Cramming in time to work out as a mommy is tough, I get it. No really, I do. I have a career, I am a sometimes single mom (former full-time single mom); I am the chauffer, maid, nanny, chef, errand-runner, laundry doer, and constant go-to for my five-year-old’s entertainment purposes. If I was a betting woman, I would say this likely sounds very familiar to most of you. So when is there time to work out? How can you fit it into your already busy life? And how do you not feel guilty for taking time to yourself?
The first step towards being a fit mom and living a healthier lifestyle is to make it a priority. PRIORITY. Yep, go right ahead and rank it up there with work, groceries, bath time, dinner… you know, the non-negotiables. And if you’re already thinking up excuses as to how there will never be enough time in the day to squeeze this in, ask yourself, how is there currently time to sneak in an episode of The Real Housewives, or to scour Pinterest for project ideas, or to lose yourself on Facebook...for hours. There is always time for the things that are important because you make time.
I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” say it takes twenty-one days to make something a habit. As for exercising, you will begin to see small changes after three weeks, but give yourself a bit more time to really start seeing results. Don’t quit because you put in thirty minutes, three days a week, and don’t have abs like Madonna. None of us have abs like Madonna (and she’s freaking 50. Yea…chew on that for a moment). These things take time! And if it was easy, everyone would look like Paige Hathaway (@paigehathaway for you IG lovers) and we would all love swimsuit season as much as we love apple pie at Thanksgiving.
So let’s run through some common excuses and find a way to make time for working out. Here we go:
Excuse #1: I would love to workout but I don’t have time.
Stop being so basic and either come up with a better excuse OR just admit you aren’t even trying. Be stronger than your excuses. You can either make progress or continue to live the way you are (psst… high probability that progress will look way better).
Start by making a list of what you do every single day for a week and document the start and stop times. Come Sunday night, analyze this list for areas where you can make some cuts and squeeze in a sweat session. Don’t want to stop watching your favorite show? Watch it at the gym while you do cardio. Don’t have time in the evenings because you have to cook dinner? Start meal prepping on Sunday afternoons. Can’t get away after work? Better start catching your zzz’s a little earlier so you can get up pre-dawn. There are ways to make this work… you just have to want it bad enough.
Back when I was a cardio queen I would only let myself read People magazine when I worked out. It gave me something to look forward to. And remember, even thirty minutes a day is better than no minutes a day. Small, incremental changes can eventually add up to huge results.
Excuse #2: I’m a single mom and I can’t find time to get away.
Hey, hey, so was I! The best thing about most big-box gyms is that they have this equation figured out. They offer childcare! You can add your child to your gym membership for a nominal fee (seriously, I pay like $15/month extra for Keylen). Even though I’m not a single mom currently, I still have Key all to myself 80% of the time (his dad works crazy hours). Expect to do a little research into the gyms in your area to find one that offers good child care. Note that most boutique type fitness studios do not offer child care and (most) cross-fit gyms have yet to catch up on this trend.
But I don’t trust anyone else to watch my kid! Yes, I know that no one else in the world is as qualified as you are to be a mother, but this is where you need to put in a little time and effort to find a reputable gym. Start by looking for gyms in suburban areas where family environments are prevalent. Read reviews online (you can be sure that a mother who has had a bad experience will share openly). Ask around. When you find a gym, talk to the staff about their policies (mini-interview them like you would a regular daycare provider). My current gym even has cameras in the child care area so that at any time you can see what your kiddo is up to. Keylen is so accustomed to going to the gym that he views it as much a part of his day as he does going to pre-school. Make it a part of your routine.
Excuse #3: I don’t like gyms OR I can’t find one with child care that I trust.
Super! There is zero excuse as to why you can’t workout at home. Do you have an Internet connection? (You better, it’s 2015…) YouTube will become your new best friend. There are thousands (and thousands) of exercise videos. Search Amazon for fitness plans/videos that fit your style (they can be delivered right to your door in two days flat)! Buy a baby jogger and run outside (for serious runners I highly recommend BOB baby joggers – they can be spendy, so if budget is a concern, search around for a good used one – that’s what I did). Is your child too old for a stroller? Get some bicycles and hit the trails together. STOP making excuses. You can do this as a family!
Excuse #4: I can’t find the motivation.
Absolutely understandable. This one is tough. I love donuts and channel surfing too! But I made some very small, incremental changes that have made a big difference in my life. Make a vision board filled with pictures of your body goals. Add inspirational words or pictures of the things you will reward yourself with when you get there. LISTEN TO ME – vision (dream) boards work. That’s why people still talk about them, constantly. There is literally nothing better than a daily reminder of why you are doing what you’re doing to help get your butt in gear. At least give it a try.
I also love Instagram and find myself scrolling through the newsfeed quite often. Thus, I follow many fitness accounts. Not only do they provide inspiration, motivation, and helpful tips, they make me feel shitty about myself when I’m eating crap and skipping the gym for no good reason. I say this often but I’ll say it again… if you want to look like no one else does, you need to put in the work like no one else does. And lastly, surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals. It is statistically proven that hanging out with heavier people makes it highly probable that you will get heavier. Surrounding yourself with fit-conscious and health-conscious people will, likewise, rub off on you.
And my last (and personal favorite) piece of advice...buy cute gym clothes! When you look better, you feel better. It’s really that simple. Buy clothes that make you want to hit the gym and start your fitness journey in style.
Being fit isn’t just about physical appearance. Being fit also means being healthy, reducing stress, and reducing your risk for serious health problems down the road. Do I feel guilty for taking time to myself to focus on my fitness? Honestly, not really. Working out relieves so much stress for me; it gets bad vibes out, helps me focus, and helps me to be a better version of myself. And my son loves the gym we go to. I know he is watching me and watching the example I set for him, so I try to set a good one. Being a busy mom is not an excuse, it’s a reason!
And since Monday is the infamous day all excuse-happy people use to start something new, let’s just throw that out. Why not start now? One thing is certain, once you begin your fitness journey, you will never look back and wish you hadn’t started.
So what’s your excuse? What did I miss? No problem, not even this one, can withstand the assault of constant thinking.