How to make time to workout when you are a busy Mum

Posted by on 25 May 2016 | 0 Comments

Since I started working in the fitness industry 15 years ago (has it really been that long?!) one of the most common questions I am asked is, ‘how can I fit in exercising when I have children?’

I must admit, that when I was working in the gym and we used to get asked this (well, actually it was pretty much always used as a ‘I don’t have time to exercise, I have children’!) our response was a pretty standard one ‘everyone has the same number of hours in the day, so there is always time to fit exercise in!’ Oh how I didn't appreciate then how much children can change your life! I could train whenever I wanted when I wasn't working. I Didn't have to worry about kids routines, or if I had any child care. Oh how times have changed!

However, having children doesn't mean that it needs to be impossible to workout, you just have to plan things a little more and (try to) set time aside. In a way I guess I am lucky that I do get to exercise sometimes as part of my job, but that in itself also requires a lot of planning, and if I'm honest I don’t see them as ‘my’ workouts, they are your workouts that I'm doing for you and I sometimes don’t get the workouts in that I want to)

‘So, how can I fit it all in?’ I hear you cry! Well, where there is a will there is a way, and it doesn't have to be long workouts – something is better than nothing and if you are limited on time, then a short sharp workout can be just as effective. These are my top 5 tips for busy Mums to get those workouts done.

1. Do something you enjoy - If your idea of hell is going to a gym and working out, then don’t do it! Exercise needs to be fun, and something you enjoy or you won’t stick to it (although I must admit I don’t really like running, but I still do it twice a week when I can as it’s convenient and I can go from the house and get it done and come back before anyone else has really got out of bed!) You are more likely to stick with it if it’s something you enjoy and look forward to. It could be the gym, class, a DVD or online workout – choose what suits you best.

2. Plan ahead – it may sound silly, but write down your workouts in a diary, much like an appointment. Make sure you stick with the appointment, and the more you do it the easier it will become to stick with it. If you have a class you know you can attend on a weekly basis, again write it in the diary like an appointment and make that ‘your’ time.

3. 15 minutes a day is better than nothing – if you know that you aren't going to be able to fit in long workouts in to your day, then plan on doing shorter exercise sessions. A 15 minute hiit or similar style workout can be just as effective as some hour long workouts. But at the same time if you know you can only fit in an hour long session once or twice a week, then do that. You need to plan around your schedule. If it means getting up 15 minutes earlier, then set the alarm and commit to doing it.

4. Let the kids join in – this can be a fun way of involving the children and getting them used to the idea of exercise. My children love to come and join in when I'm practising routines for my classes, so let them join in and help and see what you are up to. Try and incorporate things that will become part of your children’s lifestyle, such as walking, running, cycling.

5. Sometimes it all goes wrong – even with the best intentions,there are some days when it is just IMPOSSIBLE to fit in a workout. I have days like this myself and even with all the planning and dedication in the world, some days it just doesn't happen. You might have been planning on having an early morning session and then had a night with no sleep at all (I know this one well!) or you might have been planning on doing a daytime session, only to have to deal with sick children/clingy children/one beating up the other and them then wanting cuddles all day (again, I know this one well and it’s usually the younger one beating her brother up!) My advice here is don’t be hard on yourself for missing it, tomorrow is another day so just focus forward rather than beating yourself up for what’s gone. As long as you make it part of your regular routine and stick with it as much as you can, every little helps.

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