No matter the season, scheduling in fitness around kids can be a challenge. But even when you’re short on time, you can still get in a great workout, says Ken Szekretar, a master fitness trainer at New York Sports Clubs, certified triathlon coach, and father of Ava, 3, and Kenny, 1. Szekretar encourages his clients to fit in short, intense bursts of activity, such as a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, whenever possible. “Busy parents can do a HIIT workout anytime, anywhere,” he says. “And if you push yourself, it can be as effective as longer stints in the gym.”
Try Szekretar’s 7-minute HIIT session when your little one goes down for a nap today—or use your baby as a weight, and show him how much fun exercising can be.
Ken Szekretar’s 7-minute HIIT Session
Do each exercise for one minute before moving on to the next—no breaks.
Jumping Jacks (1 minute)
Beginning with an aerobic move will build your fitness base and elevate your heart rate, says Szekretar. Include the kid: Have her jump (or dance) with you—giggles make a great workout soundtrack!
Squats (1 minute)
Start with your feet about shoulder width apart and just sit down and back. Keep your weight in the heels of your feet as you come back to standing. “Squats are a great bodyweight move that to gets all your leg muscles working at the same time,” says Szekretar. Include the kid: Hold your child in your arms at chest level, or secure him in a carrier, such as a Baby Bjorn, and perform the squats the way you would with a weight.
Lateral Lunges (1 minute)
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, then step and lunge to one side, sitting down and back like a squat. Make sure you’re not leaning too far forward over your knee, and keep your heel on the floor. Return to your starting position, and then lunge to the other side. Include the kid: Baby adds weight the way a dumbbell or kettlebell would for this move, too, says Szekretar.
Mountain Climbers (1 minute)
Get down on the floor into push-up position, and then quickly bringing your knees to your chest one at a time; alternate chucks for one minute. Include the kid: “Babies love being on the floor, looking up at you as you make funny faces,” says Szekretar.
Push Ups (1 minute)
While you’re on the floor, target your chest and upper body by doing push ups. You can modify this move by dropping your knees to the ground. Or you can stand up and do them against a counter or the back of your couch. Include the kid: “These are called kiss-ups in our house,” says Szekretar.
Bridges (1 minute)
Lie on your back with your arms across your chest, and then engage your core and lift your pelvis into the air while squeezing your glutes. Include the kid: Your kiddo gets a ride when she straddles your hips.
Shadow Boxing (1 minute)
Get back up to your feet and punch the air, making sure to engage your abdominal muscles and rotate through your hips as you extend an arm out. Include the kid: “Toddlers and older kids can mirror you when you do this move,” says Szekretar.
Take a sip of water and go through another round. (Try squeezing in three full rounds if your little one is still napping!)
When you’re done, be sure to pat yourself on the back for being a good role model. “Working out with your kids teaches them the value of an active lifestyle right from the start,” says Szekretar. Another great thing about exercising with your little ones, he says, “As you get stronger, they grow, so you’ll always have a challenging weight handy.”
Make this workout to count towards your weekly Exercise Goal!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.