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We all have priorities and our time reflects that. For most moms, the list of wants and the list of required tasks don’t exactly line up. However, we talk endlessly of self-care and our desires for more time. So, when it comes to our health and fitness, how do we find the time among our required tasks, fulfilled relationships and rest? Also known as, balance. I want to share with you some steps to equipping you for success on your fitness journey.
We all know that this isn’t an easy endeavor for anyone, but as moms, it seems near impossible sometimes. We all know that mom that makes it work at 4 am with her “no excuses” attitude and what seems like endless energy for her day. I am NOT that mom. I am not a morning person (like anytime before 8:30 might as well not exist) and I have excuses! Lots of them! I don’t know how she does it, but I cannot do that and be a happy person. And, I want to be a happy person. Heck, my family wants me to be a happy person cause it isn’t pretty when mama is tired and crabby. And as far as excuses, let’s call them reasons because they are good things that I need to get done, not excuses for what I’m not getting done. If you can’t tell, calling them excuses bothers me. My kids’ math homework is not an excuse, it is what I do, often through gritted teeth and angrily pouring coffee down my throat while rubbing my face hoping that will somehow erase the tension I can’t seem to release from my jaw, to help them succeed later in life. I do think that there is some amount of time available to everyone though. I think that the key is to start with the right base of equipment. I need to be able to work out at home and on the go depending on the day. My current workouts happen at home when I have daycare kids and on the go when my daughter has gymnastics. You need to be able to work out on the fly in whatever environment you have access to. So, the list below is what I consider to be the basics.
When You’re New to the Fitness Habit
- Access to Video Instruction
There are many apps available, some of them free, that start with as little as 7-minute workouts. They give you the ability to do your workouts anywhere, flexibility to change your type of workout depending on your mood, fitness level and/or injury. This is not my favorite way to workout but I do need the instruction to get a quality strength workout from home.
- Something to Hold Your Phone
If you are going to workout outside on the road or on trails or at parks etc., you need to carry your phone. It is a safety issue that really just shouldn’t be compromised. Many of these options are as little as $8 and can be easily found at sports shops, Amazon or just the sports section of any big box store. I personally prefer ones that are a belt style that can carry my water and I do not have to pull my phone out of my case for but there are many armbands or bike mount styles that people love. While we are on the issue of safety, never run with headphones in both ears. It makes you an easy target for attackers. I love my run music but I just blast the speaker on my phone and listen to it from my belt.
- Some Athletic Wear
Guys, people quit working out all the time! Hit up a thrift store. Find a few pairs of leggings and some tank tops and call it a day. For $25, you should be able to find enough outfits for a few days of exercise. Then, go look for a high-quality sports bra. The clearance section is a great place to start but make sure you are taking into account the kind of fitness you plan to do and buy a bra that matches that level of intensity and impact. Nobody enjoys a floppy workout! Lastly, get good shoes. Running shoes are great for running but not great for strength training because of the amount of grip and balance you need to be able to achieve with your feet. Keep this in mind as you’re buying shoes. A suitable hybrid is a good option for versatility and starting out.
If You’re Ready for the Next Fit Step:
They aren’t cheap but if you’ve proven to yourself that you are going to keep up with your fitness journey and you can feel yourself getting stronger, keep up with your weights. I started by buying a small set with 2 3s,5s and 8s. I also strongly recommend a kettlebell to mix up your workout options. There are lots of great YouTube videos of varying lengths to add to your workouts and give you a variety. But, if your workouts are getting less challenging, buy the next dumbbell set. Same is true for a few resistance bands. They give you options without taking much space or dollars (can you tell this mama is on a budget?!).
- Cardio Machine You Can Use at Home
Weight training is great but I truly believe that it’s important that you put some focus on your cardiovascular fitness as well. This is that hardest to incorporate without leaving home unless you have some equipment. Again, people quit exercising all the time! Look for a used treadmill, elliptical or bike trainer. I own all three and there are certainly benefits to all. I love that I can run in my bedroom while the kids play or eat breakfast. The elliptical is takes up less space and has less joint impact when my old knee injury flares plus it gets my arms involved. My favorite, though, is my bike trainer. It was cheap at a garage sale and takes up almost no space. I use my regular bike on it so it only takes a couple minutes to turn it from a stationary bike to hitting the road. I can use it in the garage in the summer and I’m still able to watch the kids play outside while I ride. Then, in the winter, I put it in my work out area next to the treadmill and ride all winter. Admittedly, the bike is kind of my happy place when it comes to fitness so the trainer was the best $10 ever spent. I own all three pieces of equipment and I have spent a grand total of $60 on them. They aren’t the fancy ones but they do the job and I get my workouts in.
Now, set your goals and start. If you hate an app or an exercise, try something else. If you can’t get up with the morning alarm, try after lunch or before dinner. Start small and see what you can do.