These are the two main reasons for Mums not being able to exercise as much as they want to. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t because we don’t want to or have better things to do. It’s that we simply cannot fit it into our day and when we can, we are often exhausted from sleepless nights or being shouted at all day by toddlers.
So, what can we do about it?
There isn’t much I can do about the sleepless nights or the shouty toddlers otherwise I think I’d be a millionaire selling those secrets, but there are a few things that may make your life a little easier when trying to fit in some exercise into your week.
FINDING THE TIME
It doesn’t mean that said plan is going to go perfectly but without a plan, there is far less chance of anything happening. So look at the week ahead or even the day ahead and think to yourself “where could I maybe fit in some exercise?” and then tell someone about this plan, preferably someone you live with so that you have voiced it. This helps more than you will know. It may be that your partner or whoever you live with may be able to help you stick to your plan.
Ask for support
Often I get grumpy that no one has helped me, but then realise it’s because I haven’t asked for help. Could someone look after your little one for half an hour or an hour while you get your exercise done? You’ll never know unless you ask, and no it isn’t selfish to want this time to yourself, it’s important.
When you get the time WHAT are you going to do?
Are you going to do a class? and if so which class and what will you need for it? Are you going to do your own session? and if so what exercises will you put in there? These are all things you can plan out before so that when you get your window of opportunity you are ready to go from the offset and don’t waste time thinking about the above.
It doesn’t have to be a “workout”
Remember that on the days where a workout is just out of the question, you can get your exercise in plenty of other ways so get outside for a walk, even the supermarket shop gets your step count up so panic not. Look at your week rather than your day, so if one day is more sedentary then that is fine because the next day you can increase your step count or try to do your workout that day instead. See it as a 7 day period rather than 24 hours and this way it is less pressure.
FINDING THE MOTIVATION
It’s not always there at the right time
It’s so often the case that you are motivated to exercise at times when you aren’t able to utilise it and then when the time comes for you to go, your brain is not with you and it’s hard to muster up the motivation to get going.
Remember that you don’t have to be motivated to get it done, you simply have to start. Some days you are just going to have to suck it up, put your trainers on and start the class or the workout. Hopefully once you get going you will get into the swing of things and feel great but don’t wait for the motivation to begin.
Set realistic goals
If your goals are actually achievable in the near future, you are much more likely to want to work towards them. If your goal is too big, it can feel daunting and its easy to keep putting it off.
Set goals that can be achieved in a matter of weeks and actually congratulate yourself when you achieve them because any progress is work celebrating. For example instead of “lose 10kg as soon as possible!” Maybe have your goal as “do one strength and one cardio workout a week for 4 weeks” and see how you get on, then once achieved you can add in something else or add in a more specific goal such as “be able to do 10 kneeling press-ups in a row” so you can measure your progress.
Do it with a friend
There is power in numbers when it comes to motivation because it is likely that when one of you feels demotivated, the other one can pick it up and keep you both accountable. Perhaps you both go to one house to workout, or to a class or even do it separately but hold each other accountable by checking in on how it went. You could even try tag teaming with childcare.
Now, not all of these will work for you every time, but hopefully, you can implement some of the ideas and feel a little bit more motivated to workout once you’ve managed to carve out the time in your day. It really is challenging and you are certainly not alone in feeling this, I’d say it was one of the hardest things for me to get used to once having a baby as I was no longer in complete control.
You’ve got this! Keep at it, and if you can’t today then there is always tomorrow!