Staying fit is hard work. As the saying goes: if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. But, it is hard, so it comes as no surprise that fitting in time to stay active becomes even more of a juggle act when adding littles to the picture. Believe me, some days I just want to press the snooze button, roll over, and gobble up an extra hour or two of sleep, and occasionally I do just that, especially if my littlest hasn’t been sleeping well or my three year old has been sick, falling out of bed, or up from nightmares. Those days happen and it’s okay to sleep, because…well, that’s a completely different story! Sleep is life. But fitness is equally important and you really can’t have one without the other. But there are ways to fit in both; you just have to get a little creative and put your heart into it. Make some goals, develop discipline, and check out my tips below.
1. One of the most useful pieces of advice that I can give is finding out when you have the most energy. Are you energetic in the morning, the afternoon, or at night? When you pinpoint your highest energy levels, you can shoot to be most productive during those hours. I am personally a morning person now that I am a mom. I absolutely love waking up before anyone else and slipping off to the gym. My normal time to do this is 5am and out the door between 5:15am and 5:30am. But maybe you would do better in the evenings, so figure out your best time and stick to it.
2. Don’t be limited to the gym. I LOVE going to the gym. I love lifting heavy and the gym supplies so many options that I can’t get at home right now, BUT on days that I can’t make it to the gym, I still try to be as active as I can. I often create my own workouts or I go online and find fitness videos to workout to. My personal favorite website so far has been fitnessblender.com as they supply lots of home workout videos with or without weights. I also keep a few weights handy at home that way I can still get a lift in and I have a pullup bar that I just stick over any door frame in the house. Don’t be afraid to get creative because sometimes getting to the gym just isn’t realistic. Incorporate baby and kids, using them as weights (just be careful!). Sometimes, if I need more weight than what I have available, I’ll strap my seven month old onto my back (ergo carrier) and do a variety of squats and lunges.
3. What’s your motivation? If you are going to the gym only for asthetic reasons, that’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not a very sustainable way to stay motivated. Instead, ask yourself important questions like; do I want to be stronger or do I want to learn a new skill? And then, set goals! And after you complete a goal, set a new goal. Example; learn to do a headstand or run a certain distance or bench press half of your body weight. And don’t be afraid to start small, but keep increasing.
4. Make a schedule. Life is going to throw curveballs, especially when you add kids to the mix, but making a schedule instead of just winging it when you feel like it can make ALL the difference. So, for me, I try to make it to the gym four days a week and then do light (sometimes heavy) workouts at home two days a week, making my workouts a total of six/week. At home, one day I will do mostly ab work and add in a long walk or a run and then on the other day I do body weight exercises (either my own routine or a fitness video I love). But there are SO many options, like taking the kids out skating or making one of your workouts sport day (think basketball, surfing, skateboarding, soccer, hiking, etc). There’s no wrong way to be active so never limit yourself.
5. Do it because you value your health and not because you feel like you have to. No one is making you workout, so keep your attitude clear of negative talk. Tell yourself that you are going to make fitness a priority because it’s good for you, good for your kids, and even good for your partner/spouse. And if you still can’t get on board, find a gym that offers help from personal trainers so that someone else can help you find your motivation (until you can find it yourself). Personal trainers are especially helpful if you are feeling lost or unsure of where to begin.
6. And my last tip of the day, don’t use your kids as an excuse to not workout. Sometimes you are extremely limited on time, because of work, money, or even conflicting schedules when it comes to finding someone to watch the kids…so you have to be very intentional on this one. That might mean going to bed a little earlier, so you can get to the gym before your partner/spouse leaves for work or before you leave for work/drop kids of at school or whatever else. Sometimes that means going in the evening even if you are an a.m. person, simply because that’s the only time you can get away. Or maybe you can sign up for a gym that offers childcare. Again, be creative and figure out what will work for you and those in your life. And if the gym just won’t work…buy your own weights (options also include discount stores, asking around if anyone has weights they aren’t using, or purchasing used weights). Working out doesn’t have to be your number one priority, but it does need to be in your top 3 to 4, because otherwise, it’s all too easy to let it fall to the wayside.
These are my top tips to making it happen and getting out of the “excuse cycle”. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s absolutely worth it and your body will thank you (and probably your kids too!). Taking care of your health is so important and being able to keep up with all that mom life requires is a definite benefit. Be strong my friends.
If you have questions, comments, concerns, or thoughts feel free to drop them down below. Now, get your fit on! 😀