By Colleen Lindstrom
Can I tell you something? It is really, really hard to fit exercise into your schedule when you’re a mom. Also, I hate working out. What’s a girl to do, though, when photos of our favorite celebrities and supermodels show us how very “easy” it is to snap right back into pre-pregnancy shape like a cute little size zero rubber band post birth? Seriously, how is it that Gisele has visible abs within the first six weeks after giving birth to her little man (Alright, I suppose that it helps that she had visible abs pre-birth, a gift that I am not now, nor have I ever been endowed with) when my doctor told me that I couldn’t exercise at all until those six weeks had passed?
I am an intelligent person, and despite the fact that all the literature told me that it would take at least a year, if not more to get back into shape after baby (and that my body would NEVER be exactly the same as it had been pre-pregnancy), US Weekly told me otherwise. So, I was always relatively quick to jump back on the proverbial workout horse ASAP after the birth of my kids, and was still disappointed to find that the desired results were a little tougher to come by than they had been at (eh-em) earlier times in my life. In fact, as months passed and I was regularly acquainting myself with my target heart rate I was finding that I would settle for just not looking like I was still in my second trimester. The more kids I had, the harder it was to get back into the routine of exercising, and that’s all it is… a routine.
After a whole lot of trial and error, here’s what has worked for me just to make fitness a part of my life as a busy mom of three under four:
• Joining a gym with a childcare. It’s easy to feel all guilty that I’m dropping my kids off to get some alone time on the elliptical. Once I reframed it for myself, and realized that I am giving them the gift of a healthy mom, I got right over that guilt. The gym I joined has an agreement with my insurance company that if I attend eight times in a month, the insurance company will cover a portion of my membership. More and more insurance companies and gyms are partnering in this way, and it can make it much more affordable in the long run. Consider checking with your insurance company to see if they offer programs like this, and if they do not, BE A VOICE! Tell them you want it! While I don’t like working out, I love my reward: A nice, long, private shower. Which brings me to the next point:
• Finding incentive. The shower is one of my best incentives. That is what works for ME. The biggest reason that I hate working out is that I’m not a fan of sweating. Due to our busy lives at home, I find it tough to fit in a shower. So, getting sweaty at the gym is made easier by the fact that I can take a 5-minute shower at the close of my workout. Articles, books, and websites will give you tons of suggestions of great incentives, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t get you moving it doesn’t do any good. So, do some serious soul searching and figure out what motivates you. If something isn’t working, then reevaluate. Don’t give up!
• Putting it on my calendar. I treat exercise like an important appointment. I would never miss my kid’s doctor appointment, nor would I space an important work meeting. Never. So, I make an appointment with myself to get to the gym and I take it very seriously. Unless I am sick, or one of my kids is sick, I don’t miss my appointment.
See what I’m doing here, I’m eliminating excuses. The kids are taken care of, I get an immediate reward, and I KNOW I can find the time. The only thing that has ever gotten between my fitness and me is my own objections. I bet you are no different. It’s as easy as writing those objections down and figuring out how to get around them (and believe me, you CAN get around them). Sure, it might suck at first, but once it’s part of your routine, you’re going to be well on your way to looking like Gisele Bundchen (or at least to looking something like you did before you were blessed with your little bundle – and I’m not talking about your butt.)