SO YOU’RE A MOM. Maybe you’re a new one, or one with a toddler, or one or two (or more!) children around. Your life is busy. I know, I get it. And as a trainer, a mom, and a trainer TO moms, I’ve heard more than my fair share of excuses (some good, and some bad) of why some mommies just can’t take the time or make the effort to hit the weights, get to the gym, work out in the home, and exercise. Here’s what I’ve heard, and here’s how to fix it.
1. I have no time. BUSTED: Set your alarm clock earlier, cut out pointless behaviors (watching TV, surfing the internet), work out when baby naps, involve baby in your daily walks, take a mommy and me stroller class (or something similar), make exercise a priority, budget your time better, leave the dishes in the sink, or hire a housekeeper to free up some time. Seriously, if you can’t take 3 or 4 hours out of every week to dedicate to fitness and wellness, that’s saying something about how you value your own health.
2. I’m too tired. BUSTED: Take a good long look at your diet. Are you getting in proper nutrition? You could be deficient in a vitamin, not eating enough, not drinking enough water, or are simply choosing foods that make you feel sluggish. Consider supplementing with a multivitamin, or if you handle stimulants fine, a cup of green tea or coffee. Try a little bit of cardio early in the morning before the family wakes up; it gets the blood pumping and is an instant pick-me-up. Then take a nap while hubby watches baby.
3. I’m intimidated by getting in the weight room, I’m self conscious of my body, and I’m still in maternity clothes. BUSTED: You don’t have to go to a commercial gym. It took you 9 months to complete your pregnancy, so the weight will take time to come off. If you can’t make it to the gym, invest in some resistance bands and light dumbbells at home. Newbies and even those with some training under the belt (if you are coming off a pregnancy, you’re likely to be a little deconditioned) will experience some terrific gains in strength (and not mass) after an extended layoff. Readers who have lifted and remember the beginning phase know what I’m talking about; milk the newbie period for all it’s worth. The payoff will be increased muscle tone and a stronger, firmer body.
4. I have no motivation to exercise. BUSTED: Find a training partner, enlist the help of a friend, hire a personal trainer, an online diet coach, and be accountable to SOMEONE. Someone you pay, or someone who is waiting for you at the trail for a walk. Social networks are becoming increasingly popular, get on Facebook and announce your goals publicly (I want to lose the baby weight, help me stay on track!) and see how many friends can help you stick to it.
5. I’m a mom and therefore I must put my family first; I feel guilty about taking the time to exercise. BUSTED: Just ask your husband/boyfriend/partner if he feels guilty about spending Sunday afternoon on the couch watching football while you entertain and distract Junior for a few hours. Yes, your children, family, and husband need to know you will be there for them. You’re a parent and you always will be. Life will be hectic from now on. But exercise, be it a 20-minute walk, or 30 minutes of strength training, a workout DVD at home, are great stress relievers. So take time to destress with physical activity. You’ll be doing everyone a favor, because raising a family, working a job, being a wife, and a mom is plenty stressful.
-Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com