Fitness, family, and finding balance - It’s that magic place that can take many trials to find the best avenue, and to be honest, it never really stays the same. As your family and kids grow so do the challenges for maintaining balance.
I started my first fitness training company in 2009 after I found myself a full time momma with two busy boys. On top of having little humans that required most of my time, and going to school part time, my husband worked out of town, and I found myself a single parent. Finding the time for me to workout without the “interruptions” of little people who needed me was basically NON EXISTENT. I would put them down, or settle them into something hoping that I could squeeze 30 minutes in for myself, and it never failed within minutes I was being called in to be someones superhero. I couldn’t help but allow it to build on my daily frustrations, and anxiousness to move my body and fill my cup - I knew I had to find a reasonable solution, for us all.
So I took those experiences, and vision to the drawing board and built out a plan. I completed my third fitness certification and a few months later opened an all women’s class based around kids. I was quickly inspired and encouraged by so many moms who were finding the same hurdles as I had been. We all just needed a way to refill our cups, work toward our goals and not have to find some gym daycare to try and keep them happy while we walked out the door with our guilt and tried to navigate a busy gym.
Needless to say both my boys have a long history with movement, exercise and staying healthy.
Now at twelve years old it’s no surprise when my son prompts a workout, adds in more dynamic movements, or taunts me to run faster... the kids at school even call him the “personal trainer”.
For me training switched from, ‘how can I get a workout in?’ to building my workouts to include them, teach them about moving their bodies, and finding a way to do it that left us all happy in the end.
If you’re a busy parent having a hard time finding those consistent quiet times to hit a session, frustrated or overwhelmed with workout interruptions, or not sure how to fit in you time with kids in tow, here are a few tips:
-Plan around their “slow and happy time of day” - keep in mind while planning this out there will be times when your kiddos slow down, BUT there are also times when kids are more prone to need your help, act out, or be ‘whiny’. Avoid trying to start a workout until they are mellowed out and content with what they are doing. This can be during nap time, quiet time, or while they are preoccupied with a task or project.
-Break your workouts up into smaller training sessions. Try going for 10- 15 minutes and if you can get in two or three of those a day then great! There is an awesome side effect of splitting up workouts throughout the day, more calories burned. So don’t feel like you are missing out if you get cut short.
-Be flexible! Know that there will be times that your kids may need you, and that is okay! Instead of feeling stressed, frustrated, or upset that you can’t finish your workout be thankful for what you WERE able to do - even if it was only a small amount.
-Get them involved. No matter how old your kiddos are there is always a way to get them involved. Whether they are a young toddler or infant, or an adolescent, find something they can do and have them do it with you. They will soon see how fun your workouts are and not feel they need to draw you away from what you are doing as often. They may even look forward to engaging with you, and be able to get in some much needed movement.
Know that it will take time and patience to figure out the right method for your family, but over time you will find ways to make it work well for everyone. Use this time to build boundaries and teach them the importance of movement and exercise. Building out rules and boundaries with kids can be super difficult and can leave you feeling that inevitable mom (or dad) guilt. Let me reiterate, kids are a huge part of your life and happiness but should not be “running the show”. You are their teacher in every area of life, lead by example, and show them what a strong and capable mom/ dad you are.