As a busy mom, it gets increasingly harder finding time to squeeze in exercise with a full time job and a baby.
You’re single, stressed, and just want a little bit of time to put together a proper workout schedule, without the stress of a toddler running around while your doing squats.
Finding time to exercise is seemingly impossible, no matter how excellent your time management skills are.
The thing is, you’re motivated to exercise. You enjoy working out. In fact, you’re one of those people who love working out. There’s just one problem. You don’t have any time to work out! Your life is hectic and packed solid with activities. Your time is being sucked by everyone around you, not leaving you any time for yourself. Your lack of exercise is leaving you weak, edgy, irritable, and with a few less notches in the belt to work with.
Your schedule looks something like this:
1. Wake up and get ready for work – 1 hr.
2. Get kids ready – add ½ hr.
3.Drive to work and get settled in – ½ hr.
4. Work – 4 hrs.
5. Lunch – 1 hr.
6. Work – 4 hr.
7. Drive home – ½ hr.
8. Pick up kids – add 15 min.
9. Change/Shower – ½ hr.
10. Bathe children – add ½ hr.
11. Make dinner – 1 hr.
12. Eat Dinner – 1 hr.
13. Clean up – ½ hr.
14. Put kids to bed – add 1 hr.
15. Get ready for bed and actually fall asleep – 45 min.
That leaves less than 8 hours of sleep, meaning you have no time to relax, no time for yourself, and definitely no time for you, the working mom, to find time to exercise with a busy schedule.
If you want to get your exercise in, you need to set a consistent schedule you can stick to and become more efficient with your time.
If you allow your busy schedule to take over your life and let exercise go by the wayside, you could be in for an unfavorable journey going forward. When you gradually start exercising less, your overall health may start to decline.
For example, if you haven’t exercised for 10 days, your brain may start to change. One study showed that when a group of endurance runners took a 10-day break from exercise, their MRIs showed a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and emotion.
After 2 weeks, your endurance plummets and your vitals may spike. Another study found that people who participated in 8 months of resistance and cardio training lost half their blood glucose level gains in just 14 days following the 8 month program.
At the 2-4 week interval, your strength begins to decline. You will begin to feel weaker and notice your muscle tone begin to recede.
At the 8 week mark you may experience a 10% or more gain in levels of body fat. Your waist circumference begins to increase, along with your body weight.
So how do you keep exercise in your schedule without disrupting your vitally important sleep schedule?
Just follow these steps on:
Finding Time to Exercise as a Busy Mom
Step 1: Make a Plan
Finding time to exercise is simple as making a plan. This step is crucial and something you should adhere to as closely as possible. Begin by creating a schedule for the week ahead. Get a calendar and fill out exactly what you need to do during the week. Just fill out basic needs, necessities and tasks (kind of like I did above but for the whole week). Set up times to do things and be specific.
For example: 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. I’m going to wake up, meditate, write in my journal and get ready for work. Don’t let yourself hit the snooze. The tempo for the day is established when you change your wakeup habits.
Now that you have created your basic schedule, let’s fill in the details.
Step 2: Rise and Shine
As a busy mom with a baby, the best time of day for working out is first thing in the morning. So if working out in the morning is something you want to start doing, you need to make time for it. If it takes you an hour to get ready, you will have two choices to fit your fifteen minute workout in. You can get up a little earlier, or you can become more efficient with your time. Sleep is very important to a healthy body so I would like to sway you to the second option.
So how can I squeeze in the 15 minutes to work out?
Instead of waking up, showering, picking out clothes, packing a lunch, eating a small breakfast and heading out the door, consider preparing or even doing some of these things the night before.
You could shower before bed, get your outfit ready to throw on, and get your lunch packed and put in the fridge. These three things alone will give you the extra time you’re looking for to get your workout in.
You can also prepare your workout the night before. Just do it immediately when you wake up. Put your alarm and water bottle across the room so it forces you out of bed to turn the alarm off, and just head straight to your workout.
Step 3: Be An Active Watcher
If you already have a built in “me time” for your favorite show, spend that time working out. This is a great opportunity to multitask and get your “mental getaway” while giving your body a much needed tune-up.
Either prepare your workout before-hand or have an exercise video you can display on your phone to follow along as you watch. Get a piece of cardio equipment you can dedicate time to do on the days you’re not doing classes or resistance training.
This step alone can make your workouts feel shorter (if you don’t enjoy working out), because all your attention is focused on your next Netflix television series episode.
Step 4: Prepare Your Meals
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Prepare your meal schedule the Sunday before your week begins. Go to the grocery store and pick up your groceries for the week. Spend part of the day prepping your meals. Cook, cut, chop, and allocate the food to be easily used for the week.
Get plastic Tupperware and divide meals up. Get dishwasher friendly Tupperware that stack well. Organize your fridge so you can easily figure out what’s being used for your next meal.
These off-work days are crucial to making sure you are successful during the week.
TIP: Buy pots, dishes, etc., that are dishwasher friendly. Save the cleanup time for something that provides for a better use of your time.
Step 5: Do An Express Workout
You’ve successfully found 15 minutes to get in your workout. You’re not only being efficient with your day, but with your workout.
To complete an express workout, you need to prepare your workout beforehand.
To maximize your time, remember to do compound lifts, keep your water breaks to ten seconds, and create small circuits that focus on varying muscle groups so you can rest certain muscles while working out others.
These smaller workouts can be done in the morning, over lunch, after work, or right before bed.
There is really no excuse for not being able to fit a fifteen minute workout into your day.
Step 6: Find 5 Minute Time Slots throughout the Day
Finding time to exercise as a busy mom with a full time job is as simple as finding several 5 minute slots to workout throughout the day. If you are so strapped for time that you can’t fit in a fifteen minute workout, then the next best thing is to evaluate your time management skills and put in several mini-workouts throughout the day.
Run in place in the morning right when you wake up. Use a standing desk with treadmill at work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try parking far away from the front door of your office. Do some quick pushups or lunges when you get home. Do a set of squats while you brush your teeth.
Anything helps and is beneficial for the body when it comes to exercise.
If you’re serious about exercising more during the work day, check out my article ->> The 10 Best Pieces of Exercise Equipment You Need for Your Office Cubicle
Step 7: Set and Track Goals
You are much more likely to achieve a goal if you just write it down. One study showed that people who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated results in their heads. Grant Cardone, bestselling author of “The 10X Rule” says you should write your goals down twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. They should be in the back of your mind at all times if you want to achieve them.
Set meaningful, specific, attainable, time-bound goals. If your goal is to lose ten pounds in three months, write it down and put it in a location where you can see it every day as you pass such as on your fridge, the bathroom mirror, or near your work desk. Track your progress. Hold yourself accountable. Maybe your goal is just to find fifteen minutes a day to workout. Set the goal and track it. It’s your best bet for long term success.
Step 8: Workout on the Weekends
If you have a limited amount of time to get solid workouts in during the week, just do some killer workouts on the weekends. You should still try to get as much exercise as you can during the week, but as we know, weekends often hold the days with the most available time.
Try these 5 weekend activities:
- Start your Saturday by waking up and getting a quality workout in, rather than sleeping in until 10 a.m. Try a HIFT (high-intensity functional training) workout, yoga, cycling, or anything to get your heart pumping.
- Schedule some outdoor activity. Get some much needed sunlight and take a hike around the lake or take your kids to the park. Stop every so often and do some pushups. Mix some squats and lunges in along the way.
- Go to the zoo. You can easily get 10,000 steps for a day at the zoo. Use a pedometer to keep yourself accountable for the steps.
- Do a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. The intensity of the workout can give you the after-burn effect that can last through part of the work week.
- Go for a swim, one of the best workouts for your body.
The weekends give us the most available time. You can use the added time for some fun, healthy activities.
Conclusion: We live in a world of limited time and availability. Letting exercise frequency wane because of time constraints can lead to a detrimental downfall of your health and happiness.
Create a weekly schedule that forces you to incorporate exercise into the work week. Be consistent and be true to yourself. Only you know how far you’ve come, where you want to go, and what you want to achieve.
In summary: Finding Time to Exercise as a Busy Mom (With a Baby)
Finding time to exercise as a busy mom with a full time job and a baby is done as you simply:
- Make a Plan
- Rise and Shine
- Be an Active Watcher
- Prepare your Meals
- Do an Express Workout
- Find 5 Minute Slots Throughout the Day
- Set and Track Goals
- Kill it on the Weekend
Using these steps will keep you energetic, healthy, on track, and in a good mood.
Do you often find yourself giving your time to everyone else, leaving nothing for yourself? Can you be more efficient and find extra time for a daily workout? Let me know below!!