Food & Fitness, Life

5 Tips for Moms Struggling to Find Time for Fitness

24!!! That’s how many workouts I did over the last eight weeks.

Some were 75 minutes long. Others were barely 15 minutes. Whatevs! You win some, you lose some.

This fitness challenge for me was less about the length of the workouts, and more about a commitment to regular exercise; how to reintroduce fitness into my busy life overrun by two little turds!! And I did it. I actually did it.

I want to give a shout out to Carrie Habinski for putting together the eight mini-workouts for the blog and of course to her sister Kristi for filming them!

If you managed to complete the challenge with me, holy moly… CONGRATS! I know it wasn’t easy, especially if you’re a mom who struggles to find even 10 minutes of “me time” in a day.

If you happened to follow along from the sidelines (perhaps while scrolling through your Instagram feed), here are a few lessons I learned along the way that might motivate you to get moving and do your own fitness challenge when the timing is right for you.

Seize the moment. If your partner says something like…”Why don’t you go workout now, while I take the kids to Costco”… START THE CAR!!! Don’t do laundry, don’t prep dinner, don’t do dishes. Use that small window of free time to sweat. Never assume you’ll have time later in the day because let’s be honest, there’s never time later in the day.

Don’t use your kids as an excuse. I used to, a lot, before this challenge. If I had both kids at home with me, working out just wasn’t an option. In fact, it felt like an impossible task. Well, I hate to break it to you guys but it’s actually not impossible.

One afternoon, I did a kick ass at-home workout for 45 minutes. During the first half, Amélie crawled around me… sometimes whining, sometimes tugging at my resistance band. When she went down for her nap, the other one woke up. So I sat Emmanuelle on the couch, and she watched me finish the second half of my workout. I kept her entertained by asking her to count reps with me, and by explaining each exercise I was doing. Trust me. It can be done.

Face your fears. A few months back, I left my oldest at the gym’s drop-in daycare. As expected, she balled her face off. So I told myself never again, and basically succumbed to the idea that she would never be cool with being left there with strangers.

Then came along this fitness challenge and I realized how ridiculous I was for not using the childminding services. I said screw it… it’s only an hour, she’ll survive. Well, wouldn’t you know it, she survived. I explained that mommy was going to exercise (she was now familiar with the term) and that I was going to come right back. She never cried, never fussed. And everything went smoothly again when I dropped her and her sister off for my very last workout of this challenge. Kids are more adaptable than we think.

Set the example. Sure, working out alone is saaaaaweet, but when your kids see you exercise, they want to do it too.

My oldest made me laugh so much over the last two months with her interpretations of me. The second she would see me in my workout clothes, she would start moving her arms around, pretending to do weights. And she would often mimic my movements when I was doing an at-home workout. Just a few days ago, she was standing in the bath and kicking her leg back. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “I’m exercising.”

By being active, you are getting your children interested in physical activity, and you’re showing them that it can be fun. (Using the word “fun” loosely here… LOL.)

Finally, change your mindset. I’ve learned that working out doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You might go all out, or you might mail it in at times. I had some pretty sh*tty workouts over the last 8 weeks, many of them on Sunday nights, when I waited til the last minute to do my third workout. One evening, I was running on very little sleep. On another night, I had just finished a big family meal (we’re talking beer, burgers and cheese cake). And on one occasion, I was a tad hungover after a very fun wedding the night before!!!

They weren’t all quality sweat sessions… but what matters is that I showed up. I committed to physical activity. I got dressed, I turned up the music and I got moving. Every single time, I made a conscious effort to focus on how good I feel after a workout, instead of how unmotivated I am going into it. (Because I never feel motivated, truly.)

So… what’s next?!

It’s funny because I talk about the end of this challenge with so much relief… like, FINALLY it’s over. Except the whole point of this was to learn to fit fitness back into my life and make it a part of my weekly routine. I guess that means that, technically, the fitness challenge continues indefinitely?!

Week 9, here we go. Who’s with me?? Haha !!!