As any new parent can attest, balancing children, a career and your beauty sleep is no smooth ride. Attempt sticking to a regular fitness schedule on top of all that? Things get overwhelming, fast. Here are some tips to help you work out how and where fitness can fit into your new life.
1. Work out your priorities
Take some quiet time to think about your real priorities. Is getting in a full workout four times a week more important to you than picking up some extra slack around the house or spending more time with your child? At the same time, could you cut short any routine to make some time for exercise? Figure out what’s important to you and prioritise accordingly.
2. Plan ahead, but remain flexible
Keep a schedule in place and commit to it whenever possible. If you and a friend look forward to a regular HIIT workout every Sunday morning, you’re both much less likely to bail on each other last minute. At the same time, don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have to replace a 45-minute run with some pushups and jump rope because the baby won’t stop screaming today, that’s fine too. Make up for it during the next planned session.
3. Be realistic
Have a good, hard look at your exercise plans and goals. Will you really be able to commit to a 20-minute drive to and fro to an hour-long class, two times a week? If not, think about signing up for classes nearer to your house, or even investing in some free weights and creating a mini home gym. There’s always alternative ways to get in a good workout that are both cheap and convenient. Also keep in mind that you have a new, and very real, commitment in your life. Maintaining 7% body fat may just not be possible at this point of time, so lower your expectations and give yourself some compassion.
4. Make your kids part of it
This is a good way to both get your exercise in and spend time with the kids. Baby kettlebell squats, lifts and lunges? Go for it – maybe leave the swings out, though. Teach soccer, basketball or any other sport when the kids get a little older, or bring them to the playground and do some pull-ups on the monkey bars. Throw a dance party or take a long walk with your baby in a stroller. There’s lots of fun and creative ways you can make your child a part of your session.
5. Everything adds up
If all else fails, make the most of every moment. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth in the morning. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Work in 5-minute blocks of pushups and squats a few times a day. Take a walk with a colleague instead of a sit-down talk. Stand and work at your desk after lunch. Make a conscious effort to push your body in small ways every chance you get, and you’ll be doing yourself a lot more good than by passing your situation off with a “I just have no time anymore.”