3 Easy Ways to Fit in Trainer Workouts When You Have Kids

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Arleigh Jenkins is a new mom living in Denver and a veteran of the bike industry, with 15 years of experience in bike shops, cycling advocacy, and a range of other roles. You can see more of Arleigh’s work by following her on social media, where she goes by @Bikeshopgirl on Twitter and Bike Shop Girl on Facebook.


By CTS Athlete Arleigh Jenkins

When I dedicated myself to training back in November it was very clear that riding the trainer would be a critical part of my routine. My daughter was 9 months old at the time, and my wife works very long hours as a pediatric resident. On top of those two things, it is dark and very cold outside in Colorado during the winter months making consistent training a challenge. However, riding inside on the trainer provides great improvements even with limited time. Working hard for an hour or two can feel like a long ride out on the road, provide a quality training session, and feel very rewarding when you are a time-strapped athlete. Below are some of my best tips for getting an effective indoor workout in with kids in the house.

Be Flexible With Your Timing

Naturally I prefer to work out in the morning, but my wife leaves most days at 5 am and my daughter wakes up by 630 am. That doesn’t leave much time for me to train uninterrupted unless I get up at 4 am which doesn’t jibe with me.

I have found that riding the trainer at night works best for me when I have specific intervals to hit. I’ll cook and feed my family dinner, get everyone in bed and then head to the basement for my workout.

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If I’m simply doing an hour endurance ride I may squeeze it in before my daughter wakes up in the morning, or during a nap time. Note that I do this with rides that don’t take dedicated concentration so that I can be listening for the baby monitor.

Last but not least, I try to time my workouts around my wife’s schedule and daughter’s sleeping. It is so much easier to know that she is listening for our daughter who is sleeping than for me to be listening while trying to knock out a Steady State workout. My workouts are not consistently the same times but that doesn’t matter when I put on headphones and unplug from being a mom for an hour or two.

Create a Dedicated Time and Space for Yourself

One-part safety. One-part sanctuary. I carved out a small corner in our basement for my trainer, fan, and shelf. Everything is kept in that area from my shoes to chamois butter, towels, and bike pump. I simply walk down dressed with a water bottle and I am ready to go.

Currently, our basement is being remodeled so I moved my setup to our guest room where the door can be shut and my daughter’s little fingers won’t find the trainer flywheel or the kettlebells next to my bike.

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Involve Your Children

My daughter is too little to be very involved, but I have friends that have had great success involving their children in their workouts. This could include making a weekly schedule with your kids so they understand when mommy or daddy will be working out, for how long and what happens after. Also, showing them what you are working towards teaches them goal setting.

One friend of mine has a yearly calendar on the wall with major events for everyone in the family. This includes his ½ Ironman which he has his kids help him “plan” his training for. His kids are always at the finish line and I can’t help but think that they feel his success of crossing the finish line is also THEIR success.

I have other friends who, when they have a 2-hour endurance trainer ride during the week, will set up the trainer in front of the TV with their kids on the couch and watch a Disney movie.

I’d love to hear some of your tips for successful indoor workouts with kids in the house. How do you fit in your workouts?

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