Friday, January 11, 2013

Workout motivation for moms (and everyone else too)

So, you'll be noticing more stuff on here about exercising and staying fit.  It's a big part of my life and I realized I don't share nearly enough about it.  I remember starting to feel competitive in Junior High when I did not want to lose in an obstacle course- I was running so fast, I tripped over my shoe lace and dove under a hurdle instead of jumping over it.  Since then, I've always loved running and haven't stopped since.

As a mom, I over hear a lot of excuses from other mom's talking while I'm waiting at school, the doctor, dentist, gymnastics, etc of why they don't exercise or can't lose their babyfat (10+ years later).  I've been in many many situations and I have managed to stay fit through it all.  I'm going to try to touch on some of my favorite or most common excuses and tell you how I got around them.

1) "I don't have the time."  There is always time to exercise.  No matter what, you can exercise anywhere, anytime.  Got kids?  Take them to the park, use the swing- pumping works abs and legs.  Get on the monkey bars- works your arms.  Run around and play tag- when's the last time you played an outdoor game?  Got to make dinner?  Don't use your mixer, do it by hand, you'd be amazed at the bicep workout you can get by hand mixing, it's good for your grip strength too.  Make a loaf of bread and knead it by hand- OMG, ten minutes of kneading bagel dough and you're already building those arms up!  Put away your food processor and chop veggies with a knife and cutting board- it's all in your arms.  Deadlift your laundry and carry it up and down the stairs- or even your kids for that matter.
GET UP EARLY!  I have become accustomed to getting up at least an hour before my kids and that's when I get my workout in.  It's a great way to start the day!

2) "My husband travels and I don't have anyone to watch the kids."  Welcome to my world baby!  My husband routinely travels out of the country for a week or two at a time and guess what?  I still exercise!  I live far away from family and I've moved so much, I'm constantly having to make new friends before I find people to help out with the kids.

Here's what I've done:
a) Join a gym with childcare- my kids weren't too keen as littles to go to child care, so I often took the bigger ones and left the baby home with my husband.  If he was travelling, I'd go outside and run.

b)I got two baby joggers, a double, then a triple.  Yes, I ran with three kids in the stroller, want to talk about a way to burn some steam?

c) I got myself some exercise videos that I enjoyed and knew I'd routinely do.  I got Power Yoga and Insanity- I do these often and they require no equipment, so they are easy to do from the living room.  When I lived in Japan, it was too expensive to join a gym, and there was no childcare at the gym anyways, (did I mention my husband was working 14 hour days, so all my exercise for those 5 years was done at home, with kids, or early morning before the sun came up).  Instead of paying for a gym membership, I used the money to buy different workout dvd's to see which one I liked.  The price of a video wasn't that much and was still cheaper than a monthly gym membership.  A DVD isn't necessarily preferrable, especially when you're working out alone, but hey, gotta get that workout in!
d) Taught my kids to ride bikes at a young age, now when my husband's travelling, they can ride their bikes alongside me while I run.

e) Joined a crossfit gym that doesn't have childcare, but doesn't mind if I bring in well behaved kids (and yes, I will bribe them to behave because a happy, destressed mom is much more fun to be around than a grumpy stressed out one).

3) "I had a c-section so I can't exercise."- I had 5 c-sections!  I took about a week off, then just started walking.  Almost every mother known to mankind has a stroller.  Put your baby in it and go.  Bad weather?- I'd head to the mall.  I walked almost everyday, starting with a half mile per day, after I had my kids.  I healed faster and fit back into my clothes in record time.  Recommended break from heavy activity for a c-section is 12 weeks.  I did not run or lift weights for those 12 weeks, just walked, and by the time I was ready to do normal activity again, it was not hard to get back in my routine.  I also did yoga about 3 times a week- actually prenatal yoga, I still do it now, just turn the volume down so you don't have to hear her talk about the baby in your stomach- lol.

4) "I'm pregnant so I can't do anything."- Again, been pregnant 5 times and exercised throughout all of them- not hardcore, just walking and weight lifting.  I ran for about 6 months in my first pregnancy, but I kept having to go to the bathroom, and it got annoying, so I stopped.  The weight lifting was light weights, but I kept it up all the way to the end of my first three pregnancies, with c-sections, it helped tremendously post baby, because without your stomach muscles, you've got to rely a lot on arms and back.  I did prenatal yoga three times per week, it was so relaxing and it did help strengthen my muscles.  You have to be strong, especially if you have other kids to take care of.
5) "I haven't exercised in so long, I don't think I can do it."  For each of my pregnancies, I took 12 weeks off running and lifting.  For the last four pregnancies, I stopped running for the entire time, so that's almost a year of no running and half a year of no lifting.  Each time, it took me a couple months to get back to the shape I was in, but I did it.  I am actually running faster now than I was before I had kids.  I am smarter about it, more efficient (due to less time), and more appreciative (I have the ability and I need to use it while I can).  I'm more determined too- I'm 36, and I've maintained similar race times and gotten higher weights up now than when I was 19- I pride in the fact that I can do that, and I drive myself hard to maintain the standards I've set for myself. I quit gymnastics when I was 4 or 5 because my teacher was mean- I've always wanted to do it... I'm doing it now.
6) "I'm not motivated."  Find someone or something to motivate yourself.  Do you want to fit back into a pair of jeans, do you want to do something you never thought possible?  Find someone to hold you accountable to help motivate you.  I joined a running group in NC when I lived there.  My friends were constantly pushing me to run faster and I was motivated to run because I didn't want to let them down.  In Japan, I was motivated because there was a rumor that all the men lost weight while living there and the wives gained because they had nothing better to do than go out to lunch all the time.  I was motivated to not fall into that trap, to be who I always was and I did.  Now, I joined the Y when I moved, and the bootcamp instructors, one in particular, were phenomenal at pushing me to my limits.  I wanted to go back everyday because I wanted to do better the next time.  I joined crossfit and I thought I was a good athlete, but there were so many things that I was not good at, and I am getting better everyday.  I am motivated to go back to try new challenges and to see how accomplished I have become.  I am motivated by my kids who see me accomplish things and now they want to do it too.  I am proud that my kids asked me to buy them jump ropes and that my son was sad he had to miss crossfit because he wanted to use the rower.  Whatever it takes, find something to motivate yourself.
7) "I'm scared I'll be the worst or slowest one."  We have all started out somewhere and all had to walk through that door for the first time.  Find a place that makes you feel welcome when you walk in.  You will know by the smiling face that greets you that you've found the right place.  You will start to make friends, and they will help hold you accountable.  Some days at crossfit, I finish in the middle, somedays I beat certain people, and somedays they beat me- but what I know is, I'm using proper form, I'm giving it my all, and I'm getting stronger everyday.

8) "I'm injured, so I can't workout."  Modifications baby!  The worst thing you can do is nothing.  If your arm hurts, use your legs and vice versa.

I know I've forgotten some, so if you have an excuse and you need a reason, let me know, I'll come up with something.

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