47. says

    My 9 year old just started C25K week one. He is working toward something he wants REALLY bad. Today was rough, but I told him…some days aren’t your days!!

  48. says

    I’m not a mom, but I’m a teacher and I’ve been taking some of my students from last year out over the summer. The best thing I can think to do is just to play with them! Run around on the playground, go biking, try jump rope tricks, head out for hikes, head to the pool…
    Obviously I don’t have my kids all day so I don’t have the same time constraints all you moms out there have, but to me it seems like a great way to spend quality time together and model a healthy, fit lifestyle.

  49. says

    No kids at home. Kitties. Sometimes I have to workout around them. Sometimes they like to roll around on the floor under my feet, forcing me to do moves not on the dvd.

  50. says

    LOVE these pictures! And I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about this any more. Except in about a week I’ll have a grandson! 😛

  51. says

    when i used to babysit for a family in the summer and the rain kept us from playing outside, i would pop in the mom’s Tae Bo DVD and make the kids do it with me. it lead to very happy nap time for ALL 3 of us.

  52. says

    The workouts are all fab. of course, but my favorite thing is that we both wear the same black basic outfit while doing them. Black shorts with stripe, and black top, I just do the no sleeve type tee, while yours is the more feminine sleeveless cut :-)

  53. says

    Great post, great pics!

    I have a rather hefty (28 lb) 13-month old. I found that he has helped me get some pretty toned arms these past few months and I will admit to having used him in lieu of weights on occasion (safely and responbisbly, of course :).

    He’s just barely starting to walk, so I haven’t gotten to “use” him for cardio just yet, but I can’t wait to run obstacle courses with him and all that other fun stuff. Does anyone know of any workouts for the pre-toddler crowd?

  54. says

    Ok, this is the first time I’ve seen the Tornado without an elephant mask or other adornment. She is freakin ADORABLE. Can I come be your babysitter? LOL Seriously, I love that you have playouts and spend so much time with her. She will appreciate this when she is older.

  55. says

    This. My life! My workout today was walking the girls to their park camp (and home) then riding my bike their to pick them up (they rode to and fro). It wasn’t the workout I wanted… but there was the pediatrician, the two trips to target, the t-ball, the plumber, and the baby up every two hours the night before. So yeah. That counted…

  56. says

    Fortunately my kids are adults now, so I can do anything I want, whenever I want. It’s AWESOME! When we were in Korea and the kids were small, I first started walking with some friends and our hubbies went to work really early, so we were out and walking at 5am. Never thought I could do it, but I did! Got out of the habit in hot Texas.

    Oh, and yes, we did have a Mousercise video tape, too!

  57. says

    How flippin’ cute is that tornado?! The last picture doing the leg stretch thang was too darn adorable. My niece used to imitate my sister lifting weights by clenching her fist and shrugging her shoulders in an exaggerated fashion. She thought she was doing it correctly. The hands never moved, just the shoulders. Kids are so lovely!!

  58. MizFit says

    your comment made me GRIN glidingcalm! Ive decided to incorporate more personal stuff here (thanks to all your sweet comments/emails).
    FIRST PERSON FRIDAYS is starting this week.

  59. says

    I think it’s great to get the kids involved in some type of exercise, they don’t always though! So it’s best to make sure it’s interesting for them. Walkings good, show them how to use a map, let them lead to somewhere interesting, why not include short jogging sections etc, there’s loads you can do,

    happy holidays,

  60. says

    YEs. to all of the above and more. Whatever I can get done with kids is a bonus.

    We bike around town a lot, too. Take the kiddos to the park and run laps while they play. It’s all about the squeeze.

  61. says

    eh, i think each have opinions to express and I nevertheless appreciate them both equally. GAGA AND KATY! 😀 I am a pop music fan and I consider both are paving their personal paths. let them be.