We’re talking about fitness on the blog this month, so stay tuned and subscribe via email! You won’t want to miss a single post in this series!
I’ve already shared with you that I’m not a fitness junkie. I’d rather bake something yummy or read a book. But that’s not what’s best for my body, the same body that needs energy to care for my family. So in the past year, I have embarked on a new fitness journey. I became a runner.
If you’re trying to figure out how in the world you’re going to carve out time from your already-busy schedule for exercise, you are not alone. You will not find time for exercise. You’ll have to make time. <–Tweet it!
It’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it.
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1. Start Small
If you want to be a walker, start walking for ten minutes a day with the kids and gradually build up to more time. You can do the same with any new exercise routine. No one says you have to take that fitness class every day of the week. You’ll get burnt out and quit, and that’s exactly what you don’t want. So start with something manageable.
When we started running, we used the Couch to 5K program which only requires that you run on 3 days of the week. (Here are my tips for having success with the C25K program!) Even so, it was sometimes hard to fit in each day, but we did the best we could.
2. Bring the Kids (if needed!)
Get the kids involved! They need to see exercise as enjoyable. You can take them with you on walks or let them join you in a fitness video. Next week, when I tell you about the strength training program I’ve been doing, you’ll see the cutest pictures of my little kids loving the video. I just think of it as a PE class in our homeschooling day!
We even brought the kids for our 5k training. Yes it was hard. Yes we were probably crazy. And determined.
But it worked, and it’s so funny to see people’s reactions when we show up for a 5k with two strollers and three kids. Runners are amazed when my husband passes them up pushing two children in a 5k race. I hang out in the back with the slow folks!
My husband, me, my twin sister and the kids after we ran our first 5K. But know that these kinds of shenanigans will mean you are guaranteed to be photographed by the local media on the day of a race! Consider yourself warned–photographers love double strollers with cute kids.
3. Let the House Go for a Season
I hate this advice, but it’s true. Your house may have to be messier for a little while and your dinners may have to be quick. You’ve added a completely new activity to your schedule and if you’re like me, you were probably barely keeping up with everything before. But in the end, it will be worth it. I have more energy to work around the house on days when I exercise, so it all evens out. And once you get used to the new activity, you’ll figure out how to juggle it all again. It just takes some time to adjust.
4. Don’t go “all or nothing”
I know, it sounds so cool to go all or nothing, but it’s pretty silly. We are moms first. Part or nothing may have to work for a season. If you have to quit the exercise video midway through it because of a crying toddler, you are not a failure. Just learn from it. Maybe 5:00, when the kids are all usually needy, is not the best time to start your exercise. But 9 am, when everyone is happy, might be a better time for you tomorrow.
5. Aim for First Thing in the Morning
I know you don’t want to hear that. It’s the last thing you want to hear when you’ve been up nursing a baby at midnight and 3 am. But it really is the easiest time to exercise. It doesn’t take time away from my family and I feel better working out early. I may be groggy when I pound the pavement in the morning, but I really have better runs in the morning instead of at the end of the day. It fits into our family schedule because it doesn’t make the evenings hectic. My kids are usually still asleep when I’m out running, and my husband is home with them, getting ready for work.
One friend and reader commented last week that she gets up at 5:15 nearly every day of the week to do her favorite exercise videos. Now that’s how you get it done! And if you can’t do it first thing, just find a time that works for you. When we started our running program, we did it together in the evenings, as soon as my husband came home from work. It just worked best for us. Now we always run by ourselves, usually in the mornings because it’s more practical.
And despite that advice, as I write this, I’m sitting in my running clothes, waiting for my husband to get home from work. As soon as he gets home, dinner will be ready and he and the kids will eat while I run. It’s not ideal, but we have to do it sometimes to help me get my runs in. And a healthy wife is important to him, so he’s happy to do what it takes to make this work for me.