Perfect Exercise Routine for Busy Moms

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Can I start this post with UGH?

I really didn’t think I’d be here at this point, but whatever.

Let me start from the beginning. Or actually let me start with this phrase:

I was in better shape right after birth than I am now ( at the time of writing).

Bam! That blows! It took 3 years (pregnancy and 2 toddler years) to UNDO all the work I had done prior to pregnancy.

People often ask me how I stayed so fit and “skinny” after birth. Before, I could have told them something worthwhile. Now I just chuckle. I looked good after birth because I was REALLY fit going INTO pregnancy.

What went wrong?

Motherhood did me in 🙂

Going into pregnancy I was in fabulous shape. Best of my life. I’d been skinnier before, but never was I that fit.

I exercised during pregnancy, but it was more to stay active and keep my shape, nothing hardcore. I was more of a work out chicken during pregnancy.

After pregnancy, my body bounced back pretty fast. I did not look the same, but I didn’t have a post partum belly a few days in. At 2 weeks PP, I just looked like a generally bigger version of myself, but not with anything really sticking out. At 6 months I was 5 lbs above my pregnancy weight but now losing my tone.

Now 2 years in. I have gained 7 more pounds (yes, shame on me!) and had not had any time to deal with losing it. Up until recently…

It was never about weight for me, really. I couldn’t care less what the scale says. It’s about how I look and how toned I am.

I would be perfectly fine with my current weight if I was toned and fit. Technically, my BMI is only 20.5 which is on the lower end of normal. But throughout my life, because I am so tall, BMI has not been a reliable indication of how I look or how fit I am. I’ve always been on the almost underweight scale, when I was in perfect shape. So at this point, I don’t need to lose much fat (maybe 5 lbs at most), I just need to turn from jello-girl to steel woman.

So all of this to say that in my case, it’s lack of time to exercise (and lost sleep, of course) what is making me not happy with my body.

Since I work from home, and also away from home every other weekend, I seriously rarely have time for non-essentials. It’s sad to say that working out had become a non-essential. That didn’t sit well with me, but I was at a loss for what to do.

I have attempted to start running ( HATE RUNNING!), rollerblading, exercise programs, but something would happen ( darn travel , or sleep regression) and I would forget about it and stop doing it. I could never find a reliable way of exercising that I would enjoy, could do anywhere and found time to do.

Recently I looked in the mirror and said “Wow, this is that moment when you look at yourself and say “It’s time to do something about it, it’s time to make it a priority or it will be too late or too hard later“”.


{before I started the new exercise program}

It was time to change things around when it came to my body! Seriously!

I have tried virtually anything to get into some kind of routine or system when it came to work out prior to that realization.

As many of you know, I run Daily Mom, I write on this blog, I do some things for our family businesses, take care of Lexi most days and all evenings, try to cook and clean which usually is the lowest on my priority list but at the same time put getting work outs in was just simply impossible. They were times when I couldn’t take a shower because I just couldn’t prioritize a shower over all the important things that I would need to get done.

I’ve tried going running: I just can’t. I hate it. I hated it since I was in middle school. That is partially an impatient person in me and a person who has to maximize the productivity of everything, so running for half an hour or an hour bored the crap out of me because I couldn’t do other things at the same time ( listening to music doesn’t count).

I have tried going rollerblading. Rollerblading has always done really well for me in terms of cardio. So this was another plan, but it turned out to be more difficult as I work in the mornings while Andrew takes Lexi so I can’t go then. And in the evenings, Andrew works and I am with Lexi, so I cannot go then either. I could technically go in a stroller, but I don’t like the idea of her sitting mindlessly in a stroller for an hour while daddy runs in the morning and then doing the same with mommy. Plus with Lexi’s unreliable sleep I could never find an exact time when I could go rollerblading without her. I couldn’t get out of the house while she slept because she was so attached to me at the beginning and as she grew older I got busier and busier with Daily Mom and I just never could squeeze rollerblading in. So while I enjoyed it greatly, it just kept breaking down .

 I’ve tried doing my Pilates exercises that used to love but you know working out to the same DVD program for seven years is just that just got so boring and I just couldn’t handle it.

I didn’t have the same willpower as before and had different priorities now and nothing seem to grab me enough to help me work out and help me get in a routine. Things had always been so easy for me in this department, that I never had to think hard about finding time or getting in shape. I always had time, and getting in shape was easy. I didn’t need that ice cream after an exhausting day with a 2 year old. I could take an hour to go to the gym, or unwind by going rollerblading at night.

I knew something had to be done, so out of desperation I looked at different apps on the iPhone, thinking I always have my phone on me so maybe I could find something on the go.. I figured if I could find a good program that I like, I could possibly do some exercises in between playing with Lexi when she has 2,3,4 minutes of all alone play.

I tried many apps…

But the truth is:

I just DO NOT have 30 minutes to myself that I can give to exercises. If I have 30 minutes to myself, I work on Daily Mom, or take a shower, or eat some ice cream after Lexi’s bedtime and watch a show once or twice a week. That was my rare relaxation time. I did not see how I could fit working out in daily, especially since I didn’t enjoy doing it and was tired from a day with a very energetic, active non-stop toddler.

My solution came suddenly and unexpectedly.


I downloaded an app called FitStar to try and get a bit of working out in. It surprised me with its fun format, easy exercises  and great trainers. It’s really an amazing app that (depending on the program you choose) gives you 11-12 minutes of exercising a day.

12 minutes is NOTHING!

Just 12 minutes every day. Exercises aren’t hard, and right as you get tired of doing an exercise, they move onto another. I could do it, I thought!

The miraculous thing was that it actually worked. Literally after two days, I could see results in the mirror. A much more toned body, flat stomach- it was fabulous. It’s convenient because it’s always on your phone/iPad, it can be done on vacation, in hotel rooms, in your office- virtually anywhere anytime and doesn’t require a full 12 minutes. Just whatever you have time for at that moment, as long as you finish it that day.

This is when I did it:

DURING BEDTIME:  the thought of doing 12 minutes of exercises didn’t send me into “nope, nah-nah! Can’t do it!” even when I was tired

WHILE WORKING: Taking a break for 12 minutes from work is manageable and a great way to kick your metabolism up

WHILE PLAYING WITH LEXI: It’s much less fluid trying to find 5 minutes while playing with Lexi, because often I don’t get those 5 minutes, and other times we are playing outside, or I am trying to clean/cook. But however many minutes I can get in while she plays, is awesome and usually I finish 12 minutes in 2-3 minute increments before I know it.

WHILE WATCHING SHOWS: this is the best. If I need to watch an episode of my favorite show after a particularly long exhausting day, I do FitStar while watching. Since exercises are super easy, 12 minutes go by really fast while enjoying the banter of HIMYM

WHILE CLEANING: The first exercise on Fit Star is always run in place, so  instead of running  in place, I run around the house, putting things away. The two minutes is usually enough to sort a load of laundry or to distribute about 15 items to where they are supposed to go. Maximizing productivity at its best and makes me feel like I accomplished two things 🙂

DURING NAP: I work during her naps but using my new time management technique I still get some work outs in if I need to for the day.

Any time that I had a 5 minute break, I would do it. It felt great! Then I devised a time management plan that put this program  in overdrive and has been working amazingly since. What is it? Ah! You’ll learn in the next post. It works like gangbusters!

You can try a month of premium fitstar for free if you use this referral code B4ENZS. (It sounds like an ad but it’s not. I didn’t even know the code existed until a reader asked for it so I thought I’d share)

In addition to the Fitstar app, I do 7MWO app once I am done with the 12 minutes and the day isn’t over. Surprisingly, it’s very energizing to have a short work out in between other more stationary tasks. You go back to working buzzing and refreshed.

The concept behind the work out is that they have put together 7 minutes of high intensity work outs that are an equivalent of about an hour at the gym. it’s not a new concept but works great too.

I have a post coming up about better fitting these short work outs into a busy schedule if you’re a work at home mom and I am sure it can be adapted for stay at home moms and maybe for work outside of home moms. I realize that most stay at home moms don’t have an issue fitting these things in, but as a work at home mom, every free second is at a premium.


I realize that it is hard for an outsider to see a difference in pictures that aren’t similar and side by side. I realize that I have the benefit of a tall and lean frame which hides imperfections so well, but when it comes to my body there is a noticeable difference in tone and shape between the 2 year PP photos and these taken about 2 weeks after I started using this routine. I can always tell the difference in my legs.

I am really happy with this routine and especially the results it seems to produce. I plan on taking some bikini pictures after the summer is over and I have a few months of it under my belt and posting them here for comparison.

Note: This isn’t for weight loss. You cannot lose any significant weight doing 12 minute exercises a day while still eating the way you did before. Those late night ice cream cones ( guilty) or huge dinner at 10pm (guilty) have to go. Eating healthy and watching calories while exercising is what gets you to the weight loss.

I have a series of posts in drafts with the same common theme: BUSY MOM. I have been struggling to fit everything I want/need to do and I finally feel I have a good handle on it. It took me 2 years of trial and error living with a extra active and extroverted two year old and working from home to figure out how to do it best. And I am going to share it with you. Some might be able to relate and adopt it, others might have to change a few things, others might not have the same issue, but in the end I hope it helps someone.

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