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This week I am so excited to have guest blogger, Mandy Skinner, author of the blog "Soccer Mom with Muscles" and the book "PB&J and Push-Ups: The Busy Mom's Simple Guide to Diet and Fitness".  Mandy is going to share some great tips on how moms can fit a fitness routine into an already crowded schedule!

 

The greatest juggling act of all time is Motherhood.  We have so many balls in the air at one time: preschool, soccer practice, dance class, field trips, laundry, dishes, middle of the night fevers, sibling disputes, and let’s not forget your husband and career!  It is easy to see why so many women let their health and wellness go to the wayside while caring for that of their families.  But, I contend that the greatest contribution a woman can make to her family is a healthy and happy mommy, wife, and woman; her best self. 

Sure we would all love a little alone time to work out some of our stress through movement that makes us feel better, both physically and mentally.  How nice would it be to work up a sweat doing something besides changing a dirty crib sheet?  So how do we add one more ball to this balancing act that is already so difficult to juggle?

Start simple.  Not sure where to start?  Start simple and with something you enjoy.  Like walking?  Hiking?  Yoga?  Running? Spinning classes? Lifting with dumbbells?  Start with that and establish a 15 minute routine for yourself.  Consistency is one of the most important components of a successful fitness program. Once you have fallen into a routine with something that you are comfortable with, then start adding some new movements or exercises to mix it up.  It is refreshing for the mind and body, plus it is really fun! 

Prioritize.  In a perfect world we would all have one full hour set aside to focus on bettering our health through exercise, but the reality is that most of us are trying to squeeze it in around other obligations in the day.  This is why it is so important to prioritize your exercise.  What do you need to focus on?  Upper body strength an issue?  Lower back weak?  Whatever it is for you, hit that first.  This is your priority and once that is accomplished, then move onto the rest of the workout if time allows.
(Pro tip:  Try for three sets of eight to twelve reps of each movement to start with. After a few weeks, increase it to four sets and add resistance.)

Do it at home.  Most of the moms that I coach workout at home because it simplifies the process, saves time, and saves money in expensive gym membership fees.   Movements like squats, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, burpees, and planks are great for you and can be done in your living room during an episode of Bubble Guppies.  It is easy to get a great workout at home in fifteen to twenty minutes with minimal equipment or pieces that are versatile and cost effective.  You can read more on outfitting a home gym for cheap at http://soccermomwithmuscles.com/outfit-a-home-gym-for-under-50/.

(Pro tip: For Free 15 Minute Home Workouts sent to your inbox every Monday, subscribe to www.soccermomwithmuscles.com.)

Do it with your coffee.  Most moms that I know run off of at least one cup of coffee in the morning.  Why not take that time to care for yourself?  Start by setting your alarm for just 30 minutes before the kids wake up.  Use that time to exercise and sip on your morning joe in peace and quiet.  Weightlifters have been using caffeine during their workouts for years, why can’t we enjoy it between sets of push-ups, squats, and lunges?  In my opinion, we deserve it more than them!
(Pro tip: Set the timer on your coffee maker for 10 minutes before your alarm.  The smell of brewing java will help pull you out of bed and get you moving!)

Make it a family affair.  Including the kids and hubby in your exercise program creates a culture that encourages health and wellness in your household, as well as allows you to get your own workout in.  Teaching your kids to do squats, push-ups, burpees, and jumping jacks is can be really fun for both of you.  For many of my clients, I also program hikes, bike rides, swimming, and walks with their loved ones to accommodate this and they love it.  It not only serves as exercise, but quality, screen-free time with the family. 
(Pro tip: Do some research on local parks that allow hiking, biking, or swimming and make a day of it.  Fall is a perfect time to take up hiking with the kids because the temperatures are more moderate and the foliage is beautiful!)

Adding an exercise routine to an already packed schedule is absolutely worth it and it is not impossible if you start simple, prioritize, and carve out some time for yourself.  There will always be reasons to put our own health and well-being aside.  There will always be another ball thrown into the juggling act, but doing even a short, simple workout a few days a week will help us to be our best wives, mothers, women, and selves; keeping all of those balls in the air with just a little more ease and little less sweat.

About the Author:
Mandy Skinner is the author of the Soccer Mom with Muscles blog.  She is the proud mom of two, Sean and Sarah, as well as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach devoted to living healthy and happy.  She has competed in CrossFit, Powerlifting, and is currently preparing for several Figure competitions in 2015.  In addition to her athletic endeavors, Mandy is a constant advocate of healthy and active living
Follow Mandy on Instagram @mandyjskins , Twitter @mandyskinns , or Pinterest @mskinns.

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