Fitness trainer Andrea Allen had trouble working out after giving birth to twins, but now with three kids, involves them in her exercise time
Andrea Allen grew up relying on exercise to clear her head, especially when she struggled with depression as a college student. So when she learned she was pregnant with twins, Allen was nervous about supporting them while maintaining some semblance of a routine.
“I was lucky to learn young that exercise keeps me sane. It is an outlet for me,” Allen, 32, tells PEOPLE. “I feared what life would be like after I had the twins.”
The fitness trainer from Gilbert, Arizona, quickly learned that she just needed to make a schedule. And as her daughters grew older, and got used to watching mom jump and lunge by their highchairs, they started joining in.
“They think exercise is part of life, that it’s just what moms do in the morning,” she says of her 3-year-old twins, Olivia and Ella. “They’ll come copy me for a few reps and then walk away to play. We even made up an exercise song where I call out moves and we all do them together!”
Allen, who added another daughter, Camry, to the family five months ago, started sharing videos of her at-home, body weight workouts on Instagram with her 124,000 followers, who go to her for advice on training with kids running around.
“Set a time and sacrifice,” Allen suggests. “Also, you have to not care what people think. On days when it’s just pure chaos and everyone is not allowing me the time to workout, that’s when I whip out my leg weights we go to the park and I circle the park like a lunatic, speed walking with a stroller while the twins play. That’s where the not caring what people think comes in!”
But it helps that her kids love her workouts too.
“I do a lot of kick boxing, and they kick and jump and think they are just right in it with me,” Allen says. “This morning Ella packed her little one pound weights to bring for show in tell for preschool, and I catch them doing squats with sticks like a barbell on their shoulders at the park, and pushups all over. It’s the same to them as playing with baby dolls. It’s just part of our life. We like to move.”
Allen emphasizes that her workouts aren’t long — sometimes just the length of a 20 minute nap, and they occasionally don’t happen at all — but that little bit of time keeps her sane.
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“Being a mom is hard — really hard,” she says. “We spend all our time keeping little people happy, caring for our families, juggling work, spouses, school for some, getting back in shape and trying to keep up with what society has deemed as the ideal women. It’s easy to get down and discouraged and beat yourself up. But in every situation, look for the small victories.”