Non-running Moms - What Do You Do to Keep in Shape?

Updated on June 30, 2013
K.S. asks from Huntington Beach, CA
29 answers

I tried the running thing because I need to lose a lot of weight and all my friends are doing it. I hate it. Honestly, can't stand running. I've never liked it and seems I'm going to grow old hating it.

So for all those moms that are like me, what do you do to stay in shape? I love Zumba and I'm going to sign up again now that I found a class I can make it to, but I never lost weight with it, just felt better. There isn't a yoga class that I can get to (husband's schedule is wacky). I tried bike riding and liked it but don't like spinning class. Is there anything out there that I'm missing that's fun that I don't have to run or wake up at 5 am to get in?

Anyway, would love to hear your stories and suggestions.

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So What Happened?

Wait wait let me put down the chips and soda, I have to stop this stuff? Just kidding. Thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate them. I know there's a few (ok a lot) of yummy (bad for me) stuff that I need to cut out of my diet. I have soda down to once a week but need to reign in my chocolate and salt cravings.

We just moved into our town and now I work from home. I used to walk from the parking lot to my office and then go to the gym at lunch but I don't have that now. Just found out my neighbor does Zumba so I'm going to check out her classes. We hope it keeps us both motivated to go.

I guess I should have asked this other question with the first, so I hope you're all reading my update. When do you have time for all this exercise?!?! Between my kids sports, husband’s work schedule, getting no sleep and working 8+ hours a day I never seem to find time, unless it’s 5 am or after 10 pm and I am not motivated then.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I have an elliptical machine in my living room. I usually watch something on my kindle while I'm on it so time flies. It's easy because I don't have to go anywhere!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I hate running also. My boobs are too big to run- gravity doesn't need any help. lol
Walking. I walk at least 2 -3 miles a day. And I watch what I eat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I swim. I also eat a very low sodium diet, which cuts out a lot of food that would keep the weight on. I do it only for my heart health, but it's really helped to drop weight.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

I've never been a runner. I can't stand it.
I work out at home, and I'm a Cathe Friedrich junkie.

Her workouts are not for the faint of heart, and they've been kicking my a** for 10 yrs. She has everything from step to kickboxing to heavy weights. Lately, I've been doing a lot of Tabata and HiiT workouts combined with heavy weights. I've seen nice results fro it.

Although 80% of weight loss is diet. Bottom line, you'll need to cut calories and increase protein to make sure you're not starving while you do it.

Go to It's a website where you can view hundreds of different workouts and instructors. You can get a feel for what you might like before you buy.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I had a knee injury almost a year and half ago. The MRI showed I have severe arthritis in my knee in addition theinjury. Ugh! I could hardly walk at the time and I was already unhappy with my weight. The first thing I did was change my diet. I do the low carb thing... No pasta, rice, bread etc. I eat as much fruit and protein as I want though. My orthopedic also recommended I get a recumbent exercise bike. I actually LOVE it although I hate upright bikes and spinning bikes. I use the bike for at least 1 hour per day (17miles) while watching netflix. My rule is if I want to watch netflix/Hulu/show time etc I must ride. Sometimes I am in the middle of a show and want to find out what happens next so I just keep peddling.
(FYI... I lost 19 lbs over a year ago and have successfully kept the weight off. Now I like being a size 4-6 I don't even crave junk food😊)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I hate running. Yoga is no good for losing weight. I love yoga, but I feel too uncoordinated for it when I have any extra pounds so I do it more when I'm at my ideal weight. I love Zumba too, I'm getting my instructor's licene at the end of the month, but you're correct, Zumba is not great for burning weight off UNLESS your diet is sufficiently low calorie and healthy and you're doing 6 classes per week. It's basically just fun cardio with a bit of toning. 3-4 clases per week is great for maintenance and keeping slim and toned, but doesn't burn much. My friend has been going to Zumba for over a year and has only lost 10 pounds of the 50 she's trying to lose because she way out-eats and drinks her workouts. Once she goes on a weekend vacation with family-which she often does- all the weight is back on.

I do a mix of things to lose and keep weight off-not easy at 43.

1) I radically changed my already healthy diet. I now follow the Fit For Life lifestyle (book from the 80's by Diamond-your library probably has it) and I lost a stubborn 20 pound in 4 weeks and have kept it off for 5 months easily with moderate exercise. My skin is glowing and puffy belly and double chin are gone. I have way more energy and feel better than I did before having 3 kids. It's basically 75% raw vegetables and fruit every day, but get book for details. Whatever style of eating you choose, you CANNOT out-exercise your diet without training like and olympian. You need healthy natural eating for any exercise plan to work. DO NOT do calorie restriction or non-fat artificial foods. You need healthy natural fats to stay healthy and burn fat. YOu need to eat to keep metabolism up, it's WHAT you eat that matters.

2) Sleep enough. Go to bed early. It heals metabolism and burns fat and stops you from eating at night. You should have a 12 hour fast each night from 7pm to 7am, 6 to 6, 8 to 8 so your body can properly process your food and get ready for next day without getting all backed up.

3) STOP eating after 8pm.

4) drink enough water. Whenever you feel famished, before you eat a snack. drink a large glass of water. It will help you feel better and you may not even need the snack.

4) Zumba 3 times per week plus short core class once or twice per week coupled with Bodycombat or Step or another high intensity cardio class with planks, push-us and other muscle work. Those are harder than Zumba. I also try to get in a weight session at some point in the week followed by sweat on elliptical. Yoga a few mornings per week before everyone wakes up (even if it's only 20 minutes) and walking. Walk whenever you have the chance. A long fast walk after healthy dinner and then straight to bed will have you slimmer each and every morning. My kids are finally getting old enough to keep up, so our walks are getting really fun. I drag 3-year-old in wagon and other two run beside me.

It's not easy to do all this with kids. I'm lucky to have a cheap, close gym with daycare where I've lost 30-40 pound three times now. I can't always squeeze in the extra classes and walking, and when I don't, I slowly pack on the pounds despite healthy diet. I've always had a slow metabolism.

So. You need more exercise including weight training, and less calories and more sleep and water. Once you're in the groove, you'll see it's doable. You can do it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Walking. Sounds simple, and it is. When I started walking, I did it for an hour at a time. For 7 mths. It totally increased my endurance level. After that I could better pick what interested me. I don't like the treadmill or the bike. I just went by time, 1 hour, for the first few months, 3 days a week, sometimes four. Then I got a pedometer and it gave me active mins for when I walked faster. I also try to get in 10,000 steps a day.

Get a pedometer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have a stationary bike parked in the livingroom. I can hop on there while the kids are playing or watching a movie, read on my kindle and before I know it I've done 60 minutes and am sweating like a pig. It's awesome :)

You've got some great suggestions below. Diet IS the most important part of a healthy lifestyle: TONS of veggies, whole fruits, lean proteins, whole grains for fiber, and *never* drink your calories - juice, soda, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Lift heavy weights. You will not bulk up (you aren't a man), and the muscle you build will speed your metabolism. And you've got to EAT FOOD! 1200 calories is starvation. Im not saying that's what you're doing, but that's typically the amount people eat when they want to lose weight. Read Matt Stones' Eat For Heat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When I have to work out at home, my favorite things to do are DVDs. I prefer Tae-Bo, even though it's a little dated, it still a great workout. I make sure to get the ones without extra equipment you have to buy. There are DVDs that are 35 minutes to over an hour. Then I like a little weight lifting and floor work as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

Diet is the biggest thing for me in terms of losing weight and getting into shape. I can work out 7 days a week and not lose an ounce unless I really watch what I eat (calorie counting works best for me). I will feel more energized and my muscles will be stronger but you can't tell visually because they are still under fat.
I do like running and walking, but zumba is probably my favorite and actually burns more calories than most workouts I have tried, according to my heart rate monitor. I like workout dvds a lot so I can work out from home.
Turbo Jam dvds are great. Really fun, somewhat short sessions, and they hit the whole body with cardio and toning. It is somewhat dancey-kickboxing.
I like yoga. I have Yoga Journal, Rodney Yee dvds and Biggest Loser weight loss yoga and they all work well and are challenging but easy enough to follow. I am not a big Jillian Michaels fan but 30 day shred is a good dvd and is only 25 min long but man, I sweat buckets with it. I have heard great things about Insanity but have not tried it.
My friend started riding her bike every day. She rode over 50 miles last week! You can certainly get in shape that way. Just pick what you like because you are more likely to stick with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Walking is great and not nearly as hard on your joints as running.
Swimming and riding a bike (in your neighborhood or park or boardwalk) are great too.
Exercise is good for you in so many ways but for weight loss - not so much.
It can really stimulate your appetite in a big way.
It's way too easy to over estimate what you burnt off in calories and then treat yourself to a muffin which more than cancels all your hard work.
If you count your calories (everything that goes into your mouth - use MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople - both are free), keep to no more than 1200 calories per day, drink plenty of water, and walk for 30 min 3 times a week - you'll get some great weight loss results.
I've been following my Dr's orders since right after last Thanksgiving and I am down by 60 lbs.
I still have more to lose but making progress (losing about 8 or 9 lbs per month) feels wonderful!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

Most of us eat too much food. I am kinda guilty of that.

I keep my weight down by eating 2 salads a day--I am careful what I put on them . I do not use dressing out of a bottle. It usually has corn syrup in it and corn syrup is not only bad for health...It makes u crave more sugar. So, I use Bragg's apple cider vinegar and organic olive oil atop- almost always. I eat some fruit and lots of veggies and beans, too.

When I am unsuccessful w/ weight loss...I have found that walking (fast) for a half hr in the AM -AND- a half hr(fast) in the PM keeps my metabolism going.

I do lift weights (5lb ones) a few times a week. Otherwise, I look like I have no tone. (Learn to use dumbells properly--always). And I do crunches at night when I watch tv.

Drink water, too. I try to have at least a few cups a day ! No sugar drinks !! I
I try not to eat after 6 or 7 pm...I try !!!

I love to swim in the summer. In the winter, I put a tape on of my favorite (fast) dance tunes and just dance. I would never run...My joints are ok. and I want to keep them ok.

If you want to burn some serious calories...Do Charlene Prickett's Step tape for 45 minutes 3x a week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Walk. Fast.

Or bike riding.

Running and spinning are hard. They take a lot of effort and you need to already be in decent shape to do them. I suggest that you start by getting into shape with walking or bike riding....and then try to add a little run in to your workout. If you walk 1 minute and run 30 seconds, alternating for 20 minutes, that's still running! You start slowly and work up to running full time.

I suggest the Get Running app. It's a couch-to-5k running coach that gets you running after you've been walking for a while, and it works.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I hate running, too. My bust just isn't made for running.

I do a number of things at the gym, in addition to walking our dog daily. I do weight training for a short time. This doesn't lead to any weight loss, but does tone things up. Then, the rest of the time I do cardio. I see great results with the elliptical. It's a lot gentler than running, but has the same intensity. Other days, I'll do walking on a steep incline (NOT holding on to the bar, which decreases the cardio value significantly) or the bikes.

When I don't have time for a full gym visit, I'll do the Moms Into Fitness Boot Camp 2 DVD. It's a great workout in less than 1/2 hour.

ETA: I work from home, too, and go to the gym on my lunch break. In the summer, I work fewer hours, so I take the kids with me to the gym in the afternoon (there's a great kids childcare there).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I do almost everything EXCEPT run. Body Pump (weight lifting to music class; strength training is a vital part of fitness), Body Flow (yoga, pilates, tai chi), a little swimming and water walking, walking the dogs, biking (stationary, spin class and regular), elliptical machine.......I tried Zumba and it bothered some chronic injuries I have. I try to vary it so I don't get bored and my muscles don't get too used to what I'm doing. I read on the exercise bike and the elliptical. I've heard it decreases the intensity to do that, but it's important to me to keep from getting bored. I change my routes, as much as I can, when I walk the dogs. I water walk with a friend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I can relate-- I have a congenital 'bad ankle' thing (thanks, Dad and Grandpa). Anytime I even think of running, I feel my ankles twist.

I walk. A LOT. A brisk walk to a pleasant destination is great. We are a one-car family and so we do a lot of's just how we've chosen to live. It is not the best fat-burner in the world unless you are walking an epic amount (like living-in-Europe during a train-strike amount) and not consuming more than you can burn.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am not a runner either. I have tried it and can not do it at all. Walking can be just as good as running, though. I have a friend from work that I do 5K's with and we walk the whole way. Sometimes we might throw a little jog in there for 30 seconds at a time, but mostly it is walking. If you don't like walking either, there are a lot of other choices. I lost quite a bit of weight a few years ago. I went to the rec center every day for 30 minutes. One day I would do cardio for 30 minutes (treadmill, bike, stairclimber, whatever you like) and the next day I would do weights for 30 minutes. And I would just trade off days like that. Also, my rec center has a cardio-kickboxing class that I absolutely loved! It was so much fun! Unfortunately my schedule no longer works with the timing of these classes, otherwise I would still be going. I also cut out all of the snack/junk foods from my diet. Another good idea, if you have a Wii, is Just Dance. It's a lot of fun and a good workout. You don't have to run 5 miles a day to stay in shape. Just try to get in 30 minutes to an hour of "moving around" time in every day, and try to stick to healthy meals and healthy snacks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I just do more with the kiddo. Need to walk more? Got a zoo membership. Fun for all of us. Walks around the neighborhood are free and can be fun, although we don't do them as much since our dog died. We also have a pretty neat art/history museum up here that is free so we go there, lots of walking and stairs.

Having a dog that NEEDS to be walked every day is a good way to be sure you'll do it. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had to give up running because of my knees. The next best thing for me was a cardio weight lifting class for shaping and toning and biking (i did cycle classes). But, I'm not going to lie, for weight loss, running is the only exercise that does it for me. There is something magic about it. I could cry that my body won't let me do it.
Case in point, I don't know many overweight runners, but I know lots of overweight walkers, jazsersisers, and stationary bikers....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Jazzercise is the only thing I've been able to stick with, ever! It is constantly changing, current, and FUN! It includes dance-based moves AND weight training, and works every muscle, every class. Go to to find a class. Take a friend -- you'll motivate each other to keep it up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I do ballet (but you can't do that on your own at home), and have a "Total Gym" Pilates machine I get on from time to time, but mostly I just try to get to a class 3 or 4 days a week and that keeps me pretty toned, and happy... plus I get 90 minutes to just focus on what I'm doing and not worry about the rest of my responsibilities.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I don't work out and I eat what I want when I want it. I'm just active.
I wrangle dogs and herd cats, including lugging 50-lb sacks of kibble and buckets of kitty litter into the house.
I mow a half-care lawn with a push mower.
I do community theater. Right now, I'm climbing up and down a 20-ft ladder several times a night, six nights a week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I hate running too. It jars my body, my big boobs bounce up and's a horrible experience all around.

Here are my favs:

dance around the hosue
I have a few fav work out videos

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Well I'm not in shape, but I am active. I have gone from hating running to merely disliking it. Now that I'm burnt out on cycling (I've been training for a 150 mile ride for 5 months so all I have time for now is cycling) I actually miss running a little but what I really miss is kickboxing. My kickboxing class starts out with about 5-10 minutes of cardio to warm up (a simple jog outside or a variety of running styles inside the studio) then works in conditioning like push ups, squats and crunches with punch/kick combos on the bag or with a partner. I get more of a workout in that hour of class than I do with 5 hours on a bike. I only got a few kickboxing classes in before my life became all cycling, all the time but I had a noticeable loss of weight and inches when I started those classes that stalled since I stopped, despite continued cycling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I dance and walk and hike. It keeps me in shape but the extra activity doesn't make the pounds go away for me, either. However, because I feel better and enjoy the exercise, it motivates me to be healthier in other ways, too. Like how I eat, and getting enough sleep. Because it's hard to enjoy dancing or hiking if I'm sluggish from staying up late or eating alot of junk food. Plus, OK I'm vain, I want to wear some cute outfits when I dance. So I'm trying to lose a few pounds too.

Sustainable weight loss takes time so find something you enjoy doing and do it for the rest of your life.

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answers from Washington DC on

I want to try running. I used to run, then gained a lot of weight and hated it. Then I lost a lot of weight and I actually ran some this weekend and enjoyed it. So we'll see!

I was going to say Zumba though. How often are you doing it? You need to do 5 days a week of exercise to lose weight, and 3 to maintain (from my exercise specialist at my surgeon's office). Also make sure your instructor is really doing it - I have one that doesn't make me sweat and another that kicks my tail, that's the one I like doing because I know it's doing something for me.

Get a gym membership where you can bring the kids and put them in the daycare place...even the older ones like it if they have stuff geared towards older kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

I use an app on my phone to track my nutrition. myfitnesspal That is certainly where you should start. When I started my fitness journey I used it is a great FREE site to help you with your goals.

Then I moved on to and eventually joined as a coach.

I have completed P90X several times
and I'm getting ready to start Chalene Extreme

ALL great programs. I also drink Shakeology once a day for one of my meals or a snack.

What ever you choose...good luck!



answers from Orlando on

I've tried DVDs at home but get bored with the repetition. A gym membership isn't for me either.

I now love

He is FREE on youtube and has workouts that range from 5 mins to 30. Home workouts, gym workouts, equipment, no equipment. He mixes up all kinds of stuff and has held my interest for the last 9 months and going. Workouts are organized by several different criteria so it is easy to find something specific.

I did his 90 day routine and I don't think he ever repeated a workout more than 2x. I need that kind of variety to stick with it.

I also did his 30 days to 6pack abs. The 1st day is a 3 min workout. 3 mins!!! I knew that if I couldn't find 3 mins it was 100% excuse. There was something about being honest with myself that forced me to do it. Then I was hooked.

His workout plans start like that...3 mins, 5 mins, 6 mins, 8 mins. Before you know it, you have established a habit and actually like it. Then he starts piggy backing little workouts together to make longer ones but by then you have seen a change, felt a change, and want to make workouts a you find the time. Even so, my longest workouts with him are all less than an hour.

I have also heard good things about but I haven't been able to get into her. The boobs, music, and overall pace personally turn me off. But again, her videos are free online.

Tabata is another great short workout.

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