“How do you do it???” I’ve been getting this question a lot lately! And, if you honestly want to know how I get through each day with all my three children still alive and me not in an insane asylum, I can only tell you it’s by God’s grace alone. However, I’m thinking this question was more in regards to how I can find time to work out and eat right as a busy mom of three, so I wanted to give you my top ten tips here! Personally, as a personal trainer and online fitness coach, working out is my job, so I definitely make it a priority, but I still consider my mom duties to be number one. I don’t have a gym membership or full-time nanny (didn’t even have a babysitter until recently), but I was able to get to a point in my postpartum twin journey this last year that I truly love my body, my health, and my results. Here’s how:
Hack #1: Make early mornings or late nights your jams!
After your babies start sleeping a bit and you come out of the mombie phase, of course! I was lucky enough to start getting more sleep (still not perfect) around 6 months with my twins. This means they were consistently sleeping through the night (6pm-6am) around this time. About this same time, I was able to commit to early morning workouts (4am) and put myself to bed at 9pm.
I chose 4:00am because I am a morning person, it worked with my sleep cycle (that I had developed while pumping and getting up with the twins), and I knew my workout and bible study had to be done before my 2 year old woke up at 5:30am. I was happy to get my
workout out of the way before our day began, and noticed I was a much better and patient parent when I had my daily dose of endorphins. I also used a preworkout energizing formula to wake myself up at that early hour and feel great for the day. Working out at home meant I could just roll out of bed and get it done (even in my PJs if I wanted)!
I know not everyone is a crazy morning person like me, so if night time is your jam that works too. However, don’t let a long or rotten day get the best of you (at least not more than one night in a row). Make the commitment to yourself that it will get done! Whichever time you choose to workout, WRITE IT DOWN! Make it an appointment with yourself that you CANNOT miss! Set aside whichever time during your day to get it done!
Hack #2: Find what works for you!
If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. With the availability of every type of fitness program under-the-sun online or through your local gyms, from Tai Chi to pole dancing, there’s honestly no excuse for not finding a workout you ENJOY. I understand that not everyone will like lifting weights, not everyone will like dancing, but if you try enough workouts you will eventually find one that will make you smile (even if it’s just a smirk). Personally, I used to walk into a gym and almost immediately start CRYING. I hated the feeling of not knowing what to do, of looking stupid, and not feeling successful. The ONLY way I started my fitness journey was thanks to a funny little Brazilian trainer on a silly booty DVD called Brazil Butt Lift. I could do this program in the comfort of my home, he made me laugh, and the moves, while effective, didn’t hurt or make me upset. From there, I gained confidence and continued to pursue home workouts that made me feel strong and trainers that made me laugh. Now, I try to do the same for others and keep those memories in mind when I meet new clients.
Hack #3: Use what you got!
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or home gym to MOVE! Don’t let that be a barrier in your fitness journey. Bicep curl your water bottle. Use your kids’ toys to create resistance (as demonstrated in this video). Go outside and use the park equipment with your kids. Make the movements of your every day life intentional and functional!
Hack #4: Don’t waste your time!
Lots of people use the excuse “I don’t have time to work out.” Well, you also don’t have time to be sick, unhealthy, or unhappy in life. So, find a workout that works with YOUR schedule. There are programs that obtain results in 10 MINUTES a day! With high intensity interval training, 30 minutes each day actually works great! Another way to ensure that time is not a barrier is eliminating the drive to the gym and doing your workouts at home! If you do choose to go to the gym, don’t waste your time, have a plan, use minimal rest periods and full body movements that help to condense the time of your workout while increasing the effectiveness. Here are some of my favorite full-body moves (Blog post to come)!
Hack #5: Do something FUN!
I’m a huge proponent in the idea that fitness should be FUN! This goes with hack #3 and my past experiences hating fitness. Find a workout buddy that wants to join you, find a trainer that you enjoy being around, and be silly with it. Fitness doesn’t always have to be serious business. Don’t let the serious weightlifting faces intimidate you. Smile and laugh (it burns more calories and is great for the abs) 😉 . Life is too short not to enjoy what you are doing! Not to say that it won’t be hard or a struggle sometimes, but that’s even more reason you have to find something you enjoy!
Hack #6: Just do it!
This one is HUGE! Postpartum fitness is SCARY y’all. Starting any fitness journey is scary, but you have to remember the words of my good friend, Dory, “Just keep swimming!” Just keep moving! The hardest part of a fitness journey is starting! My advice is to take a leap of faith, invest in that fitness program you’ve been wanting to try, hire that personal trainer, and to surround yourself with people who will support you and keep you accountable. Every excuse you could ever make can be rebutted with a reason TO exercise! “I’m too tired,” GREAT, exercise increases energy! “I’m too broke,” AWESOME, working out is free, run outside, GOOGLE, YOUTUBE. Oh, and you can also make money working out like I do! “I don’t have enough time.” Don’t we all, see hack #4! I know this one is a bit of tough love here, but I want you to know that if I (and so many others with even less can do it, so can you!) Oh, and I used to use ALL the excuses all the time (thus the hacks!).
Hack #7: Incorporate your kids!
If you are having fun with your workouts, so should your kids! If your have littles that don’t nap anymore and are around for your home workout, do it with them! My kiddo dances around me as I do mine, jumps on top of me (adds more weight!) during push ups, and I encourage him and he encourages me as we go. I’ve used my twins as weights before during squats, and they’ve all grown up with tummy time as I do burpees above them! They should know your goals and have an understanding of what you want to accomplish. “Do you know why Mommy works out?” is a question I often throw around. “Because Mommy loves you so much that she wants to be healthy for you so we can play and run and I can be around for a long time.” Your kids need to know your WHY and that they are part of it! If you do go to a gym with childcare, make it exciting to GET to go to the gym, PUMP them up! Your attitude towards fitness has a huge effect on theirs!
Hack #8: Focus on nutrition!
Everyone has to eat! (Even you busy mom!) Nutrition is the #1 factor we can control our health through. Now, I’m going to address this right away because I get it asked so often. “What about breast-feeding moms?” We are told to up our calories and basically eat whatever we want. However, are the choices you make serving you? It is 100% possible to eat healthy and be breastfeeding or pregnant. It is possible and even more probable to eat enough good calories when you are following a meal plan. The best tool for busy moms in regards to nutrition is a PLAN! Know how many calories you should be intaking (please don’t stress over exacts here people), and what your macronutrients should look like for the week according to your goals, AND where you are going to get your micronutrients from. You SHOULD be eating 5 times a day (I know, BIGGEST complaint and worry I get from busy moms), but that plan will help. I’m not saying eat like a professional body builder and make eggs, chicken, rice, and veggies for every meal, BUT have readily available, pre-portioned snacks handy to make the days easier. My husband and I make larger dinners that are then pre-portioned into our lunches to last for two meals at a time. We “meal-prep” some items so we don’t have to buy them from the store, such as protein muffins for breakfast, paleo granola, and baby foods. Even setting a reminder to eat on your phone helps! (Get our FREE sample meal plan here!)
Hack #9: Love where you are!
Let’s face it, your body has changed, you LIFE has changed. You are a mom now. That’s a GOOD thing! Your body has served you well! So, hug those scars, love handles, extra skin, and pounds and say thank you! Stressing about where you are now (whether in life or with your body) doesn’t help you get any where. Stress actually holds onto fat, so remember that too! You are amazing and God made you exactly how he wanted you. Self-love brings health into your life. It does not work the other way around, losing weight doesn’t not bring you self-love, although endorphins from working out definitely make you feel great!
Hack # 10: Give yourself grace!
The greatest tip I can give to moms regarding fitness is GIVE YOURSELF GRACE! You had a baby for crying out loud! You are awesome! Motherhood is tough, and we are all in this together. No one is perfect and there will never be a time when you are perfect at all things. You will fail, don’t NOT start something because you are too afraid to fail, because I’m telling you right now, you WILL miss a workout, you WILL eat that donut (hopefully not every day for every meal), you WILL eventually disappoint yourself or someone else. Knowing that upfront should release the fear of it. Knowing that EVERYONE messes up sometimes can also help. Don’t compare your journey to any one else’s. Finally, Keep following me because I’m sure as heck going to mess up and I’m sure as heck going to keep telling you about it.