As a mom, making a commitment to a regular fitness routine and healthier lifestyle is not easy. You’re already juggling multiple priorities, and adding another one can feel daunting, even impossible.
But while it takes some shifting—for you and your family—it is possible for moms to make their fitness goals a priority. In our Body Back program, moms who have a lot on their plates are finding ways to step up to the challenge, so we asked them how they do it. These tips come directly from our Body Back moms, who are all at different points in their fitness journeys and have made the commitment to themselves and their health.
Tips for Moms: How to Fit Fitness into Your Busy Life
1. Get support from your family.
Without the support of their families, most moms wouldn’t have the time or the energy to make their health and fitness a priority. Our moms have found that talking to their significant others before taking the plunge with a new fitness routine is critical. Be specific about the kind of support you need—whether it’s emotional support, a commitment to buying healthier foods for the household, a shift in childcare responsibilities or all of the above.
2. Figure out a meal planning routine that works.
Meal planning will save you time and money and help ensure that you’re eating well. Set aside time to write out a meal plan each week. Include breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, and use this to build your grocery list. Save these! You’ll build up a bank of meal plans and grocery lists that can be reused when you’re short on time and new ideas. Be sure to find easy-to-prepare, healthy dinners that can be made on nights that you have a workout scheduled.
3. Find fitness options that are convenient.
Whether it’s stepping outside your door with the jogging stroller, joining a fitness class you can bring your baby to, or having workout DVDs to do at home, the more convenient it is for you to get your workout in, the less likely you’ll find excuses to skip it.
4. Remove barriers, even small ones.
The more steps you can remove between you and your workout, the better. Keep your gym bag packed and ready to go. Put a yoga mat and extra running shoes in the car. Have healthy, grab-and-go snacks available to lessen the temptation to load up on sweets when hunger hits.
5. Make working out about more than working out.
Moms have to multitask. Having your workout do double-duty can make it the part of your day you look forward to the most. Make your workout “me time” and listen to your favorite podcast or read a magazine while on a cardio machine. Or, make it social time, and catch up with a friend while jogging around the park. Our moms find that being able to connect with other moms at Body Back makes class a fun opportunity to socialize and get to know more people in their community.
6. Be flexible.
Being a mom means throwing out old ideas about what you’re “supposed” to be able to do. As much as planning and having a schedule will help you stay on track, you need to be prepared to go with the flow and have some backup plans. Be ready with a few quick workouts you can do at home when getting out of the house isn’t possible.
7. Find like-minded moms for support and accountability.
Belonging to a group with similar health and fitness goals can give you the motivation and inspiration you need to stick to your commitment and take fear out of the process of starting a new routine. Our Body Back moms feel they are “in this together” and accountable to one another, not just the instructor. It becomes easier to put in the effort when you know other moms are making a similar sacrifice to be away from their kids to honor the commitment they made to themselves. A group like this also can be an incredible resource. Our moms support each other on rough days, share recipes and meal planning ideas, and swap strategies for staying on track.
8. Know that the whole family will benefit.
When you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey or feeling like you’re starting over after having a baby, it can seem like you have a long road in front of you. Keep in mind that putting your fitness and health goals higher on the priority list has benefits for the entire family. Committing to a fitness routine, taking time to care for yourself and eating well will lead to a happier, healthier and less stressed out mama, which is good for everyone around you.
Remember that you’re setting an example for your kids. If they see you eating healthy food and being active, it will be second nature for them to make the same choices. Your positive change will mean positive changes for the whole family.
For more articles by Louisa Fitzgerald, visit Mommy Sanest.