Dara Duff-Bergeron: Sweaty Mummy


Stay Fit When You Can't Work Out (and Don't Want To)

Taking Care of Business...and Yourself

stay fir with flu

This week we have been ravaged with viruses and infection in our house. It's honestly been a little turn-of-the-19th-century plague around here. Sweaty Baby came down with the flu on the weekend, then Sweaty Kid picked it up, then Sweaty Hubby. I spent 3 days trying to turn my head and hold my breath as I was relentlessly vomited upon, again...and again. I lost count somewhere around 15, I think. It was just a 24-hour kind of bug that made its rounds, and somehow I managed not to be infected, thank God!

What To Feed Your Kids When They Have The Flu

Then Sweaty Baby developed a cough, fever, lethargy, sore throat. We finally took him to the clinic yesterday. Foot hand & mouth disease, they said. Then they called today: Oh, and—by the way—also strep throat.


If it weren't my job to teach our Belly Bootcamp classes 5-6 days per week I'm not sure I would have got in a single "official" workout this week. I have had a toddler hanging off of me, sleeping on me, vomiting on me... you get the picture. By the time 8 p.m. rolls around the last thing on my mind is going out in the dark for a jog. I'm ok with the dark thing. It's the jogging that's the problem. If I could jog in front of Iron Chef with a cup of tea and my jammies on, I'd be all over it. Can I also add, while laying in my bed with the blankets pulled up?

A Ten Minute Workout That Really Works

So what do you do when you really, legitimately cannot get in a structured workout?

My first tip is to R-E-L-A-X. Whatever you're going through that is keeping you from exercise, as long as it's relatively short-lived, can take priority for a few days. Maybe it should, if it is health or relationship related. Maybe it just has to, if it involves work or school. Whatever the issue, no one ever woke up 50 pounds heavier or suddenly developed diabetes because they missed the gym for a week.

Beyond that, here are a few general tips for just keeping yourself active while you can't squeeze in your usual run/DVD/class/training session:

  • Walk your errands as much as possible, when they're within your neighbourhood. Too slow? Run!
  • Inject little spurts of intensity whenever possible to stoke your metabolism—sprint up the stairs, do a hundred jumping jacks while you wait for the microwave, press your preschooler overhead 10 times when you pick her up from school or just jog to the corner store when the milk runs out.
  • Embrace the active chores—housecleaning, yardwork, errands, laundry and the like all burn some serious calories over the course of a day, so throw yourself into them and delegate less active tasks to others, instead of the other way around!
  • Walk, jog or bike to pick up little ones from daycare and school, if possible—they can benefit from the exercise, too.
  • Choose physical activities for you and your family in the after school and after dinner quality time—even playing some tennis on the Wii or taking a 20 minute walk is better than sitting in front of a cartoon.

Above all, where weight maintenance is concerned, my top tip is to be careful how you EAT when you are not able to be active. Some of us are stress eaters, others are stress starvers—I'm more the latter. This week I've had a bit too much coffee and missed a few meals with all the drama around here. When I have eaten I've shied away from junk and stuck with quick meals I can pull together that are light on calories and carbohydrates. If you're not doing as much exercise, you just don't need as much fuel. If a hectic day turns into a hectic week turns into a hectic fortnight (what is this, 1412?), you could stand the chance of gaining a pound or two from inactivity if you don't moderate your food accordingly. Plan your usual family treats, like Friday night pizza or Sunday brunch, but keep healthy snacks and easy meals on hand to resist last-minute temptations like the fast food drive-thru or the pastries at your morning coffee joint.

A few of my go-to quickie meals this week have been:

  • cottage cheese & banana sprinkled with cinnamon
  • a few eggs scrambled with spinach, feta & oregano with salsa on top
  • canned/prepared soup (in a pinch it's filling and light on calories, plus can be fairly nutritious)
  • homemade burgers on 'skinny' buns—no bun for me—and a side of bagged light caesar salad with extra veggies added
  • baby arugula, pre-washed, thrown—literally, thrown—together with 1/2 avocado & a couple of pre-peeled hard-boiled eggs, splashed with olive oil & red wine vinegar
  • store-bought quiche with a side salad
  • oysters & champagne (OK, OK... it was my sister's birthday and this was neither cheap nor quick but it was awesome to get out of the house for an evening & away from all the sickies!)

... you get the idea. Good luck!

Do you have a strategy for staying active and fit when you are unable to exercise as much as you'd like? Share it below! I'm always looking for great tips to share with clients and readers.