An amazing new way of looking at your fitness as a mum! Our Hong Kong based unstoppable mum and Health and Wellness coach Cressida Martin shows you how.
As a Mum we’re all busy right? School runs, sleepless nights, play dates, work, laundry.The list is endless. So why is working out so important. And it is important. It keeps us Mums fit so we can run after our kids. It helps us feel confident in our own skin. It keeps us healthy long term. It shows our kids that it’s important too.
How do you find the time in your crazy busy day?
GET UP EARLY
Yes, if you can before the rest of your house wakes up, when the house is quiet and it’s just you, is the perfect way to fit in. Splash cold water on your face, drink a glass of water put your trainers and your sports bra on and press play. Or wear your workout clothes to bed! Yes people actually do that!! You’ll feel energized, proud of yourself and happy that you have done something just for you before the day has really begun. You can then spend the rest of the day helping others in your life. It’s time for you to clear your head and work through things while you exercise.
Stretching in the dark
Slogging away for an hour on a cross trainer will not be as beneficial to you as a 30 minute HIIT and weights workout. Work multiple muscle groups at the same time, or work different groups on different days (arms Monday, legs, Tuesday, core Wednesday etc..) If you change up your workout regularly you will get results in a short period of time. The longer you keep your workout the same the more efficient the body will become so it is less effective. Weights are important to build muscle to protect you from injury, give you the power you need to lift your sleeping child, and burn calories while you are sleeping. Yes that’s right. Muscle burns more calories than fat! So the stronger you are the more calories you will burn. That’s why men tend to lose weight more easily than women!! You won’t bulk up, that’s a myth. Female body builders deliberately do this, its hard work and doesn’t just accidentally happen!!
If you’re lucky enough to have a regularly napping baby or toddler utilize this time. A workout will revive you and boost your energy levels more than a quick nap will. Your body produces adrenaline which will push you through the tiredness until bedtime. Dishes piling up? Laundry needs folding? Do it later!! No one died from not doing chores but they do from obesity related illnesses!
INVOLVE YOUR KIDS. If you have older children, get them involved! Not only will this help you but will show them that exercise is important. Children learn by seeing and copying. They can ride their bikes while you jog. Scoot while they scoot?!! Can you find a Mum and baby exercise group? Pilates or buggy fit? If your working out at home they may interfere and be demanding of your attention but surely taking 45 minutes to do a 30 minute workout is better than not doing it all? If you get a routine going they will eventually get used to it and let you get on with it. Be patient, it takes them time to learn and they will occasionally have off days!! Yes it’s frustrating when they stop you but that’s Mum life!!
Find a reason to workout. A big event coming up. Sign up for a race. An illness you want to get over. Your children’s own health. Accountability is key for motivation. Tell your friends and family you are trying to get fit, explain to them why and get them to support you in your journey. Not supportive? Find new friends! Or use their negativity to drive you on to prove them wrong, that you can do this. Post your journey on social media to inspire others. You don’t have to be a super trainer to do this, quite the opposite in fact. Just being a regular Mum whose making changes is enough. Find someone to follow yourself, someone just like you (check out my Facebook profile below as an example). Join an online community of Mums who are trying to get fit! Reach out and talk to people. Try working out with friends. Invite them to your house and workout together while your children play. Share a personal training session, you could book an hour and do half each. You can achieve a lot in 30 minutes!
Photo of me after Spartan race
Think you need fancy treadmills, workout clothes and machines? Think again. You can get fit easily without any equipment at all or just a set of dumbbells. Dumbbells are super easy to find and cheap, check out freecycle too. If you workout at home you can wear whatever you like. No one is going to notice the cornflakes stuck to your pyjamas!! The one thing you should invest in though is a good sports bra.
Support your new workout regime with a great nutrition program. Don’t even think about fad diets, they don’t work and can mess with your metabolic rate. They are short sharp solutions that are not suitable long term. So what does work? Everyone is different and whatever you decide to do must fit around your life or it won’t be sustainable. Eat clean fresh food. Cook from scratch. This doesn’t need to be time consuming or fancy, you don’t need to be a chef. Invest in a slow cooker that you can turn on in the morning so your dinner is cooked by the time you get home. Batch cook for the freezer, double your recipes and freeze them for quick healthy meals when you don’t have time to cook properly. This will stop the temptation to eat junk food or microwave meals. Veggies most, eat lots of veggies. Fill your plate with them. Frozen vegetables are as good as fresh and often fresher as they are frozen as soon as they are picked. Make spag bol for your family, make spaghetti for them and zoodles for yourself. Make a veggie sauce, eat as is for you and blend it smooth for the children. Pizza night? Regular pizzas for them, cauliflower pizza base for you. Or have 1 slice of pizza and fill the rest of your plate with veggies. Keep your kids treats out of sight. Out of sight out of mind. Keep healthy options where you can see them. Never go food shopping hungry!! Take a healthy snack with you when you leave the house so you don’t get tempted.
Drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration leads to tiredness so changing your soda to water will give you more sustainable energy. Try having a variety of teas in the house so you don’t get bored. Avoid drinking fruit juice, eat the fruit instead to fill you up and keep your sugar intake down. Cut down the beer, it’s full of carbs. Drink wine spritzer instead of straight. Vodka soda instead of vodka and Coke. All these small changes will make a difference to your health.
HAVING TAKEOUT OR EATING OUT?
Check the menu and plan before you go. Ask to replace the fries with vegetables. Avoid creamy sauces. Drink water before you eat. Send the bread basket back. Fill up on salad and veggies not bread and rice. Eating out doesn’t mean your nutrition plan needs to go out of the window. If you decide to eat whatever you want, great enjoy every mouthful, don’t feel guilty. Guilt doesn’t help anyone and won’t help you lose weight!!. Just jump back in the next meal.
But most importantly of all. Love yourself, forgive yourself and don’t feel guilty.
Health and Wellness coach. (And a stay at home Mum)
(Cressida Martin is on FB!)