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Balancing fitness, family, and work

I have been getting this question a lot lately, "how do you do it all?, how do you find time to work out?" I’m humbled that people think I’m doing an OK job of juggling the work, caring for my husband (although I think he might cook more than I do) and baby (almost a toddler), and staying in shape. I’ll share a few tips that work for me, but keep in mind that one size definitely does not fit all!! And giving the disclaimer that I sure don’t get it right all the time. I am overtired, over worked and struggling just like everyone else ;)! That first year is about the feed-change-laundry hamster wheel, snatching as much sleep as possible, and easing back into the workforce/fitness routine.

Pre-baby I could work out almost anytime I wanted! Two classes in one day was the norm! It was my stress relief, what kept me sane. Fast forward to 20 weeks pregnant a day after I ran a 5k when the doctor told me I was going to have to take it easy because I had a tear in my placenta. Of course I wanted to do what was best for my baby but HOW THE HECK WAS I NOT GOING TO WORK OUT FOR 20+ WEEKS! Yoga was my social time and date nights consisted of lifting at the gym before dinner. Working out was my solution to a bad day, my ME time. Those next 20 weeks were very hard for me more mentally then physically. I was not willing to sit around and do nothing. So I took up walking. Like almost everything else I do I took walking to an entirely new level. Since it was winter and my husband was not thrilled about the idea of me walking outside, I took to mall walking, walking laps around my house, the office and any store I could. I walked on average 7+ miles a day! I know a little crazy but it was very hard for me to sit still and so very hard to not be able to do yoga, run, spin, etc. Needles to say I made it through the 20+ weeks with much tears, lots of lessons in letting it go and hours of walking around the mall. In the end it was all worth it when I got to hold my Pepper! Even though I could not work out the way I planned (I of course was planning to do yoga all the way to 40 weeks) I thinking the walking helped so much not only during labor but in the recovery process. Once Pepper was born I was dying to get back to some kind of exercise. I started off with just walking then moved to running and added in some yoga. I really learned to listen to my body and relax when I needed it. I focused on eating healthy and producing enough milk for Pepper. The first three months were a sleepless blur with no real schedule just survival mode. Fast forward 10 months later and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. Lifting, yoga, spin, running etc. I even got my fastest time in a 5k race last week. So what works for me?

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you set out to find the balance between work, child care, and self-care.

Make a Realistic Plan and Start Small

Sounds simple – but you need to make a achievable, specific plan that goes beyond, “I need to get back into shape.” Start with something realistic. I started with going to yoga 1 day a week, and walking 30 min a day then, as Pepper got older and I could have more of a schedule, I changed my goals. Every Sunday I schedule my work out for the week and arrange child care that day for the week so I have no excuse, (use gym daycare, husband and family). Some times plans don't always work though and I end up running on our treadmill at home at 10 pm after putting the baby to bed and finishing up any left over work I couldn't do during the day because the baby did not nap as I planned.

Be Accountable

Once you make your fitness plan, get a partner in crime or two. My husband and I just started lifting together again. I also have a few yoga buddies and always make time to take my mom's spin class. I also track what I eat on MyFitnessPal. Joining fitness groups, even if they are just on facebook, can also help keep you accountable and on track for your health goals.

I use Google Calendar so that I can see my work and family calendars in one place. And I put workouts on my work calendar. In order to get a work out in I sometimes have to wake up early and go at 6 am. I hate waking up early but feel wonderful after.

Make Self-Care a Priority

I struggle with this as a new working mom, especially since I went back to work right away. ( I did not have a three month maternity leave). I have this nagging guilty feeling every time that I do something for myself-selfish, selfish, selfish… You should be spending all your free time with your family! Thing is – taking care of yourself is pretty much the opposite of selfish, even though that might feel counter-intuitive. By making working out a regularly-occurring event in our household we will normalize it for our children, hopefully inspiring them to do the same as they become adults. To get in family time and work outs we try and do at least one family activity a week like hiking, biking, swimming etc.

So ladies, try to remember its not always as easy as it looks on Instagram and Facebook. We all struggle, lets help each other be stronger, happier and healthier in 2017!

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