Trying to stick to an exercise routine can be difficult for anyone, but for mums trying to get back into shape, not just to look good but also to be fit, healthy and strong enough to deal with day to day tasks can feel like mission impossible, especially when you can’t even go to the toilet alone!
Below are some tips I have put together to make it easier for you to become a fitter, healthier mum!
1. Make it an appointment
We have many appointments to schedule into our diaries such as doctors, hair dressers, dentists, meetings, play groups etc, and ‘working out’ should be no different. It is an important priority which makes you feel so much better after and helps make your life easier as you are fitter to run around all day. Exercise has numerous other health benefits, it provides and keeps you fit and healthy, so you can be active with your children for longer in your life. It is therefore really important to set aside a time you will commit to exercising just like any other appointment, and make sure it is non- negotiable. If it is an evening, discuss with your partner that they will look after your children for this time slot as this is important to you, both physically and mentally - and it works both ways.
2. Have a plan
Once you have established your time slot/s make the most of it. Have a plan of what you are going to do. Write it down and take it with you. You can make notes during your workout whether it’s number of reps and weights what weights you are using, or how long it’s taken you to run a certain distance. This gives you a direction and goals to work towards, along with seeing your progress which is really motivating.
3. Plan your outfit
On a serious note, if you have managed to negotiate an evening gym session (or any time for that matter), BE READY before you get there- have your gym kit on, water bottle filled, headphones charged so you don’t waste precious time in the changing room. The amount of times you have to run up and down the stairs for something for one of the kids may actually become a great warm up along with some lunges and squats.
4. Include your little ones
Getting your children into fitness is a great lifestyle choice to make for both them and you. They will grow up thinking its part of life and will have more chance of sustaining it, than someone who has always been inactive. It will make their bones and muscles stronger, they will have a lower risk of being overweight and developing diabetes later in life, it will help them sleep better and generally have an all round better quality of life both physically and emotionally.
Depending on their age, there are workout ideas that involve you and your baby e.g. have your baby sat on you whilst doing a glute bridge... or if they are a toddler and older get them doing that home workout you are following on your iPad with you, double it up as bonding time. You are their role model and they want to be like you! Children love to move and if they see you doing it and are happy, then they will want to also. When they are old enough you could take them running with you, there are park runs you can both get involved in. I can now near enough take my 6 and 7-year-old swimming with me, and they are really excited to get in my lane and swim lengths using my different pieces of equipment and I LOVE this!
5. Use what’s there
Look at the different parks and Lakes around your town, it is brilliant for you to get outside and I’m sure there are open spaces for you to get active with your kids, so get out there and use what’s in front of you! Take your children for a walk, feed the ducks, go to the park and whilst you are doing these, why not incorporate some bench dips, press ups onto a bench, try to do a pull up on their monkey bars, have a race with your kids to a certain marker- it all counts!
If you are a new mum or your children are quite small and still in a buggy, again get outside for an hour and walk or if you have a buggy you can run with, do it!, you can even throw in a few lunges, squats and buggy row! The fresh air will also make you feel better and more energised to continue with your day.
6. Buddy up
Find yourself another eager to get fit mum and you can do some of the suggestions above together which makes it more fun, like the outdoor exercises. Another thing to try which really worked for me, try a gym share play date. This involves you and your children with another mum and hers, then take it in turns to go off to the gym, whilst the other looks after the children. The children love this as they get to play with other children. WIN WIN!!
7. Get a dog! (or 3)
Just messing with this one, but if you have a dog, you have to walk it. Walking is exercise even if it is 20 minutes so there are no excuses…
8. Short, quick, bursts
If you can’t get to the gym, be prepared and take advantage of meal times or maybe when they’ve become engaged in play or have a nap (these do happen, there just may not be much warning), sneak in a quick 10 minute workout whether it is a HIIT circuit, or grab some dumbbells and do a mini weights circuit... I am sure you can sneak in a quick 10 mins here or there, after all you can sneak in time to update your Facebook or insta, so just combine that whilst squatting or something!!
9. Bribe your children……………………………?
Ten mins of no interruptions for a snack, or park time?? Just throwing it out there……
10. Running Lunch
If you are a working mum, can you fit some exercise into your lunch break? If you have an allocated hour for example, can you get outside, is there a gym nearby, can you use your office? Again, the key to this is being prepared so make sure you have planned and made your lunch, so you can eat straight after and not have to queue at a canteen.
Getting fit often gets put to the bottom of the list of priorities we have as extremely busy mums, but it really shouldn’t.
Do you want to be the best role model you can be to your children? Well, this involves regularly exercising, not only will it benefit you, making you feel happier, less stressed, confident, in control. It will reduce your risks of cardiovascular and other diseases, so you are around longer for your children. If they see you happy and exercising, then they will follow which will provide them with physical and mental benefits for the best start in life.
The fitter and stronger you are the easier your day to day activities will become like carrying the shopping in one arm and baby in the other. Those ridiculously heavy car seats (even before baby is in it) won’t be as much of a struggle, running up and down stairs for a nappy, clean t shirt, or to find where you put your reheated (x 5) cup of tea!
Sort out your priorities, make it an appointment, be prepared and use what is around you!
If you do manage to find a mum to ‘gym share ‘with or manage to get a babysitter or family member to cover but a struggling with where to start, why not pop down to Build a Body for a Personal Training session from a mum who’s been there. To book your FREE taster session please feel free to contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org