Are you looking for tips on how to stick to an exercise routine as a busy mom? Read below for my actual, realistic ways to make the time and stick with it, if you are NOT a gym rat!
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If you told me even a year ago, that I’d be sitting here talking about exercising regularly and having it not feel like a chore; I would have laughed in your face.
But here we are, coming up on the most important holiday of the year 😉 (ahem, Mother’s Day!), and I’ve realized that I consistently keep up with an exercise routine that works for me. One that has me (GASP) looking forward to exercise!
I’m not a fit mom, I’m not a gym rat. I am not here to teach you simple exercises or even any sort of program. I don’t have a six pack, let alone abs. The bottom of my boobs still touches the top of my stomach. Thank you, breastfeeding! But I do feel stronger and healthy. I have more energy and all-around feel better inside and out.
Somehow in the first half of this year, physical activity and exercise has become routine for me. And if I can make it a good habit, so can you! Trust – I got you, sis.
It’s my number one “self-care” item, at least a few times a week, if not more often, to make sure that I’m taking care of myself mentally, healthfully, and physically! And with our favorite holiday around the corner, I thought this was the perfect time to share something that can help moms feel empowered to make this a part of your routine, too.
I promise, it’s actionable and attainable. It’s not mind-boggling, just tiny mental shifts that have helped me to get to where I am today. You asked and here are my responses to the most common questions of
How to Stick to an Exercise Routine as a Busy Mom
WHEN DO YOU WORK OUT?
I usually work out midday. To be honest, I’m MOST consistent during the work week. I know that sounds crazy, since I work at home with three kids. But middle of the day is when I can easily shift my focus for a break. Take the lunch break, mama. Block out that hour! I started off with one day, then two, and before I knew it, I was logging off my laptop routinely. I guess the workout is just another thing on my list of things to do (almost) daily.
What about showering after a midday workout?
The one downside to working out during the day is that I don’t always have time to shower right away. I check on my kids, then rush back to my laptop and get caught up with work. I usually shower at night, so I just refresh and reset for the day with a quick clean up post workout:
- I start my day with my go-to deodorant: Dove Advanced Care Cool Essentials Antiperspirant Deodorant (available on the BJ’s Wholesale app in a 3 pack). I didn’t start wearing deodorant until after I had kids. I never needed it before, but postpartum – woof! This is the one that works best for me. I’ve tried other scents, but I love this Dove Deodorant – Cool Essentials especially during the warm season.
- After my workout, I dry off with a towel and use the Dove Clear Finish Invisible Dry Spray. It’s cooling and calming. Even on my longer workout days, the Dove Dry Spray keeps me fresh post-workout until my nighttime shower. The scent is light and clean.
- I stick to my hair wash schedule, whether or not I have a workout day. I use Dove Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo, (which is available at BJ’s in a 2 pack with a bonus travel size) after a ride on the bike. I’ve used the Dove Dry Shampoo for years and it is THE best affordable, dry shampoo. It’s light, absorbs quickly, and soaks up grease instantaneously.
- For my face, I dab a little bit of under eye concealer using Q-tips: all you have to do is dab three dots with one end under each eye and use the clean end to blend into all into place!
- Lastly, I change out of my work out clothes and into “real clothes” – aka black leggings and a sweatshirt. 🙂
Sometimes, when David gets up with the boys on the weekends, I’ll start my day with a workout. But that’s been hit or miss. What I would really like to try next is working out in the morning before work / schoolwork starts. But I’m not an early bird, so I’m not forcing it.
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DON’T YOU FEEL GUILTY?
I think as moms, our impulse is to put ourselves last. When in fact, the whole “can’t pour from an empty cup” is SO true. I used to feel guilty about giving kids screen time or even taking time away from the day. But I just don’t anymore. Most of my workouts are usually 30-45 minutes. On a busy day, it’s only 20 minutes. With my post work-out clean up, the longest I take is an hour out of the day when I’m focused on just me. And I think that is absolutely OK and necessary. 1.5, maybe 2 shows for my kids, while I squeeze in a quick work out? I’m 100% OK with that!
ARE YOU TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
I am currently 10-15 lbs. above my normal weight. But the short answer is no. I’m not actively trying to shed pounds. I don’t check my weight regularly and if my clothes fit and I feel healthy, I really have no weight goal in mind. And I can tell you that, that’s the first time I’ve ever been able to say that in my entire life.
HOW DO YOU FIND TIME?
Like I said, it became a habit over weeks and weeks of making myself take the lunch break. But, even still, there are deadlines with work, tantrums to be thrown. Because, mom life, right? I don’t stick to a set schedule and I try to be as flexible as possible on those days. If the younger two end up taking a nap, I try to do it whenever that happens. (Usually in the afternoon.) If I don’t get to it, that’s fine, too.
I’ve realized “finding time” isn’t a thing once you normalize it as part of your day. I drink my coffee every morning out of habit, now I get a ride in (most) days out of habit. Over time, it’s become second nature, and I don’t actively have to add it to my day.
WHAT IS YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE?
Log off work mid-day, get the kids a snack and tell them they can watch a show or two. Sometimes, they figure out something else to do. Once they’re settled, I hop on the bike and usually do a 30-minute spin class. Busier days, I opt for a quick 20-minute ride with some light weightlifting and/or a core exercise for 5-10 minutes.
I’m still learning my way through weightlifting, but I’d like to tackle that next. While cycling is my go-to exercise, I try to mix it up with different exercises. On a day I’m feeling sluggish, I try to get outside to play sports with the boys. Other days, I purposely skip riding the bike, so that I can do a yoga class to stretch and calm my nerves.
If I’m being 100% honest, sometimes I take the lunch hour to do a meditation class. While that might not be the typical physical activity, I still feel like it helps me reset and helps to keep up my overall routine.
DON’T THE KIDS BOTHER / INTERRUPT YOU?
As I mentioned above, the boys get a TV show or two, while I work out. Sometimes, Baby B will wander over and ask if Umma’s riding her big bike. Sometimes, my work out for the day is playing in the backyard with the boys and going for a neighborhood bike ride.
As soon as I got over the fact that there is no rigid system I had to follow, it was easier for me to incorporate it into our ongoing daily chaos.
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?
The number one thing that has helped me stay consistent with my exercise is that I have absolutely no goals. I’m not trying to lose X amount lbs., I’m not trying to work out every day. I don’t feel like I’m chasing something. And I think that’s the reason I’ve been able to exercise regularly, without consciously dreading it!
I don’t feel any pressure. I don’t feel bad if I don’t get to exercise. (Though, I have stayed up to do a nighttime workout many times because I wanted to do it!)
Above all else, do what you can, and build on it every week. It really is the only thing that worked for me. Starting out with once a week, then twice a week, then doing it as often as I wanted to. Some weeks are better than others. Not every week has to look the same for it to be a routine!
What are some ways you find time to pamper yourself? Do you have any attainable fitness / workout tips for busy moms?
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How I Stick to an Exercise Routine as a Busy Mom