You are here

Get Lean While You Clean

it's safe to say Carolyn Barnes is one multitasking momma! (Photo courtesy of Harper Collins)

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Have you started spring cleaning yet? Though it seems like a daunting project, Carolyn Barnes, author of The cLean Momma Workout, says these types of household chores—think dusting, vacuuming and loading the dishwasher—offer opportunities to “taskercise,” or get in shape while cleaning up. Multi-tasking at its finest? We’re in!

Combining isometric movements, functional training and bootcamp-like exercises, Barnes’ program lets pressed-for-time ladies (and men!) firm up—no equipment necessary. We chatted with this former professional dancer and mother of two about her program, the ins and outs of taskercising, and her favorite multitasking moves.

How did you conceptualize taskercise?

I originally came up with this after my now-six-year-old was born. When he was about four months old he spit up on the floor after I nursed him— I cleaned it up by using my legs to maneuver a cloth and said, “Oh! I’m onto something here.” I started to do more moves—let me do this while I change my baby’s diaper, do this while I vacuum. Since I’m multitasking, I’m not being pulled away from my kids to go to the gym.

Exercising while doing chores is a double-whammy, though. What are your tips for success?

The rule of thumb is it takes 30 days to make or break a habit, so practice it consciously. You want to make a choice to commit for 30 days, which is hard for a lot of people because they want immediate results. For a psychological jumpstart, do 10 pushups at your kitchen sink every time you’re in there; you’ll see definition within a week. That’s going to propel you to continue.

You even have moves to do outside of the home, like the gas squat and grab and stretch. Have you ever been caught doing a move in public?

Yes, and I make them do it with me!

No way!

Oh, I’ve ambushed people and have been like, “let’s do some calf raises!” You can be free about it or do it discreetly, if that’s more your style. If you’re in the checkout line, for example, take your grocery cart and push it out and pull it back in, keeping your core tight the entire time. That’s an ab workout during idle time. I do it all the time!

Aside from “taskercising,” what other types of workouts do you enjoy?

I go for runs and hikes in the beautiful rural country. I don’t do it for weight loss, but rather peace of mind.

What does fitness mean to you?

Being healthy. My thighs are always going to be my thighs. I used to be so self-conscious about them, and my butt, but I’m over it. I wear my cellulite with a badge of honor because it’s still there, but I’m healthy.

Now you tell us: Do you/would you workout while cleaning?