This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through this post. View my full disclosure policy here.
Trying to fit a workout into a schedule that already includes work, laundry, driving children to baseball, cooking dinner and maintaining any type of relationship seems overwhelming. Like, pull your hair out and scream. Like, please don’t ask me to do one more thing.
I get it. I currently work part-time, but have worked full-time in the past and working out often seemed like an impossible task. And to be honest, even though I work part-time, I still have my other job….mom, wife, chef, maid, folder of the laundry and that takes up a lot of time. As moms, we always have a list of 116 things that need to be done and working out is often at the very bottom.
But working out is important. And not just so that your jeans will fit, though that is a benefit. Working out means that you’re doing something for yourself and let’s face it, as moms, we usually put ourselves last. Working out is saying ‘I am important and I’m worth making time for’.
There is a physical aspect of working out that’s good for us. It’s a mood regulator. God knows I need that, mostly for the safety of my children. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which reduce pain and also give your body a feeling of pleasure, similar to taking opiates. That’s why you might here people talk about a ‘runner’s high’. So exercise is literally like taking a happy pill. Now, I’m not saying that it’s going to be rainbow and unicorns during your third set of burpees, but when you’re DONE with your workout, you will feel that high! And it’s addicting.
So we know WHY we need to workout, but how do we fit it in when we have a thousand other things to do?
The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. Totally. Doable. You do not need to try to be that girl who is in the gym for 3 hours every day. That’s just not realistic for most of us. Below I have some suggestions on how you can start getting 30 minutes of exercise into your busy day. It’s possible that not ALL of these will work for your lifestyle, but hopefully 2 or 3 will give you some ideas on how you can get started AND stick with it.
GET UP EARLY
Please don’t stop reading. If you want to call me a bad name in your head, go ahead, I GET IT. Nobody wants to get up early. But here’s why you should do it anyway. When you get up early, it’s just you. Your kids aren’t awake to ask you 20 questions, your boss doesn’t expect you to return that email and the grocery store isn’t open yet. It is uninterrupted time.
Getting your workout in early ensures that it’s done and that you aren’t going to talk yourself out of it later. Let’s be honest. If you wait to do your workout until after work, or after you’ve taken the kids to school, grocery shopped, done laundry and run errands, you’re not going to have the physical or mental energy to do it
Tip – Put your workout clothes, shoes and any gear you need on your dresser the night before. Maybe even get your water bottle ready and leave it in the fridge. The more prepared you are to get out of bed and straight into your workout, the less likely you are to hit snooze.
PICK A WORKOUT THAT YOU LIKE
I know this seems like a no brainer, but if you hate running, that’s probably not the workout for you. A lot of women see other women who are fit and trim and they try to copy the workout that they’re doing to get the same result. Just because it works for her doesn’t mean it will work for you!
This might mean that you have to try a few different workouts to figure out which one you like best. Try Crossfit, Body Pump, or jump on the elliptical and watch your favorite Netflix show. I love working out at home and
TurboFire DVD Workouts is my jam. It’s got great music and moves and I actually get excited to workout (yes, that’s thing!). Use trial and error until you find the workout that you look forward to doing.
GRAB A BUDDY
Find another friend who has a schedule and goals similar to yours and commit to working out with them 3 times during the week (save your other 2 workouts for the weekend). When you have someone to workout with, it holds you accountable and keeps you from skipping your workout. Plus, it’s just more fun! If you’re walking, running or on the elliptical, you have someone to chat with. If you’re lifting weights at the gym or taking an aerobics class together, you have someone to push you when it gets hard.
- Tip – Don’t pick your super fit friend who’s been working out for years. You know the one I’m talking about. She doesn’t work, so she has time to do 2 workouts a day, lives in her workout clothes and has 8% body fat. Bless her heart. She’s your friend, but she’s not the girl to workout with. Why? Because you’re going to compare yourself to her. IT’S WHAT WOMEN DO. And her situation is different from yours, so you can’t expect to be like her. Be like YOU.
MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR
A lot of moms feel guilty for taking time away from their kids to work out. If this is you, let me just say that this is a bunch of baloney. Working out MAKES YOU A BETTER MOM. It just does. It makes you feel better about yourself, gives you more energy and clears your head, so that you can do all those mom things even better.
But if this is a real hang up for you, find a way to incorporate your family into your workouts. Throw a kid in a stroller (don’t actually throw them. You know that, right?), grab your husband and go walk for 30 minutes after dinner. Or tell your pre-teens to grab their bikes and go for a trail ride. Start doing a workout video with your husband after the kids go to bed or join him at the gym first thing in the morning. My husband and I did Tony Horton’s P90 Base Kit DVD Workout together and really liked it. Tony Horton cracked him up and he didn’t have to do any ‘girlie’ dance moves!
Bonus – working out with your family won’t just make you feel good, but it’s a great bonding time too!
MIX IT UP
I get bored REALLY easily and boredom is one of the quickest ways to lose the motivation to work out. In any given week, I will:
- do the elliptical
- do a Beachbody kickboxing video
- do an interval workout
- ride my bike
- lift weights 2 – 3 times (you don’t have to go the gym to lift weights. I bought adjustable dumbbells Cap Barbell Lift Gold’s Gym Body 40 LB Full Dumbbell Set Arms Adjustable Hand Weights Exercise Workout, so that I can do weights at home!)
Doing something different every day not only keeps me from getting bored with working out, it helps me use and train a lot of different muscles. It also prevents injury, because you’re not overusing any one muscle group.
THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
We know the traditional ways of working out, like walking, running, hitting the gym or taking a class, but there are other active things you can do that can count as your workout. Things like mowing the yard, hiking, playing pick up basketball with your son in the driveway, jumping on the trampoline with your kids… all of these fun things will burn calories! So if it’s a Saturday and you know you need to workout, do one of these instead! You can not only get a workout in, but also get some chores done or have fun with your kids, which is a win win for everyone.
A couple of other tips:
- Choose your busiest days as your rest days. There’s no sense in making this harder than it has to be, so workout on the days when you don’t have as much scheduled. And for working moms, this might mean that you work out Saturday and Sunday, so that you only have to workout 3 days during the work week.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – If you skip a workout because of a sick kid or a deadline at work, don’t beat yourself up. Now, if you skip 3 because you don’t feel like it, that’s a different story. But if you get 4 workouts in instead of 5, THAT’S OKAY. You still worked out 4 times and that’s awesome!
- Work out even when you don’t want to. I like working out 80% of the time. The other 20%, I have to put my big girl pants on and make myself do it anyway. In the grand scheme of things, it’s only a small percentage of my day. I don’t math well, but I know that we get 1440 minutes a day, so taking 30 minutes of that isn’t that hard. Also, I’ll feel better when I’m done. If I skip my workout, I’m know I’m going to be mad at myself, so I might as well just do it.
- Print off my Making Time for Me Checklist and put it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it, maybe your refrigerator, nightstand or bathroom. Write down what exercise you did each day, what your motivation is and how you felt after exercising. Writing it down will go a long way towards making exercise a habit!
I hope that this has given you a good place to start thinking about how to fit fitness into your busy schedule. Girls, we HAVE to take care of ourselves if we’re going to take care of our families and getting exercise is a great way to start!
For more great tips on fitness, parenting and being a mom, subscribe to my weekly newsletter! You’ll get the most up-to-date blogs and freebies to help make your life easier! Subscribe today!