Before I had kids, I enjoyed exercise often. I was at the gym 4 or 5 times a week. I exercised through my first pregnancy and afterwards, as well. It was when I had my second kid that I really started slacking off. If I made it to the gym even once a week, that was a noteworthy accomplishment. I was more tired than ever, I was stressed dealing with a colicky baby, I was even a little depressed and discouraged (Read my post entitled The Mediocre Mother for more about that time in my life.).
Recently, much to my chagrin, I discovered that I have love handles. I thought they would go away given enough time. Two years postpartum, I’m realizing that apparently they need a little more persuading! I miss being fit and feeling strong, so I am stepping up my exercise game and I want to share my tips with you.
My Exercise Tips:
- Put on exercise clothes when you get up in the morning. Or just sleep in them like I did last night. Ha!
- Eat a good breakfast. And lunch and dinner. You won’t have any stamina if you don’t fuel your body.
- Checkout exercise videos at the library. New routines always motivate and excite me!
- Find FREE workouts on You Tube. My new fav is a 30 day HIIT workout series by Millionaire Hoy. You can watch it for free here.
- Do a lot in a little amount of time. Try High Intensity Interval Training (see tip #4 for my recommendation. 🙂 ). Here’s “What it is And Why it Works” from Huffington Post.
- Drink water before, during and after. Not a lot right before your workout though. Too much water sloshing around in your belly doesn’t feel so good when you’re doing cardio or yoga moves like downward dog.
- Treat yourself to a fun new gym class, and bring a friend to make it feel like Moms Night Out!
- Change your scenery– if it’s nice, head outside. I thrive on alternating my workout location- living room, basement, pushing the stroller outdoors, and classes outside the home.
- Make it fun! Put on your favorite playlist and dance with your kids! My kids love this and I’m exhausted after two songs. We add lots of jumps, lifts, and twirls.
- Put a smile on your face! It’s like tricking your body into thinking you enjoy exercise. And eventually, you will get to like it! (Wise words from my man Millionaire Hoy on Day 3 of his beginner HIIT workout series.)
The hardest part about exercising when you’re a SAHM (besides finding the time), is occupying the kids while you work out. I’ve never been motivated to exercise while my kid napped, but I’ve found that is my best bet. That leaves me with one kid still awake, but she is four, and easier to occupy. Lunchtime could also work if they’re slow eaters. 😉
Ideas (besides nap time) to keep your kids busy while you exercise:
- Crafting (crayons, paper, stickers, whatever you trust them with! 🙂 )
- Snack or lunch
- Tv (I’ll put a movie on for my girls and use my laptop to stream a free YouTube workout for myself)
- Play-Doh (again, if you trust them. This backfired with my almost two year old who needed wayyy too much help today. But my four old was good!)
- Old toy/game they haven’t seen for awhile
Okay, the last one is a joke, but sometimes, I send my four year old to her room, and she stays there for a good half hour! I send her upstairs to get dressed or grab something, she gets distracted and starts playing. And where big sis goes, little sis follows!
You can also exercise WITH your kids, as mentioned in #9 above! I found this great mommy and me dance video today, and while it was only 6 minutes long, my daughter and I had a great time! It was right up our alley, and the instructor was clearly having fun with her daughter, too. We loved the lunge and tickle part!
My daughter also has her own little 1 pound pink weights. She affectionately refers to them as, ‘my little pinky weights’! Sometimes, we take turns showing each new moves. I teach her how to use her weights, and she teaches me some crazy new cardio move. Fun, bonding time!
Now, for the Motivation:
When you exercise you….
- Have more energy
- Sleep more soundly
- Have a happier outlook
- Feel accomplished
- Set a healthy example for your kids
- Boost your brain power and focus
And of course…
- Improve your health
- Become leaner and stronger
I pinned this post on My health and Fitness board. If you want more fitness inspiration, click here to follow!
Next, I’m thinking of getting a FitBit, or something like it, to monitor my heart rate. I’ve never researched them, nor do I know anything about the difference in brands, etc. Any advice would be appreciated- leave it in the comments below!