How do you find time to exercise? It’s a question every new parent has asked themselves at some point (though some ask it more times than others). First of all, there’s no great answer. Little ones require sacrifices, and if being physically fit isn’t your job, it often falls to the wayside. But even to those who have a career in fitness, it’s hard. Just ask Peloton instructor Robin Arzón and mom to 17-month-old Athena.
“You know, I'm still learning how to find time for fitness, and we only have one baby,” Arzón tells Fatherly. “Since becoming a parent, my husband and I really have allowed our hustle to happen in bite-size chunks. Sometimes that means putting Athena in the Summit X3 and going out during her nap time. Now that she's a little bit older, she really engages with the environment.”
Summit X3? Yes, Robin Arzón is pitching her brand new running stroller collaboration with Baby Jogger. Fortunately, such strollers offer a real solution to that problem of trying to work out while taking care of a very little one. So we’re here to listen about getting fit with a kid in tow — and Arzón had plenty of great advice to offer, product endorsement included. Here are her seven tips, workouts, and just generally good advice for staying in shape while you take care of yours.
1. Redefine your fitness goals.
“From early on we knew that as we grew our family, we were going to prioritize our own self-care. Because we cannot be spouses to each other, parents to Athena, without taking care of that. And I think, yeah, in an ideal world, we'd all have the luxury of hours a day to do the proper warmup and then do an amazing 60-minute workout and then have a bubble bath at the end, but that is totally unrealistic. But instead of getting frustrated with the ways that I need to pivot my time and need to kind of adapt my workouts, instead of bemoaning that, don't even waste the energy in the complaining and in the self-pitying. Pivot and make a new action plan.”
2. String small workouts — AKA “nibbles of hustle” — together.
“I'm marathon training and putting in miles when I can. Sometimes that means a 15-minute jog in the morning, and then maybe a more quality 20-minute, 30-minute run in the evening. That's not ideal, but at the very least those little, I call them nibbles of hustle, tend to add up.”
3. Put it on the calendar.
“Focus on the cumulative effects and delegate where we can. Accept the help where we can, and really say: this is a priority workout session for me. When is your priority workout session? Get that on the calendar. If it doesn't get on the calendar, it's less likely to happen.”
4. Get behind a baby jogger and run fartleks.
“One of my favorite workouts to do with Summit X3 is a fartlek run, or an interval run, where I'll 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 specific hill run, where there's a pretty big incline coming from the West Side Highway [in New York City that goes] over to the park. And I will just take it to the base and run up and then take it to the base and run up. And it's maybe 15 minutes, but you can get so much out of it.”
5. Embrace the toughness.
“You can get a really efficient workout in a short amount of time. When things felt harder, when I first started running with a jogger, I was like, ooh, this feels tough. And it's like, okay, what do you do when it's tough? You make it part of the workout, right? So whether that's wind resistance or whether it's raining or whether it's because you're running with a 30-pound toddler, you make it work.”
6. Remember that the world is your gym.
“When you’re out in the park out with your kid, you can always do pushups, dips, step-ups on a bench, box steps on a bench if it’s a safe surface, planking, wall sits. Use the monkey bars. Get up in there with them!”
7. Engage your core, no matter where you are.
“With the jogging stroller, I actually started kind of utilizing pilates-like moves, where I'll extend my arms and then the stroller will extend in front of me. Then I'll kind of dip as far forward as I can to really engage my core as if one might do like with a barre in a traditional dance class. I came up with that when I was at a light. I was bored. I thought, How can I engage my core right now?”
8. Get your goals in order.
“I think that you begin with the end goal in mind, right? Is it to run farther? 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, centering, joy, getting the hell out of the house. Not everything needs a prescriptive purpose. But if you're training for a marathon and you're only getting in three miles a week, that's pretty unrealistic.”
9. Lift your kids like a weight.
“Athena’s my little kettle ball. I just prop her up on my shins and I do little airplane situations all the time.”
10. When in doubt, get out.
“[It could be] nap time hustle, or it's allowing families to go out and be active together, which is also another way that we achieve it, right? So I'll go out on my run, my husband will meet us. We'll do a little something with Athena, like going to the carousel and then we'll all jog or walk home together. So that's another way to kind of make it an efficient experience, that's also rewarding for everyone involved.”