Sunday, January 11, 2015

Busy Mom Tips for Fitness

Let's be honest. Working out as a Mom is HARD. It's not like we possess the ability to get up and go whenever we please. A few weeks ago my in laws had my 2 older kids for much of the day and overnight, and had my youngest for about 5 hours. It was....strange. The house was quiet and I had FREEDOM! If I wanted to shower I could just go shower. If I wanted to workout I could just get up and go. Such an odd concept for me. My oldest is 5, it's been a long time since I have been able to make decisions that aren't based on other people's schedule. Suffice to say, maintaining a consistent workout schedule is a challenge. There are kids to bathe, dress, feed, play with, messes to deal with, meals to cook, lunches to make. And at the end of the day, once the kids are in bed, is there really any energy to expend on a workout? I have 3 kids, aged 5, 3, and 5 months. I get that it's hard. I get there are other things you'd rather be doing. So here are some tips that I've used to help me ensure fitness is still a part of my life, without interfering with time with my kids:

1. Schedule it
Treat your fitness regime as you would a meeting with your doctor or chiropractor and schedule it! Mark it into a calendar, make sure you have plans for childcare if need be, and prepare the day accordingly. Scheduling your workouts sends a message to yourself and those around you that your health is important and won't be overlooked.

2. Choose your success time
Do you have the most energy first thing in the morning, or would you rather workout at night once the house is quiet? For me, my time is first thing in the morning before anyone is awake. I wake up feeling good and know my workouts are the best at that time. My energy is great and I find that emotionally, I am much better at handling overwhelm and chaos when I have started the day with a solid workout. If I scheduled every workout at night, I would fail. Every now and then I can muster up the energy to lift, but I know that in order to achieve my goals, the majority of my workouts need to be in the morning, when I function best. Experiment for a bit and find the time that works best in your life

3. Keep it short
I don't know about you, but I have found that since I have become a Mom, everything is high speed. I do everything as fast as I can because I have lots to fit in. If I knew I had 90 minutes of working out to do, it wouldn't happen so much. One of the questions I get often is how long my workouts are. And I usually come back with, "it depends." If I am just doing weights, I can get a really good workout in 30-40 minutes. Sometimes my cardio is 45 minutes, sometimes my cardio is 10 minutes, it depends on the intensity. I learned the word "superset" very early into my fitness journey. A superset is completing one exercise after another, without rest. I superset most of my exercises now. It's quicker and has the added bonus of being effective at building and strengthening muscle. I learned HIIT cardio, or Tabata, which are interval types of cardio, really amazing at conditioning the cardio system, and guessed it....short. You don't need to log hours in the gym to see gains, you just have to make sure that what you are doing has purpose

4. Realistic Expectations
Don't set yourself up for failure. Although I do believe in setting big goals, I also believe in feeling out new changes before diving in, especially when you have a family and other priorities. Don't commit to 6 days of 2 hour workouts. Maybe start out with 3 days of 40 minute sessions and go from there. You don't want to feel defeated or overwhelmed right off that bat, those feelings aren't likely going to lead you to success

5. Use a workable model
By workable model I mean one that is flexible. I fill out a monthly calendar with my workouts but am always open to changing it. If my kids are sick and I didn't sleep much the night before, I might skip that day's workout and switch around my rest days. If I am feeling run down I might forgo that workout altogether and not bother trying to make it up. With kids come many unpredictable variables. While scheduling is always a bonus to a balanced life, it also needs to be workable to allow for those unexpected things that are bound to come up

6. Do something you enjoy
One of my very highest values is time with my children. I LOVE that I am able to be with them every day, available to get them to and from school, to be home with them when they're sick, available for all their appointments, able to cook their meals and do fun things with them. Since becoming a Mom I have found myself limiting activities and people that don't make me happy. I choose to fill my world with joy and passion. If you are going to be away from your family to workout, you need to make sure it's enjoyable. Otherwise you are going to resent that time, which could otherwise be seen as valuable time to recharge and pamper yourself. Choose activities that fill up your cup rather than empty it. You will come out of that workout feeling energized, strong, fulfilled and balanced, ready to be fully available and engaged for your children. Do you enjoy cycling? Running? Lifting weights? Sign up for a new fitness class at your local gym. Register for a mud race to try something new. Invite a friend to play tennis. Be creative and get moving.

7. Enjoy the journey
I see this far too often. People want a quick fix. If I were selling a pill that could give you energy, tighten your abs and burn fat, I'd be rolling in money. But I'm not. I am selling lifestyle changes, and with that, comes resistance. People keep their eye on the result and completely fail to appreciate the journey and the small victories along the way. Keeping your focus on the final outcome doesn't allow you the space to value the changes you are making or the progress that is occurring and can be frustrating and defeating, leading to giving up. While it is important to always have your main goal at the forefront of your mind, you shouldn't place more value on that than the journey. So enjoy it, celebrate it and be open to all you are learning along the way

I hope that helps. This image helps me deal with day-to-day life - reminding myself that balance is always a work in progress, and there are times your focus must shift, putting everything else out of balance. Taking care of yourself makes this process much more manageable and enjoyable so please don't forget about you!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

NEW Year Resolutions

We are 10 days in to 2015, how are you doing with your resolutions? Or maybe you're officially taking a stand against the idea of setting goals once a year? I know some people who balk at the idea of such a mainstream task - setting an unrealistic goal, failing at said goal and cruising through the next 11 months until it's time for another goal. When I used to work out at a gym, I would always dread January. The gym would be packed solid with newbies set out to accomplish their goal of losing weight or getting fit. I'd begrudgingly work my way through the place, using whatever machine was open, knowing all too well that in 6 weeks at least half the newbies would be gone. In 12 weeks, 90% would have disappeared. I just had to be patient and wait out their dwindling sense of determination.

I was talking to my Dad this week and casually asked him what his resolution was, if he had any. He responded with "oh you know, it's the same thing every year, to lose weight." I sat silently, my logic wrestling with my emotions. How sad is it, I thought, that someone could spend years of their life wanting the same thing, never really achieving it? I wondered the same of all you - do you seem to have the same resolution year after year, or month after month? If you do, what has prevented you from achieving it?

I am a firm believer that if you want something badly enough, you CAN achieve it. It just takes some work and and consistency. And perhaps a few useful tools as well. I was recently flipping through an older book of mine (The Body Sculpting Bible for Women by James Villepigue & Hugo Rivera) and came across a formula I had highlighted back when I started my fitness journey:

S = D x (T + N + R)

S is the success that you achieve in your program.
D is your determination to succeed
T is your training
N is your nutritional program
R is for rest

Write that down somewhere and really meditate upon it. Which part(s) of the formula have you been missing? Are you determined enough to follow through with your plan (because I assume you have already mapped out the steps necessary to achieve your goal)? Is your training intermittent or occurring only when it's convenient? Is your nutrition on track? Are your resting to allow your body the opportunity to strengthen and heal? If you have been feeling like a dog chasing it's own tail when it comes to results in your health, it's time to evaluate where you stand.

Break your big goal into specific mini ones and ACT. Quit spending so much time planning, and start acting. If you find yourself straying from the goal yet again, perhaps it's time to evaluate your goal itself - is it something you really want or is it a standard you feel stems from society's expectations? And if it is something you really want, are you placing other things ahead of it in your priority schedule? Maybe you don't want this so badly after all. If that's the case, you need to shift your focus. Quit focusing on setting this goal that, in the end, isn't important to you after all. You certainly don't want your self esteem to become tied up in the constant failure.

Maybe you need an accountability partner, or someone to help you create your plan. I find fitness and nutrition to be two of the most overwhelming facets of life. There are so many opinions and thoughts and beliefs when it comes to both that in the end, when faced with 500 options, people throw in the towel, finding more peace within their comfort level. If that's the case, hire someone to help guide you, someone who knows their stuff and can lay out a concrete, workable plan to guide you along your journey. Money invested in health is money very well spent.

Comment below and let me know your resolutions. Let me know what your roadblocks are, or have been. Let 2015 be your year!

Cheers to your health xxoo

Monday, January 5, 2015

Meal Planning Tool

Today I am sharing with you the GREATEST tool I have found when it comes to meal planning, makes my life so much easier! I have created a video briefly showing you the basics. The information for signing up are below the video. Let me know if you sign up, I'll be happy to share my recipes with you

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat