Starting a Workout Routine When You Have Kids

In this week’s episode, we discuss how I started working out after kids and how my routines have changed over the years. We also dive into “finding the time” to work out, how I trained myself to be a morning person and the importance of movement in daily life. Lastly, we’ll talk about making a commitment to yourself to live the healthy lifestyle you deserve. 

This 6th season of the MOMables Podcast is all about helping you live a healthier lifestyle as a family. 

Topics discussed this episode: 

  • How to start working out after having kids
  • Finding time to be active in the middle of a busy schedule
  • The importance of movement for whole-body health
  • Making a commitment to yourself to reach your goals

This episode is brought to you the Family KickStart Program. This is MOMables’s whole-food program designed for families who want to eliminate processed foods and sugars for 30 days without feeling like they are giving up the recipes families love

More information about the Family KickStart Program here. 

How do you get back into a workout routine after a long break?

I’m going to give you a quick story. Something that people don’t know about me, is that I have been doing karate for four and a half years. And I’m at the end of my stretch.

I started with my kids and we do it as a family. Now, I’m close to a black belt but the hardest thing is to was to get started. They say that the hardest belt to earn is the white belt. The first class that you go in karate, you just wear your white gi, you don’t even have a belt on.

When you complete the first class, you are given your first belt. You’ve earned your white belt. It’s just like anything else. The hardest thing is to show up and get started.

Now, four and a half years later, even though I don’t feel like going most times, I show up and I keep going.

If you are just thinking about starting a workout routine my best tip of encouragement is to just get started.

image: woman in bedroom rolling out yoga mat

Working Out Vs. Being Active

There is a difference between being active and working out. In karate, there are so many people in the class who were overweight when they started. They didn’t know what to do but knew they wanted to make health changes.

They realized that karate three to four times a week with their kids was a great start to getting active. It’s not about breaking a sweat or going to the gym and lifting weights.

It’s about creating a healthy routine that involves movement. Activity builds longevity because our bodies are designed to move.

If you haven’t worked out in a long time, just start by looking for things that you can do a few times a week that can keep you active. A few ideas might be:

  • Karate class
  • Walking the dog every night
  • Try classes at the gym
  • Talk a walk during your lunch break
  • Ride your bike
  • Go on a family hike

Even if you only start with family activities during the weekend, that’s is still getting you fresh air, and giving you more energy. Weekends are a great place to start!

Going back to the gym for the first time

It can be the hardest thing to get back to the gym after having babies or after a long break.

You’re sleep-deprived, everything is jiggly (spandex clothes become ESSENTIAL). It is both physically and mentally uncomfortable to get back to the gym.

But once you start going, put a smile on your face. People around you will automatically start smiling back.

No matter how hard or uncomfortable it might be to get back at it, this is the character-building part. Pushing through and showing up even when it’s uncomfortable.

If you haven’t used your gym membership in a while, I would encourage you to pick up that class schedule and try out different classes one at a time.

The idea is to try every class out there, at least twice. Especially if a class is offered by different instructors, make sure you try both, because you need to figure out which classes and instructors are the most fun for you.

Going down the list like this will help you find an activity or class that you can enjoy. Try boxing, spinning class, zumba, yoga, everything! You don’t have to just run on the treadmill, find something fun that you can do with other people, and that will encourage you to keep going back to make this a regular part of your life.

How to Manage Your Expectations When Working Out as a Mom

This is really hard! We all want our bodies to go back to the way it was before kids, but it’s really difficult. It’s easy to look at other people and compare, but you have to remember you’re not living their life.

You are here to live your life and your life is lived by the choices you make.

If you want to ea healthier, then you have to make the choice to find healthier recipes and cook and serve them. It’s a trickle affect.

If you want to incorporate exercise or fitness or moving into your day to day, then you have to first make the choice to actually go do that.

Sometimes I dress in workout clothes and still don’t do anything. I tell myself I’ll get to it and then I don’t. But at least I was prepared, right? Even if it’s 4 o’clock and all I get in is the evening walk, I did something.

One great way to manage expectations is not to just think well of yourself when you hit a certain weight milestone or go down a clothing size. Instead, pay yourself on the back for getting the exercise into your day at all.

Celebrating smaller wins can go a long way in keeping you motivated so that you keep going.

It is such a huge thing to be kind to yourself. You may not look like you did 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 9 months ago. Things might be a little giggly and you don’t look or feel like you once did.

But if you look at yourself, think about the choices you are making. You cannot compare yourself to when you were a 20 year old in college. Everything is different, from kids to hormones. We can’t expect it to all be the same.

I’m different at 40 than I was at 22. But I actually like myself better at 40 not physically, but from the inside. I like the person that I am today, more than the 20-year-old because I’m kinder to myself. I’m nicer to myself.

Looking to Instagram for Inspiration

Looking to Instagram for inspiration can be a really bad idea. Instead, look to your network of humans around you whether that’s a the gym or people you know that are also active and have similar goals to your own.

Finding your community of women who can help encourage you to keep going, in person is the best way to stay inspired. While there are a lot of really inspiring workout channels on Instagram, but make sure you are paying attention to how you feel when you look at them, and be sure that you are truly feeling inspired, and not using it to guilt yourself or talk down to yourself.

How to “Find Time” to Work Out

How do I find the time? The truth is we all have the exact same 24 hours in our day. We all have the same amount of time.

It’s not about finding time, because time has already found you.

You have to make time to do the things that are important to you, from working out to eating better and living a healthy lifestyle.

For me, from the moment I wake up my time is already allocated to things. I’m not super scheduled but before I go to bed, I already know what I want to get done the next day. I move things around as needed, but for the most part, I make time for the things that are important to me.

Sometimes, that means assessing where my extra time is going. For example, I have the app on my phone that tells me how much time I’m spending on my phone. This is a hard one for me, because so much of my work is done on my phone. But there’s a difference between working on my phone and just scrolling through social media for 30 minutes.

Sometimes, if I’m waiting on my kids I’m replying to work emails or texting my team who works remotely. If you don’t have to use those moments for work, you can even install apps that will limit your daily usage of certain apps, like social media, to your chosen amount of time per day.

You’d be surprised how much time this can free up in your day which you can put towards things you’d rather be doing, like staying active.

Become a Morning Person

For years, I would stay up late working on my business. My “work hours” were from 9pm-midnight for a long time. My husband would have to wake me up in the morning when he left for work so that I could get up and take care of things in the morning. He would always tell me “if you would just wake up earlier in the morning you would feel like you got more done in your day”.

I would look at him like the devil walked in. I’m just not a morning person! I just can’t get up early.

Then one day, just 4 or 5 years ago I started getting up early two days a week. On those days I’d wake up before the kids and go to the gym for 2 classes that I had found that were fun.

It was really painful at first, but I started going to be earlier little by little. It became a joke that “Laura goes to bed at the same time as the kids”. Slowly I started to become more of a morning person, going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.

I set the coffee so it’s ready for me in the morning, and I even put my workout clothes on the floor so they’re ready for me as soon as I wake up. Anything I have to do to make it easy on myself to get up early, I do it!.

Making the Commitment

I’m going to give you the hard truth. The reality is that we are all vain. That is a harsh truth, I don’t care how humble you are, how graceful and kind you are, those are your attributes. But at the end of the day, if there is a mirror, you check yourself out. It is really hard to walk by a mirror and not look at yourself!

This is one reason why it’s so important to commit for yourself, and not anyone else.

If you want to look good, do it for you not for your husband or boyfriend or somebody else.

You want to look good for yourself. At the end of the day, nice words are good to hear from other people, especially your spouse, but the kind words have to come from inside your head first.

And it is not just about looking good, but about feeling good.

The reality is, scientifically, if you exercise there are endorphins and hormones and a whole bunch of stuff that happens that makes you feel better.

There are clinical trials on exercise as a mood enhancer. So I know that when I incorporated exercise or in movement into my daily life, I became happier because I was happy being outside.

That’s really why I always talk about making a commitment to yourself. If you prioritize yourself, you’re saying I’m important. I’m enough. I can do this.

January 29, 2020

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