6 “Time for Fitness” Tips

Guest Post by Sharon DeVellis

I work, take care of my kids, volunteer at the school.  I clean the house, cook the meals and juggle my schedule with a husband who works six days a week.

Basically, I’m like a lot of moms out there: exhausted.

And up until four months ago, I was drifting down the path of becoming a complete and utter sloth.

Although I had been physical in the past, it all sort of went to crap near the end of 2009.  I ran a 15 k race in August ‘09 and the next day stopped doing any sort of exercise.  Period.  2010 continued on this way and although there were half-hearted attempts to exercise again, that’s all they were – half-hearted.  It was like someone had flipped a switch and I had stopped caring about myself.

Then, after watching the 2010 Winter Olympics, my elementary aged son showed interest in speed skating and although I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of strapping razor-sharp blades to his feet so he could race around a rink at high speeds, I signed him up.

I had watched speed skating on t.v. before but it was after taking my son to his first speed skating meet and seeing the older kids who could skate 500 m in under 50 seconds that I was completely and utterly captivated.  The following week I signed up for the Master’s classes at my local arena (Master’s being code word for ‘old’) and they let me join up for the last ten classes of the season.

Even though I had only skated 3 times in the past 12 years, after one class I was completely hooked.  But it became abundantly clear if I was to be any good at all, I’d need to start exercising again.  My cardio was crap, I lacked leg strength and my core was like a big bowl full of jello.

The classes are now over for the summer and I’m already signed up for the fall session.  In the meantime, I’ve dedicated my time to working on my fitness so I can start the new season not sucking.

But the fact remains…I’m just like you.  I’m a mom who wants to be healthy but doesn’t always enjoy working out.  And I’m still working, taking care of the kids, volunteering, cooking, cleaning and juggling.  So how do I fit in time for fitness?

1) Make Time:  There are a million different excuses not to exercise. I’ve used almost every single one at one point or another.  But the truth is you simply have to make the time.  Whether it’s getting up 30 minutes earlier or a quick ten minute workout after work, fitting in fitness is always doable. The only thing that’s holding you back is you.

2) Working Out When You Feel Like Crap Will Make You Feel Better:  We all have days where we feel like crap whether it’s from lack of sleep, an emotional day, PMS, stress or the multitude of other things life can throw our way.  Those are the days it’s easiest to say ‘screw it’ but the irony is those are the days when you’ll most benefit from a workout.

3) All Workouts Don’t Have To Be Equal:  I used to think that if I wasn’t running 10 k or doing 100 sit ups, I wouldn’t even bother.  Now I go in with the mindset of “if all I can fit in is ten minutes” then that’s what I’ll do.  But damn if I won’t make it count.

4) Make The Most Of The Time You Do Have:  We’ve all seen the people at the gym lifting weights while chatting or hunched over the stair climber while reading a magazine.  One of the best lessons I’ve learned is to focus while I’m working out. Concentrate on the muscles you’re working when lifting weights, focus on your movement when running.  It will make a big difference in the benefits you receive in your workouts.  Looking at pictures of stars with cellulite while on the treadmill may be fun but it’ll do nothing to get rid of your own.

5) Involve Your Kids:  I can’t always fit in my fitness when my kids are at school and they’re still young enough that they need supervision so working out in the basement while they’re running free isn’t an option either.  On those days, I incorporate the kids into my working out.  We’ll make a trip to the park with them riding bikes and me running or we’ll all go roller blading.  When they were younger, I’d get out the stroller and walk.   And never under-estimate the power of the television.  You can fit in a whole ‘lotta push ups, sit ups, squats and lunges during an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants.

6) Find A Routine That Works For You:  I’ve never really enjoyed distance running.  I’ll do it as a means to an end but I don’t get the satisfaction out of running 5 or 10 k so many people do so I’ve stopped forcing myself to do things I don’t like and now focus on what I do like.  Instead of running for 25 minutes, I’ll do 25 minutes of sprints – 1 minute of fast running, 1 minute of a slow jog.  While I don’t like aerobics, I love the stair training class I found through our local Parks and Rec.  By incorporating things you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to do them.

Most of all, remember that you are important.  It’s easy to put ourselves last while we take care of everyone else, but we can’t really do that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves too.  Being a mom is cool.  But being a mom who’s healthy and fulfilled is even cooler.

Sharon DeVellis is a mother, wife, writer and editor.  You can read about the deep, dark, grammatically incorrect intimate details of her life at The Inside Scoop or how she decided to become a speed skater at the age of 41 at Speed Skating Mom  and follow Sharon on Twitter

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