Finding the Time and Motivation to Work Out as a Busy Mom
Moms! If you’re anything like me you know how hard it is to find time for yourself. Between working full time, taking care of the kids and keeping the house and family running smoothly… Well, often times there’s barely any time left at the end of the day to even think about exercise plans or workouts! Much less actually follow through with one. We all know that we should work out and why it’s healthy for us to do so, but actually getting it done is another story. And it’s pretty much the same story for all of us busy moms!
So, what is the answer? How do we as busy moms keep everyone else on track without losing track of ourselves? No matter where you look for answers, it seems that they are all the same. You must do THIS. You absolutely should do THAT. Sometimes it feels like everywhere you look, there’s a list of rules and regulations that must be followed. So, you try. We’ve all tried. And then inevitably, you fail. Maybe not in the first week or sometimes not even in the first month, but somewhere down the road you find yourself back where you started so long ago. Or worse, even further back than ever before.
So how can we do better? How can we ensure that our motivation for our new exercise plan won’t be lost after a short amount of time? Well, it’s my belief that it’s important to start by asking ourselves some crucial questions. Get to know yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your preferences and especially your absolutes before deciding on taking steps in any particular direction.
Try answering this list of questions to get you started before you begin your new workout routine:
1. Are you a morning person or night owl?
Coaches and trainers almost always tell you that working out first thing in the morning is the best and only option. And with good reason. Morning workouts gives your metabolism a boost that lasts all day long. However, mornings as a busy mom are often crazy! Getting the kids dressed, fed and out of the house for school while still managing to shower and get to work on time is sometimes more stressful than that big project you’ve got going on at the office. Many busy moms feel like trying to get in a workout at this time is just unreasonable.
However, if you are the kind of mom who crashes into bed at 8:30pm right after your kids do, then maybe mornings are your best bet.
Can you see yourself getting up an hour earlier than you do now to work out? Or does the thought of rising before the sun make you shake and recoil? Are you the kind of mom who looks forward to the kid’s bedtime so that you can catch up on all the things you love to do? Is after bedtime considered “mom time” in your house? Then maybe you would prefer doing your workout routine at night!
Although there are physiological benefits to a morning workout, it doesn’t mean that an evening on or even a lunch time one is not good enough. Working out is the goal, so finding your best time of day will help you to stick to your new busy mom exercise plan even better!
2 Have you tried different options before committing to one?
Again, this is about figuring out what works for you. Not your friend, your sister or your neighbor. So, no more joining the gym at the mall and never going. No more taking one spin class before dumping those fancy new spin cycle shoes.
Make a list of all the types of exercise and various workout routines that you have tried in the past. Everything from walking and jogging, to the soccer team you were on in college to that one time your friend made you join her at yoga class. Once your list is complete, rate each activity you’ve ever tried on a scale from one to ten. One being the type of workout that you enjoyed the most and ten being the least. Take your time in deciding. Think about each one and remember what it felt like both physically and emotionally when you did them.
After you have made this list, make a second list. This second list is one with all the types of sports or workout routines that you would like to try. Maybe you know someone who swims or maybe you saw a commercial for a home workout video that seemed interesting. Make this list and write down next to each option why each option seems interesting to you.
3 Did you try before you buy?
Narrow down all the above lists to your top four busy mom exercise plan options. Take two or three from your top ten list and one or two from your list of workouts that seem interesting. Then try before you buy! Almost every gym has a free week before you have to commit. Every home workout has an online sneak peek. Even your local running store will have free run groups. So, before you spend the money on something that you may not love after the first few times, find ways to try it out. Have you looked for coupons, free trials and even feedback from friends? If you haven’t tested it out, then you’re not ready to commit. And being the busy mom that you are-commitment is everything!
4 What is Your WHY?
This is a great question and one that is so underrated. In fact, beyond being underrated, many times it’s not even considered. Here’s the big takeaway: In order to make lasting change, you must have a great reason for wanting to do so. A reason that goes beyond the obvious wanting to lose weight. Something that is bigger and more important to you. Maybe your WHY is because by being healthier, you will be able to be more active with your kids! Or perhaps it’s because you are afraid of getting sick or dying like a much-loved relative. Maybe you’re tired of not feeling good about yourself and you want to model confidence as self-esteem for your children! Whatever it is, this is a question that requires you to go deep. To really do some soul-searching in order to bring these answers to the surface. Because once you know your WHY, it’s so much easier to stay motivated. When your reason for doing a new workout routine goes beyond yourself, you’re much more likely to stick to it.
5 Have you broken it down into small, manageable goals with rewards?
Finally, its crucial to take a large daunting task and break it down into small, manageable goals that seem possible. If the task at hand is too overwhelming, it’s way too easy to quit when the going gets tough. So, tell yourself that this is a temporary situation. First start with jogging only to the next stop sign, or signing up for one month at the gym. Instead of committing everything you have, start slow. Plan to work out twice a week for the first two weeks before adding that third day. Because the reality is that if you say you will work out six days a week when you have never done so in your life, you will quit by the end of week one or sooner.
As with the questions, write down your small, reasonable plan. Make sure to include your reason WHY at the top of the page and put this up somewhere when you will see it every day. On your fridge, your bathroom mirror of as the screensaver on your phone. Where doesn’t matter so much as choosing a spot where you will look at it and read it each day. This way your goals and your reasons will remain front and center in your mind and you are more likely to follow through with your new exercise plan.
Rewards! Do not underestimate the value of a reward. Everyone wants to feel appreciated so give yourself the same love and encouragement that you would to someone else. Take yourself out and buy yourself a small gift when you make it through the first week. Reward yourself after each tiny milestone and you will see how it encourages you and motivates you to stay on track.
Various Types of Workouts for Busy Moms
So, after going through this list and getting to know yourself better, let’s take a few minutes to understand the pros and cons of a few types of busy mom workouts.
Workout Options for Busy Moms
- Walking, jogging and running
- Stroller workouts for new moms
- Yoga and/or Pilates
- Cardio dance classes
1. Walking, jogging and running
This is probably one of the best exercise options for busy moms! With barely any financial commitment other a pair of running shoes, there’s really no wait time-you can even start now!
No matter what your fitness level is at the beginning of your journey, you can start this type workout without any worries. Walking is literally something you can already do, so why not make into a designated workout? Bring your dog too!
Walking and jogging can be done at any time of day, in pretty much any weather or even indoors. Slow or fast, walking will eventually turn into jogging and who knows, maybe even into full on running! This is a great option for a busy mom workout because every gym has a treadmill or a track. If you choose to walk/run outside, you can take advantage of nature and get some Vitamin D at the same time! It can be done alone or in a group and if you really don’t know where to start, many running stores have free run clubs that can get you going. The only downside is if you already have knee problems. However, even then walking is still possible. So, what are you waiting for?
2. Stroller workouts for new moms
Similarly, to the above options, this one is particular to new moms. As a new mom, you really do have limited time for yourself. And when you do have it, you probably just want to sleep! However, it is important to get out of your house and connect with other new moms. You need to push that stroller or pram anyway…so why not make it a gentle workout at the same time? Many communities have programs like this where moms meet up at the park and plan a route together. A gentle walk can soon turn into a brisk one, then a jog and even a few lunges thrown in! As you get stronger, you can add ankle or wrist weights as well.
3. Yoga and/or Pilates
The stretch and strengthening of yoga and Pilates are unparalleled. Both can be done at home via an app or video workout as well as at a studio. Whether you prefer to exercise alone or in a group, just like with two above options, both are at your disposal. Yoga and Pilates may seem like a slow way to get in shape but both work wonders and are fabulous busy mom exercise options. Just a half hour a day will make a difference in no time at all. Both also have the benefit of calming the mind through meditation and deep breathing. A physical workout and a mental health break all in one! Just be careful not to overdo it the first time…you don’t want to overstretch and give yourself an injury. Take it slow and trust the process.
4. Cardio based dance classes
Another great workout option for busy moms! Many of us love to dance at parties or in our living rooms. In a cardio dance class, you don’t have to consider yourself a good dancer, you just have to love to move to music! These are fitness-based classes and not professional dance classes. So, there’s no need to feel self-conscious or worried that you won’t be able to keep up. Just like all the other busy mom exercise plans discussed here, this too can be done either in a group setting at a gym or dance studio or alone at home with a video. Whatever your preference is, there’s a way to get it done! So, let loose and enjoy your workout!
Once again ladies, I too am a busy mom and I used to find it hard to get a workout in. However, I have found that by following these steps, asking myself the right questions, making small manageable goals and rewarding myself when they are accomplished, has really helped me. I know it can help you too! So, let’s do this together! Busy moms…I challenge you all to create the absolute best busy mom workout plan that’s just right for YOU. I would love to hear all about it, so leave me a message below!