Working out with a child in the house is easy if...
- Your child is napping
- Your house has magically cleaned itself
- You have a private chef getting dinner ready
- You have a nanny on call for when your child needs a diaper change five minutes after you’ve hopped on the treadmill
I’ll admit, I made every excuse in the book for the first two years of my daughter’s life when it came to getting back to the gym.
Having spent my pre-motherhood life completely consumed and utterly obsessed with being in shape, having abs, and counting every calorie I laid eyes on, I felt somewhat relieved to have an excuse that kept me from committing wholeheartedly to a fitness routine of any kind.
But I lost sight of the fact that working out gave me an emotional strength that I so desperately needed as a young parent.
I needed the endorphins. I needed the boost of energy.
Making the commitment is one thing, but sticking to it, with a business to run, a radio show to produce, a networking group to maintain, and most importantly, a 2-year-old to raise, is the real challenge.
Here’s how I make it work:
1. Schedule it in
If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve learned that sticking to a certain routine makes life way easier. I schedule my workouts in the same way I schedule a client call, a nail appointment, or a lunch with friends.
I keep my calendar clear for 90 minutes to indulge in a sweaty, exhausting workout session three mornings a week after I drop my daughter off at school.
All other responsibilities can wait because this date with myself a few mornings a week keeps me in shape physically, helps me clear my mind, and gives me a ton of energy that lasts until bedtime.
2. Take advantage of having a little workout buddy
I used to think that trying to get a workout in with my daughter around would be a waste of time. Then one day I decided to make her part of my workout! She was fascinated to watch me move around with energy and even more excited to be my helper.
I had her hold my phone and set my timer, help me count my reps, and for an added boost to my workout, let her hop on my back for squats and pushups.
What I thought would be an exercise in patience and fit of frustration, turned out to be a really sweet bonding experience, all while I stuck to my fitness commitment.
3. Do what works for you, not what’s trending
Barre. Yoga. Pilates. TRX. Crossfit. Kickboxing. The options are endless. But when you have a busy lifestyle, a full-time job, and little ones to look after, something’s got to give. Would I love to make it to my favorite gym for their high-intensity kickboxing classes every week? Sure, it’s the greatest workout ever, but the schedule usually interferes with the time I spend with my daughter.
Ignore the pressure to jump into the latest fitness trend if it doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle or what you’re comfortable doing – you won’t be able to commit this way. Doing what works for you, makes you feel good and gives you zero reason to fall off track is the way to go. It’s about feeling good, not feeling pressured.
It’s about feeling good, not feeling pressured.
4. Oh, and the most important tip? Be easy on yourself
Life is hard enough without the added stress we sometimes put on ourselves to look a certain way, burn a certain amount of calories, or get back to "normal".
Have fun with your workout, commit to exercising to feel good before anything else, and you’ll find yourself back to your routine in no time.
I’m Michelle, owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey Very Well-Written, a full-service content marketing business. I speak to female audiences regularly on topics including empowerment, personal development, and business success. I also have a personal blog, The Trusted Mama, where I tell honest tales of motherhood, marriage, everything in between. When I’m not writing, I can be found enjoying the outdoors with my family, enjoying Fort Lauderdale life with friends, and indulging in coffee, from sunup to sundown.
Michelle is the owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey Very Well-Written, a full-service content marketing business. She speaks to female audiences regularly on topics including empowerment, personal development, and business success. She also has a personal blog, The Trusted Mama, where she tells honest tales of motherhood, marriage, everything in between.