It could just be my circle of friends, people I follow on social media, or my interests in general; but it seems to me like fitness is a hot topic these days. Especially how it relates to motherhood. So here is my experience and my two cents, on the subject.
First off, I have a degree in Exercise Science. I feel like I need to make that known for a few reasons, the first and foremost being that many (myself included) have fallen prey to people giving out health and fitness advice when they are not even qualified to do so. All of that to say, do your own research and do not blindly follow an “expert” without first checking their credentials.
I did not always have a love for fitness. Up until college, I loathed the idea of physical education. I detested having to “dress out” for P.E., sweat like a pig, only to have 15 minutes to “freshen up” and get back into class. It was terrible. I took every opportunity I could to skip out on it, including taking piano lessons for 10 years.
It was not until college that I developed a love for fitness, and it was actually on a whim. I was short two credit hours one semester, so I registered for “cardio dance”. And so began my love affair with fitness. I changed from pre-medicine, to exercise science, and the rest as they say, “is history.”
Everything in my beautiful world of fitness came to a screeching halt when I found out I was pregnant with my first boy. At the time, I was focused on my career and training for two half marathons. I was not planning on becoming pregnant for at least another two years – so this was definitely a curveball. My doctor did not approve of me running the races that I was registered for (which hindsight is 20/20, I think keeping up with my running regimen would have been perfectly healthy for me & baby). Thus my love for running died down from a boil to a simmer.
There was a lot of self-sabotaging going on in my life after the birth of my 2 boys. I not only compared myself to the fitness feeds you can find on practically every social media channel, but I was also comparing myself to “where I once was” … in a life that was pre-kids. Once I came to the realization that this was occurring, I made the conscious choice to extend myself grace, and to open my mind to the fact that fitness had changed for myself. What once worked for me, no longer was the case. A new journey began for me.
My passion for fitness has fluctuated over the years and morphed into different things. I started out as an avid runner, and now I’m an avid barre babe. So my first tip for you, do something that you love and that holds your interest. If you’re not into yoga, don’t do it. If you loathe the idea of running, then don’t. You have to find an activity that holds your interest and that you will stick to.
My barre studio does not offer childcare. This is a huge hurdle for many moms, and often the “make or break.” I had to decide early on to make a sacrifice … and I did. I sacrificed waking up at 7 am, and now wake up at 4:40 am in order to make it to a 5:30 am barre class. This was the only hour that worked for my little family. I leave while my house is still sleeping and get home in time to make breakfast, get my kids off to school, and myself off to work. So my second tip for you, if it was easy, everyone would do it. You’re going to have put some effort in. It won’t be easy, and quite frankly, after doing my 4:40 am wake-up call for two years, I call complete B.S. on the idea of new habits developing in 21 days.
I also learned that just because I was working out regularly, it did not warrant me being able to eat whatever I wanted. Nutrition is key. I have found that it actually outweighs my workout regimen. I also do not believe in deprivation. The second my mind knows a food is off limits, I instantly crave it! So my third tip for you, eat what you want for the body you want, not for the workout you may do.
My last and final tip: health and fitness are not a “one size fits all.” What works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa. My typical workout week consists of barre 3 to 4 days, plus 3 days of weight training. I leave the house for barre, but for weight training, I do it at home. I also work full time. Thankfully 3 of my workdays are from my home while caring for my two boys. So to me, when others tell me that they have “no time,” it’s normally a matter of time management & motivation ….not a lack of hours in the day.
Working out at home allows me to set an example for my boys on leading a healthy lifestyle. They don’t see me doing barre, but they do see me lifting weights. They even join me in some of the workouts, when they are not engrossed in Paw Patrol or Mickey’s Roadster Racers!
Moms, we need to stay healthy for not only ourselves but also for our children. We set the example! Kids should not be an excuse, but rather a reason!