Finding a happy balance between family and fitness
By: Amanda Clement, Momentum Bootcamps Pte Ltd, Co-Director
As parents we tend to put the needs of our children ahead of our own – and why wouldn’t we – they are our babies after all and we spend every waking moment thinking about their health and wellbeing. We sacrifice our social lives, our health, our free time…basically what seems like our lives for our children. We become selfless.
But what about us? Don’t we deserve the time and space to look after ourselves? To feel good, look good and he happy?
We all have busy schedules and I know it’s hard to take care of the family and still find time to stay fit and look after ourselves. You might be thinking it’s only possible for parents with special superpowers or those with external help to achieve this, but believe me it’s possible without those things – even if you’re a full-time working parent.
We’re all eager to get back into shape post-baby but the idea is often greater than the actual reality. In the early stages of parenting with a newborn, a whole day will go by and you can feel like you haven’t achieved anything. Just keeping the baby alive is high on the priority scale and as a result exercise doesn’t get much love.
However, we all need stability in our mental, physical and emotional health and regular exercise is the key. After giving birth I decided to make exercise a priority to feel myself again. Getting in shape and exercising shouldn’t be a matter of if but more about when we do it, and setting aside that time each week is so important.
So how do we start?
Step: 1 – Change your mind set…one burpee at a time
Don’t think of physical activity as a chore, but as a blessing for your body. Our bodies are made to move and it’s no secret that regular exercise helps improve our mood, reduces stress and boosts our confidence – meaning we can do and achieve more on a daily basis. Start small, even if it’s five burpees, ten sit-ups or a few squats between nappy changes. My personal favourite was lunges while rocking my baby at night, and as crazy as it sounds anything is better than nothing.
Staying active is a big part of my life, and between running a business and juggling a family, it’s something I always make time for – no matter what! My family thank me for it and as a result I’m a better and happier person. Even on the busiest of days, I can always do push ups and jump squats – three sets of 10 reps each and that’s guaranteed to get the blood and muscles pumping and elevating my mood instantly.
Step 2 – Find your ‘me’ time
This is that special time where you take a moment to yourself. Perhaps when the kids are napping, or just as you wake up? First thing in the morning works for me and has now become a part of my daily routine. Upon waking I get straight into my active wear and off I go.
We need to stop thinking we never have any time and actually make time. Book it in as you would any other appointment. Stop for five minutes and just breathe, meditate, pamper yourself – or do whatever relaxes you most. We all need our ‘me’ time to restore the mind and body which will set you up for the day ahead.
STEP 3 – Involve your kids
This is the best way to keep active without having to make time for exercise. Try involving your kids in your workouts – walk them to school instead of driving, run or scooter around with them in a park, dance to music, and play sports with them. Kids are so active and love to run so embrace it, and it’s a great way to keep fit at the same time. Even better, include them in a 15-minute workout. My son now loves to play the trainer and runs me through a workout session.
STEP 4 – Eat right
Our diets are just as important as our fitness routines. Just because we have children, doesn’t mean our nutritional intake needs to suffer. I always make sure my kids eat well and I lead by example. Try carrying a small box filled with snacks such as sliced applies, blueberries, protein balls or trail mix when you’re out and about on your busy day. It’s a great way to pack your body full of nutrition on the go, and always remember to hydrate well with water.
STEP 5 – Create a strong support system
Don’t worry you aren’t alone. There are so many parents going through the same daily struggle. Try arranging meet-ups with other parents in your condo or neighbourhood and get active together, or join a gym or fitness class that involves kids. Even if it’s only on weekends, getting into a regular routine with others helps motivate and keep you on track. I love the community of group fitness – you get fit while socialising.
Balancing your busy schedule with family and fitness is tough, but very achievable. It’s all about training your mind to accept fitness as an important part of your routine and taking the necessary actions to make it happen.