An Effective Busy Mom Workout Plan: (Sample Program by a CPT)

By Tami Smith

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As a busy mom myself, I know first hand the demands that life continually tosses our way. Between taking care of the kids, working, managing schedules, keeping up with housework, preparing meals, and prioritizing self-care and relationships, fitness often feels like the furthest thing from our minds.

The problem is that our full schedules that seemingly revolve around everyone except ourselves can lead to feelings of frustration and burnout. We all need an outlet, and one of the best ways to invest in ourselves is to make consistent workouts part of our life.

I know that this is easier said than done, but I wanted to share with you a busy mom workout plan (sample program) that you can get started with and then give you all my best tips and tricks for making it happen from the perspective of a Personal Trainer and mom. This isn't just a dumbbell workout from home for women, medicine ball exercises for legs, or weightlifting for beginners. It is, however, a weekly plan for you to follow, build momentum and confidence, and get results that stick.

What Are The Most Effective Workouts for Busy Moms?

effective workouts for busy moms

The most effective workouts for busy moms are the ones that you enjoy because if you enjoy them, you’re far more likely to follow through with them. Additionally, busy moms also need workouts that are realistic time-wise. I don’t know very many mommas who have time for 1-2 hour workouts each day. We need to get in, get out, and move on with the day.

I always recommend a mixture of cardio and strength so that you’re getting the cardiovascular benefits from cardio training and the muscle-building benefits from strength training, but the optimal split will differ based on what your personal goals are.

For example, for a mom who wants to lose body fat and gain muscle, it’s likely in your best interest to prioritize strength training and add in some strategic cardio. For the momma who’s training for a marathon, she’s going to need more cardio-based sessions and less strength training. Just know that this can all be tailored to your lifestyle, goals, and current season of fitness.

How Many Days Per Week Should I Workout?

Again, this will be dependent on your goals and your abilities. On average, I recommend that you work out 3-5 times per week while also maintaining a step goal to keep your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) up.

How Long Should My Workouts Be?

Your workouts can be anywhere from 15-60 minutes, with 30 minutes being the average. There is no perfect amount of time to work out, something is always better than nothing. 

Busy Mom Workout Plan (Sample Week)

busy mom weekly workout plan by cpt

When you’re a busy mom with a full plate, the name of the game becomes efficiency. You need a workout schedule that allows you to touch on all the major muscle groups throughout the week but without the need for extensive equipment and copious amounts of space. And I’ve got you covered!

Below is a sample workout program that I often offer to time-restricted moms (and dads!) that doesn’t require a ton of time, equipment, or the need to go to the gym. These workouts can be done with nothing but your body weight and with a couple of household items, so if you don’t have a home gym setup, not to worry. That said, if you do have access to equipment, feel free to add it in as available!

If you’re unsure how to perform any of the prescribed exercises, a simple Google search will show you plenty of tutorials! All of the movements here are very basic in nature. Keep in mind that this is simply a sample workout schedule, you’ll likely need to find a program that will implement proper progressions and exercises to keep you moving towards your goals.

Monday (Lower Body + Core)

Equipment

  • Bodyweight or dumbbells + booty band

Lower Body

  • Squat 3x12 (add weight if available)
  • Lunge 3x10 on each side (add weight if available)
  • Glute Bridge 3x20 (add resistance band if available)
  • Single leg elevated hip thrust 3x10 on each side (add resistance if available)

Core

  • Plank 3x60 seconds
  • Crunches 3x30 seconds

Tuesday (Upper Body + Cardio)

Equipment

  • dumbbells or weighted household items (water bottles, soup cans, etc.)

Upper Body

  • Shoulder press 3x10
  • Lateral raise 3x10
  • Skull crushers 3x10
  • Bicep curls 3x10

Cardio

  • LISS Cardio (low-intensity steady-state cardio): 30 minutes
  • Examples: walking, jogging, cycling, rowing

Wednesday (Active Recovery)

Schedule a long walk or a series of short walks throughout the day here to get moving and keep your blood flowing, allowing your body to properly rest and recover from your workouts and prepare for your next session.

Thursday (Lower Body + Core)

Equipment

  • Bodyweight or dumbbells + booty band

Lower Body

  • RDLs 5x10 (add weight if available)
  • Walking Lunges 5x10 on each side (add weight if available)
  • Donkey leg raises 5x15 on each side
  • Jump squats 3x10

Core

  • Bicycle crunches 3x15
  • Toe taps 3x15

Friday (Upper Body + Cardio)

Equipment

  • dumbbells or weighted household items (water bottles, soup cans, etc.)

Upper Body

  • Push-ups 3x10
  • Chest press 3x10
  • Single-arm row 3x10 on each side
  • Rear delt flys 3x10

Cardio

  • LISS Cardio (low-intensity steady-state cardio): 30 minutes
  • Examples: walking, jogging, cycling, rowing

Saturday (Cardio/Something Fun!)

This is a great day to add in a long run, take a spin class, go dancing, or do a HIIT workout. 

Sunday (Rest/Active Recovery)

Spend the day resting and recovering, going for a walk or a leisurely bike ride is still recommended. 

More Training Sessions and Structured Workouts

Keep in mind that this is a very basic, loose workout plan that’s tailored for busy moms who are beginning to squeeze in workouts. If you want to get access to similar training sessions and weekly workouts, I recommend the following resources:

Tips and Tricks For Workout Success As a Busy Mom

workout tips for busy mom

Below are some of my best tips and tricks for prioritizing workouts as a busy mom.

Start Small

If working out is brand new to you, start small. Don’t come in with huge goals or expectations for yourself, because you're not likely to be able to maintain that momentum. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Start from where you’re at and make a plan to progress from there.

For example, you might start with a commitment to spending just 15 minutes per day moving your body. Eventually, if you stay consistent, you will build up to doing more. Something is better than nothing, so find a way to make it fit and just get to work.

Have a Goal

Without a goal in mind, it’s easy to let yourself give up or lose track of why you started in the first place. Take some time to consider why you’re starting and what you want to accomplish and write it down on a piece of paper. When your consistency and motivation start to wane (because it inevitably will), pull that out and remind yourself why you started and what you’re working towards.

And don’t get caught up in the weight loss trap. Yes, it’s 100% OK to have a weight loss goal, but I highly recommend having some kind of performance or mental goal as well. Examples include being able to do a push-up from your toes, running a mile, or feeling more confident.

Book Your Workout In Your Calendar as You Would Any Other Commitment

As a fellow busy mom, I know that you have a calendar and that you’re likely already using it as a tool to keep your home running smoothly. So why not treat your workout like you would any other commitment on your calendar? It’s just as important, after all. 

Spend some time finding what time works best for you for your workouts and then pencil them into your calendar. Block that time off so that your chances of being interrupted are slim.

Try Waking Up Earlier

Speaking of blocking off time to workout, sometimes you need to make the time in order to get it done. For many of us, waking up a little earlier is an easy and effective way to do so. 

I have been working out early in the morning before my family wakes up for the day for years and this has been very effective for me. Instead of waking up to the chaos of the day and immediately getting thrown into mom mode which means making sure everyone else is taken care of and ready to go for the day, I intentionally get up an hour earlier so that my workout time is uninterrupted.

Get Your Kiddos Involved

Even the best-laid plans have hiccups, so if you’re really trying to wake up earlier, for example, but you still end up with your kids around, why not get them involved? Kids love watching and learning from us, they’re little sponges! It’s so important to model healthy behaviors like taking time to move our bodies and prioritize ourselves.

If your workout includes kids, make it fun and ask them to do the workout with you (if it’s safe). Or, if you have an infant, strap him or her into a bouncy seat or playpen and let them just be next to you. Chances are they will love being there to watch you and you’ll get to spend quality time with your baby while also taking care of your needs, too.

Join a Community of Like-Minded Moms

Embarking on a fitness journey is so much easier when you have a community of supportive women in your corner cheering you on. If you don’t know anyone personally that can be your accountability partner, there are so many online resources to find your tribe. Almost every workout app subscription offers an online community and it’s also easy to find other moms in local groups and through hashtags online.

Ditch the All-Or-Nothing Attitude

This is probably the biggest pitfall that I see in the fitness industry; the all-or-nothing attitude which says that if you can’t do it all then you might as well not even try. Ladies, your workouts will never look perfect week-to-week. Some days you might crush it and others you might not get it in.

Remember, it’s what you do most of the time that matters when it comes to health and fitness. You’re going to have off days, off weeks, and even seasons of life where fitness comes last. Have grace, be kind to yourself, and know that doing something is always better than doing nothing and that each new day is a new opportunity to try again.

Don’t Forget About Nutrition

busy mom workout nutrition

Before we wrap this up, I want to point out that even the most consistent and perfectly-programmed workout split won’t make up for a poor diet. If you want to live your best, healthiest life, you can’t neglect your nutrition.

Prioritize protein, eat plenty of fresh, whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, and drink your water. And if you need help in this area, consider getting a coach or at the very least, use a nutrition tracking app like the 1st Phorm App or MyFitnessPal to get started with tracking your nutrition.

Wrapping Up

Creating a busy mom workout plan isn’t as complicated as you might think. Yes, it can be hard to find the time and motivation to work out, but if you’re strategic and realistic, you will realize that reaching your goals and making them work is possible. And trust me, you will be so happy that you did!

The point of this post was to get your wheels turning regarding how to get started and what a typical week of workouts for a busy mom might look like. I hope you found this to be a helpful resource, and I encourage you to come to join us over in our FB Group where we can chat more and help connect you with a fitness program that best aligns with your goals. You got this, momma!

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About the author 

Tami Smith

Tami Smith is a certified Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

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