My husband and I recently purchased a family gym membership. We were pumped. It has amazing childcare, a pool, a café, and a spa—all of which we will never use. In the two months since joining, I’ve started working out almost daily at home instead. It’s not because we enjoy lighting money on fire. No, we just didn’t consider our family’s sacred nap schedule when we signed up.
We’re a little uptight about upholding the kids’ nap routines. Between the 11-month old and 3-year old, someone is always sleeping between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. As much as I love my Barbell Strength and hot yoga classes, I can’t sacrifice a nap (or my sanity). So I work out from home.
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On good days, I will experience the “holy grail” of a nap overlap. This is the coveted time for parents during which all uninterrupted cleaning, laundry, yard work, dishes, and exercise must occur. Squeezing in a workout is tough, but with YouTube, I’ve found lots of short workouts (30 minutes and under)—and they’re all accessible from my judgment-free living room.
A big challenge is quickly selecting a workout among the 8 million YouTube exercise videos available. Yes. EIGHT. MILLION! They range in length from 5-minute booty boosters to full-length, 60-minute classes. It’s easy to waste precious nap minutes just searching the endless catalog—so it’s really helpful to have a starting point.
After several weeks of working out at home, I’ve developed my own list of go-to workout channels and videos that can be completed within the nap “sweet spot”—about 30 minutes. These range in style from barre classes to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), power yoga, and Pilates. With such variety, it’s fun changing it up.
Obviously, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there. But I am a perfectionist, so I’ve done a lot of terrible workouts to arrive at this list.
While I have absolutely zero credentials other than being a mother who is strapped for time, here are my personal criteria...
+ Free with minimal product pushing
+ 30 minutes—up to 45 if the kids are super sleepy or I decide not to shower
+ Decently challenging—not too easy, but not barf-inducing
+ Minimal equipment—if the video calls for more than dumbbells, a yoga mat, a towel, or a ball (I use my son’s rubber basketball), then I move on
With that in mind, here are my top YouTube fitness channels and my favorite workouts on each. Happy sweating!