Not just 5 tips for new moms who need a little extra workout motiivation....but for the rest of us too!
Lots of caffeine.
Doesn’t that seem like the obvious solution to getting more things done as a new mom?
As a first-time mom of a 4-month-old and a full-time fitness professional, I may sometimes use copious amounts of caffeine as a strategy to get things done.
But quaffing gallons of coffee is not a long-term strategy. I've found a more sustainable solution is learning about prioritization and how it simplifies my nearly daily struggle to get things done.
Whether you’re an exercise enthusiast or a beginner in fitness, having a baby can seem like the perfect excuse to skip out on your gym membership or miss training sessions. You’re fighting fatigue like you’ve never felt before. You’re sleeping with one eye open and tripping over piles of laundry. And you’re wondering what the heck happened to your body.
The last thing you have time for is working out, right? But exercise just might be the one thing that makes you feel like you again.
As a new mom, I’ve learned to find a balance that helps me prioritize exercise as a part of my lifestyle. When I was pregnant, it was harder to work out, but it actually changed my perspective on my body and fitness. So, if you’re a new mom, or you have just found yourself busy and putting your own fitness last, you may need a little motivation to keep working out. Try these five tips to get back in the game.
1. It’s All about Priorities
Learning to prioritize was a game-changer for me.
Before having a baby, I not only got paid to work out as a fitness instructor, but I also had the time to do it when and where I wanted.
Now, I often find myself thinking, “I have 45 minutes while he’s napping. What can I do?”
If I didn’t already make my fitness a priority, I would probably fill that time with something else, like folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher, or trolling Instagram (guilty).
To get back into fitness, you have to consciously choose to make exercise a priority, something you can’t afford to skip.
It’s not easy, but one thing I have found helpful is to get my workout in as early in the day as possible, so I can’t come up with excuses later to skip it.
It’s also important as a mom, to realize that there are going to be things you spent time on pre-kids that you just don’t get to do as much anymore. It’s all about prioritizing them. I moved social media and watching TV lower down the list, and kept fitness a higher priority.
Having a baby makes me more present; there are times I just sit there to feed him or rock him, and at the end of the day, he’s more important than any activity. I’m just more aware of how I spend my time now and I have reshuffled my priorities.
2. The Magic of a Routine
We tried the whole get-your-baby-on-a-schedule thing, and it didn’t work for us. Our schedule looks different every day.
However, I still have certain things I do every day. They may not be at the same time every day, but there’s a routine to it, and this helps a lot.
Studies show that actions become habits through a process, by doing and repeating. The journey is long, so it takes a big dose of discipline and willpower in the beginning, but the payoff is that you’re intentionally creating healthy habits by doing the same thing over and over.
To start a routine for your health, plan your week’s meals and workouts. Schedule them in, but also make a plan B because babies can turn things upside down pretty quickly.
3. Set Meaningful Goals
After ten months of pregnancy, we obviously want to get our bodies back. That’s a no-brainer. We want to see more muscle, less fat and less cellulite.
Unfortunately, those changes don’t happen overnight, and sometimes those aesthetic goals and desires aren’t enough to keep you moving or to keep you motivated. In fact, if you don’t see the visible changes you want soon enough, it could be enough to derail your resolution to keep up with fitness.
Make your goals more meaningful by basing them on performance:
- A set number of push-ups or pull-ups
- A specific distance or speed in running, rowing, swimming, or biking
- Being able to finish an upcoming race
- Lifting a certain amount of weight
- Trying a new class
These goals should be physical and mental, and the best goals are measurable. Write them down and display your goals somewhere you will see them every day.
4. Break Goals down into Benchmarks
Now that you have goals, you should establish a way of tracking those goals, so that you hit certain benchmarks along the way. These benchmarks will show you that you are getting closer to achieving a goal and will help keep you motivated.
For example, you may have a goal of doing 10 push-ups on your toes. After a week of trying them, you may be able to do five. That’s a benchmark and you’re halfway there. Write it down.
Another example may be that you want to fit into your size four pants. After a month of exercise and better nutrition, you’ve been trying on your pants and taking pictures once a week. While the particular pants may not fit yet, your other clothes are looser. That’s a benchmark.
Envision your journey toward a goal as a marathon, not a sprint, with benchmarks every few miles.
5. Get Your Family Involved
Let me stress just how important it is to make health and fitness lifestyle priorities, not just for you, but for your whole family. There’s no reason you can’t combine fitness and family, and many reasons to do just that.
One of the best exercises I’ve added to my routine is pushing my son in his stroller. He loves being outside, so it gets me outdoors more often. I had no idea jogging with a stroller was so hard until I tried it—it’s a great workout.
Make it a family event, so that you get time with your spouse, talking and catching up, but you’re also doing something active. You could casually walk or make it an intense workout. There are tons of resources for at-home or outdoor workouts online. Just get out and get moving.
I hope your biggest takeaway from my five tips is that your healthy lifestyle shouldn’t have to wait until you have more time. The truth is, as a new mom there is never enough free time.
To stay motivated to prioritize your own health and fitness means valuing yourself enough. You alone have been given the position of that precious child’s mom. Your health directly affects your family, so you're not being selfish.
We moms have an opportunity to create an atmosphere in our home that inspires confidence, strength, and beauty. If we can exemplify those principles in our lives, then our children will learn by example and will grow into healthy, confident and strong adults.