How to Make a Fitness Plan as a Busy Mom
Healthy eating and fitness have always been a passion of mine. Since becoming a mom, I’ve had to adjust my expectations and realities of how much I can actually accomplish. We can’t do it all; it’s impossible to keep the house cleaned, the children entertained and educated, groceries purchased, meals cooked, clothing washed, AND take care of our own bodies. Phew. I’m exhausted just thinking about everything it takes to keep things running smoothly.
As I’ve adjusted to this reality, my own personal fitness and health goals have changed. Instead of trying to keep up with what I was able to do prior to having three children, I lowered my expectations, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. I actually feel as if I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m going to share with you my tips for how to make a fitness plan as a busy mom.
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Recognize Your Season
I didn’t exercise the entire time I was pregnant with my twins, and verrrryyyy minimally for the first 2 years of their life. By very minimally, I mean that I probably did a Jillian Michaels video 10 or so times and a few at-home workouts. It just wasn’t my season to exercise, and I was OK with that. However, recognizing that it wasn’t my season to be hardcore at the gym, I was fairly strict about what I ate. It did help that while I was exclusively pumping, Josie had a dairy allergy and I couldn’t have any dairy at all. Not that dairy is all bad, but basically, every single treat in the world contains butter!
Your body composition is based on 20% of how much you exercise and 80% of what you eat. Eighty stinking percent. Let that sink in. I lost all of my baby weight from my twin pregnancy without exercising because I was intentional about what I ate. I know everyone is different and I am NOT AT ALL saying that you can just eliminate certain foods and lose the weight, but I did work very hard to eat only very healthy foods.
I didn’t starve myself, count calories, or eliminate certain food groups (other than dairy for pumping purposes). I was simply very intentional about what I put into my body. If I had a craving for some junk food, I asked myself 1. is it really worth it? and 2. is there a healthier substitution?
Many times, the answer was yes, it is worth it (I had a two-year-old and newborn twins so comfort in any way was necessary!!) but there were also many times that I opted to not eat a treat because I knew it wouldn’t actually make me feel better.
This also goes back to recognizing what season you’re in. If you’re in a season of survival mode, you may need some extra comfort and that is totally fine. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty, but commit to your choice and decide that when life calms down you will make different choices.
Now that I am in a season of slightly less chaos (or maybe I’m just used to it by now) I am better at planning my food. I plan a few nights a week to have takeout or a dessert at home. Since I plan it out in advance, I can find foods that we enjoy that are also relatively healthy.
Know Your Exercise Style
I am not the kind of person who can exercise at home. I can’t stay motivated and I get distracted by the 500 million other things that demand my attention. I also don’t really enjoy running outside. The gym is totally my jam. I love lifting weights and working in a (tiny) bit of cardio, only because it’s supposedly good for my heart. I also LOVE group fitness classes. What I don’t like is having to waste time driving to the gym and having to unload 3 children to check them into childcare. It’s just too much!
We recently moved to a new neighborhood and there is a gym at the end of our road. I can actually WALK there. It is a female only, group fitness class gym and it is also on the pricey side compared to the generic gyms I have belonged to before. Knowing my preferences for exercising, I didn’t hesitate at all before signing up. I can walk over to class after my husband gets home from work a few nights a week. It has been so awesome for me!
I have several friends who prefer to workout at home on the treadmill, which I know I could never stick with. It’s so important to know what will work for you, and make a plan that you will stick to.
Know Your Limitations
When I first joined my gym, I was so excited. I mapped out the classes I was going to take and penciled them into my planner. My goal was to go 5 days a week. I quickly realized that 5 days a week was way too much for me. Even though it is super close, my husband works long hours, and I only have the option to go in the evenings. While missing out on bedtime a few nights a week is a great break, missing out 5 nights a week is way too much.
Make a Realistic Plan
To make a realistic plan, think through everything I listed above. Knowing what season you’re in + your exercise style can help you determine your limitations. I think it’s important to start small. If you set a plan and stick with it, you’re going to feel confident about continuing.
Some suggestions for just starting out: choose two days a week to exercise. Go for a run, or find some workouts on Pinterest and try to spend 20 minutes exercising.
OR, aim for 10 minutes, 5 days a week. Put it in your planner or your phone at the beginning of the week, and make it happen!
My Current Workout Routine
I currently go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I’m planning on starting at-home workouts for Tuesday and Thursday, and I will share them with you on the blog!
Reevaluate Your Plan as Your Season Changes
When Theo starts preschool this fall, I will be getting up and out of the house to get him to school 5 days a week. It will be a perfect time to add in a morning workout class with Josie and Margo in childcare at the gym.