I see you, new mom that was cleared to workout weeks or months ago but hasn’t. I see you, mom that can’t imagine cutting into the little sleep you get to fit a workout in. I see you, mom that feels like all you do is take care of baby, pump, work, eat and sleep. I see you, mom that is exhausted from working all day and then getting up with baby during the night. I see you, mom that misses the strength and muscle she used to see in the mirror. I see you because I was you.
Finding time and energy in the already crazy working mom life to do anything for yourself can be daunting. However, a quick workout on a regular basis may help you feel a little more like your old self again. That brings us back to the original problem of not having time. How do you fit in a workout as a new mom? Here are my 5 tips on fitting in a little exercise.
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- Be realistic about what you can do. Maybe you spent hours running every week or at the gym pre-baby, but that may not be practical right now. Keep in mind that anything is an improvement over nothing, and you can always add more. The fastest way to get discouraged is by trying to do too much. If baby isn’t sleeping well and you are working full time, it may not be the time to start working out – maybe wait until you get a bit more energy back.
- Start small and work up. This follows with the first tip. Don’t jump back into the workout routine you had before being a mom. Start with something that you know is doable. For example, I started by doing 10 push-ups, 20 sit-ups and a 30 second wall sit every night before bed. It took less than 5 minutes but made my core muscles plenty sore. After doing this for a few weeks I decided I could manage a 30-minute workout at home most evenings as soon as I put my son to bed. I’m still trying to decide if a longer workout is doable, but for now the 30-minute ones are plenty tiring.
- Set a start date and stick to it. When baby isn’t sleeping, and you are exhausted may not be the best time to start, but you could set a start date for when baby only gets up once during the night or sleeps all night. This goes along with being realistic about what you can do. However, once you set this date, stick with it. You will never feel as well rested and ready to work out as you did pre-baby. You will have to adjust to the new normal.
- Change your mindset. I love the Henry Ford quote, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” This is so true about exercising after you have a baby. If you mentally think that you are able to get in a 30-minute workout, you can. If you mentally think you are too tired, then you are. I said I would start working out when Paxton slept through the night, but when he did, I was still tired, so I kept putting it off. Eventually, I had a long mental talk with myself that he reliably falls asleep every night at 7pm, and my husband reliably cooks dinner based on my schedule. Therefore, there is no reason why I can’t turn on a workout streaming video at home for a quick 30-minute workout before eating dinner.
- Get your family on board/incorporate baby. To fit my workout in, my husband cooks dinner (he was already doing this though), and we eat 30 minutes later than we were. He doesn’t have to work out with me, but his buy in to accommodating my workout makes all the difference. I’ve also done workouts while entertaining Paxton. A 20-pound baby makes for a tough arm workout when you do baby lifting instead of weight lifting (see pictures). Paxton also thinks it’s great entertainment to have mom on the floor doing push-ups and sit-ups next to him. Working out with baby is a fun way to bond.
- Bonus Tip! Choose workouts that are the most likely to get done. For me I know that getting to the gym after a 10 hour workday is never going to happen. However, working out at home is easy to do with baby or after bedtime. I have this Beachbody online streaming service. Running is also another great option. All you need is a jogging stroller and baby can enjoy a nice view of the neighborhood while you get a workout in.
Remember something is better than nothing but give yourself grace. You will learn to fit fitness into your life just like you’ve learned to fit everything else in.
What are your hacks for fitting fitness into your daily routine? Share what’s working in the comments.
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Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess