Fitness

How to Fit in a Workout as a Busy Parent

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I work with so many tired parents – they feel like they are dragging their feet through the day, chasing after their kids, and stumbling through their to-do list.

They just want to crash after a full day. 

But they can’t!  So they survive on caffeine and other artificial stimulants to keep them going. 

Here’s the ironic piece – our bodies are like batteries.

We need to move more to build up energy.  However, we’re too tired to move! 

Getting an energy boost requires more than just healthy eating (while that is a big component). Movement is critical.  Exercise prompts your body to release epinephrine and norepinephrine (stress hormones that make you feel energized) among a long list of other benefits.  

If you’re a parent I know what you’re thinking.

I just don’t have the time to workout.  Yet here is the good news (and a movement myth).

The longer you workout, the better.  NOT TRUE.

I followed this mindset for years. I believed I wouldn't benefit unless I ran 10km or hit the gym for an hour.  Despite the time commitment, my energy would plummet in the afternoon. And in fact, I wasn’t energized. 

I was EXHAUSTED.  

Parents are so relieved to hear that working out for shorter periods of time can be more effective.   

The key is to workout harder and make the most of that time.

Since becoming a parent I no longer work out for hours (or everyday for that matter).  It’s tough to find time to make time for fitness with 3 little ones, but I’ve found my groove. 

For instance during the weekday mornings, I prep breakfast for the girls and leave them with my husband while I hit the gym. The window I have is short.  30 minutes – that’s it.  Sometimes even less because I have to be back to take my daughter to school.  But it’s enough time to do 10 minutes on the rowing machine, treadmill, or stairmaster with a weight circuit.  And I feel great knowing it’s done.

The biggest thing is getting started though.  We need to get busy parents into a routine. 

Here's what you need to do RIGHT NOW:

  1. Put out your exercise clothes somewhere visible.  
  2. Book 30 minutes in your calendar 3x this week (includes time to get dressed and stretch).
  3. Ask your partner or a friend to help you find/make time (you need this accountability and support!)
  4. Find something you enjoy doing... swimming, dancing, kickboxing, skating, gymnastics, walking, ballet barre, pole dancing, etc.  It doesn’t have to be the gym!