Finding the time to exercise

I’m always being told that it’s unrealistic and ridiculous to expect busy mothers to have the time to workout 5 days a week, and that normal women just can’t workout like a fitness instructor does. Yes, it’s my job to teach exercise classes, but those of you who’ve been to my classes know that 95% of the time, I don’t get my own workout done. So, although I might be teaching 10 one hour classes a week, I don’t get 10 hours of exercise done in that time. I have to MAKE TIME for my own workouts, outside of work.

I have 2 kids and run a business. I have a house to run and a never ending pile of clothes to be washed and put away. My 7 year old daughter needs to be dropped to and collected from school, swimming, piano, tennis, play dates. My 6 month old son goes to a childminder only 2 days a week – I have him with me 3 other days. My partner leaves for work at 6am, so getting ready in the mornings are all me! Being self employed means there are no closing hours. I am up at 6.30am and could be still answering mails at 11pm. But because I want to be fit and healthy, I make the time. Who am I kidding, I want to look good in skinny jeans, so I make the time 🙂

There are so many ways to get a good, quick exercise session in, 5 times a week. You don’t need an hour, you can get a workout done in 20-30 minutes tops. Make those 20-30 minutes a priority, one day at a time. It’s all about utilising your time, and burning as many calories as possible in a short amount of time. This is where HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, comes in. It means short bursts of all out exercise, followed by a rest, and will definitely get you sweaty and feeling good.

Here is a great workout that will only take 16 minutes to perform. Make sure to warm up for 5 minutes, and cool down and stretch for 8-10 minutes. There is a timer called Gymboss, which you can get as a free app on your phone. Use the “Tabata” timer for this one – 20 seconds on/10 seconds off x 8 rounds. Each block is a 4 minute workout. This type of exercise burns about 16 calories per minute!

Block 1
High Knees
Press Ups
Ab Curl
Plank on the elbows Repeat x 2 = 4 minutes

Block 2
1 big jump forward, 2 jumps back
Squat Jumps
Lunge right leg/then left leg on 2nd time
Tricep Dips Repeat x 2 = 4 minutes

Block 3
Side Plank right side/then left side on 2nd time
Mountain climbers
Alligator Plank
High Knees Repeat x 2 = 4 minutes

Block 4
Press Ups
Ab Twist
Alligator Plank
Burpees Repeat x 2 = 4 minutes

Now, you ask, when the hell am I going to get the time to do this magical workout?! Here are some ideas…

Get up 20 minutes earlier. I know, who wants to do that! Especially with a young baby. I’ve been there, my son went through the first 6 months of his life waking 6-7 times every night and I was exhausted. And I was back at work when he was 2 and a half weeks old! But because I was up at 6. 30am with him anyway, I thought, I might as well do some exercise. With the bright mornings, it’s easier to get up and get active before you do anything else. Stick the baby in the bouncer, play mat, high chair, anything, and do a few exercises. Put your workout gear on before you come downstairs, or have it ready to go the night before.
Do a workout at lunch time. The evenings can go so fast – making dinner, spending time with kids, putting them to bed, cleaning up the house, and all those clothes! It could be 10 by the time you sit down, and the last thing you want to do is workout. But, if you exercise earlier in the day, you have that checked off your to do list. Go for a walk or run at lunch time. If you’re not a runner, why not try interval jogging/walking. Alternate walking and jogging for 30 seconds, or walk 40 seconds, jog 20 seconds. All that matters is that you push your body and get a bit more sweaty than you normally would.
At night. Yes, I’m contradicting what I’ve just said, but if you can’t exercise in the morning, or at lunch, do it when you get home. Do some household jobs in the morning (when you get up 20 minutes earlier) so there is less to do at night. There are times when my workout is at 9.30pm, when the kids are in bed.
Involve the kids! At the weekend, when they like to wake up even earlier than normal, I lay out a yoga mat or two, and my daughter copies the exercises that I do. I also use the baby in my workout – I lie him on the mat and make him laugh while I do press ups, plank and mountain climbers. I hold him when doing squats, or place him on my tummy when I do sit ups. He thinks it’s hilarious, and my daughter has a great time.
Get out for a run, or interval walk/jog with the buggy. Easier said than done when you have older kids, but I bring my daughter along on her bike or scooter and she rides along side me. She loves it, especially when there’s the promise of the playground at the end of the ride.
Leave 20 minutes early when going somewhere, or walk/jog there. When your older kids are at their swimming/piano/whatever lessons, use that time to get out and run around. There’s no point sitting in the car or local coffee shop on your phone, use that time to exercise!

I hope some of you find this useful, and know that we all are busy, but it only takes a few minutes, 5 times a week, to make a big difference to your body and mind!

Happy exercising, Steph

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