It’s no secret Moms and women everywhere struggle with balancing time to juggle family responsibilities. Loving on your kids, feeding them, nurturing your marriage and excelling at a career, all leave little time to be consistent with self care and fitness.
The only way to do it is to stop trying to be Wonder Women.
Wonder Woman is a fictional character.
For our own health and sanity it is important that we prioritize our fitness so that we can be there long term to enjoy our family in the best of health.
Since time is a precious commodity let us examine ways we can optimize our fitness without taxing what little time we have.
Here is a useful a analogy from an organizing website I perused years ago: If you put something new into your life or environment, take something out. For example, when buying a new pair of shoes, donate an old pair of shoes.
Let’s apply this to our time budget. In order to add in a new fitness habit, an old habit has to go. Buuuuut, we don’t want to get rid of all the fun in our life, because well obviously then life sucks.
Finding a balance is what mothers and others need to come up with.
If you ask me, as a Mom who has raised 4 kids, I firmly believe that setting a good example for our kids is vital.
It means eating well and exercising are a way of life and not a part time habit to prepare for special occasions.
It means that Moms and Dads must take time daily to move and eat right for their body, so that they can take care of their family.
Right about now your are probably thinking your gonna have to quit your job or hire a house manager to find time to get to the gym and cook from scratch**.
**Treat your exercise/ movement as a non negotiable priority. You would not change your eye appointment or your mammogram, so please stop accepting appointments that interfere with your exercise habits.
Let’s talk about movement.
Not all movement has to be formal exercise to be effective. There are ways to stay active and not use up all of your time. In fact studies prove that the majority of our daily calorie burn does not come from formal exercise.
It may seem strange to hear this form a trainer, and obviously some formal exercise is needed to preserve our precious resting metabolic rate (aka toned muscle). However, adding in consistent mini movement habits is highly effective and a time sensitive way to add more energy expenditure into your life.
Here are a some easy strategies that don’t take up precious time:
Add in 5 minutes of focused exercise per day.
You can get this done in less time than it takes to check social media or surf Pinterest.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and do as many rounds of a mini superset as you can. Work hard and rest only when necessary as needed. For example. 8 push ups, 8 body weight squats, 8 mountain climbers, 30 seconds hard high knee marching in place. Repeat until 5 minutes time is up.
- This WILL make a difference, because it is short enough to be done consistently and intense enough to burn significant calories and keep burning energy later.
- Commit to this mini habit as a daily minimum requirement. More time is an option but never required. Don’t do less. Commit to 5 minutes and watch what happens. It is important not to raise the daily minimum.
- Keep it doable.
Mini requirements work well, because on time strapped days it is still easy to fit in. By the time you procrastinate, you are done. So forget putting it off.
Just do five minutes.
Even if you forget and do it right before bed, its only 5 minutes! On other days more may get done but it is never ever required.
Include your kids in movement:
This could be going on walks, or grabbing a quick game of basketball in the driveway.
When you bring your daughter to her lacrosse practice, use that time to grab a walk or a short dumbbell or TRX exercise that can be done anywhere ( keep a set of dumbbells or a TRX in your car). Visit the video section here for ideas.
Schedule your work meetings as walk dates.
Instead of meeting your mastermind partner or new client for coffee or lunch, schedule a walk meeting. If it’s long distance, put on your headphones and walk while you talk. A few of my local nutrition clients have been on the receiving end of this and loved it.
Invite your spouse on a gym date or a walk date.
Are you golfers? Play nine holes together for Friday happy hour (walking) and then grab dinner in the club house. Do you both like to garden? Plan a Saturday morning garden session. Get the kids involved too if they are around, and then have a family lunch.
Make use of the kids’ warm up time.
Back in my hockey-mom days, I made it a habit, especially when we traveled, to drop my son at the rink and then head out for a walk, run, or a quick bodyweight workout in the parking lot during the locker room and warm-up time. You will be in your seat in time for the game, and it is a much better use of your time than chatting mindlessly with the other parents. Why not grab another parent and ask her to join you. It might even turn into a parents walk club!
There are a few minutes in every day that can be taken advantage of, and often times what we are giving up is wasted time.
The suggestions above require no commuting time or fancy workout clothes. Do your self a favor, and when you plan out your week*, carve out those mini slots. They are an investment in your health. Your future self will thank you.
Share your winning strategies below in the comments, and if you have requests for more on-the-go exercises please let me know.