Join me in welcoming Jen, Sweat Pink Ambassador, runner and the voice behind Marathon Mom to Fitness Health and Happiness! I bet many of you can relate to words like busy mom, staying active, finding time and compromises right? Jen shares wonderful tips and suggestions for, first and foremost, being a mom and successfully staying active.
Is it possible to be a busy mom and stay active at the same time? I get asked this frequently and the answer is “of course” but it takes a little work and compromise at times. When I was pregnant with my daughter I often heard the three words “Just you wait” followed by some inevitable change that I was going to make strictly as the result of becoming a parent. These changes often involved some aspect of running or being healthy. This not only applies to me as a mom, but just about anyone with a busy life trying to stay active. I was probably told daily that I would never run as well (or at all) again, but as stubborn as I am I aimed to prove these people wrong and was quickly back and running and reaching new goals. I find it odd that no one ever says to a pregnant woman “you will never watch TV again” but they are quick to say I will not work out again.
I won’t say there haven’t been changes or that it is always easy but with work it isn’t tough. It is all about making priorities, accepting that things won’t always go as planned and making good use of time.
- If you don’t think you have time then figure it out: Okay maybe not so simple, but look at a typical day and write down you obligations. Figure out where you can fit in things; maybe this means walking to the store for groceries instead of driving or hitting the treadmill while you watch your favorite show and then schedule this time.
- Plan ahead: write down your time at the gym, running, biking, etc. in your planner for the coming day, week or month and stick with it. Along with this plan and make meals ahead, I often spend Sunday afternoon naps making a few freezer meals for the week ahead allowing me extra time during the week to go to the gym, play outside with my daughter or just relax on those busy workout days.
- Get up early: I often sacrifice extra sleep to be up for 4:30 am run, bike or boot camp. It is a tough routine to get into but you set the clothes out at night, crawl out of bed and go without thinking. I am often halfway through a workout before I am fully awake. This way I am done in time to either spend the day with my daughter or get to work.
- Enlist help: Whether you are a mom who needs a babysitter or someone needing an extra kick to get moving on a workout, ask someone to help. Join a gym with childcare, this is good for everyone kids can play while mom has some me time. My husband and I often split workouts while pushing the BOB or days for long runs.
- Allow yourself this time: As a mom, wife and grad student with a job I deserve me time. I have time to think and de-stress. This short time away from my family (or bringing them along) to go run makes me a better person in all aspects.
- Know yourself; your strengths and weaknesses and work with it: I prefer the morning to work out and am much more apt to skip a workout if I save it for after work. Find the things you like: hate running, find a fun spin class.
- Make a date: Grab a friend, join a group, hire a trainer. Even on the tough days if someone else is counting on you it is more likely to happen.
- Take advantage of naptime: This has been huge for me on days I am home. The first year of my daughter’s life I spent a lot of time running on the treadmill during naps. I sacrificed a clean house some days to run, but I didn’t care!
- Accept that it will never be perfectly planned: Even with the best intentions there are days when meetings run late, kids are sick, weather is bad, etc. Roll with these inconveniences and throw in a workout DVD at home, walk at lunch or skip a workout (the world will not end) just don’t let this be the norm!
- Set goals that are concrete to motivate: Run a 5K, do a triathlon, buy something for sticking to the plans.
Yes, it takes work and good time management but anything is possible. If I can make it work anyone can. In the past couple years since becoming a mom I think my body has gotten stronger and healthier through better workouts, eating healthier through planning and working to be a good role model. With my limited time I focus on quality workouts and multi-tasking.
*I am a 30 something grad student and competitive runner, mom to a toddler, wife to a triathlete. I work as full time college faculty and a part time running coach allowing me some flexibility. Through all this I work to provide my family healthy food and role model a healthy lifestyle. Check out my blog at http://runnershoe.blogspot.com/.
Thank you Jen!