*By: Linz Bordner*
My workout routine has looked and changed drastically over the years, but it’s something I have always tried to keep in my life no matter what the circumstances may be. Pre-children, I used to be pretty regimented in terms of having a set workout schedule, such as M-W-F was usually cardio and Tu-Th strength training or Pilates. Since having kids, my workout routine has gone from lengthy and structured to whenever I can fit it in.
Naturally as parents we tend to put our kids needs first and ours on the back burner. There had been weeks when I noticed I didn’t get a workout in at all and I could totally feel it, not just physically, but mentally. I often pondered the question, How can I be responsible for two human beings, when I feel like crap myself? That’s when I realized I needed to make fitness a priority in my life. Not just for my own well-being, but for everyone around me.
Finding the best time of day to exercise was step one to jumpstarting my workout routine. Although I consider myself a morning person, I certainly don’t wake up bright eyed and bushy-tailed on some days. Sleep can sometimes be interrupted with frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night as my kids are in potty training mode, so when 6am rolls around, I certainly don’t feel like jumping out of bed and into a rigorous workout.
If I’m not able to get a workout in during the morning hours, the other good time of day for me is in the evening about 30-minutes after dinner and when my husband is home from work. I find 30-minutes after a meal is best. It’s enough time for food to digest and still provide the necessary energy needed to fuel a good workout.
I strive to put in 2-3 half-hour cardio sessions during the week and 1-2 days of stretching exercises such as Pilates or strength training. If it’s a really busy week and I don’t think I’m going to get in a meaningful workout, I’ll sometimes do stretches and short cardio sessions while I’m at the playground with the kids. It’s amazing what the playground equipment can be used for! Chasing the kids around for 10-15 minutes playing monster can be just as good as a half-hour jog on the treadmill.
Now that the spring/summer months are in full force, bike riding and swimming with the kids are other great workouts to switch it up from the norm and work different muscle groups. Even yard work (oddly enough, I happen to enjoy it) can be one heck of a good workout as well!
Looking at the big picture…Since being a mom, I have learned 3 things in terms of keeping a workout routine: 1. Roll with the punches. If I planned a cardio session on Monday morning and my kid wakes up with a tummy ache, then I need to regroup and figure out another day/time that works to compensate for the missed workout. 2. Making fitness a priority in my life not only makes me feel happier and healthier, but also more in control of my day and ready to take on whatever comes my way, essentially I feel like a better mom! And…3. Most importantly, being a good role model and showing my kids that exercise is a priority will influence them to be active as well.
It may seem a bit rocky at first getting back into the fitness groove after having kids, but with small steps and a hopeful outlook, you can totally transform your body and mindset and find happiness from within.