One of the most common questions I get asked is how to fit training in to your day. The short answer is it’s hard but for our own health and well-being we need to make it a priority. It’s so easy being a mum to put everyone else’s needs above our own. There will always be something else that needs doing but to be the best version of ourselves we need to make sure that our own needs are also taken care of.
So here are my five tips to fit training into your life:
1. You Only Need 20 Minutes
No matter how busy you are you can find 20 minutes in your day. It might be hard but you can do it, exercise is important! Plus you will find that once you make the commitment and start getting stronger and fitter you will have more energy to fulfil the other parts of your life.
So where can you find 20 minutes? Here’s some ideas:
- If you have a husband or partner who heads out to work in the mornings, get up 20 minutes before him and go for a walk or a run. Yes, it will be hard getting yourself out of bed to begin with but once you are out on your own without the kids you will find that you actually enjoy yourself.
- Take 20 minutes while your kids are asleep to do some core strength exercises (there are tons of apps you can download) or work out on your home equipment (see tip 5 below). If your kids are older or aren’t napping at the same time turn on the TV for them. Yes! Exercising for yourself is MORE IMPORTANT then your kid watching TV for 20 minutes!
- Run with a pram (tip 3) or join a gym (tip 4).
- Ask for help! Sit down with your partner or other family members and discuss ways that they can help with the kids so you can fit 20 minutes in. I’m sure once you sit down and talk it through you can find several solutions.
2. Plan and Prepare
Yes you only need 20 minutes but not if you spend 15 minutes getting yourself ready. The day before your training session do the following:
- Decide what type of session you would like to do.
- What time are you going to train and how long for?
- Do you need help from anybody and have you asked them?
- Ensure all the training gear you need is set out and ready to go. Especially if you are training first thing in the morning so you only have to get dressed.
- If you have someone looking after the kids for you is there anything you need to organise for them? Clothes, food, nappies etc.
3. Run with a Pram
A good running pram is a necessary investment if you want to get back into running again with kids. With new bubs you need to wait until they have good head control before you start and I also recommend starting out on walkways so you are not jostling them around going up and down kerbs. Whilst you may be keen to get into running as soon as possible, waiting until your baby is ready also gives you time to get your pelvic floor back into shape in order to deal with the impact of running again. There is a BIG difference between what you want to do and what you should do.
Of course running with a pram works brilliantly with one baby but as soon as you have two or more you either need to get a double pram or come up with other solutions.
Again here is a time that I think the TV for the older sibling/s is a great tool. Remember I’m not advocating that you leave them in front of the tv for hours but just enough time for you to get your run down. Of course this only works if there is another adult in the house but this then leaves them open to still do other things (like the housework).
Another option is to take turns running and looking after the other child. For example on a Saturday my husband will head out for a run with our youngest in the pram and I will drive to the park with our toddler. We then meet there and swap places so both get to run and our toddler gets to spend quality one on one time in a park with both Mum and Dad. It’s a win for everyone!
4. Join a Gym/Pool with a Creche
With a bit of searching on the internet you should be able to find several gyms or pools with a creche in your area. If you’re lucky you will even find a gym with a pool and a creche! This is an absolute godsend for mums wanting to get back into multisport. With spin classes available in most gyms, treadmills and hopefully a swimming pool you can swim, ride and run your way back to fitness.
These tips aren’t actually in a particular order but if they were this would be my number one piece of advice. Not only do you get to fit your training in and your kids are entertained at the same time but it gets you out of your house and around adults. Sometimes it feels like more of a mental break then a physical training session to get to the gym!
5. Invest in Equipment to Use at Home
The word invest is the key here. Some equipment might seem like an extravagant expense but what price can you put on your own health. It also doesn’t have to be expensive and even a windtrainer (approx $300) (holds your bike and allows you to ride stationary) will assist you to fit your training in.
Other options to consider are a treadmill, computrainer or Zwift machine. Both the computrainer and zwift are similar to windtrainers but are attached to a computer so that you can ride different courses or complete programmed training sessions. Often you can purchase equipment on a finance plan to make repayments easier.