“I don’t have time to exercise!” I hear that all the time. In fact a lack of time, along with energy, is the number one reason women give me for not working out. Now when we get working together 1:1, I’ll help you to shuffle your priorities, to see the benefits in making more time for you to exercise or chill or sleep or meditate – whatever you’re needing most. Until then, let me share my top tips for fitting in fitness as a busy mum!
Firstly I want to let you in on a little secret. I never make time for exercise. Yep, I’m a personal trainer but I don’t follow a fitness plan. As a busy mum, my energy levels are up and down as often as my 5 year old at bed time. Throw in some sleep deprivation, unexpected daily events like cleaning up wee off carpets (the toddler’s, not mine) or a play date that went on too long because I didn’t want to go home and face my messy house, means that actually for me – planning exactly when I’m going to do a workout means I’ll often end up ‘failing’ and feeling worse for it.
And I guess a lot of you folks are the same as when I asked in my FB group, Heather’s Health hub, what you’d like for ‘Workout Wednesday’ this month, you said you wanted ideas for how to get more exercise/movement into daily life. So here’s a list of ideas for you inspired 100% by my actual life. I am NOT one of those freaky people who loves running everywhere or getting up at 5 to do a bootcamp, noooo ho hooo! I’m just an ordinary, every day mama who wants to get fitter, healthier, stronger because I know how much better I feel when I do. How much better I feel because I have more energy, feel more comfortable in my own skin, feel more comfortable with my husband (let’s be honest) - I just feel better!
Heather’s top tips for Fitting in Fitness throughout the day;
STICK ON YOUR LEGGINGS. On week days when I’m not early enough to exercise before school and I have the idea in my head to exercise ‘later’, I will ALWAYS wear clothes that I can easily exercise in. Otherwise, if I have to change out of my jeans – that’ll be enough of a ‘barrier’ to stop me moving. So get yourself some ‘athleisure’ wear and wear it! BE that mum that turns up at the school gates in your gym kit.
MAKE YOUR HOME A GYM. I have weights, resistance bands, foam rollers, yoga mats and even a chin up bar in various rooms throughout the house so when inspiration strikes … Of course you don’t even need equipment; body weight exercise is good enough to start with but just having those visual prompts means you’re much more likely to bang out a few squats. These days I get a short workout in about 3 times a week just by having the equipment ready to go, and it’s mostly done in my PJ’s before the day has even begun.
PLAY TIME I deliberately plan in active play time with the kids. Every weekend, a walk or cycle ride has to be on the cards (or a swim if the weather’s rubbish) and I take a ball to the park for a kick around whenever we go. But also the park is just a GREAT place to get more movement. Whether it’s squats on the see saw, lunges with the swings or push ups on the climbing frame there is loads to inspire you at the park, if you can get over the fear of looking like a div anyway.
SCHOOL RUN I am always late leaving the house because I still haven’t realised that it takes 2 children at LEAST 15 minutes to actually get their shoes and coats on (arrrgghhh!). So I literally run most of the school run. Yes I could take the car but I choose not to. I stick the kids on their bikes and sprint along with them. And yep I even chose their school based mostly on the fact that we could easily ‘walk’ there. That’s what I’m talking about when I say create a life you can move to.
SIT ON THE FLOOR. I’m writing this, kneeling up with my laptop on my bed. Why? Because I can not get too comfy in this position and so it forces me to move more and move better. One of the WORST things for our bodies (including your core function and strength, pelvic floor too) is the endless sitting we do. So sit on the floor when you watch telly, read a book, or write some emails. It’ll make you stretch and move.
COFFEE AND CAKE – whilst walking. One of my favourite past times is going for a coffee with a buddy but you can so easily upgrade this by going for a walk first or walk, talk and drink the coffee at the same time. Not as easy with a twig-loving toddler in tow but some movement is always better than none and all movement is better with coffee (cake optional).
Plus there’s the obvious stuff like parking your car further from your work place or cycling/walking there instead. Taking the stairs not the lift (and better yet, take them 2 at a time for extra glute work) and of course joining a gym or fitness class (like mine). But what I love most about these top tips is that the kids get to be a part of it too. When your children start seeing you move and exercise, when you start having conversations about how it feels to get stronger and then when the kids start spontaneously saying to you, “Cor, I need to do more weights”, as my 5 year old said the other day when he couldn’t quite manage to cycle up to the top of a hill, you know you’ve smashed it and are inspiring your children to prioritise themselves and get more movement into their life!
Because ultimately you gals, if you are finding that you never have the time or energy to do the things that you know make you feel good; like exercise (or date night), something is seriously off kilter. In the early days when the babes are a little life does get a little crazy and it’s understandable that our priorities get knocked off piste. But if things are still out of whack years down the line, something’s got to change. If you’re back at work and the kids are at school but the evenings and weekends are taken up with clubs and trips and play dates and outings and television and and and …. Perhaps there’s a little time and energy to be reclaimed there?
Sounds a little nutty maybe but I actually changed my career from nurse to personal trainer partly to ensure I would get some exercise in as part of my life once I became mum. Obviously, I’m not going to recommend that to all the women I work with but I am here to inspire you to create a life in which there IS a chance of enough energy, sleep, time and desire to exercise and do all the other things that you deserve, that make you feel good.
Personally, I do not want to live a life that is so full of work and parenting and chores that I don’t even want to take time out for myself. If you want to create a life like that, where YOU are as much of a priority as your housework, book a call.
Keeping it real.