Free Time Fitness for Moms
Being a mom is an amazing gift, however, unless you are genetically blessed it can also come with some undesirable consequences in the form of muffin top, saddlebags, and extra arm jiggle. This is a very real issue for millions of busy moms who are trying to lose weight and get back in shape but struggle to find the time or motivation to really make it happen. Today we are going to dig into some different strategies to help you win the fight against fat!
These days there is an overwhelming amount of information available about how to lose weight, get in shape, and stay that way. A lot of the information is good and can be helpful, but there are also a lot of empty promises and conflicting ideas and concepts presented. It seems like a new fad weight loss plan pops up every day. We are constantly bombarded with billboards, magazine covers, and commercials full of airbrushed models and actresses making us feel less than perfect. So when the magazine at the supermarket checkout tells you that you can lose ten pounds in ten days it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon.
But we all know where that eventually leads, right back where you started.
The good news is that we do know what really works: exercise and healthy eating habits, a novel idea in this society of magic pills and silver bullets. It may sound overly simplistic or even naïve but ultimately it is the only way to lose weight and keep it off for good. It has to be a lifestyle makeover not just a blitz before swimsuit season.
The first thing we need to cover is having the proper mentality. If this is going to work long term it has to be a lifestyle change and those kinds of changes have to come from within. Anyone can convince themselves to eat nothing but salad and carrot sticks for two weeks before a big event but it takes real determination to overhaul your habits and find a plan that works today, tomorrow, and five years from now.
The most damaging thing we do to ourselves is getting into the habit of negative thinking or “negative self-talk.” We put ourselves down or tell ourselves we can’t do something. The most ironic thing is that we encourage our kids to be positive and be nice to others but we aren’t even nice to ourselves sometimes!
This kind of behavior can take many forms, everything from looking in the mirror with disgust to thinking “I can’t do this” or “my tummy will never be as flat as before I had kids.” These things will only hold you back from reaching your goals. Most of the time we do not even catch the things we tell ourselves but if someone else were to say, out loud, what we only think about ourselves, it would be deeply hurtful.
These thoughts and internal conversations come out in our actions too, whether we intend them to or not. If you tell yourself you are too tired to cook a healthy meal you will make it that much easier for yourself to pull into the drive through with the kids. Even things like dressing in “frumpy” clothes all the time can make you less attractive and can lead to overeating or just being lazy.
A great way to combat these kinds of negative ruts in the road is to make a list of the reasons you want to get in shape, as well as nice things that you appreciate about your body, and then reading these things a few times a day. Find the things you do accept and admire about yourself and your body and reflect on those things, instead of constantly comparing yourself to others and picking yourself apart over flaws and things you want changed.
This will help motivate you to work hard and also be more comfortable in your skin while you are working towards your goals. Being happy with what you have will give you more confidence which can be the difference between success and defeat in this kind of journey. It also helps to avoid beating yourself up when you do have a slip up because you can remember all the positives and focus on them instead of getting sucked into feelings of defeat and wallowing.
It is also a good idea to take an assessment to determine how ready you are to change. There will always be things going on and there will never be a perfect time to change your life, but at the same time, there are some seasons where you are less likely to succeed. I think a lot of this has to do with how bad you want to change, aka, how fed up you are with the way things are currently.
If you are still busy chasing crazy diet plans or are unwilling to workout then you probably don’t want it bad enough to actually make anything happen. You need to be able to make some sacrifices and let some things go in order to make this work. It is not going to be easy or fun all the time so you need to be prepared to stick with it for the long haul and treat it as a real commitment and not just something you half-heartedly do because that attitude will never get results.
This can be challenging, especially if you are the only one, it is always better to have a support system. Recruit your hubby or best girlfriend to get involved and make the change with you. Studies show that people who have a group or accountability partner are more likely to succeed than those doing it on their own. This is especially true with weight loss.
Another important step in this process is to set goals for yourself. Make smaller, milestone goals like “lose an inch on my waist” or “run one mile without stopping” because these will keep you motivated. Nothing is better than the high of reaching a goal and feeling that rush of satisfaction. You can also incorporate a reward system to treat yourself when you reach a goal. Things like a girl’s night out, new shoes, or a massage all make really good rewards without being food based.
Now, we are going to be covering some creative ways to effectively work out and get activity into your everyday life but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to commit. You will need to commit to a healthy diet and fitting fitness into your life every day, even if that just means five minutes at a time.
A common roadblock for moms, especially new moms, is that they feel guilty if they take time for themselves. However, sometimes you need to move yourself to the top of the priority list. Fitness and being healthy is something that benefits your family as much as it benefits you. You will be the best mom you can be when you are healthy and happy with yourself. Taking this time for your health is vital and you should not use your kids as an excuse but rather as motivation to work harder at being healthy.
Last, but certainly not least, is that you need to get a physical before starting any type of exercise routine, especially if you are postpartum and have yet to be cleared for physical activity yet. You need to talk to your doctor to determine the right type and level of exercise for your body in order to avoid injury and unnecessary setbacks.
It can be tempting to try and dive right back into working out, especially if you worked out prior to having a baby, but it is very important to wait until your doctor tells you that it is okay and to take it slow and build up to your prior level of intensity. There is no point in getting frustrated with your body, let it tell you how far and how hard to go and you will be much better off in the long run.
The Idea of Free Time Fitness
Moms are some of the busiest people on the planet and while most are master jugglers there is not always an easy way to fit in a designated hour of exercise each day. So rather than throw exercise out the window altogether there is the free time fitness plan which allows you to fit in fitness tasks throughout the day. Four, fifteen minute walks can be slid into the day at different points where it would be impossible to block out a full hour walk.
Of course walking is a great way to get started but there are a lot of creative ways to fit in different exercises to get variety. This is important so that you are working different muscle groups as well as keeping boredom away.
Some of the common suggestions for easily fitting in more exercise are to park father away when you go to the grocery store or to take the stairs instead of the elevator (not always practical when a stroller is involved in the outing.) You can also make it a point to take an extra lap around the store or mall when shopping or to walk around the room when on a phone call.
A very helpful piece of exercise equipment is a workout ball. You can use this to sit on when watching TV or while sitting at your desk to build core strength. There are also a lot of moves you can do on or with the ball to intersperse through your day. So put one in your living room or family room and try to use it for at least ten minutes a day to go through a basic stability routine.
There are a lot of ideas for getting in these moments of exercise and while it may not seem like a lot it all adds up to make your daily calorie burn go higher. You can put together a playlist of fun dance songs and dance while vacuuming or dusting, shadow box during commercials, try to march in place while cooking dinner, or do a set of lunges when you go to get the mail.
Sure it may feel silly but you will be happy with the results so it is worth a little silliness!
Different stages of motherhood require different things so it is important to adjust your routine as your children’s needs change and evolve over time. Let’s go into some ideas more specific to these particular life stages.
Free Time Fitness for New Moms
A really popular option for new moms revolves around classes specifically for moms and their babies to do together. This is a great way to get back into the habit of exercising as well as a way to meet other moms and build a sense of community and friendship. There are all kinds of classes so you can find what interests you the most. There are classes or groups where you use jogging strollers to do fun runs as well as more serious training, like for a 5K or something. There are yoga classes where your baby comes with you and is incorporated into the routine (as long as they will cooperate that is!) or can just be close and play with toys while you do yoga moves in a group setting.
When your baby gets older you can also start them in swim classes and use extra time at the pool to tread water or do other water aerobics moves. This is also helpful in teaching your child a new skill that will help them be healthy too.
Other classes will focus on more traditional exercises like lunges, squats, and bench presses but use your baby as resistance. The great thing about this is that your baby is involved and getting attention. And it is handy because as they grow your level of resistance automatically goes up which helps to avoid plateau. These types of exercises can be done anywhere whether you are at home or at the park.
Some example exercises:
- Shoulder raises, lift your baby above your head in a shoulder press
- Glute lifts, lay on the ground and put your baby on your stomach, lift your hips up while squeezing your glutes and then lower back down again
- Squats, while holding your baby do squats over a bench, get to just about sitting and then raise up again
You can also find these kinds of classes on DVD so they can be done at home, but I think the social aspect is really motivating and worth getting out of the house for on a regular basis.
Free Time Fitness for Moms with School Aged Kids
Some might think that having the kids in school would give you more time to exercise but somehow that never seems to be the case! It is a whole new world when kids head off to school. Sports and other after school activities as well as homework help in addition to everything else required for running the household. It can quickly eat up all your time. This is why it is essential to involve the whole family in fitness and staying active.
Going for walks as a family is a great way to stay healthy as well as bond together and build better relationships with each other. You can make it a tradition to do this before or after dinner. Get out in the yard to play a game like football or softball, put a basketball hoop in the driveway. All these things foster time together as well as helping your children build habits of being active and fit which will help them later in life to stay healthy.
Listen to music and dance with your kids. You can burn a lot of calories just being silly and playing around. Let them pick the music and make it a game.
You can also help get outdoors by having them help you in the garden. Yard work can easily be adjusted to fit their age and skill set. Even something simple like bundling up the weeds while you pull them can give you both a good amount of activity and make your yard beautiful at the same time! Bonus!
There is also the increasing trend of video games designed to get the whole family up and moving. No matter what your stance is on video games it is hard to argue with ones that promote exercise and find a way to make it something kids want to do on a regular basis. A lot of these games are fun for all ages. Sometimes you can even test these out at the electronics store and see which one/s will be a good fit for your family.
Alternately you can take time for yourself when the kids are at practice for their own hobby or sport. Walk laps when they are at the park for soccer practice, do shoulder rolls when waiting in the carpool lane at school, or see about taking an aerobics class while they have after school activities at the community center.
The most important thing to remember is that you are teaching your kids habits they will keep for life, so if you make a point to keep them busy and active (and yourself in the process) you will be helping them to make fitness a part of their life which can make a huge impact. So lead by example and be an active parent and get them involved too. The rewards will last a lifetime.
This is also the time when a lot of moms will return to work, whether part or full time, this might take up more time but there are a lot of exercises you can do while on the job as well. Even if you just take twenty minutes on lunch to take a walk or do the stairs a couple times. You can use this time to mentally unwind from job and family life and the stress that can sometimes accompany these things.
Tools to Help You Stay on Track
Everyone needs a little extra help now and again, especially when staying motivated. Things like goal writing and positive meditations are excellent places to start, but if you want to take it one step further there are a lot of new tools on the market today that are designed to help you stay on track with your weight loss and fitness goals.
A basic tool is a calorie and exercise journal. In a world of smart phones there are applications you can install on your phone or tablet and take with you everywhere to track eating and exercise habits. Of course you can go old school and take a physical counter/book with you as well. There are a lot of options that are portable enough to slip into your purse.
Heart rate monitors can be used to track the level of exertion and ensure that you spend enough time in the fat burning zone. You can also get a pedometer which will keep track of your steps and can be an excellent way to make sure you are getting enough activity in your daily life. These can show you proof of how the little changes add up, like taking the stairs or parking a few blocks away from your destination.
The most advanced tools on the market are things like the BodyBugg or Fitbit which will track all the calories you burn in a day by monitoring several different things in order to get an accurate readout of your activity level. These devices have come down in price and can certainly be a great addition to your routine to really help you boost the calorie burn and speed up your results.