Goal setting

Finding the Time and energy to exercise

Finding the Time and energy to exercise

One of the biggest hurdles to getting fit and healthy is overcoming the perception that you don’t have enough time to train. We all have huge demands on our time and for many of us life has changed significantly of late. We are working from home more but also may have children spending a lot more time at home as well. Speaking from personal experience attempting to exercise whilst a strong willed two year proceeds to climb all over you isn’t particularly conducive to achieving those training goals. So what is the solution? 

Make an appointment with yourself

Set a weekly exercise timetable for yourself and stick to it. Put the times you want to work out in your diary, like you would with a work meeting and treat them like an appointment that can’t be missed. Exercising at set times weekly works really well as it becomes a regular routine that you can stick to. If you try an adhoc approach of just working out as and when, before you know it the day has passed and you haven’t managed to make the time. If you have a partner make a trade where each person gets to make time for doing something they enjoy. 

Workout plan

Get dressed for sweat!

Its okay to prioritise yourself. I get incredibly grumpy when I don’t exercise (not possible I hear you say!). I am a much happier, more productive person and definitely a better mother when I have had that precious time to myself to get a workout done. Put your gym gear on so you can’t talk yourself out of it. You’ll find once you’re dressed for a workout you’ll feel you need to just crack on and do it. 

Have a plan of action

Make a plan, set yourself goals, otherwise you will just flounder. No matter what it is you’re doing have a specific target in mind – plan your distance and speed so you feel a sense of achievement once complete. If working on your strength and conditioning make sure you are progressing, start with lighter weights and go heavier once you feel stronger or increase the difficulty level of the exercises you are doing. If you just do the same thing over and over without adaptations you will not see any improvement and are likely to get bored and not stick to it longer term. 

Exercise Goal setting

Nutrition and exercise are intrinsically linked

Exercise and nutrition are a marriage made in heaven, you can’t really have one without the other. If you are eating healthily you are more inclined to stick to an exercise regime and vice versa. Good food will give you more energy and help you feel better about yourself. Exercise provides those positive endorphins which give you a much needed energy boost particularly on those days when you thought you really didn’t feel up to it. 

Finally even when knackered and the sofa is looking at you invitingly begging you to plonk yourself down, remember that you will never ever regret having done a workout but you will have that lingering feeling of guilt when you don’t follow through. 

Pregnancy exercise

Crawling back to post baby fitness

I always thought exercising after having a baby would be just like riding a bike – you never really forget how to do it right? I was mostly sensible through my pregnancy. I stayed active, I ate healthily (within reason) and thought once all was done and dusted it would be straight back to business on the exercise front. I’d run with the pushchair, I’d workout in the garden while he was napping, he’d lay peacefully beside me as I perfected my downward dog …

Even reading that now makes me laugh out loud. The first few months were a heady mix of euphoria and extreme sleep depravation, I felt any residual fitness I had slowly ebbing away. Turns out there was about 30 mins free time between feeds and this usually involved me munching on anything that had a high enough sugar content to get me through the next few hours. But I digress, time moved on, we got into a nice little routine and finally it was time to chase down the ghost of my fitness past. Not because I was overly concerned about squeezing back into my jeans you understand but because I am an incredibly grumpy person when I don’t exercise (no comment needed here from my other half!).

Here is the best advice I can offer from a new mum’s perspective and stay tuned for the new dad’s perspective coming soon:

Go easy on yourself: Your body has been through a lot. Start off with some basic resistance routines using light weights. This will help rebuild muscle and strengthen bone density. Build up gradually to high impact work including running. Note to self jumping jacks are not the new mum’s friend.

The friend factor: Enter my friend Emma, mum of two year old twins, possibly the world’s most motivated person when it comes to exercise. Having a workout buddy, especially one who is further down the baby road than you is invaluable. Emma used to pitch up on my doorstep on a cold, wintry Thursday evening when all I wanted to do was watch Silent Witness and drag me along to running club. I always felt so tired beforehand but once I got going it was amazing to experience the freedom of being out on my own with no little person demanding my attention. I was doing something just for me. Little by little we got more regular runs in and before I knew it I felt confident enough to take on a half marathon again.

Class action: Joining a group class can really help from a motivation perspective. Because I’m a trainer everyone assumes I would rather run a class myself than attend one. But sometimes you just want to switch off completely and relinquish control to someone else. Luckily there was a superb trainer running a late evening class out of our studio which worked perfectly with bedtime routine. There were a few new mums in the group and she really took this into account when planning the classes. There was good camaraderie in the class and this made us want to attend even when knackered after a long day.

BYO: The evening class led to a beach circuits morning class where you could bring your baby along. I was slightly trepidatious at first. What were the chances of all the planets being aligned and junior actually napping whilst I got a cheeky workout in? Turns out the sound of the sea is miles better than Ewan the Sheep could ever be and most Fridays we had happily dozing babies. Sometimes the thought of the effort involved in getting yourself and your little one ready and dragging them along to a class can be overwhelming but its worth the effort even if you only make it half way through.

Tag team system with your partner: This may involve a more complex negotiating system than an EU directive but definitely worth it. Work out with your other half what nights/mornings you want to find time to exercise at and vice versa. Make this part of your weekly routine and stick to it. You’ll both be the better for it.

A year down the road I feel fit and happy. I don’t exercise at anywhere near the level of intensity I did in the past but I’ve feel like I’ve reached a happy medium. Now if I could just get the little man to sleep past 6am I’d probably be the next Jo Pavey!
exercise with baby