Since going back to work from my second maternity leave, I've had a really hard time finding the time and energy to work out. I crave my pre-pregnancy body, sometimes even more than I crave chocolate, but it's soo hard to motivate at the end of a long, exhausting day. I haven't perfected this by any means, but here are some tips that have made it easier to make it to the gym.
1) Dress the part. Don't put on your pajamas when you get home. Put on work out clothes. I promise, it's much easier to take a walk or head to the gym after the kids are in bed, if you're already in exercise pants. As you already know, it's impossible to get out of pajamas!!
2) Eat dinner with the kids. Do your kids have an early dinner time like mine? Join them. It's much better for your health to be eating at 6pm, and it will be a lot easier to go to the gym at 8pm if you've eaten a couple of hours ago. This will save you from eating your kids' leftovers in addition to your own dinner after they're asleep (yes, yes I am guilty!). If you need a snack after the gym, have a protein rich smoothie or granola bar.
3) Schedule it in advance. Just like everything else about motherhood, getting to the gym will mean feeling organized in your personal life. Schedule in gym time in advance, make sure your partner is home with the kids the evenings you plan to work out, and that nothing else is getting in the way of you making time for exercise.
4) Prepare. Keep a gym bag packed and stocked. Add whatever you need to in advance, so you can't use it as an excuse not to go. If you love watching TV in the evenings, do it at the gym while you're on the treadmill. Or download the show you love onto your iPad and take it along. If you want to listen to music, load up your iPhone with great music to get you going. Or if you're an avid reader like me, download a book-on-tape so you can "read" while you run.
5) Speed walk. Let's face it - we may not always have the time or energy to work out, but do what you can, when you can. Speed walk during your commute. Walking to the subway, bus stop, or parking lot? Do it faster, and do it more often. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk during lunch on a nice day. The little steps can really add up to make you look and feel better.
6) Find a buddy- preferably a fellow mom with the same time constraints as you. It's much more fun and a lot easier to work out together when you have someone to motivate you and hold you accountable. Plan to take a yoga class with a friend, or find a new walking buddy in your neighborhood. It will go a long way for your health and your sanity.
7) Invest in a jogging stroller. With the weather getting better, it will be a nice family activity to go for a jog on a weekend morning, kids-in-tow.
8) Reward yourself. Set a goal. When you reach it, reward yourself with that new purse you've had your eyes on for months :)
Now, this is all assuming that your kids are sleeping well. If not, you're probably too tired to even read this whole post, forget working out. In that case, go back to bed.... there's always tomorrow. ZZzzZz.
In case you missed it, here is my Guide to Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
Would love to hear any other suggestions!!