I have always been a morning workout person. Not because I’m a morning person but because I dread it and otherwise, I find a million excuses not to do it. Plus, I am lazy and prefer not to shower twice. Once I had James, it put a wrench in my morning workouts, first with feedings and then with trying to get ready and out the door once I went back to work. I thought about joining the gym at work and getting in my cardio at lunch, but pumping ate into so much of my day when I was breastfeeding and I find I have so many meetings and things that come up that I end up never getting to the gym. And after work and walking the dog and feeding James and putting him down, I’m too exhausted to do anything. Plus, I try to use my evenings to work on my blog. But a few months ago, I decided it was time to get back in shape and commit to a workout routine, so I started getting up an hour earlier to squeeze in a workout and shower before James wakes up. And because I actually want to commit to getting in shape, I have a backup plan – a jogging stroller – for days he wakes up early.
It’s hard. I’m always exhausted and there are days I really don’t want to get out of bed, but I know it’s good for me, my day is always better when I get up and workout and I’m hoping I’ll start to feel better about my body too. While I’m still waiting for that six pack and non-jiggly ass, I have found myself craving workouts now, which I like. Now I know a lot of moms who do hardcore workouts. That’s just not for me. I also know that if I say I have to workout for an hour every day, I’ll cop out. So I’ve also given myself permission to go easier on myself than I have in the past. I am committed to 30 minutes five days a week (during the work week because it’s just easier to stick to a schedule and make it a non-negotiable). Then I try to supplement that with chasing after James and getting in as many steps as possible. I usually end up doing something active on weekends as well but I consider that an added bonus rather than a requirement so I don’t beat myself up if I need a day off or I don’t get it in. I really like to reserve weekends for family time and to relax and reset rather than push myself. Committing to being active – going to the park, taking James to a museum or zoo, running around in a field, hiking, walking Dakota, swimming – is important for our family, so I find that nine times out of ten I get in lots of steps and exercise anyway. Doing activities makes me feel better than sitting around and eating and watching TV. It makes James more manageable because he’s stimulated and gets his energy out. It sets a good example for him and it’s a nice way for our family to bond. But I don’t feel the pressure of having “workout” on my to-do list or to wake up super early for a run or workout.
I know it’s nothing genius and some days, I only get in 15 minutes or none at all and I just try to take extra steps like getting off a subway stop too early to walk more. I’d love to see the results of someone who goes to Soul Cycle followed by an hour long barre class, but frankly, I don’t have the time, willpower or motivation anymore. Maybe when James is a bit older or if I have a more flexible schedule, but right now, my work and home lives are really demanding and I’m also trying to get this side business of a blog off the ground, and frankly, I’m much more interested in those three things than living at the gym, so the six pack may have to wait. While the results are a lot more slow this way and I find myself getting impatient, it’s something I can actually stick with and I am feeling the benefits of regularly exercising. I even find myself craving it, and I hate people who say that, but it’s true. And while I already don’t feel like I sleep enough and I’m always tired, I do find that getting up early to workout rather than sleep in tends to make me feel better.
Anyway, that’s what’s working for me right now, but as always, I’d love to hear how you squeeze in workouts and tricks you have. Also, let me know if you’d like to hear more about my diet and exercise or if you’d like more health or working mom content, or what else you’d like from me. I aim to please!