I get asked pretty frequently how I “fit it all in,” how I manage a full time job, being a mom and wife, running a side business and staying on track with my fitness. The question is usually triggered by a conversation on fitness, as so many busy moms don’t feel they have time to exercise regularly. They struggle to even get started because the idea of adding one more element to a busy day seems completely overwhelming. They figure they must have to give something up to add something in. Sometimes that is the case, but not necessarily.
I don’t have any magic, any secret solutions, but when I really thought about it, I realized there are a few things that help make it possible even during my busiest times. Here are my top four tips to making fitness a regular part of my life:
#1 – At home workouts
First and foremost, I workout at home. This is probably the biggest reason I am able to stay consistent with my exercise. I have no commute to and from the gym, I’m not worrying about air quality or weather patterns, and I completely make my own schedule. I follow workout programs that I stream online on Beachbody on Demand, or play one on DVD.
There are a ton of workouts on YouTube, but I prefer mine for quality and the way the calendar is laid out and I have a plan for the upcoming 21-90 days, depending on the program.
#2 – Pick something you enjoy
The first question I ask my clients is what kind of exercise they actually enjoy. What do they like most? The idea is to choose something you LIKE, because you will be more likely to stick with it. If you hate yoga, don’t choose yoga. If you love dance, look for a dance program. I love strength training so I typically choose a program that involves weights. I also love dance but it has to be something I can actually follow or I will get totally frustrated and not want to do it. While I appreciate yoga on days where I need a great stretch, I wouldn’t be likely to follow a full yoga program. Pick something you LIKE to do, so even on days you don’t feel like it, it’s not like having your eyes peeled to get it done.
#3 – Make it short!
Another major factor in my ability to stick with my fitness is the length of the routines. Almost 90% of the workouts I do are 25-30 minutes. Some days there’s a 10 minute ab routine thrown in for good measure, but most days are around 30 minutes. This works well for my limited time and busy schedule. I workout in the morning before getting ready for work, but if for some reason it doesn’t get done, 30 minutes is short enough that I can take my iPad to the gym at my office and still get it done at lunch, or I can get it done in the evening if necessary – when it’s only 30 minutes there is really no excuse.
#4 – Find an accountability buddy
Have someone that will keep you accountable to your plan. Find a group on Facebook, get a coach, get together with a friend. If you go to the gym, meet with a trainer every once in a while to make sure you stay on track. Have someone that will check in on you, who will call you out if you fall off track. Someone that will motivate you to keep going. Some people find accountability by making their journey public. Some people love the “gamification” of their goals – an app where they earn check marks or points for every workout can be enough accountability for them, at least in the short term. Whatever it is that makes YOU accountable, this is an important part of your success. For me, it’s several things – I made my journey public. I signed up as a coach and I am accountable to my clients. I run accountability groups on Facebook to help others, but it helps me as well. All these factors ensure I stick with my programs.
These are the four main ways I keep exercise part of my daily routine. Daily exercise is good for my brain, it’s good for my energy, it’s good for my skin, it’s good for my sleep, it’s good for my health. But even with all these benefits, if I didn’t have the four factors above, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick with it like I do.
Find what works for YOU. Figure out how, when and where will set you up for the best possible chance of success. And do that. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Here is a video I posted on my Facebook page talking about some of the things I do to stay on track with my fitness: