This post is brought to you by Caren from Empower Me Fitness and Consulting. Caren will be at the show this September!
As busy mum’s we often don’t prioritise our own health. With all of our other commitments it is hard to find time for ourselves and exercise is always down the bottom of the to do list. Here are 3 tips to help you change your thinking about exercise and help you implement some small changes to get you moving towards your fitness goal.
1. Change your expectations.
You took 9 months to grow your baby, over which time your body constantly changed to
accommodate a growing baby. So give yourself the same amount of time (or longer) to get to where you want to be. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you will probably not have you pre-baby body back in 6 weeks (or ever for that matter) that is ok. Let’s give ourselves the respect we deserve. Becoming a mother is hard work so celebrate what your body is able to do. Give yourself time to heal properly and get used to the new addition in your life. There are many benefits of exercise from improving your mood and energy levels to improving strength to make everyday tasks such as carry baby or lifting the pram/carseat into the car much easier. You don’t need to do long workouts to gain the benefits of exercise – you may even be wasting valuable time waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment to exercise.
Let’s think about your goal - do you think you will get better results by waiting for the perfect time to do a full body 1 hour workout, perhaps once every few weeks, OR will you get better results if you consistently performed small actions, e.g. a few 5-10 minute workouts per week? Consistency & small steps are the keys to get you to your goal quicker and in a more sustainable way.
2. Start small
Start small. Motherhood brings many challenges and demands on our time. Just thinking about when you need to next change & feed baby, what is for dinner, doing the (endless) washing, worrying whether baby is teething, going through a growth spurt, why is my baby not sleeping……many things are constantly going through your mind and you will often put everyone else first before your own needs. You know you should exercise more, eat better, get more sleep etc but even the thought of it is overwhelming. Where do you even start when you feel like you have no time for
anything. So instead of trying to change every behaviour all at once, which often leads to failing miserably and then feeling sorry for yourself for a few weeks before starting the cycle again, let’s approach these behaviour changes in a different way. As above, change your expectation around timeframes. What might have seemed easy pre-baby can often take longer; be much harder with baby. I like to use the 90% rule. Choose 1 action/activity for the week that will move you closer to you goal and ask yourself ‘what is the likelihood I can achieve this?’ If the answer is 90% or higher, great! Go for it. If your answer is lower, re-evaluate your action/activity; break it down even further until your answer is 90%. Celebrate your successes, evaluate your progress each wee; plan
ahead for the next week. Some examples of small achievable actions include 5 squats a day, 1x 10min walk per week, 1 core exercise when baby is having tummy time. Don’t wait for motivation to kick your butt into gear, action; success leads to motivation. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great!
3. Use what you have
You don’t need any equipment or workout clothes to start exercising. Use your own bodyweight and anything around the house – stairs, kitchen bench, chairs, cans of food, drink bottles, bag of potatoes – the possibilities are endless, just be creative. Here is an example of a short workout you can do with cans of food and your bodyweight. In terms of what to workout in, don’t get me wrong, there is some awesome; pretty active wear
available these days, but you don’t NEED it to workout in. Whatever you are wearing, as long as it is comfortable, is ok. I often workout in my pyjamas in the morning whilst the kids are having breakfast!
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about how to fit in exercise. The classes I run all include an additional home workout per week, a workout diary and a term challenge for added motivation. More info on classes can be found here:
If you are pregnant or a new mum and would like some more information on safe exercises, also check out these blogs I wrote last year:
Postnatal Exercise: https://www.babyandchildshowdunedin.com/blog/caren-s-postnatal-exercise-style