I need to be honest here with a confession, even though I am committed to getting fit and healthy and helping others, working out does NOT always come easy to me.
Sometimes I don't feel like it. Sometimes I stay up too late, and have to drag my butt out of bed in the morning to get it in. Sometimes I wish we didn’t need it. But reality is, we do, and though I may not always feel like starting a workout, I NEVER regret it afterwards.
I don’t want you to think that I'm the exception and feel like going 110% every day, all the time. I'm human, I have good days and bad days just like you!
Taking the time you need for yourself is extremely hard, especially with young kids and babies.
I did not loose all my baby fat as quickly as I wanted. My body did not want to bounce right back to where it was. I still have to workout HARD. I had to learn to the importance of good nutrition. I had to realize that it was going to take a complete 180 to maintain my new body, it requires a lifestyle change...not a temporary solution, followed by reverting back to all my old ways.
How could I possibly incorporate that when I have more to do, less energy, less time, but an insane desire to look and feel better? I needed to do something!
So here are some tips to help you get it done.
1. Put Yourself on the CalendarThe first and most important thing you can do is make time for yourself! I didn’t say this was the easiest part. Actually, it can be the hardest thing to do and this is why most people don’t even start. We make time for our kids’ swimming lessons, ball practices, art classes, etc. but where do we fit in our workouts? You need to make time for yourself. With 4 kids under the age of 6, I struggle with this sometimes. Consider these options for making your workout non-negotiable. You've got to schedule it.
Early Morning Workout
- Do you wake your kids at the same time each day? Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Pop in a workout DVD, and PRESS PLAY.
- No matter where you work, you always have a break for lunch! How long is it? I know you are probably really hungry, but why not postpone it for 10-20 minutes? Keep a pair of dumbbells in your office or car (or wherever you work) and focus on 2 body parts (1 lower body and 1 upper body)–a different set each day. For example: Lunges and bicep curls, squats and shoulders, knee lifts and triceps, push-ups and outer thigh, etc. Alternate them or do compound moves (upper and lower at the same time) to get more in. Remember to put on your music to get you through it. Get in at least 3 sets of each, then go have your lunch
- After work, you want to hang out with your children! I totally get it…but what can you do together that is active? Ride bikes? Take a walk to a neighbor’s house or to pick up a snack? Jump rope? Play catch, basketball, tag, kickball, make up a racing game, etc.? When I run, I usually have my 2 older kids biking in front of me while I push the younger 2 in my double jogging stroller. This works for us.(Yes, we make a parade, lol!) Now you’re doing it together and you are demonstrating the importance of moving your body. Double Bonus!!!
- In this stage in my life, I have found that playing and doing activities with my kids can sometimes count as my workout! Does your child ever want you to “watch” them do chalk on the driveway, play with bubbles, dig in the dirt or sand, keep an eye on them at the park playground? What can you do in lieu of sitting in a chair or on a bench observing? We live in the era of multi-tasking…jog in place, do jumping jacks, squats, lunges, hover over your chair for 30-second intervals. They will probably think it’s funny and want to join in!
2. At-Home WorkoutsWorkout videos! These have been my life saver. I know a lot of mom’s that love at-home videos. You can pop a tape in while your kids are napping, after they go to bed or even before they wake up (my preferred time)…. OR, they can workout right next to you! They come with multiple DVDs to enable you to change up the routine. When I first started working out after Adley, I used Chalene Johnson's Turbo Fire program, and now have transitioned to Insanity. I absolutely love that they come with a calendar that tells me what to do when...no guess work involved and best of all, they WORK!
3. Fitness PlayDatesDo you have other mom friends that like working out? You can plan fitness playdates with them and their kiddos! I have another friend with children close in age to mine, so we have fitness playdates to connect, stay active, and have fun. Every evening, after we finished supper, we met at a local park with a walking trail and allowed the big kids to play on the equipment, while we power walked or jogged with the younger ones.
4. Find What Motivates YouOnly YOU know what motivates you. You see, I like to have fun so if working out isn’t fun to me, I will probably not stick with it. Variety is important to me. You might like doing the same workout everyday and crossing off your exercise list as you go. You might enjoy the challenge of racing and compete in competitions. I don’t know what will get you moving but figure it out and go do it.
5. Set GoalsLike everything in life, you need to set goals! So what are your goals? Oh, you want to lose weight? Nice answer but you need to get detailed. Like, do you have a certain pair of jeans or size that you have been dying to wear again? Set your goal of fitting into them by a certain date and try them on each week. Once they fit, reward yourself. Maybe get yourself a new workout outfit or running shoes that you had your eye on. But no food rewards allowed.
We all have responsibilities we must attend to, but it’s so important to carve out time for our own needs. This way we feel better, and ultimately we see benefits such as improved moods and more energy. Plus, we are setting a positive example for our children on how to lead healthy, active lives.