How do you find time to exercise? It’s a question every new parent has asked themselves at some point (although some ask it more often than others). First of all, there is no great answer. Little ones demand sacrifices, and when physical fitness isn’t your mission, it often falls by the wayside. But even for those who have a career in fitness, it’s hard. Just ask peloton coach Robin Arzón and 17-month-old Athena’s mother.
“You know, I’m still learning to make time for fitness and we only have one baby,” Arzón says paternal. “Since becoming parents, my husband and I have really allowed our rushes to happen in bite-sized chunks. Sometimes that means tucking Athena into the Summit X3 and going out during her nap. Now that she’s a bit older, she’s really concerned with the environment.”
Summit X3? Yes, Robin Arzón presents her brand new stroller collaboration with Baby Jogger. Fortunately, such strollers offer a real solution to the problem of trying to exercise while taking care of a very small one. So we’re here to listen to how to get fit with a kid in tow – and Arzón had lots of great advice to offer, including product recommendations. Here are her seven tips, workouts, and general good advice for staying in shape while you take care of yours.
1. Redefine your fitness goals.
“We knew early on that as our family grew, we would make our own self-care a priority. For we cannot be spouses, parents of Athena without caring. And I think yes, in an ideal world we would all have the luxury of having hours a day to really warm up and then do an amazing 60 minute workout and end up with a bubble bath, but that’s totally unrealistic. But instead of getting frustrated with how I have to manage my time and adjust my training instead of complaining, don’t even waste the energy whining and feeling sorry for yourself. Reach out and create a new plan of action.”
2. Link small workouts – also known as “rushes” – together.
“I train for marathons and ride miles when I can. Sometimes that means a 15-minute jog in the morning and maybe a 20-minute, 30-minute run with more quality in the evening. It’s not ideal, but at least those little, I call bits of hustle, add up.”
3. Put it on the calendar.
“Focus on the cumulative effects and delegate where we can. Accept help where we can and really say: This is a priority training session for me. When is your priority training session? Put that on the calendar. If it doesn’t get on the calendar, it’s less likely to happen.”
4. Stand behind a baby jogger and do fartleks.
“One of my favorite workouts with the Summit X3 is a fartlek run or an interval run where I just find something in the distance.”
[Editor’s Note: A fartlek is a term for an unstructured speed workout where there are periods of faster or harder running followed by periods of easy or moderate running, often designated with a hill, say, or with pickups between light poles or another physical marker.]
“I have this particular hill run where there’s a pretty big climb off the West Side Highway [in New York City that goes] over to the park. And I’m just going to take it to base and run up, and then take it to base and run up. And it’s maybe 15 minutes, but you can do so much with it.”
4. Embrace toughness.
“You can do a really efficient workout in a short amount of time. When things started to feel harder when I started running with a jogger I thought oh this feels hard. And it’s like, okay, what do you do when it’s hard? You make it part of the training, right? Whether that’s wind resistance, or it’s raining, or it’s because you’re running with a 30-pound toddler, you make it work.
5. Remember the world is your gym.
“When you’re outside in the park with your kid, you can always do push-ups, dips, step-ups on a bench, box steps on a bench if it’s a safe surface, planks, wall sits. Use the monkey bars. Get in there with them!”
6. Engage your core no matter where you are.
“With the jogging stroller, I actually started using Pilates-like movements where I stretch my arms and then the stroller extends in front of me. Then I dive forward as far as I can to really engage my core, like you’re doing a barre in a traditional dance class. I figured it out while I was at a traffic light. I was bored. I thought, How can I address my core now?”
7. Get your goals in order.
“I think you start with the end goal, right? Is it keep walking? Are you training for a marathon? Are you trying to PR your deadlift? Prioritize what the goal is. And maybe the goal is just fun, centered, joy in getting out of the house. Not everything needs a prescriptive purpose. But when you’re training for a marathon and you’re only doing three miles a week, that’s pretty unrealistic.”
8. Lift your kids like weights.
“Athena is my little kettleball. I just prop them up on my shins and do little airplane situations the whole time.”
9. When in doubt, get out.
“[It could be] Lunch breaks, or allowing families to go out and be active together, which is also another way we do that, right? So I go on my run, my man will meet us. We do a little something with Athena, for example go to the carousel and then we all go jogging or walking home together. So that’s another way to make it an efficient experience that’s also rewarding for everyone involved.”