01/25/2016 11:56 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Complete a 60-Minute Workout at Home With Your Baby


I'm personally not into pretending that I'm getting a sufficient workout by lifting my baby like a kettlebell, later posting an adorable, smiling-mid-air "candid" photo on Instagram.

Instead, my workouts look more like this:

My husband and I get our oldest child out the door and onto the school bus for the three hours that she'll be at preschool. He gets ready for work, and I drink coffee in my activewear. Then I begin to feel like I should actually, you know, move around in my activewear.

I take off my rings and grab the dumbbells that I stash in my bedroom. I bring out three sets of weights for various exercises. Next, I dash semi-frantically around the house for random things I've forgotten -- a better hair tie, maybe a better bra, my tennis shoes, and I steal another sip of coffee and then brush my teeth so that I'm officially done with it --all the while trying to keep the baby away from the dumbbells in the living room, so that she doesn't hurt herself.

I count this as my warm-up.

I usually have my phone by me in the morning, in case my daughter somehow needs me while at school, but I don't pay much attention to it otherwise. Or, sometimes, I'll do a quick HIIT podcast on it -- high-intensity interval training, otherwise known as don't puke up that coffee.

I press out a few sets of leg weights (shudder), or maybe I'm doing shoulders that day (my personal favorite). The baby claps and moves along with me, and is especially hilarious when I do burpees, because her rendition is essentially throwing herself onto the floor.

Her nose is dripping from the 159th cold she's had so far this year. I stop briefly to wipe it with the tissue that she's handed me from where I left it on the corner of the sofa. I smile exaggeratedly and clap like a maniac in order to remind her that we're having an insane amount of fun.

We dance in between weight sets to nursery rhymes that are playing on the television, or we make hand gestures to the sign language show we love on Netflix. She typically wants to sing or have me show her an intricate sign right when I'm the middle of counting my reps. I finish up and try to focus on form, all the while watching her creep closer and closer to my weights. I count out the last repetition, set the dumbbells down, and repeat another set of the maniacal clapping-singing-dancing.

I try to move along quickly and fluidly, but I often stop to refill her cereal cup, or pick up cereal I've already stepped on that's now ground into the carpet, or to give her a high five because she thinks she's doing great at our workout. (Actually, she kind of kicks ass at squats.)

Any exercise or cool-down stretch done lying on the floor makes me susceptible to either extremely wet kisses or, like one time, a fat lip from where she accidentally dropped her sippy cup on my face as she came over to smile down at me. (I love these wet kisses -- the fat lip, not so much.)

I glance at the time every now and then, noting how much longer it will be until I need to go down and greet my oldest daughter at the bus. I alternately think, "How the hell do we only have a half-hour left? I'm dripping with sweat and need to shower!" or "How in the hell has it only been a half-hour?"

My workout is finally completed, and I feel both a rush of productivity and relief that I made it through an entire 60-minute workout in a little over 90 minutes -- a personal best! That leaves another hour and a half for us before big sister gets home. I'm now wondering why I hurried so much -- after all, the baby really is having fun.