I don’t know about you ladies, but the middle of the week is a
little lot crazy for our family. My four boys are fairly young (all aged seven and younger) and we aren’t involved in tons of extracurricular activities, but still we seem to behave as though we are headless chickens on Monday through Thursday. You know the drill; there are lunches to pack, swim backstrokes to learn, guitars to pick, homework to suffer, dinners to cook, and bedtimes to somehow heed. I’m a stay-at-home mom with a husband who is home nearly every night by 6:15, and even for me the midweek can be grueling. As ever, my hat goes off to single parents and families with two full-time working parents.
As if our culture hasn’t made life busy enough, many people have devoted themselves to fitness goals. Whether you’re walking to lose ten pounds or running to improve your marathon speed, training takes time. As we’ve established, time isn’t always easy to come by–especially between the hours of 5:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m on Monday through Thursday.
Personally, I’ve committed to training for an autumn sprint triathlon. As I’m quickly discovering, my goal is going to require some dedication, and training on the weekends alone isn’t going to cut it. As we don’t currently belong to a gym, my options thus far have been a) wake up early and get a workout in before my husband leaves for work at 7:00 a.m., b) stay up late and get a workout in at 9:30 p.m. after all the kids are in bed, c) train right after dinner and hope I don’t vomit, and d) prepare dinner for the family but skip it myself and train instead. I guess you could throw in the option of working out as soon as my husband gets home and delaying our family dinner until about 8:00 p.m., but I know that my small children would revolt. Why extend the witching hour?
I’m not a morning person. I want to be, but I’m not, and the seven-month-old baby that I have often has me up at night anyway, so let’s just go ahead and throw a 5:00 a.m wake-time out the window. Training late at night is better in terms of my energy, but I can’t swim laps or ride my bike in the dark. My husband and I realized that this really leaves us with some variation of option d), in which dinner is made early but I skip it and find a way to train instead. From this sprung our latest tradition, the Workout Warrior Wednesday (WWW). You could also go with Weeknight Workout Warrior if Wednesday doesn’t work for you, I suppose.
Everyone has heard of Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays, right? So, my husband and I figured that the best way to grab a midweek workout for ourselves is to claim Wednesday night and play it up for our kids. If we play things up just right, our kids buy just about anything, hook, line, and sinker. Since our boys cherish American Ninja Warrior, we incorporated some easy kid fitness options into our theme.
Basically, this is how WWW works: earlier in the day when I have a few extra minutes, I start prepping some nutritious and easy finger foods. I roll up deli turkey slices, cut some cheese (har har!), and slice strawberries and bell peppers. Later in the afternoon as my husband’s work day is coming to a close, I pull this all from the fridge and set it out along with crackers, baby carrots, sliced apples, sugar snap peas, grapes, etc. A stack of paper plates goes at the head of the table and waters are set out for everyone. This is the one night of the week when the kids are allowed to graze; when they wander in from outside and are hungry, they can fill a plate and dive in. Around the house I set up lightweight dumbbells, a yoga mat, a pull-up bar, grip-strength trainers–you know, some easy things we already own that are exciting for the kids.
When my husband gets home, if I’m not already dressed to run or cycle then I get dressed and head out the door for my workout while he takes over the kids. As soon as I get back, he goes. We both choose to eat after we train. The kids, meanwhile, seem to revel in running back and forth between the table and various training stations around the house. Once my husband is back from his jog, if any of the kids want to go on a brief jog then he goes with them around the cul-de-sac a time or two.
WWW is working really well for our family. It puts the focus specifically on our family’s physical health one night a week, and we’re able to pull it off in kid-friendly, informal fashion, which quite honestly seems to be our life motto right now. Do you have any special ways that you can manage to squeeze in midweek workouts?