Staying fit as a busy mom doesn't need to be complicated
These days moms have a laundry list of things to juggle; work, childcare, house duties, cooking, the list goes on and on. Getting it all done can feel next to impossible. Oftentimes, health and fitness gets put on the back burner of priorities. Mamas it doesn’t have to be this way.
We've been there too and can definitely relate to struggling to get it all done. Over the years we've found some tricks to make staying fit as a busy mom easier to achieve. Try following these seven steps and get ready to crush your fitness goals.
7 Steps to staying fit as a busy mom
Step 1: Meal prep
Being hungry, with nothing nutritious to grab can make it hard to make healthy choices. When we find ourselves in this situation it's easy to reach for junk food that doesn’t fill or satisfy, leading to more overeating (hello nighttime sugar cravings). Try and set aside some time every weekend to meal prep. Planning your food out ahead of time takes the guesswork out of your meals. If you already know what you are going to eat, it’s easier to stay on track and ensure you don’t get too hungry.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Find 3-5 options for breakfast, lunch and dinner that you and your family like to eat and put them in a rotation. Make a little extra for each meal so that you can also enjoy leftovers!
Step 2: Schedule your workout into your day
If you plan to workout, put it on your schedule. Going into a day without a set time to workout makes it more likely that you will just skip over it when you get busy with day to day life. Carving out the time in advance helps you better plan your day, and stick to that plan.
Make sure that you are being realistic about that amount of times each week you plan to workout. If it’s been a while (or never) since you had a good exercise routine, start with three days a week. If you would like to do more than that, work up to it. Small successes with sticking to your schedule will keep you motivated.
Step 3: Get the family on board
If your children are older, set the expectation that working out is important to you and once you start they need to patiently wait for you to finish. You can also encourage older children to join in. Many kids love trying workouts too and might enjoy working out alongside you. This is also a great way to teach kids healthy habits!
Provide preschoolers with something to do ahead of time, or put that screen time to use. If you have babies, take an honest look at your schedule and see what will work best. Ask your partner for help, and find a time that works for them to take on the parent duties while you exercise. Or try and exercise while the baby naps. If all else fails, try while they do some tummy time.
Step 4: Let go of perfection
Maybe the baby or toddler is on the ground next to you. Maybe you need to take a break to nurse. Maybe what you intended as a 30 min workout will become 3 separate 10 minute workouts throughout the day. That’s ok!
If you require everything to be perfect, you might as well kiss consistency goodbye. Remember that something is always better than nothing. All those small efforts over time will add up. Allow yourself to be ok with flexibility within your plan. Perfection does not exists and if you wait for it, it’s never going to happen.
Step 5: Have a plan
Intending to workout is great, but you should also have a plan on what you intend to do during your time. What are your goals, how will you achieve them? This is where a coach can really come in handy. A cohesive fitness plan will ensure you work various aspects of your body and help you stay away from single sided fitness (ie. only doing cardio, forgetting major muscle groups etc).
As moms we often have muscle imbalances and compensations that were caused or made worse by pregnancy. Focusing on strengthening weaker muscles, and mobilizing tight ones will help you to stay injury free, relieve aches and pains and make it easier to achieve your overall fitness goals.
Finally, in order to keep changing you must progressively overload your body. If you stay on the same reps, sets and weights forever, your body will stop responding. This goes for cardio too. Your body will adapt very quickly to the demands of steady state cardio, and without a plan to progress you might have trouble overcoming a plateau. Having a set plan will ensure you are making the most of your workout time and ensure that you continue to improve.
Step 6: Prioritize Sleep
This is a biggie. You can workout all you want, but if you are not prioritizing a good nights sleep your body is working against you. Our bodies are smart and are really good at conserving energy when they need to. They respond to “stress” (including lack of sleep) by slowing down the metabolism. This can be challenging if you have a new baby, we’ve been there mama! Do your best. Ask for help, try to nap when the baby naps, and accept that sometimes it will be better to forgo your workout to get additional sleep in.
Sleep is even more important than working out! Prioritize rest, and then get movement in where you can.
Step 7: Manage stress
Believe it or not exercise is a stressor. While it’s true that exercise can help to relieve stress, too much exercise can give you the opposite effect. When your body is experiencing high levels of stress your hormones and metabolism are negatively impacted.
It is important to get enough exercise, but avoid over training. Remember to listen to your body and don’t be afraid of lowering the intensity when you need to. Walking is always a great way to get movement in a without increasing your stress levels. Momming is not for the faint of heart. The last thing you need to to make health and fitness overly complicated. Break it down, and remember that good nutrition and movement are the keys to a healthy lifestyle.