When people hear I work out they frequently ask “how do you find time to work out?” I am a mom of four kids ranging from 13 down to 2. As you can imagine they keep me very busy, but I still find time to work out four to five times a week. For me, my work out time is in an investment in my mental health as well as my physical health. I get cranky when I don’t work out. I come home and much happier wife and mother, but it does require some sacrifices from both me and my family.
I haven’t always worked out with much regularity and I have also taken breaks along the way, but below are a few tips that have helped me find time to get in a work out.
#1 Find something you love to do
This to me is probably the most important tip. I happen to be one of those weird people that enjoy working out, but it took me awhile to find the thing that I really love. I have done a lot of different things. For right now, the thing that I am loving is CrossFit, but there are lots of things that I love to do. I love yoga, walking, and swimming. I love to be outside so any exercise I can do outside wins’ extra points in my book. I used to love cycling, and I still do, but after having a few little ones, I just didn’t want to do something that would take me away from my family for long periods of time. I’d like to try my hand at tennis but this will probably have to wait a few years. If you haven’t found the thing you love, try a few different things and see what clicks with you. There are so many great options, and you don’t have to be a member of a gym to do them. There are all kinds of awesome free work out videos on You Tube. And of course, walking is free and can be done anywhere! You should look forward to your work out, not dread it.
#2 Find your best time to work out
For me, I have to work out first thing in the morning. I AM NOT a morning person. I like to stay up late, but if I want to get a workout in, I have to go to the 6 am class or it probably is not going to happen for me that day. This is where the sacrifice for me comes in. I have to go to bed a little earlier to be able to wake up at 5:30. I know that won’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t always work for me. One day a week I take an evening class, because I share the a.m. work out’s with my husband. Unfortunately, we don’t love the same things, so we trade off mornings. Think about your work schedule and your family dynamic and see if you can squeeze in a couple hours just for you each week.
#3 Find an accountability partner or work out partner
This is another major key for me. As much as I like working out, I like it so much better when I have a partner in crime. My sister and I work out together and I’ve formed friendships with the people at my gym. They push me to lift heavier or go harder than I would on my own. They also help me stay motivated on the days I feel like sleeping in, instead of dragging my lazy butt out of bed. My best friend and I walk on day’s I don’t want to lift. We get to catch up on life and enjoy getting in a work out. It’s great for our friendship and our bodies. If you don’t know anyone where you live or are new to the area, you could set a goal and challenge one of your friends from “back home” to do it with you. Even though you won’t have them with you during the work out, it will help hold you accountable. Nobody wants to have to say “I didn’t do jack this week.” If you have a neighborhood list serve or work list serve, you could also post for walking or running buddies. I’ve joined a couple of these groups, and it has been a great way to meet new people as well as meet my goals.
#4 Set reasonable goals
If you are just getting back in the groove, set reasonable goals. Maybe the first month is just to get in two workouts a week. Don’t go to hard in the first week or two and then burn yourself out. Maybe the first goal is just finding the thing you love. For some, maybe it’s a more specific goal like running a 5K or even a 10K. Once you have hit your first goal, set another one.
Remember as mom’s we give a lot to everyone in our family all day long. It’s ok to take a little time for yourself. If you are a new mom or have a little baby, DO NOT beat yourself up if you haven’t found your groove and gotten back in the gym. You will. If you still aren’t sleeping through the night, you get a pass! I took about 9 months off with each of my kids. If your struggling with mommy guilt, remember, working out will help make you a better mom, as well as keep you healthy so you can keep up with them. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you go a week without working out, it’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day!