I’ve always been quite active, as a child doing all the sports clubs going (I’m sure much to my mum’s dismay as it meant she had to hang around as I did gymnastics, netball, swimming and anything else on offer!) and as an adult I’ve been a member of gyms and running clubs as well as getting quite into swimming for a time. Being active is something my family have always done and my parents have always encouraged so it’s second nature to me to make the time to get up and move.
When people realise I have three children and we home educate and can still I make time to get to the gym at least three times a week they look at me like I’m mad. It helps, of course, that all three children are good sleepers and (usually!) go to bed easily. It also helps that Damian has more or less predictable work patterns so I can plan times for when he is around. But that said, I think that if you want to, you can make the time to get active, be it going for a run, doing a workout DVD or, like me, heading to the gym.
I think there are some simple tips I can share to help you find time and motivation to exercise and get fit and strong – which of course is important for setting an example for your children – D and E know I go to the gym to work on my fitness and strength.
Invest in new workout gear – I know it is a bit of a cliche, but investing in some new work out clothes does give that extra bit of motivation – I have a lovely new Nike workout top from Excell Sports which I love – it’s a symbol of my slimming down a size and I can now wear it and feel good in it. Plus when you’ve invested in new items of clothing, you want to use them! It could be as simple as a new drinks bottle or bigger like new trainers. Whatever the gear is – make it work for you.
Find the classes/groups that work for you It’s no good joining a running club if you know running isn’t for you! I’m a member of PureGym and have been for a few months now and it’s great for me. THere’s a great array of classes available and I can try lots of different ones. For me, I love the Fat Burn and Spin classes. Working alongside others keeps me motivated and when I’ve signed up for a class it makes me turn up to it, rather than staying in!
Plan your week ahead – I naturally do this anyway as our week can change as we have different things on, but planning ahead helps as well with actually thinking about how you use your time. How many evenings do you spend scrolling through social media on your phone or watching the latest series on Netflix? Since I rejoined the gym in the autumn I’m watching far less TV and am on the laptop/phone far less in the evening. Getting away from technology and screens can only be a good thing!
Understand the impact of your diet this might seems a strange one but bear with me, it does make sense! Understanding the impact of what you eat and when you eat will really help you feel motivated and have the right energy levels to work out. Since I’ve been working with a Personal Trainer I’ve really started to understand the make up of my diet and make more positive changes. I’m aiming to build muscle so to do that I need to eat more protein. I do this in a few different ways, but one way I’ve been working on is through the use of protein shakes. It’s really easy to get hold of protein shakes and they are much more affordable than ever! Home Bargains sell some ready made ones which are great for just leaving in the gym bag for after a training session and I’ve been lucky enough to try some of their protein range. If you fancy more of a sweet treat then they also sell bars which come in a few different flavours and are really delicious as a snack before or after training.
Also understanding the impact of when you eat is important – on days after I have trained I can be ravenous, so I tend to eat more those days, and less on other days; balancing it out over the week. Using protein powders in meals is a really easy way again to increase protein and a current favourite of mine is the Scitec Nutrition lemon cheesecake one added to breakfast pancakes (simply mix 100g of porridge oats with one scoop of powder, handful of raisins and one egg then cook- will do enough for two people).
Work with a personal trainer if you can afford it, a personal trainer is really worthwhile. I work with a trainer on a six week course and this entials two group session a week and one 1-1 session. THe group session have up to five of us at any one time and are good fun. A trainer will make you accountable and will push you harder and further than you might think you could go.
Use the time for YOU – I use my time at the gym for a number of things – sometimes I’ll use the time to listen to podcasts or audio books, other times I’ll use it to think through how I’m going to approach a project with the children and other times I use the time to just burn off pent-up frustrations – we all have those days when everything goes wrong and throwing a weighted ball or pushing myself harder on the rowing machine helps get that anger and frustration dealt with.
I promise once you get into a routine it makes things so much easier and you’ll begin to just naturally find the time to get moving and more active. I think it’s such an important thing for children to see their parents being active and working to make themselves fitter and stronger. I’m always keen to tell E (and D) how strong their arms and legs are getting. It’s important for her to know that exercise will keep her trim, but at almost four she just needs to know she is getting strong.