When you become a parent, your schedule can be all over the place. From driving them around, to having no energy, it’s very easy to lose time for yourself. There are tips and tricks you can use to help get back on track and start incorporating working out into your everyday life.
Let’s remember, wanting to workout is not selfish. The biggest investment we can make is on ourselves, especially if the goal is longevity. Think of it as an investment towards keeping up with your kids in the long run, and being able to spend more time with them.
People think if they want to lift weights that they need to workout every day. That is not true. Just two full body workouts a week is more than enough to get yourself in shape, and on a path to a better body, and a better, healthier lifestyle. The goal here is to be healthier, not be a bodybuilder.
Some ways to make it easier with a busy schedule can include working out at home. It doesn’t take much equipment, if at all. Bodyweight workouts can be perfectly fine in the beginning. You can start to add bands, and kettlebells (or dumbbells) as you find you need more resistance as you continue. This will save time driving to and from the gym or needing someone to look over them.
Shorter, More Frequent Workouts
If doing two full body workouts at 45-60 minutes a piece is too much, that is totally fine. Let’s break it up into smaller, shorter workouts. This will allow you to still achieve the same weekly workload, but broken up into more manageable chunks.
Break it up so that you are only doing 15 minute workouts, using only 1-2 exercises at a time. A lot of mom’s find this allows them to still fit in a quick workout, while not having to dedicate a full hour or so. It’ll also help groove in the habit because you can spread this over 3-6 days a week so you always have a cue to move your body.
Set Realistic Goals
The above two tips set the foundation. Maybe you are still struggling on how to stick to it. Let’s break it down even easier. Only add 1-2 new fitness habits on any given week. Ask yourself “Can I see myself doing this 6 months from now?” If you can’t, simplify it even more.
For example, shoot for 2 full body workouts a week. If you don’t see yourself sustaining that 6 months from now, try just 1. If not, try a 15 minute workout. The goal is to not allow it to add stress to your life. It’s there to enhance your quality of life, not make it harder.
Once you are able to find a starting point, stick with that until it’s second nature. Then, only if you want, you can add a little more. Maybe now the 15 minute workout becomes a 30 minute workout. Or now you increase it to two days working out 15 minutes.
Block Out Time
Ask any fitness enthusiast what the biggest keys to hitting their goals are and they will all tell you consistency. The trick to consistency is the ability to prioritize. Don’t look at it as “I’m choosing working out over taking care of my kids.” After all, if you had work, or a doctor’s appointment, you wouldn’t say that would you? Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. “I have a 30 minute workout appointment with myself.”
It can also help to schedule at a time with the least resistance. For most parents, this means first thing in the morning. Before the kids are awake, and before your day can pile on distractions and further engagements to attend to. This will help create that consistency without feeling the guilt. It’ll also leave you feeling more energetic the rest of the day knowing you got so much done before the actual day started.
Include the Family
Working out doesn’t have to be a solo mission. Find ways to incorporate the whole family to make it even more sustainable. Maybe after every meal, the family goes on a 10 minute walk. This not only gets you moving, but it’ll actually help you digest the food better, while ALSO providing extra quality time with your loved ones.
If your kids like a sport, try to play it as a family. Think of your goal as not working out, but fighting sedentary behavior. I was with my little cousins one weekend, and I noticed as I sat on the couch for an hour watching them, they did not stop moving in that same time frame! They were running around, having fun. We like to make the excuse that our “metabolism slowed down”, but it didn’t (research even shows our metabolism doesn’t significantly slow down till way past our 60’s). What more likely happened is we just aren’t MOVING as much as we used to.
Match your kids’ energy! Move when they move! Let them be your motivation. It’ll get you fighting being stagnant all day, AND it sets a good example to your kids that we shouldn’t be sitting around.