Updated: Oct 22
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Do you ever sit down at the computer and some random blog pops up with a promise to give you the secret sauce to FINALLY sticking with a fitness plan? And of course, it's written by a 28 year old gym bro with no children nor any real adult responsibilities. Well, I'm no gym bro, but I do have some realistic tips on how to fit it all in.
RELENTLESSLY edit your schedule. Take a good look at your calendar and start removing the stuff that you don't want to do. We are not people pleasers anymore. For people who don't have the time to fit in a workout, removing events is the only way to create it. I'm not saying to do this forever, but if you are in a position where you REALLY need to focus on your health before it's too late, you can take 6 months off the social circuit. So, ask yourself these three questions: Is this something my kid(s) actually want to do? Is this something that will inspire me? Is this something that will make me money? If the answers to all of those are NO, cross it off.
Delegate and mean it. If you have another adult in the house, it's time for them to do more things to take tasks off your plate. I talk often about an equal division of labor, and while that is extremely relevant in the struggles that women face, in this instance, it's more about your partner holding it down while you focus on you. Sometimes, marriage is 50/50, sometimes it's 80/20, but he needs to accommodate your transition in lifestyle right now. His day will come (and odds are, he's been riding the 20% for a long time).
Adjust your work effort to your salary and treatment. This is going to be controversial, but if you are working outside the home and your employer is consistently putting more work on you without additional pay, you can politely decline. We don't move mountains for companies who wouldn't cross a puddle for us. There are a million and six companies that you can go to for more pay and an solid and enforceable job description. When you're not being exploited at work, guess what? You have more free time, and more importantly, your stress level is lower. Also, companies with valued employees tend to have lots of healthy lifestyle perks, like onsite gyms, salad bars, classpass, etc. Make the leap! You'll be sorry you didn't do it sooner.
Plan out your meals. Decide what you're going to eat and when. Plan it all out, get a grocery list together, maybe do Walmart pickup or have it delivered, and prep the main items so that you can easily grab your chicken out of the fridge and eat it. This fact will never not be true: people who have food prepped eat healthier meals than people that leave it to chance.
Make your 30 min workout a non-negotiable. It's important that you write down which days you are going to workout. You need to write down your entire plan, because the writing of the words makes it stick in your brain. There's also an important mindset shift here: Your exercise is a non-negotiable. Just like feeding your kid breakfast or taking them to school. You are now a person that follows through with her promises to herself. It doesn't matter how many times you've failed at this in the past. Repeat after me: "I am now a person that follows through with my promises to myself."
Plan your workout time in the morning, before you lose control of the day. We're going to lose control of the day, ok? It just happens. If you can mitigate the chaos by scheduling the workout in the AM before anything else, you're in a better position for success.
Start tracking your water intake. Water intake is the easiest habit to start tracking. Use an app or a paper or a planner or whatever, but assign your FIRST lifestyle change as "drink xxxx amount of water each day." This is your only change to start, for at least a week. Write down your success every day. Momentum builds and then you can move on.
Sleep is more important than a workout. If you are truly someone who never sits down, works 14 hours a day, doesn't spend time scrolling through social media... if you are TRULY someone that does not have an additional 30 min a day for a workout, after you've edited your schedule and delegated chores to your partner, DO NOT WORKOUT. At this life stage, it is significantly more important for you to get adequate and quality sleep, than it is to do a workout. Your body systems and brain need you to prioritize sleep right now. After sleep, try to plan your meals and get adequate, nourishing meals in. The rest of the time... you spend that quality time with your kids! There will be time to workout when things slow down for you. Do not stress yourself out about not working out when you are doing way too much as it is. Go to SLEEP!
Be completely honest and realistic with yourself. It's not realistic for someone who has not worked out in years to start a 5 day a week plan and stick to it. You can try and talk your brain into it as much as you want, but it won't work. Your body will burn out quickly, your brain will start with the excuses, and before you know it, it's 6 months from now and you worked out 3 times. How about we start with the water tracking, THEN we add in a 2 mile walk 3x a week for a couple weeks. THEN we do 2 walks and a youtube beginner yoga video the next week. THEN we try two bodyweight workouts and one yoga the next week. THEN we keep doing 3 workouts a week until it becomes routine... because why? Because we are now people that follow through with our promises.
Have a couple 10-15 min workouts in your arsenal for when you're low on time. Once you do get in the routine of consistently exercising, it's a good idea to have a couple quick workouts available for you to do when shit hits the fan and your schedule goes haywire. Don't break the promise to yourself. Instead, you are already prepared for this and can knock out a quick 10 min workout and go back to putting out your fires.
That's it! No fluff or unrealistic ideas. At the end of the day, you have to become the person that prioritizes their health, and that starts in the mind. In the beginning, it often feels like you have an alter ego, and if that works to get you in that mode, go for it! If you don't view yourself as that person, you will always struggle with discipline. You are a DISCIPLINED BADASS NOW. Let's work to get that mindset shift going!
Lots of Love,