As a mom, finding the time and motivation to workout or meal prep can be a huge challenge, especially if you have young kids. However, if you want to reprioritize your health, there are ways to incorporate fitness into your life — regardless of how busy you are.
Finding a fitness activity you love can encourage you to move more and make working out less of a chore. However, in order to find the right one, you must be willing to explore your options. Regardless of whether or not you think you’ll enjoy boxing, Zumba, Crossfit or biking, give these activities a try. You may discover a passion for something you once deemed boring or fall in love with a new activity you’ve never tried before.
Scour research studies, fitness magazines, blogs and social media platforms and make a list of things you might enjoy. What inspires you? Which classes sound like fun or pique your interest? Sometimes the craziest activities — like goat yoga and bungee dance — turn out to be the best. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you do, just that you love it enough to keep doing it.
If you’re new to fitness or a certain kind of activity, you might want to start solo before getting your sweat on in a group setting. However, once you’re comfortable and confident, finding a community can be incredibly beneficial. Look for a group of people that fits your personality or a few friends you can connect with. When you’re dragging, they can provide external motivation and push you to go further and test your limits.
Even working out with people who are stronger and faster than you can help you increase your workout time and consistency. When you perform with someone you perceive as better than you, you tend to give a bit more effort than you would if you were alone. Plus, you’ll have more fun and enjoy a bigger endorphin boost — even though you’re working harder. Get creative when planning your workouts to create moves that involve a partner.
Finding a community and enjoying activities you love will help you create and maintain a certain level of consistency. However, feeling a sense of accomplishment after your workouts won’t last long if you don’t make goals for yourself. After giving it your all, you’ll want some way to measure your personal growth so you can look back on your hard with pride. Seeing how far you’ve come will also remind you how powerful a consistent fitness routine can be.
Of course, the type of goals you set for yourself also matter. Instead of creating vague goals to lose weight, eat healthier or work out more often, try making SMART fitness goals. These objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. The more pointed you make them, the better. Include short-term and long-term goals and celebrate each milestone along the way. Commemorating each little victory will encourage you to keep going and eventually achieve those bigger long-term goals.
After jotting down a few SMART goals, you can begin creating a routine to help you achieve them. As a mom, it can be incredibly challenging — if not impossible — to overhaul your entire routine and start fresh. Remember how difficult that was after having your first child? No one said you had to become a gym rat overnight. Instead, ease into new routines by making small changes that work with your schedule.
Eventually, these small changes will evolve into new habits that will make fitness less of a chore and more like just another part of your day. After a while, you might not even have to think about getting up early or making a midday smoothie. When these actions become second nature, you can incorporate more healthy activities and choices into your routine to reach your goals faster. Just take things one step at a time and everything will fall into place.
When it comes to creating and sticking with a routine, simple swaps are your key to success, especially when it comes to food. Instead of following a diet or detox plan, simply replace high-calorie ingredients or foods with healthier alternatives. Sip seltzer instead of soda, choose fresh fruit over dried varieties and top tacos with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Even just a handful of healthy swaps can help you lose weight and foster a better relationship with food.
You can also swap out scrolling through your phone for more mindful activities. Make a list of things you can do when you get bored and post it in plain sight. Then, when you feel like reaching for your phone, consult the list and try one of those healthy activities. Include self-care ideas like reading, journaling, meditating or taking a bath. Add physical activities like walking, biking or taking a yoga class, too so you always have something to do.
When you burn out and feel like skipping your routine or throwing in the towel, remembering why you began a fitness journey can help you press on. Maybe you want to be fast enough to play tag with your kids or finally feel healthy again. Or maybe you want to set a good example for your family. Whatever your reason, remembering your why will help you develop discipline so you can keep going, even on the days you don’t want to.