Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Written By: Stacey Birett
Who else thought they were busy before having kids? Guaranteed, most of you would raise your hand. It’s funny how naïve we were isn’t it? We know now, NOTHING can compare to the busyness of being a mom.
That said, all too often, working out is one of the items on a mom’s ‘to do’ list that gets postponed (sometimes indefinitely) because there just doesn’t seem to be any time. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little creativity and commitment, you can fit some sort of exercise into your day…every day.
In an ideal world, we would all get up an hour before anyone else rolls out of bed to get our workouts in. Early morning exercise is an ideal solution to finding time in a jammed packed day, and you will be in a great frame of mind to tackle whatever comes your way! I’ve had intermittent success with this and love the feeling, but I’ve found once I’ve fallen out of sync with the schedule, it can be a struggle to get back into the routine. So, until someone invents an alarm clock that simultaneously has fresh brewed coffee ready to go when the alarm chimes, I’ve got some other ideas to keep active.
Try a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout to maximize your calorie burn and cardiovascular benefits in a minimal amount of time. If your kiddos watch one cartoon – you know, those 20-25 minute shows – it’s an ideal amount of time for you to get an uninterrupted HIIT workout in. HIIT workouts alternate working at a high intensity with a short recovery period, for example 30 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest. The key with these types of workouts is to push yourself hard during the work part and to choose compound exercises that use large muscle groups – think burpees (one of my personal faves!). A quick internet search and you can find a wide variety of articles and videos to get you started.
One of the best things you can do is to partner up either with your partner or a friend to ensure you have time dedicated to getting your workout in. I know some people rely on a partner to be motivated, but in this case, I suggest partnering up with someone to ensure your exercise time is carved into the schedule and the kids are being cared for. We implement this in my house, whereby during the work week, hubs and I take turns on who puts the kids to bed. Either I do and he goes to jiu jitsu, or he does and I get my workout in. Alternatively, you could do the same thing with a friend, or relative and take turns watching each other’s kids.
Set Up A Home Gym
It might sound fancy, but setting up a home gym can be simple and affordable. The best part is all the time you save not having to leave your house – heck, if you’re a morning exerciser, you don’t even have to brush your teeth or hair either! Another benefit: you don’t need to arrange child care because you can fit in a workout during nap time, bedtime, quiet time, or even while the kids play on the other side of the room! If you’ve got the funds to invest in one or two pieces of cardio equipment for your home gym that is fantastic but it’s also not necessary. My favourite types of workouts without equipment are intervals of cardio with strength. Think jumping jacks, butt kicks, skaters, burpees – there’s so many ways to move your body without equipment! What you do need for a good home gym is a designated space, a yoga mat, a set of light weights, a set of heavy weights, some tunes, and a monitor. If you’ve got a mirror, even better as you can watch your form. Once you’ve got the space, you’ve got no excuses! Make your own workout, follow a fitness magazine’s program, search on YouTube or social media, or even grab some old-school DVDs from the library. Home gyms make working out easy, affordable and efficient!
Write It Down
There is something extremely powerful about writing down your goals and dreams. The same is true for writing down your fitness goals! There’s been many times where I am tired, or not feeling very ambitious when it’s time to workout but when I see my plan written down on paper, I feel compelled to see it through. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. To make it even better, write down what you’re going to do for your workout AND schedule it into your calendar too.
Sneak It In
No one said you had to get the recommended 30-minute minimum of daily physical activity all in one shot and some days, despite best intentions, it may not be possible. Even on the days you do workout, by tweaking how you handle daily tasks, you will still benefit from incorporating small bursts of intentional movement into your day. To do it, it just requires a movement focused mindset to think about anytime you can sneak it in. We’ve all heard to take the stairs not the elevator and park a little closer to the back of the parking lot, but there’s lot of other small adjustments that can increase your daily activity. Trying to be less efficient with tasks can help. Think about how many times you try to lug all of the groceries into the house in one trip – why? You’d be better off, doing the three trips and getting in the extra steps. Same for taking items up and down stairs. Why struggle to take all the folded laundry in one load? Little bouts of activity throughout the day can really add up. If you’ve got to go up stairs, why not run them, turn around and go down, then run up again. These little bits of movement really do make a difference!
Remember, the more you move your body, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll be able to rock being a mom.