How Can A Stay-At-Home Mom Get In Shape? : A Complete Guide

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Guidance on how to meal plan, start a workout routine, and get motivated to help a stay-at-home mom get in shape.

Being a stay-at-home mom has taught me how to create routine while still going with the flow at the same time. I have learned the importance of maintaining flexibility while being disciplined. Although a challenge, it has given me the most freedom while still being productive and staying on track. If we take this same mindset into our health and fitness routine, you will get the results you are after.

The best thing about being home…is home! You are in your element. You have (for the most part) complete control of your time and energy. That doesn’t mean that life isn’t distracting or loved ones aren’t relying on you at any given second. But you don’t have the strict schedule or inflexibility of a workplace to dictate how you run your day. Plus, everything you need as a stay-at-home mom to get in shape, is in your home. Regardless of your goal, you can form your lifestyle and day-to-day around it.

How can I lose weight while staying at home?

When someone asks me this, most often they are looking for improved all around fitness while also shedding fat or lowering the number on the scale. It’s a common misconception that you need a gym membership, trainer, a special diet plan, or secret product to lose weight. Everyone thinks there is some new method, food, routine, or supplement that is going to help them transform their body. Many people will try to sell you that, but it is not true. There is no trick to weight loss. You don’t need to make things complicated, the science is simple. In a nutshell, all you need to lose weight is to eat clean and exercise regularly.

Weight (fat) loss happens when we burn more calories than we consume. It doesn’t matter how much you are exercising, you will hold onto any unused calories as stored energy i.e. fat. I am not a dietitian, so I am not going to preach beyond my scope of practice about more in depth nutrition philosophies. And I do encourage you to educate yourself or speak with a professional! Either way, caloric intake is the bottom line to weight loss. Calories are energy units. Unused energy units get stored for later use. Unused energy is stored as fat.

Now you are probably wondering, how many calories should a stay at home mom eat? Generally speaking, anything from 1200 to 2000. Why is the gap so large? The daily consumption of calories is based on your age, height, sex, weight, daily activity level, whether you are breastfeeding, and how much weight you are looking to lose per week. The easiest way to find this number is with a calorie calculator. I really like this calorie calculator for my fellow moms because is allows you to factor in breastfeeding (or not) so you don’t have to make the adjustments yourself.

I have even more nutrition, exercise, and motivation tips in my post How To Lose Weight As A Stay At Home Mom. There, I help you overcome the common hurdles of being home while taking advantage of your surroundings to make the most out of your diet and exercise routines.

Stay-at-home mom diet plan

If you don’t want to track calories or are overwhelmed by that process, the good news is that the most sustainable and effective meal plan you can follow is to eat whole and unprocessed foods, cook at home, and drink plenty of water everyday. This encourages you to eat healthy and nutritious foods that support your lifestyle.

When we follow this basic rule, we will find it easier to control our portions and appetite (i.e. caloric intake), reduce saturated fats and additives, have balanced meals, and improve digestion (i.e. reduce bloat). All elements that provide the proper fuel and nutrition for exercise and motherhood.

Check out my Do’s & Don’ts for how a stay at home mom can eat healthy. You’ll get my best tips whether you are looking to stay on a budget, reduce belly fat, or eat healthy while your family isn’t.

Diet is one part of weight loss and getting in shape, now let’s address the exercise part.

How do stay-at-home moms start working out?

Before you can begin working out, you want to start by setting an effective goal. That will look like something specific, realistic, measurable, and with a time constraint. For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” That’s specific and measurable but has no time line. “I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks,” is measurable, specific, and within a time constraint. But is it realistic? Not likely. Losing half a pound to two pounds per week is more realistic for sustainable weight loss. Therefore, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 6-8 weeks,” is a much better goal. To help you set a goal and stick with it, I have a FREE Accountability Chart for my fit moms that like to have a visual. Print it out and use it all month long to stay on track and committed to your fitness.

If you are a beginner, inconsistent, haven’t worked out in 6+ months, or don’t have anything specific in mind, you want to start by building a routine. As a coach, I like to recommend setting a goal of daily exercise. That doesn’t mean it has to be a full on “workout.” It could be a nature hike, a game of tag, a bike ride, a dance party, jogging the sidelines at soccer practice, or whatever kicks up your heart rate above normal for 20 minutes or more.

Regardless of goal, the best way for a stay-at-home mom to get in shape is by taking advantage of their lifestyle. You aren’t glued to a desk chair or locked in a building all day. You have freedom and flexibility to fit in your daily exercise at home or wherever you are.

Setting a goal will motivate you to get past the fear and hesitation. It will make you excited to finally get started!

How do moms find time to work out?

One of the biggest hurdles is finding the time to exercise as a stay at home mom. Or so I thought. You can be a busy mom and still get in shape. Heck, aren’t all moms busy? Some days it feels like the chores are never ending, nobody naps, everyone is hungry all day, or you will be running errands until dinner. Days like that, how do you find time to get ready, plan a workout, get to the gym, set up equipment, do the workout, and come home to shower?

It’s less about waiting for the opportunity, and more about creating it.

Remember to take advantage of the flexibility you have. Plan your workouts around your schedule each day.

Like jogging laps around little league practice. Go to the gym before the kids wake up. Go for a run and have the kids ride bikes. Follow a workout video in the living room while they have a snack next to you. If your baby sleeps in the stroller, take them for a walk during nap time. Shoot, I have even waited until bedtime because the day was just too hectic.

When you are a busy mom trying to get in shape, you don’t have time to waste. The most efficient way to get in shape is by working out at home.

When you workout at home there is no fear of being judged, no travel time, no waiting for equipment, no setting up, no waiting on coaches, and no wasted time period.

at home workout thumbnail woman doing push up

Can you really get in shape at home?

Of course! Getting in shape doesn’t require anything special. You don’t need equipment, facilities, or even that much room to get in a killer workout. Since being home, most of my workouts are done in my living room! Between the furniture, toys, and often times, children, I only have about a yoga mat’s amount of space. I have even worked out in the hallway because I didn’t feel like cleaning up a living room full of toys (extreme, I know).

toddler in messy living room

The key to an effective workout routine is increasing heart rate above normal for 20 minutes or more and challenging your body in various ways to stimulate a response. This altering of training stress will force your body to adapt and essentially become “fitter” over time. That means getting in shape comes down to the effort you put into it, not the resources you use.

At home workouts encourage you to stay consistent, continue to set new goals, and expand beyond your comfort zone. I have an entire post explaining why they are best way for stay-at-home moms to workout and get results (read it HERE!). In fact, exercising without leaving the house is my favorite way to workout. Find out why it’s my fitness hack for moms!

At home workouts for busy moms to get in shape

The best way to start working out at home is with workout videos. Especially, if you need some guidance or don’t know how to program a workout based on your fitness goal. Check out my Youtube channel for a wide variety of home workouts from Strength to Cardio, Flexibility to HIIT, Kickboxing to No Equipment, and more.

I also made Postpartum and Prenatal Safe Workouts for stay-at-home moms that want to get in shape during pregnancy and after. That way you don’t have to skip exercises or struggle to modify, they are tailored to your body and abilities!

I even have a collection of 10-Minute Workouts that are easy workouts for busy moms to fit into their day. Whether you pick just one or throw a couple together, they are quick and effective. They vary between target body-part, equipment, and style. So find what works for you!

You don’t have to plan, just pick one based on the time you have that day and what you want to work on. Warm up, cool down, and coaching included. Just follow along! They are the perfect workouts for a stay-at-home mom looking to get in shape.

Stay-at-home mom exercise plan to get in shape

As I said before, getting in shape is all about what you put into it. Being consistent in routine while finding new ways to challenge yourself is all you need to improve your fitness.

Another way to stay on track is by following an exercise plan. Whether that is a daily workout routine you use every week (like my FREE 7-Day Weekly Workout Plan) or an Exercise Program that works towards a specific fitness goal. Once you have established a goal, you can find a more structured guide that will help you reach it.

Stay-at-home mom looking to get in shape in a month

If you are a beginner to fitness or haven’t consistently worked out in a long time you may need more structure with a specific time line. Look for a program that is geared towards improving over-all fitness with time efficient workouts. One that is designed to improve aerobic fitness and full-body strength with an emphasis on proper techninque and effort. This will ensure you are being held accountable while building up your endurance under control. You want to see and feel progress without burning out.

Stay-at-home mom looking to get in shape post pregnancy

Or maybe you are postpartum and you are excited to lose the baby weight and feel like yourself again. Look for a program made for new moms since you have very specific modifications and needs. Like correcting diastasis recti, slowly improving strength and endurance, and modified, low-intensity exercises. You don’t have to look far! I have a Postpartum Early Recovery Program designed for new moms that want to safely return to exercise.

Proper programming will ensure that you are progressing towards the intial target you set. This is done with strategic manipulation of elements of exercise design. That way there is a purpose behind everything you are doing. Rather than just for the sweat of it.

That doesn’t mean picking a workout each day based on your mood or energy level is wrong. In fact, I highly encourage that method. As it is sometimes the best motivation for a stay-at-home mom to get in shape and be consistent with workouts.

When you are a busy mom at home with the kids, everyday can look different. Your sleep, schedule, meals, and stress can drastically change each day, even throughout the day. That’s why it’s nice to feel like you are, at least, in control of your workouts. Your workouts should make you happy, not be another stress-inducing chore.

De-stress as a stay-at-home mom by getting in shape

Remember that one of the best parts of leading a healthy lifestyle, is the stress reducing effects. Better eating habits and regular exercise help to improve sleep, reduce discomfort, and boost your mood. Consistent workouts and a healthy diet really are the only self-care activites that will change your life as a mother.

mom and daughter on playground

Your workouts are truly your “me time.” You are improving your health and wellness, you’re in a better mood afterwards, and you walk away with a sense of accomplishment. What a better way to take care of yourself than that?

Having “me time” is vital as a mother. Although, it can be challenging to find that time with little ones. They are very needy and require constant supervision. That can make getting in your daily workout a bit more difficult.

The key to workouts for moms with toddlers is being flexible in your fitness regimen, lowering your expectations, and allowing them to be involved. Maybe that means you workout around their nap and sleep schedule. You might have to pause your workout to get them a snack. Or use it as an opportunity to play and teach them about exercise as you sweat it out.

mom and toddler exercising

As a mother that has children close in age, I understand. Which is why I wrote an entire post on how to have Successful Workouts As A Toddler Mom. After reading it, you will find that you can get over any excuse to not exercise with your little ones around.

How do stay-at-home moms STAY fit?

You built up a fitness routine, you are eating healthier, and now it’s time to keep going! Following quick fix programs (“get abs in 2 weeks!”) or trying to do too much too quickly will be sure to zap motivation and set you up for failure. You want to be sure that you establish a strong foundation. One that fits into your lifestyle as a stay-at-home mom so you can stay in shape. The most effective way to do this is by finding balance and to work towards long-term results.

Set realistic, achievable goals.

Be honest about your expectations and abilities so you can make incremental progress that will keep motivated you along the way.

Replace bad habits with healthy ones.

Slowly reduce the unhealthy choices you may be making on a regular basis with nourishing alternatives. Things like choosing water over sugary drinks, getting extra sleep instead of watching an another episode, or doing a low-intensity workout instead of skipping all together.

Build a support system.

Have someone around that can hold you accountable and encourage you when feeling discouraged. Ask your loved ones to join you in making healthy choices or to check in with your progress.

Follow these simple steps and more to Get Amazing Results By Balancing Fitness And Mom Life. Stay-at-home moms can get in shape regardless of their situation. All it takes is making a commitment and creating a plan. You don’t need anything fancy to adjust your eating habits or to get an effective workout. Use whatever resources you have and remember that exercise is always free!

About the Author

Coach Zoe

Fitness trainer and mom of 3! I love working out, hanging out with my family, and motivating others.

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  1. Lots of great advice for stay at home moms, or anyone really, to get back into shape from someone who practices what she preaches. I have to check out your other articles. Thank you!

    1. Happy to help, thanks for joining me!!

  2. So many great tips!!

  3. There is such good info in here! I needed the reminder to start with realistic goals! Thanks!

    1. Heck yeah, that is the most important part!

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