The Locker Room Workout

When I worked at a day job, I could occasionally nip out to the gym on my lunch break, although, in recent years, office culture has started regarding the 75-minute lunch as tantamount to a three-hour, three-martini lunch. But now that I’m at home with a child in the mornings and then working furiously through the few afternoon hours I have left, the gym just isn’t feasible during work hours.

Like other parents, I have The Little Nutball in sports. Fortunately, gymnastics discourages parents from observing, while swim class doesn’t have enough seating, so my partner and I are able to duck out and hit the gym for short twice-a-week workouts. Nothing like the hour I wish I had three or four times a week, but I’ll take it. But I’ve recently discovered another workout routine. I call it: preparing your child for free swim, and it goes like this:

Warm up:

7 minutes: Struggle to get self and child out of winter coats and clothing; lunge through change room searching lockers to find hiding child and cajole them into cooperating; break into cold sweat as child asks loudly “Mommy, is that person over there a man or a woman?;” get self and child changed into swimsuits; do knee-bends while fostering independence in child by having her undress herself (at snail’s pace).

3 minutes: One set of deep bends and stretches, picking up trail of child’s clothing through locker room; turn garments right-side out so she can dress self apres swim, thereby fostering independence

2 minutes: Stretch in and out of shower to stay out of cold water path, while adjusting temperature until the perfect temperature for pre-swim shower


45 minutes: Frolic in too-cool water; break into breaststroke to get away from child and her dad, and hide underwater in deep end until breath runs out, enjoying underwater silence. Front crawl at full speed to return to child and dad when guilty feeling triggered by relaxing overtakes actual relaxation; continuing frolicking with family.

3 minutes: Freeze ass off while bundling child into towel; lift and carry 50-pound child to locker room and showers; break into cold sweat when loudly asked “Mommy why is that lady chubby?”; place child in warm shower.

3 minutes: Sprint to locker; wrestle with lock; find more towels; sprint back to shower area

When in Toronto YMCA:
20 minutes: Enjoy hot, relaxing shower; deep-condition hair; exfoliate skin; moisturize

When in Hamilton YMCA:
7 minutes: Settle for tepid, frustrating shower; warm skin by rubbing vigorously with rough towel

1 minute: Get dressed. Fast.

5 minutes: Chase child around locker room trying to dry and dress them.

30 seconds: Lug two gym bags to snack bar, where partner will be drinking a Coke and reading the newspaper.

This new workout has the potential of burning a couple hundred calories per session, more if you have multiple same-sex kids (or are one of those moms who insists on bringing your 8-year-old boy into the women’s change room). It’s not a bad way to augment your fitness routine, provided you don’t go and blow it by gorging on carbs at the snack bar afterwards, as I do.

About Author:

Yuki Hayashi writes from home in-between hand-feeding her six-year-old and dodging furballs and creditors. What’s it like to be the exact opposite of Supermom? Read on and relate.