One aspect of momming nowadays is staying healthy as a mom. Care for yourself so you can care for them—easier said than done for some of us. I wanted to take some time to dive into this topic because it is one that I’ve had to go through a process with—as the keeper of my four walls—and I’ve recently turned a very exciting corner so I want to share it with you! Fitness was fun for me in High School and College. It was a hobby and one of many others I kept as a young single woman. I had a step counter, my work provided a gym membership, I did a variety of fitness classes with friends, and got to use the pool. It was easy back then. Fast forward a few years and I was working full-time, responsible for other people besides myself, youth ministry, and going to graduate school. I still had other interests too—those creative outlets that I enjoyed in the increments of free time I still had left. Gradually, exercise slipped lower and lower in the growing to-do list. Then I got married. Eventually, I became a mom. In the first few months of motherhood, fitness was a project for dropping post pregnancy pounds. By this point, making it a lifestyle was low on my priorities. Exercise was another a chore to get done between feeding, changing, naps, housekeeping, side hustle business, and cooking. My husband continued to gently nudge me to get truly into fitness. It bothered me. I was busy raising a human, I was already fitting in walks and occasional workouts with baby in tow, and I had creative outlets that meant more to me. Why should I add extra workouts and extra pressure into my life? That was my mindset until recently. So I tried Beachbody Workouts on and off, challenge groups on and off, Shakeology on and off, and for a long time I didn’t make it a priority. It was just a nice workout when I could find time for it. What stayed with me was how much fitness meant to my husband. A lot of people would say, don’t do it for someone else, do it for yourself. But doing it for him, got my foot back in the door. Although he never pressured me to change, I could tell it was something meaningful to him. He also knew that it was as healthy for me mentally as it was physically and it had been a light in his own life. I started to consider, “what if this was something we could both enjoy?” I also thought, “What have I got to loose? Time?” Then I thought, “What do I have to gain? Wellness. Energy. Brain function. A nice figure…” So I choose a program and committed to stick with it. I also found out what I had been forgetting was a huge benefit to working out. Endorphins. Endorphins are legit. They really do make you feel so good! I’ve read stories of people who overcame depression with exercise. Others overcame drug dependence. Endorphins are the real deal! Now I always remind myself when I need to make time to workout that I’ll feel amazing every time I finish. Some days I don’t hit my goal, but I commit the next day rather than making myself feel bad. I made a commitment to put one foot in front of the other consistently. Now little by little I’m becoming more consistent and working out is turning into a routine and a lifestyle (as opposed to a chore). I get to do it most days. Soon I will get to do it every day! Moving forward continually is the key, rather than giving up when you get a little off track. So here are my tips for fail proof , one foot in front of the other, fitness:
Commit to finishing a program (no matter how long it takes)
Right now I’m doing 80 day obsession! It is awesome. It is taking me longer than 80 days to finish, because I am a work in progress, but I get to try another program when I finish so I have to keep going. With a specific, measurable goal like a program that has a finish line, you have good odds of reaching the goal. I’m finding that I’m getting in more workouts by working for a specific target than I was when I just wanted to “work out more often” or “three times a week.”
2. Develop a healthy reward for finishing
What can you reward yourself with for finishing your goal? Do you love shopping? Do you love shoes? Do you love weekend getaways? When you finish a program you can reward yourself with a new pair of shoes, a pedicure, a mini vacation, a night out with friends, or just about anything that you consider a treat. You might find you work through the program and towards your goals more efficiently if give yourself something to look forward to.
3. Build Excitement About The Next Goals You’ll Get to Hit
Finishing can be a reward in and off itself. Knowing you’ll be starting the next journey can be motivating as well. When I log into the Beachbody on Demand app and see ALL THE OTHER Programs besides the one I’m already doing, I think, “I want to try that one! Oh that looks fun! Oh that one too.” But I’m not allowing myself to start any others until I finish the one I’m on so that pushes me to continue and make progress in my strength. I think building excitement to try the next program is part of building a fit lifestyle. It is ongoing.
4. Do it for the endorphins
There will always be days or moments when you don’t feel like moving. When you don’t feel like working out because you’re tired or stressed or have other things to do, remember that exercise will release endorphins. Endorphins give you a positive outlook, improve your energy, and help you think. When you do the workout, you’ll feel great afterwards. It’s worth getting up for again and again.
5. Have an Inspirational Quote In View
A lot of people have positive mantras or scriptures they live by that motivate them to do what needs to be done. It can help to have a visual reminder or why you are doing what you’re doing. I might put up a sign that says “in it for the endorphins!”
6. Learn to Love the Process
If you can enjoy going through the challenges in fitness because you know they will produce strength, you’ll be better for it. Recognizing that exercise is an ongoing process of getting stronger and building endurance is so important. If you love the process, you’ll keep doing it.
7. Keep it do-able
If you’re home with kids all day and don’t have a sitter, you need a workout you can reasonably do. It might be a home workout video. It might be committing to a running program with a good jogging stroller. It might be 30 minutes of every nap time or early in the morning. Some sacrifice may need to be made, but your goal should be attainable. Pick something you can do the most consistently and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.If you fall on and off the wagon trying to stay fit, I totally understand. I hope my experience will inspire you to reassess your goals and give it another shot. I’m pulling for you to find success in not just one workout program, but in creating a lifestyle that will stick. What will you do now to improve your fitness? I’d love to hear from you!