My Weekly Workout Schedule… When the Stars Align

Since I posted the workout I do “When All Else Fails,” I’ve been asked about my exercise routine on a good week and how I fit it all in. So, it seemed like a good time for me to share it with you. These are the workouts I did to help me lose 35 pounds of baby weight after the birth of my third child plus an extra 15 pounds that had been lingering from my other two pregnancies. We are all busy and I know I can use all the help I can get in my life. So, if my routine inspires another busy mommy to find time for herself, I am glad to help. That’s why I started this blog to begin with!

Resist the temptation to feel guilty you are not spending this time doing chores or playing with your kids. The reality is it is only 30 minutes or an hour that you are taking for yourself. You will spend the rest of the day doing things for other people. The laundry, the dishes, all of it can wait. Making time to make yourself happy, will in turn make everyone in your household happy. It will also teach your children a valid lesson, that your needs are important and the world does not always revolve around them.

Here is the schedule I was hoping to follow last week before all three of my kids got sick and our new “back to school” routine fell apart. When the stars align and I can manage to find the time, I try my very best to follow this schedule. I don’t want to jinx myself (I actually have a sore throat as I write this), but let’s pretend for just a few minutes that this coming week goes as planned and I can get back in this routine. If these days don’t align with your schedule or you don’t have an elliptical machine, it’s no big deal. Just modify it to meet your needs. Swap in a walk or other cardio exercise of your choice.


Day One: (Monday) 

Cardio: Elliptical – 30 to 40 minutes. Click here for my 30 minute, 400 calorie burn routine.

Strength Training: Shoulders, Chest, Back. Click here for my routine.

My Elliptical

Push Up 2

How I fit it in: I try to get up at 5:00 am, before the kids are awake. My early bird, Elizabeth, sometimes sits in my room and watches cartoons while I finish. I can usually do all my cardio then I stop to get the girls ready for the day and on the bus. I do my strength training while John plays or watches cartoons for 15 minutes. Or, I come back and do this later while he’s napping. This way I can have the morning free with John. We’ve started going to story time at the library on Mondays.

Day Two: (Tuesday)

Cardio: Run – 4 to 5 miles/30 to 40 minutes.

Strength Training: Abs. Click here for my routine.

How I fit it in: John goes to preschool Tuesday mornings and the girls are at school. I do my run as soon as I drop him off for school so that I don’t run out of time later. Then I come home and do a quick ten minutes of abs before moving on to some chores.

My shoes

Bicycle 2

Day Three: (Wednesday)

Cardio: Cross Train for 30 minutes (walk, do a work-out video, or do “When All Else Fails” Workout) or REST if you are feeling sore and need a break.

Strength Training: Leg Routine or REST.

How I fit it in: If it’s nice, I take John for a walk. If we have an errand to do or a fun activity planned, I do a video before he’s up or I do “When All Else Fails” when he naps in the afternoon. Often, I use Wednesdays to rest and focus on chores and being with my kids.

Day Four: (Thursday)

Cardio: Run – 4 to 5 miles/30 to 40 minutes

Strength Training: Abs. Click here for my routine.

How I fit it in: John goes to preschool Thursday mornings too. I do my run as soon as I drop him off then I come home and do a quick ten minute of abs before moving on to some chores.

Side Jack 2

Day Five: (Friday)

Cardio: Elliptical – 30 to 40 minutes. Repeat routine from Monday.

Strength Training: Biceps, Triceps. Click here for my routine.

How I fit it in: John has swimming lessons Friday mornings, so I try to fit in my elliptical before he’s up or during his nap.

Seated Curl 1

Day Six: (Saturday or Sunday)

Cardio: Long Run. I plan to run 12 miles next weekend in preparation for my upcoming half-marathon. (I will share my half-marathon training plan soon, so you can determine how long your long run should be leading up to a race. I generally add a couple of miles to each long run. Last week I ran 10 miles, the week before I ran 8 miles, etc. If you aren’t training for a race, you can just do another shorter run.)

How I fit it in: Andy has Saturdays off… his only day. He leaves for work at 3:30 am the other days of the week so Saturday is the one day I can get up early and sneak away for an early run. Most of the time though I let him catch up on sleep. With soccer and dance class on Saturday mornings, this time of year we have to do our long runs on Saturday afternoons. Sunday afternoons are our fall back if we can’t fit in our long runs on Saturdays. Andy is training for the New York Marathon so we take turns.

Day Seven:


Here are some other general tips on how to fit in a workout with a busy schedule and a house full of craziness.

  • Plan to work out EVERY day. It frequently won’t happen, but put it on your calendar or at least your mental to do list. Something is bound to come up at least a few or half of those days. Even if that is the case, you will still have fit in a workout 4 or 5 days.
  • If I know I’m not going to find time during the day to workout and I really want to get it in, I set my alarm for 5:00 and do my elliptical or a workout video before the kids are awake.
  • Even if you can only do 20 minutes of exercise or go for a walk with the baby, that is better than nothing.
  • When my kids were infants I would put them in the swing or bouncy chair and do a workout video in front of them. They enjoyed watching me jump around the room. Usually though they would fall asleep.
  • As they’ve gotten older, I put on cartoons and I do the elliptical while they are next to me. They would be watching them any way, so I might as well make use of the time.
  • Get them involved. My kids like to “exercise” with me. They try to do jumping jacks and push-ups and follow along, just like in my “When All Else Fails” video.
  • If you still have a napper, do your exercise as soon as they are asleep and check it off the list. Otherwise you’ll find other things to do and you’ll miss your chance.
  • If you can’t get an hour or even half an hour all at once, split it up. Do 20 minutes on the elliptical before the kids are up. Do the other 20 minutes during the baby’s nap.
  • You will almost always see me in my workout clothes. That doesn’t always mean I have worked out or will workout that day. But, if I wear my workout clothes, it’s more likely to happen… at some point. I know for all you working moms this isn’t an option. 🙂
  • If you don’t fit in your workout, at least try to eat well. Skip dessert or wine with dinner. I will share my eating plans soon.
  • Keep things in perspective. Some days it’s just not going to happen. There’s always tomorrow.

Here’s to a new back to school routine!