Parents: Fuel Faster for Time Crunched Workouts
Updated: Mar 31
If you follow me on social media, and if you don't "I find your lack of faith disturbing," you know that life with kids is somewhere between walking through a car wash for three hours and a 4-alarm fire with everything needing to be done "YESTERDAY BECAUSE WE'RE KIDS AND WE'RE SUPER AWESOME AT NOT BEING PATIENT!!!!"
If you've ever cut the sandwiches into the wrong shape for the wrong child, you know of what I speak. How fun is that one btw? Hell hath no fury like caloric geometry scorned.
Oh and forget taking care of yourself by sleeping eight hours a night, doing seven 60-minute HITT workouts a week and feeding your family absolutely perfectly Pinterest meals 3-4x every 24 hours, but only on the days that end in the letter "Y." Well, I’m here to tell you all of that is COMPLETE CRAP. Not too mention completely unrealistic.
We're parents and we have kids that insist on snatching chaos from the jaws of tranquility from time to time. Do you really think the above scenario is possible let alone probable?
I'll give you a hint, the answer rhymes with "no way in hell." If you're lucky, you might have 20 minutes 2-3x/week to exercise and maybe 5-10 minutes to meal prep and get something started for your family to eat. Which, is never affected by low blood Glucosezillas who will only eat starchy carbs and absolutely loathe trying anything new...
Parents: We See You!
As a parent, I can safely say the more you move during the week (and the better fueled you are to do that), the less you'll want to drop your kids off at the fire station when things get nuts. I've survived the "Threenage years" and lived to tell my tales of terror standing in the middle of the eye of the "Fournado," exercise and eating well are your best sanity saving solutions.
Here's where the dynamic duo team up of nutrition know how from TRH Online Fitness & Nutrition Coaching's Tiffany Heath, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certified Coach, and yours truly is going to be your fitness BFF. We're parents who've been there and done that (or are going there and doing it now…). We've got your back with some quick tips to help you easily both fuel and manage your weekly movement habit.
This Workout Hack Brings Your Sanity Back!
Remember, exercise and movement are meant to help our bodies stay strong so we can enjoy being awake as much as possible. Well, except on long car trips after being asked from the backset quality control managers for the 498th time in the last quarter mile "are we there yet?"
I see exercise as a way to keep up with my kids so we can have as much fun as possible. Whether that be with our new jam bowling, carting them around on a standup paddleboard or playing soccer in the backyard.
With that being said, here are some effective tips to help you workout less to move more!
Twenty IS Plenty.
Ready for the fitness revelation of the ages? You DON'T need a 60-minute ass-whooping of biblical proportions with each workout. Keep it short and sweet; 20 minutes is more than enough to make a change. Plus, with shorter workouts you can move more often because you shouldn't need as much recovery in between movement bouts.
STOP Working Out
Yes, a fitness coach just told you to stop working out and I'll tell you why. Trying to stick to a tightly structured workout program with young kids is somewhere between a fool's errand and completely insane. Working on developing a weekly movement habit is doable, manageable and incredibly effective-able (had to get that in, c'mon, you know the sentence flows better with that!).
Use compound movements.
When you do have the opportunity to move, pick 2-3 exercises that will use every muscle in your body - preferably a single selection from the push, pull and squat departments. Squatting works really well with pushing/pressing and hinging works really well with pulling/rowing. Remember, move the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time.
You're a parent trying to move more throughout the week to have more energy, destress and burn some calories, exercise accordingly.
Give Your Workout A K.I.S.S.
The rule of thumb here is that basics work best. Don't try and to combine your favorite CardiogaPlyolatesKickBoxSculpt-X classes in your workouts. Trying to get better at everything in the same workout doesn't help you improve anythign.
Practicing What I PE Preach
When I can't get to the gym, or I don't have much time here at home, I let basics work best to lead the way. Here's one of favorite "20 Is Plenty " circuits with an exercise band:
1) Hinging + Row
This is a big rock movement that uses every muscle in the back half of the body. It doesn't get much more efficient for a total body exercise than this.
2) Stepping and pressing
I love this exercise because it looks like running, walking and skipping (or things you do with your kids) and lets me hit damn near every muscle in my body at once in an incredibly functional way.
3) Single Leg Standing Isometric Wall Side Push
Think side steps with an exercise band, but worse. You'll get all of the benefit of the stability aspect combined with additional core activation. This is a basics work best bonanza.
I like to set an interval timer for :30 of moving and :30 of rest and a total set number of 20. This gives me just under 20:00 (19:33 to be exact if you're keeping score at home) of movement. This also allows me to set the movement and rest periods to shorter durations if I've got less time.
Now, you're going to need to fuel this on the backend somehow and this is where Coach Heath jumps in to give you effective time crunched menu mastery to help you pull it off. So, without further ado, and I can ado like a champ if you let me, pay attention for some really efficiently effective nutrition know how.
Healthy Smoothies: Efficiently Fuel Faster
Thank you Coach Al for hitting on some “oh so important!” workout tips and strategies! Our bodies are designed to move, and I 100% believe movement is medicine. In order to help our bodies move well (not to mention have more energy to keep up with those crazy kids of ours) it’s important we fuel our bodies with good nutrition.
Do you struggle to get your fruits & veggies in every day? Maybe you just don’t like vegetables very much. Maybe you are super busy and don’t have time to prep healthy meals as much as you would like to. Or maybe, you just hate cooking or meal prepping all together!
As a parent, life can be crazy, stressful, and chaotic. However, making time to eat healthy in a way that helps you stay on track to accomplish your health & fitness goals doesn’t have to be!
Want to know a quick, SUPER easy way to get in at least half (if not more) of your fruits & veggies in each day?
Introducing……the Super Shake! The perfect option for busy parents on the go, so you can eat healthy with minimal effort and set yourself up for success in no time! The beauty here is you can customize ingredients to your liking.
Don’t like protein powder? Don’t put any in! Add in some plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead. Or maybe have a side of protein to eat along with your super shake if that’s the case! What about a couple of hard boiled eggs? Leftover grilled chicken or another protein of choice?
Don’t like vegetables very much? Spinach in a smoothie is a great way to get in some greens without changing the flavor. You can even find different blends of greens and spinach in the produce section of the store to try more variety if you feel so inclined.
Short on time? Make your smoothie the night before and keep it in the fridge in a blender bottle, so you can grab it the next morning and sip it slowly throughout your morning, or drink it in the car while you are on the go!
If you have made smoothies in the past, and got tired of them, why not switch up your flavors a bit? Apples and cinnamon anyone? Cara Cara oranges are one of my favorite fruits to add in to a Super Shake. It reminds me of an Orange Julius that I used to get as a kid at the mall back in the day!
The possibilities are endless. I recommend you include a balance of smart or complex carbohydrates, lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats to make it “stick” with you a little longer, and mix with an unsweetened liquid of choice. How much or how little, depends on how thick you like it. Add in ½ - ¾ cup of ice if you want it thicker and colder.
Here’s one of my favorite Super Shake recipes:
Blend together the following: (I recommend using a high quality blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec for best results.)
1 cup of unsweetened almond, coconut, or oat milk (or dairy if you do dairy!)
1 medium sized Cara Cara orange, peeled
1-2 scoops of your favorite vanilla protein powder (optional)
2-3 large handfuls of spinach and kale mix (or any greens of choice)
¼ - ½ avocado (you can’t taste it, but it adds a creamy, rich texture)
½ - ¾ cup of ice (if you want it colder and thicker)
This recipe would count as 4-5 servings of your fruits & veggies! That’s enough for the whole day depending on your goals, daily calories, and/or macro targets. How awesome is that?
While this is a favorite recipe of mine, you can use it as a recipe template to create your own. Use more or less liquid to reach your desired consistency. Substitute your favorite fruit, 1-2 Tbsp of raw almonds (or other nuts or nut butter) instead of avocado. Don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box. Get creative!
You’ll be a Super Shake pro in no time at all, and one step closer to reaching those health & fitness goals of yours!
I'd love to help you develop your 20 IS Plenty movement strategy. Click here to contact me and we can get you going!