As a busy mom I've often felt like I just couldn't get a handle on my workouts. I wanted to lose weight and get in shape but no matter how hard I tried my workouts weren't working for me. I realized I was falling into these common traps. They were sabotaging my best efforts and maybe yours too.
Working out too hard. I'll be the first to admit I'm not in the best shape of my life but here I was kick starting my workout regime by taking spin, boot camp and barre classes. Sure, a few years ago I could have done this but now I wasn't at that level. Each class left me sore and it often took me days to recover. Our bodies change after having children and it's important to realize that getting back to our past fitness level is going to take time.
Working out too long. Most classes are an hour or more and it was hard to find that much time. What often happened was I didn't go or if I did go I would push myself to workout too hard for too long. It's tempting to give it your all when you finally have the chance to fit in a workout but it's better to pace yourself.
Not scheduling my workouts. I would aim to work out three to four times per week but never actually set aside time in my calendar. As life took over I would get easily derailed. Life with little ones can be unpredictable, so it's important to schedule workouts and enlist the help of others to make them happen.
Focusing too much on the outcome. After working out consistently for a few weeks I would weigh myself. The scale hadn't budged. That would take me off track once again. Instead of working out only for a specific result, exercise for your health and well-being. Trust that the rest will follow.
Once I realized what I was doing wrong, I figured out how to do things right.
Surefire ways to make your workouts work for you.
For the first month of going back to the gym all I did was walk on the treadmill and use the elliptical for about 20 minutes. The walking has progressed to a light jog and now to short running intervals. Keep in mind your current fitness level and start slowly.
COMMIT TO A SCHEDULE.
Committing to working out three days a week is easy for me. Find what works for you but make sure it’s something you can commit to week and after week. Once you develop a habit it's easy to increase workouts.
ENLIST THE HELP OF OTHERS.
My best friend and her husband plan their gym schedules together so that each week they have scheduled time to go to the gym. As an added bonus, they have some time for themselves in the busy world of parenting.
FIND A WORKOUT FRIEND.
As mom of a toddler and a preschooler it's often hard for me to step away. Working out with a friend forces me to take time for myself and I never cancel knowing that someone is counting on me. Plan workouts with a friend to stay motivated and make working out a priority.
DON'T TRACK YOUR PROGRESS.
Don't track your progress. I've been working out for months now and haven't once stepped on a scale. My pants are a little looser and I feel great and that's good enough for me. So, put that scale away and hide the measuring tape for the first month or even two as you build a strong habit of working out. Once the habit is in place, then set your goals. It may sound crazy, but it works. Remember, working out to lose weight is great but working out to get and stay healthy is even better.
What has helped you stick to your workouts?