When I was a single working lady in my 20’s and early 30’s, I thought I was the queen of multitasking and staying active. I prided myself on walking or biking most everywhere, training for half marathons, and cross training with weights and yoga on top of a busy job and social life.
I thought I was juggling a lot back then. And I was.
But then my son was born a couple of years ago and boy, did my perception of time and time management completely change! Gone was any disposable time to do what I wanted when I wanted. The idea of scheduling anything, let alone a workout, in those first few sleep deprived months was downright laughable.
It was a shocker at first that’s for sure. And then things slowly started to settle down and thankfully my desire to be active was stronger than my desire to be perfect.
I accepted the fact that my workouts were never going to be “perfect” or look exactly the same as before. And little by little I started to get back into my groove. It felt so good!
And even 2 1/2 years later, every day is still a bit of a crap shoot but I’m grateful to have some tricks under my belt that help me get in workouts more days than not and has left me feeling stronger and more fit than ever, both physically and mentally.
Here are my top 10 tips for moms to get and stay fit:
1. Find some fit mom inspiration online
Learn from those that have gone ahead or are in the same boat as you. It’s a great way to get some creative ideas for working out with (or despite of) your kid(s) and gain some motivation. Here are some of my fave moms online:
- Amazingly creative expat mom of 4 boys BWMC fitness
- Brand new mom Melissa Bender
- Second time mom Sia Cooper
- The empowering and hilarious Neghar Fonooni
- Authenticity badass Erin Brown
- Twin mom who offers tons of creative workouts Deliciously Fit N’Healthy
- No nonsense mom of two Shira of Mom Beyond Baby
2. Figure out your workout personality and honor that
If you clicked through any of the above links you might have noticed a lot of differences. Each mom rocking their fitness in a unique way that works for them and their family.
For me, it was super important to realize how much I needed alone time after my son was born. As an introvert I naturally had time alone whenever I needed or wanted it in my pre-mom days. But once I became a mom I craved the quiet autonomy of doing my own thing. The best form of self care for me now as a mom is to do a workout on my own or as independently as possible.
For someone else, they might be feeling isolated as a mom and crave the social vibe of a group class or workout buddy. Some moms work long hours and don’t want to miss any more time with their kids so maybe the best approach is to include the kiddos in their workout time. Figure out what you crave and do your best to align your workouts with that. It will make it MUCH more likely that you will get them in!
3. Invest in a few key pieces of equipment
Even if you belong to a gym with a child care center, chances are you won’t be able to utilize it as much as you might like. Because: kids. 🙂 Make it super easy to sneak in a workout early in the morning while the kids are still sleeping, during nap time, while they are playing nearby or after they go to bed.
My must-haves are:
- Jogging stroller
- Medium and heavy free weights
- TRX suspension training strap
- Resistance bands
- Yoga stability ball
- Washcloths or Valslides
- Yoga mat
4. Prioritize movement over exercise
Ditch the car as much as possible and opt for walking, biking or even destination running. Even taking public transportation gets more activity with folding/unfolding the stroller, juggling bags + kids, walking to the bus stop, etc.
Remember that movement is different than exercise: movement includes all activities of daily living and is essential; exercise is a stress to the body and a minimal effective dose should be used. Don’t think of exercise as a bandaid for an inactive lifestyle.
5. Don’t be above bribery!
I don’t have to be the one to tell you that kids love bribes, ha! So use a non-food bribe in your favor and put on their favorite cartoon or pull out a special activity that absorbs their attention for more than 2 seconds. I like to go to craft stores and get a few inexpensive projects or activities for my son to work on while I work out. Also, try to rotate the toys that are out so that they still hold novelty and you can whip out one they haven’t seen in a while.
6. Sneak it in when you can- ELBC
Every little bit counts and 5 minutes here and there adds up to way more than never getting in a “perfect” 30 minute workout. One way you can do this is to do 5 minute bursts a few times throughout the day. I recommend sticking to a couple of moves focused on one area of the body and really push the intensity so you are breathless and muscles are burning! Check out my free week of 5-minute No Excuses workouts by signing up for free here.
I also love to get in a few sprints by using our BOB jogging stroller or bike with child seat to run errands around the city. It’s not for everyone, but if you don’t mind showing up a little sweaty it’s a great way to sneak in a bit more exercise on busy days. 🙂
7. Scrutinize your schedule for windows of opportunity
It’s hard not to get sucked into our phones, I know that I am super guilty of this! The best way to start is by creating awareness (not guilt) around how much you use your phone/computer for certain apps. Consider using a phone tracker like Moment to see how much time you spend on different apps throughout the day. If we have time to surf Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, we have time to workout even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes.
8. Practice self compassion
If things don’t go as planned (as often happens as a parent!) we can do our best to roll with it, and choose to pass on the guilt but be heavy handed with heaping servings of compassion. Trust me, we are way more likely to stick with something if it is coming from a place of love and grace rather than self hatred and guilt. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend.
9. Gather support around you.
Find like minded people who are excited about feeling their best, not trying to fit society’s standard and punish themselves for an externally imposed goal. Build up a supportive tribe around you to help get you through those tough spots.
Even if your friends can’t workout with you, you can support each other in other ways: keeping each other accountable through text check ins, doing online workout challenges together, writing supportive comments on your sweaty selfies, or planning active meet ups with (or without!) the kids.
10. Invest in some fun workout clothes and don’t be ashamed to live in them.
Lululemon exists for a reason. JK 😉
No but seriously, one of the easiest strategies I’ve heard many of my mom clients share is that they put on workout clothes they love first thing in the morning. That way they are ready to stop, drop and get sweaty whenever the opportunity may arise and don’t have to take one more step to change. It sounds simple but eliminating that little barrier makes it harder to come up with excuses.
Keep in mind that while these tips will help you get those workouts and movement in each day, the most important ingredient for getting and staying fit as a mom is to view it as a top priority, not just for you but for the wellbeing of your entire family.
If our wellbeing keeps getting pushed down on the list then other things will keep sneaking in first. But if we can make our well being a priority it will reap rewards for the whole family, because a happy and healthy mama makes for a happy and healthy family!
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