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Monday, June 9, 2014

Simple, Fun Workouts for the Unmotivated Mom (Part 1)

Dear Mom Who Hates to Exercise,
I know exactly how you feel. I am right there with you. It's kind of hard to fathom that some people actually enjoy working out. Isn't it? Seriously?! Who actually likes spandex and sports bras and sweat (ick!) and shoes you have to lace? Not to mention expensive gym memberships, child care arrangements, etc. Talk about a pain in the you-know-what!
I don't know about you, but I've tried it all. Step aerobics, Zumba, jogging (well...sorta!), spinning, yoga, weight training, Pilates...I have yet to fall in love with anything that involves sweat. Or effort. And don't even suggest that water aerobics would help me avoid sweating. Because I hate bathing suits. (Which I might hate less if I exercised more. Ugh.)
Anyway, the point is--I know exactly where you are coming from. I can promise you that this is NOT a post from a crazy, exercise-loving mom. This is a post from a desperate-to-get-in-shape-but-hating-every-stinking-minute-of-it mom. I was born without an "exercise gene". In its place, I was gifted with a "lazy gene". Maybe you have one, too? Let's redefine the term "exercise" and instead, you and I will just strive to stay active, be good role models for our kids and have a bunch of fun. Okay?

The Card Game Workout

The idea for this workout was stolen from fitness guru, Jillian Michaels, herself. It works like this:

1. Remove all of the face cards from a deck of playing cards (We use something fun like Angry Birds Star Wars cards or whatever is handy--Jillian probably doesn't.).

2. Leave the ACES in the deck and the numbers 2-10 for each suit. If you have a couple JOKER cards, throw those in there too!

3. Decide which FOUR exercises you and your kiddos want to do. There are some suggestions below. It works best if you chose a variety of body parts to work with. Trust me--you don't want to pick all ab exercises or all leg moves! I would recommend choosing at least one cardio-type exercise to really get your heart pumping. The jumping jacks are a favorite here, but if you're up for the challenge try burpees.

(Some of these you may have to Google if you don't know what they are. And odds are if you have to look it up, it isn't a beginner move. Haha!)

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Crunches or Sit-ups
  • Push-ups (Make this super fun by putting a bowl of popcorn down and picking up a piece with your tongue as you get near the floor!)
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Calf Raises
  • Burpees
  • Superman

4. Assign each exercise to a suit. For example, you might choose to do HEARTS as Jumping Jacks, DIAMONDS as Crunches, SPADES as Squats and CLUBS as Push-ups. Write the exercises and the symbols on a large piece of paper, like the one above, and post it somewhere visible to you and the kiddos.

5. The ACES will be a one-minute rest and the JOKERS can either be a 2 minute dance party or a 30 second plank, whichever you prefer. My kids live for the dance party! It's their favorite part!

6. Jillian thinks you are going to do this ENTIRE. DECK. OF. CARDS. Now that is some funny stuff right there!! Good luck with that. Ha! We usually do about half the deck. I just eyeball it. I do fan through the half we are doing and make sure there is at least one ACE (rest) and one JOKER (dance party) in the half we choose.

7. Grab some water and a clock with a timer. Turn on some fun, upbeat music and get moving! Flip the first card and do the number of reps and the corresponding exercise it goes along with. For example, a 10 of SPADES would be 10 squats using our chart above. Move onto the next card as quickly as possible. 

8. Try to keep going until you get through all the cards. Jillian has nothing on my 7 year old. Nothing. That boy is one TOUGH trainer! Make sure you don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh! Be silly! Worry about your own form and let them do goofy push-ups if they want.

 **WARNING!! Your kids will make you do this EVERY. STINKING. DAY. They will not forget. They will beg. They will nag. Who needs a trainer when you have kids?!

The Jenga Workout

This is a fun workout that you can make as challenging as you like. There are 2 variations of this game. The first will be a little more game and a little less exercise. The second will definitely give you a fun workout! 

Grab a Sharpie marker and at least HALF of your Jenga pieces. Write simple exercises on one side of the Jenga piece. Some should be a little easier and some a little more difficult. Don't be afraid to vary the repetition number and duplicate the exercise if you start running out of creativity. (So 10 Push-ups on one piece and 5 Push-ups on another.) Here are a few ideas for you. 

  • 30 sec. Plank
  • 20 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 sec. High Knees
  • 20 Crunches
  • 10 Push-ups
  • Jog in place for 1 min.
  • 10 Lunges
  • 5 Squats
  • 10 Calf Raises
  • 10 Karate Kicks
  • Hop on one foot for 15 sec. then the other for 15 sec.

Easy Version: Play the game as usual, having everyone do the exercise challenge on the Jenga piece when it is taken from the tower. Replace the piece somewhere in/on the tower and continue playing until the tower falls.

Challenge Version: Play the game as usual, having everyone do the activity on the Jenga piece when it is taken from the tower. If a piece is blank, or blank on one side, grab your marker and write a new exercise challenge on the piece. Replace the piece somewhere on/in the tower and continue playing until the tower falls. (If a piece has an exercise challenge on both sides, the person who removed the piece will choose which exercise the group completes.)

Have fun!

Don't miss the other 2 upcoming posts in this series. Get new posts delivered directly to your inbox by entering your e-mail address at the top, right under the blog header. (Mobile users will need to click "View Web Version".) You can find me on Facebook HERE.