After having kids working out became a million times harder. Gone were the days where I could just pickup and head out the door to go to the gym. Now that I have four running around, it’s basically impossible for me to get even go to the grocery store, let alone try and make it to the gym for an hour.
I also felt my waistline getting bigger despite my best efforts at getting a good workout in. It’s no wonder that I see so many parents not taking the time they so desperately need for themselves. It is so difficult to get and stay motivated when you’re exhausted from taking care of the kids and sometimes you just feel plain guilty for taking time for you.
For about 8 years now, I’ve been working out at home. It’s just so much easier either put them all down for a nap and head down to workout or bring them with me and let them play on the other side of the room while workout. But I’m not going to lie and say that this is the magical solution to making time for yourself and getting fit.
I’m still exhausted from the kids not sleeping through the night and overwhelmed with all the tasks in the day that need to get done. While it’s not always easy to make your fit goals a priority there are a few tricks to help make it work.
Stop Cleaning Your Kids’ Plates
This was hard for me to learn and I still find myself slipping every once in a while. It’s something that you don’t really think about – a few crackers here, a bite or two of mac and cheese there – and before you know it you’re looking at the scale and wondering why it’s not moving.
All those little things add up at the end of the day and seriously derail even the best of routines. I know… that was me for the longest time. While I have better self-control now, it’s still hard to do especially when I’m still feeling hungry at the end of the day.
Obviously your kids are hungry at the beginning of the day and you are too, you have just ignored the feeling for so long that you don’t realize it anymore.
I think that sitting down (or standing whichever you have time for) for breakfast sets the tone for the day. It helps start our metabolism and give us the jump-start we need to tackle the long to-do list that awaits us.
You don’t have to have a complicated meal either. A simple hard-boiled egg, protein shake, or small bowl of oatmeal are plenty. Just make sure you pick something healthy and delicious that you know you’ll love.
Try Meal Planning
I have to admit, the weeks that I meal plan for my husband and I are the weeks the go the smoothest. But I definitely don’t meal plan every week because sometimes life just gets in the way and I don’t have the time.
The weeks that I know the hubby is going to be working through dinner all week are the weeks I try and make time so he has something to take to work and eat. I’ll make a list on Sunday morning and run to the grocery store for everything. Then I’ll spend the majority of the day cooking and packaging things up for him (and me) to take to work.
On the weeks where I cannot take the time to cook a lot ahead of time, I at least plan out what meals I’m going to make throughout the week and grocery shop for those items. Now, going to the grocery store with 4 kids in tow is a chore so if he’s not home to watch them while I do this then it doesn’t get done. It’s difficult but I do my best when I can.
Sleep When You Can
Since sleeping all night is not always in the cards currently, I trade my sleepless nights for epic naps on the couch. Yes, they are epic and I love them.
Most of my kids go down around the same time for a 2-3 hour nap during the day and I relish that time to myself. Sometimes I’ll get my workout in, if I haven’t already, or I’ll get a ton of focused work done or if I’m super exhausted I’ll take a nap. These don’t happen every day but they do happen often.
For my 12 year old and 5 year old that don’t really nap anymore, I’ll let them go down to the basement together and play games or whatever it is they do down there. They enjoy the time alone and so do I.
Plus, sleep plays an important role in weight management. Getting enough sleep can boost your energy, reduce stress, and help you burn more fat throughout the day.
Workout While the Kids Are Awake
I used to be an avid morning workout person. I would wake up every day around 5-6am, before the rest of the house, and get my workout done. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Yes, I still wake up at 6am every day – mostly to get my oldest up and ready for school – but now instead of changing and doing my workout, I get a solid 2 hours of uninterrupted work done. I realized it’s better for my productivity to get work done uninterrupted than a workout.
Now I workout with them right next to me. Our basement is setup so that my workout room and their playroom is one in the same so they sit and play with toys while I get my sweat on. They see that mom is doing something good for herself and taking care of her body which shows them that it’s important to do.
If you don’t have a dedicated workout space like me then strap the kiddos in the stroller and head out for a walk (or run) around the block. Just getting out and doing something is better than nothing.
Lose the Mommy Guilt
You already have a ton of things to feel guilty about but making time for yourself to stay healthy and fit should not be one of them. If you don’t take out time for yourself then eventually you’re going to burn out and not be good for anyone. Plus showing your kids that mommy needs a break and to take time for herself teaches them that it’s ok for them to do too.
Showing your kids healthy habits is so much more important than feeling guilty about doing so. Be a great role model for your kids and showing a healthy example will set the tone for them for their lifetime and (hopefully) beyond.
Those are my top fit tips for busy parents. What are some of yours? Are there things that you do differently? I would love to hear so let me know in the comments below!
Photo by Henington Photography