Posted on 16/10/2017 by Mai Pearson
Boot camp at 6am in the pouring rain?... Anyone??...
….or perhaps a high intensity spinning session between the kids’ inevitably delayed bedtime and my usual rushed dinner and precious ‘me-time’? Errrr, perhaps not, I hear you say…but for me, I just have to do it for my sanity and well-being. I often wonder how everyone else stays sane if they don’t manage to squeeze in the time to exercise, however hard that may be with the pressures of everyone’s schedules. The sun hasn’t even come up as I am thinking about all this, walking back from a harrowing, but strangely satisfying, weight lifting session in the park.
After spending my more recent years as a full time mum, I have religiously grabbed every possible opportunity to exercise, always making sure to eat a balanced and healthy diet, and then at the end of last year I decided it was time to go back to work full time. I was ready and really excited to be doing what I love and finally having a bit of myself back again. Going back to a 9/10 hour day at the office came hand in hand with waving good-bye to a lot of my fitness and I started making less smart food choices, too.
Working in a fast paced and challenging job whilst being a mum of two young children leaves little time…. or so I thought. It turns out that if you actually stick with something long enough it truly does become routine and a far more natural addition to your day if you plan it well. So I’ve decided to write this article to share some tips that will help anyone else who might be struggling to find their sanity whilst attempting to balance their need for fitness with life’s every day responsibilities.
My biggest piece of advice is to be patient and persevere. Forming a healthy habit might not seem very easy at the beginning, but it will eventually become part of your day and as a ‘guru’ of mine once told me, it only takes 6 weeks to form a good habit!
So, how did I do it? I started using my Sunday evenings to batch cook different varieties of super healthy vegetable soups for the week and stocked up on healthy snacks to take into work. I started setting myself achievable goals that didn’t scare me too much and would actually fit around my kids, critically, making sure to stick to them. A good friend of mine came over and mounted my TRX to the ceiling and I invested in a spinning bike (probably the best investment I’ve ever made!) – Admittedly not the prettiest addition to my living room, but oh does it work magic!
Having created a mini gym in my living room all I needed was motivation, which does not come easily after a 9 or 10 hour day at the office, but this is where your personal discipline kicks in!
Coming home to two kids who desperately try to tell me about their day - simultaneously at an extremely high pitch and at full volume, can be very distracting if I’m trying to slot in a quick workout. But I find if I allocate the time to my exercise, I end up having far more patience than ever before.
Personally, group fitness really helps to motivate me, so I highly recommend joining one that you feel encouraged by. I start my week with a 6am boot-camp session in my local park and end it the same way on Friday morning. Although it may seem like torture, I enjoy it immensely and barely ever miss a class for fear of letting my classmates or trainer down. This sense of belonging really helps you to stay committed. Here are my top tips to help you stay focused on your path to fitness:
- Perseverance – keep going when it feels like you can’t
- Patience (with yourself and your children!)
- Plan ahead (prepare healthy food to avoid any temptations while in the office and choose exercise times to work around what’s important to you)
- Finding the right exercise for you and the right setting, be it in a class or in private at home
- Remember to be kind to yourself!!!
Instead of feeling guilty that I have not seen my children for more than an hour, I now get to spend quality time with them after work, having done the main bulk of my exercise early in the morning at my beloved boot camp session. I cherish tucking my kids into bed after their bed-time stories after which I now simply throw on a pair of trainers and get on my spinning bike whilst watching my favourite TV series, followed by a quick abs session. I admit, I’m slightly obsessed with being fit and staying in shape, but it truly does wonders for my sanity and happiness… surely that’s worth it!
Give it a go, and if you’re as highly energetic as I am, then I hope this helps you as much as it helped me to get back on track and find the perfect balance. If you would like to chat to me about the above, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org