Let’s be honest : everyone plans to get in shape and lose weight during a deployment. But actually finding the time to work out can be a real challenge. And a frustration. I have dealt with this in a few different ways over the years. I tried a lot of different things before I found a gym with childcare.
One option is to work out at home during naptime. There are lots of videos online, or exercise DVD’S that you can use. You will probably need some equipment, at least a set of weights. A stability ball is helpful, too, if you know moves to use it for. This is a nice flexible option, because you can always pause when someone wakes up, get them a snack, then finish up. The downside is that you probably take your only quiet time of the day for a workout, and you can end up exhausted physically and mentally. Plus, it’s hard to do much cardio at home (unless you own a machine).
A second choice is to go biking or jogging with your kids. My bike has a baby seat on the back,and a pull-behind trailer that can seat 2 kids. So on a good day I can ride with 3 of them… but not on hills! I have a single jogging stroller I can use for the youngest while the others are at school, but that isn’t too helpful during deployment weekends or summer days
So, another option I have been turning to as my children get older is to use a gym with childcare. One of our first bases had an actual childcare center in the gym, with professionals who would hold babies and watch toddlers in a separate room while you work out. At our last base and this one, there has been a family workout space, where you can place your children in a safe play area that is within sight of the cardio equipment. On days when my older kids aren’t in school, the child – friendly gym is a real life saver. They like it because they can play and watch TV. I like it because I can do a long workout with minimal interruptions, and get it done when all 4 kids are awake!
Not every base gym has a child play area, or child – friendly workout classes. But if you find a base gym with childcare, try it out! It may take your child a while to get used to it, and that’s ok. Most other gym patrons understand that kids cry sometimes, and that it’s ok to ignore your child’s whining for a moment to finish a set.
If your base doesn’t have these options, don’t give up. There are always gyms with childcare in town that include childcare with your membership. But you can still present your case to the base to get FREE options. Talk to other moms in your neighborhood who would use a child play area in a gym. Maybe get names on a petition. Then take it to your base housing office and discuss the possibility with them. If they refuse to do any renovations to accommodate you, I have 1 more idea. Talk to the base Fitness Center or MWR (whichever coordinates group classes) and ask them for a Mommy and Me class to be held at a base gym. If a fitness instructor reserves a large area like a basketball court or soccer field, then the moms can bring their kids with some toys, and do the workout while the kids run around and play!
So that is what has worked for me over the years, in between pregnancies! How and when do you work out? Have you found creative ways to work out with your children?