Free weights? Kickboxing? Who needs it? Try grocery shopping with kids. It's a wonderful wholistic work out.
You think I'm kidding, don't you? I'm not.
Let's start in the parking lot with some stretching. First, I get my wrap out and hold Tyler, my 1-year-old son, against my chest while putting the wrap around him, under his arms and over my shoulders. Then I lean back a little and to each side to reach the straps that are hanging behind me and pull them around me to make an "X" on my back, hoping my shirt is semi-smooth and not showing rolls of...well, blubber that I use to stay warm in the cooler months. I have to hold Tyler with one hand and, using the other hand, feed the straps between his legs, through some loops, and back behind me to tie in a tight bow. Whew!
After that warm up, I gather the older two kids, Jace and Gracie, who are 5-years-old and 3-years-old respectively. I carry the diaper bag and eco-friendly canvas bags and hold Gracie's hand. Jace usually leads the way across the parking lot and to the store.
Thankfully the store has those space ship carts, or buggies, as they say in the South. I don't know what mama's did back in the day when all the kids had to walk! I don't want to think about it. Jace gets my heart pumping for the aerobic portion of my workout by climbing into the space ship himself. Then I pick Gracie up and set her in there too. Did I mention that Gracie is almost 40 pounds and 41 inches tall? For those of you not familiar with 3-year-olds, she's tall...just about as tall as the average 5-year-old. Jace is tall, too, but luckily I don't have to lift him that often.
Now that everyone's settled in their places its off through the store. First stop - the deli, then the produce section...usually by the time we get to the condiments, somebody has to go pee. I must admit that sometimes it's even me. Now, a trip to the bathroom involves hauling the kids out of the space ship, and out of the space ship is one of those unlucky times I lift Jace too. Then we walk the two or three aisles to the restrooms, then back to the cart. Breathe deep while Jace climbs in. Lift Gracie on the count of three. Back to the grocery list!
In order to get about 25-40% of my list (no, I didn't actually do the math...I'm just guesstimating) I need to squat down to the bottom shelf, get the goods, and get back up. That's with an over 20 pound child chest to chest with me. That'll really get the heart pumping.
In the middle of the store I do a slow sprint. Those are the aisles the health experts tell you to avoid, but I still go up and down each one. I move quickly, but slow enough that I can stop for Diet Mt. Dew or Sun Chips if they catch my eye. Usually during this phase of my workout I notice that Tyler's sleeping peacefully. That discovery fills me with a mixture of jealousy and adoring love. Who knew grocery shopping was so emotional?
Towards the end of the store I find that the cart getting very full. That's the only downfall I've found of the space ship cart...the cart part isn't as large as a regular one. Nothing is perfect. With this lack of space for things like diapers and cereal I now have to bend down, with a sleeping 20-something pound weight strapped to me, to start loading the rack underneath the basket. It's usually around now that the older kids have reached their limit and start working my patience out too. That leads to exercising my creativity in silly children's games. I told you this work out was wholistic.
After we think the shopping is over, I check my list and naturally we have to go back to the first half of the store for something. After that lap we wait in line for the cashier and I rock Tyler to keep him cozy. Then begins the final push: unloading the cart, that's a few dozen twists, turns, and deep knee bends. All this without waking Tyler while keeping Jace and Gracie content and quiet, as quiet as kids can be after over an hour in a store.
Our grocery store has very helpful baggers that take my groceries out and load them into the car for me. Bless them.
My trip to the gym, er...grocery store is capped off with a quiet ride home. Everybody else gets to rest. I usually cool down with some good music and a piece of chocolate that I snuck onto the conveyer when the kids weren't looking. What? Doesn't everyone reward a good work out with a tasty treat?