5 Tips To Fit Fitness Into Your Busy Life

People often ask how I manage to stay fit as a busy, working mom or how I “bounced back” so quickly postpartum. To be honest, some of it is a metabolism I’ve built up over time through gradually increasing my calories and building up fat burning muscle through weightlifting, but a large part of it is being pretty strategic with the limited time I have. Although I would like to, I don’t have time to get into the gym every day – it’s a really good week if I make it twice. Therefore, being consistent with healthy eating and finding ways to make sure I’m incorporating fit habits into my life are more important than ever before. Believe me when I tell you that, over time, consistency with the little, habitual things adds up!

Here are five easy things you can do today to make your life a little more fit:

1.Schedule workouts on your calendar, just like you would appointments.

If you have particular days and times that you can plug in a workout, write it into your planner or add it to your electronic calendar just like you would any other appointment. Your goals deserve a time slot! I am 90% more likely to stick to my scheduled workout if it’s  already a part of my calendar. I usually plan out my workouts about a month in advance, down to the actual workout I’m going to do depending on my fitness goals at that time.

If you’re looking for a few effective, no equipment required workouts to do during that scheduled time, check out this post or download my free Busy Mama’s Home Workout Plan HERE.

2. During TV commercials, do as many rounds as you can of:

  • 10 pushups (from your toes, knees or off a wall as your fitness level dictates)
  • 20 air squats
  • 30 sit ups (or sub a 1:00 plank if sit ups don’t work for you)

3. Take plank or walk breaks at work, or throughout your day at home.

I have a friend who is also a successful author, and I remember him telling me that he takes plank breaks every hour or so when he is writing. I now practice this in the office, with the door shut of course! If you can’t find the time for a quick walk around the office/block, try dropping and holding a plank for as long as you can several times throughout the day (it helps to keep a yoga mat rolled up in your office!).


4. Keep protein bars in your purse for on-the-go snacking.

When you know you have a filling, healthy snack with you when you’re out and about, you can eliminate making a less healthy choice. When you think about all the fast food stops this tip could replace, it really adds up. I never get tired of these vanilla wafer protein bars by Power Crunch – I swear they taste exactly like a wafer cookie! French Vanilla cream is my favorite, but if you’re a chocolate lover you’ll love the Triple Chocolate or Cookies and Cream flavor!).

5. Keep a water bottle with a straw like this one with you at all times.

I’m much more likely to drink water on the go, in the car or working at my desk when there’s an easy access straw. Not only is water good for your digestion, skin, and kidney function, it also decreases fatigue and keeps your calorie intake in check by helping you feel full; A lot of times I find myself reaching for a snack when what I really need is a glass of H2O.

I hope you find these tips helpful in making your life just a little more fit and healthy. What are your tips and tricks for fitting in a little more fitness and good nutrition into your day?

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE. Subscribers are automatically entered to win bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you utilize a link to make a purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you. THANK YOU!

A Busy Mom’s Motivation To Work Out

a-busy-moms-motivation-to-work-out-1

Hi Mamas!

I haven’t done a fitness post in a LONG time. That’s mostly because, as much as it used to be my “thing” (e.g. 14 half marathons, competing in CrossFit, wanna-be body building, etc.), since becoming a new mom I’ve been struggling to feel as passionate about working out as I have in the past.

past-photo
Pre-preggo/baby, when working out was a top priority and I had free time (what’s that?).

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep (thank you teething/growth spurt/sleep regression/whatever), the minimal time left after trying to be excellent at my job whilst trying to be an excellent new mom (I’m not accomplishing either of those to that standard, FYI), or the general discomfort I feel when I actually do work out, but I’ve been cutting myself a break in the workout department these last few months. Now, I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon, as I am still eating relatively healthily (90% of the battle) and making sure I am active in some form 3-4 days per week which usually consists of a gym workout once or twice, a few walks, and lots of planks and push-ups during crime show commercials after Taylor has gone to sleep…

All that to say that I worked out Sunday night after a really long week (I think I slept a cumulative 21 hours, and I say “think” because I barely can…) and during my warm up thought through the reasons why I continue to make fitness a part of my life even when I don’t feel like doing so. This thinking got me re-motivated and I wanted to share that with you in case you were feeling as lackluster about fitness as I was. It’s easy to want to put it on the back burner, or even give it up entirely, when we’re SO busy as moms trying to do “it all,” but there are many valuable reasons -both physical and mental – to persevere and find some time to move.

At this stage in my life as a new, working away from the home mom, these are the reasons that motivate me to work out, in no particular order:

  1. A clear mind – as moms we have SO many “to dos” running through our minds at all times. For me, working out is the space where I permit myself to turn all of that off and tune in only to what I’m doing physically. Even if it’s a few rounds of 1 minute plank holds (which, by the way, are infinitely harder after childbirth) giving my neurotic mind a mini-break is well worth the effort. If you need one reason to workout, let this be the one.
  2. Alone time – aside from driving in my car to and from work, one of the only times I am alone is when I go for a workout. We have a gym in our garage, but I find that I crave going to the actual brick and mortar gym – it’s so tempting to cut my workout short when I know my precious baby is just a few steps beyond my garage door whereas if I’ve driven to the gym I’ll usually put in at least 45 minutes. As much as I love being with my family, I also need to have time where I don’t have to interact with anyone in the world; As an introvert, this time is integral to my feeling balanced and refreshed. Any other introvert mamas out there who relate?
  3. A confidence boost – when I’m working out consistently I definitely keep my shoulders more square and hold my head a little higher. Working toward a goal – whether strength or aesthetic – makes me feel really good about myself. If you work out consistently, you know what I mean. If you haven’t given yourself this gift, you certainly deserve to.
  4. Endorphins – when we exercise, our bodies release these amazing, feel- good hormones that can be just as addicting as any other vice; I got hooked in high school and haven’t been able to quit them since! I find that, even on sleep deprived nights like last night, no matter how tired I am if I can just motivate myself to move – go for a jog, a short but intense workout, etc. – I get an instant mood and energy lift. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their life?
  5. Getting my “body back” – as much as that phrase irritates me, and I think that all moms (and women) are beautiful no matter what their physical state, I honestly do want to get back into fighting shape eventually. For each mama getting your “body back” looks a little different, but I go by the mantra that the ideal weight/shape is whatever you reach when you are living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living; I’m sure this will look different for me at this stage in my life than it has in the past, and than it may look in the future. The most important motivator is that physical strength & ability translates into mental fortitude – which I for one can always use an extra dose of!

Why do you work out? What is motivating to you to keep moving and take care of yourself physically? If you don’t already, do any of these reasons make you consider incorporating workouts into your (busy) life? Leave a comment and let me know!

Here are a couple of the workouts I’ve done lately, at home and at the gym. If you’re looking for ideas, Pin these for when you find time in the coming weeks:

home-workout

gym-workout

xo, Ashley (1)


5-reasons-to-work-out

Losing The Baby Weight: The Secret To Bouncing Back Postpartum

losing-the-baby-weight-2

Not sure how to achieve your postpartum fitness and body goals?

What will not work is yo-yo-ing between being 100% dedicated to whichever diet plan for X amount of weeks or months, then going back to relatively crappy eating because you feel deprived.  What will not work is telling yourself you’ll work out 5 days per week, feeling discouraged because you only worked out twice, and then doing nothing for weeks/months following. What will not work is beating yourself up for not getting where you want to be fast enough, breaking an unsustainable diet or missing a workout. What will not work is feeling guilty or self-indulgent for wanting to take care of yourself and feel good about your body as a mama, thereby not pursuing your health & fitness goals. What will not work is putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to look a certain way or reach an arbitrary weight.

Your best weight is whatever weight you reach when you are living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living.
Amen?!

 

My secret to “bouncing back” after pregnancy?

CONSISTENCY – working out regularly [including weights], and eating healthily [80% of the time] before, during and after pregnancy.

What has always worked for me, and what I think can work for you too, is devising a reasonable, sustainable workout and nutrition game plan that I feel good about, and being CONSISTENT with that plan.

That will look different for every mama; our metabolisms, backgrounds, goals and levels of fitness are all so different, so I can’t say how long it will take for you to achieve your personal postpartum body/fitness goals. However, I can guarantee you’ll make progress you will feel good about if you find ways to get and stay consistent with workouts and nutrition for the long haul.

For me, in regards to nutrition, I know I’m not able to consistently stick with any particular type of diet [I’ve tried Atkins, super low calorie, Paleo, Zone, etc. over the last 15 years or so] without A) beating myself up for “cheating” and then giving up for the rest of that day or week, or B) getting way too OCD and un-balanced about it. I’m also just not going to cut out wine or my regular cheeseburger or pizza indulgences at this point in my life. For these reasons I choose to eat healthy about 80% of the time, ALL the time. Even on vacation. Even while pregnant. There’s that consistency piece again : )

IMG_2761
Nap-time lifting sesh in the backyard.

My formula for exercise has been the same for years: set a minimum amount of workouts I can reasonably get in for the week, then make it happen. If I do more than that, great! If not, I know I’ve taken care of myself and my body at a level I feel good about. I do that week in, and week out, no matter what’s going on in my life: injury, grad school, vacation, pregnancy, etc. I find I’m never so busy that I can’t find time for 3 workouts of some kind weekly – and I believe that will continue to be true even when I go back to work in a few weeks.

I plan to continue sharing how I am finding ways to adapt to my new mama reality and stay consistent with working out and keeping my nutrition on point – especially as I head back to work. If you are on your postpartum fitness journey as well, I hope my sharing will inspire you to find ways to incorporate fitness in a way that feels healthy, balanced AND helps you achieve your personal goals.

After I started this blog post, I went to a Physical Therapist to learn more about this Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction I have going on resulting from delivery. I wanted to understand more about it, and make sure I wasn’t doing anything to impede healing or cause further damage. Although not surprised, I was pretty bummed at what I learned. In a nutshell, if I want my body to heal correctly and resolve as quickly as possible, apparently the only cardio I can do until a minimum of 6 months postpartum is swimming with a pull buoy between my knees or walking with a “short stride”…Suuuuuuuper fun…. Additionally, no split leg movements [lunging, step ups, etc.], side or front planks, squats below parallel, and on and on. Basically, most of what I would like or recommend others to do for exercise is off limits until at least November. However, can I still find ways to train consistently and get back into shape as planned? Absolutely. I can and I will! That said, until I’m in the clear, the workouts I’ll share with you on the blog/social media will be a combination of what I am actually doing, and what I would be doing if I could.

HERE is my log for the first week I started doing more than slow walks, kegels, heel taps, planks and pelvic tilts [6 weeks postpartum]. As you can see, the largest part of my fitness routine was walking. Walking continues to be my only cardio for now – uphill walking when I get into the gym – and it’s really helped me to shed off the preggo pounds. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of walking! Let me know if you’re interested in seeing the rest of my log – I’m happy to share.

Below is a workout I did at the park with Taylor this week. Obviously, I’ve since learned that I can’t continue with these movements, but YOU can!  Try this one out and let me know how it goes – I thought it was pretty fun : )

Steps & Squats:

1. Walk or drive to a local park with your little one + stroller.

2. Locate several locations you could ‘step up’ on [spread throughout the park] as you walk around for a 5-10 min warm up.

IMG_2616
Here are some places I found to ‘step up’ at the park down the street.

3. Park your stroller and complete the following 3 exercises [A-C = one set], briskly walk for 3-5 minutes, do another set,  and so on until you’ve walked 1 mile or 30 minutes have elapsed [whichever takes longer!].  I use the Map My Run app to track how far I’ve walked:

A]15 walking lunges w/stroller, each leg

B] 25 air squats

C] 15 step ups, each leg

Now go get after it, mama! Come up with a reasonable plan and stay consistent with it. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey: make 2 workouts and 1 walk your weekly goal. When you feel like you can and want to, throw in another workout, or an extra mile to  your walk. Go slow, listen to your body, and stay balanced- getting back into shape after having a baby is a marathon, not a sprint. You can do this!

P.S. If you’re interested in more workout ideas, follow me on Instagram, @taylormademama. I plan to post workouts there more frequently.

xo, Ashley (1)

Stroller: Baby Jogger City Select w/ car seat adaptor

Car Seat: Peg Pérego Primo Viaggio