Let’s put to the idea that you need more time to get in a good workout to bed for good! It’s not about having more time. It’s about being more efficient with the time you have (and being honest with yourself about the time you have).
Efficiency is basically my middle name. It’s my jam. I nerd out over making things as efficient as possible. In fact, if you break it down to the core, my doctoral dissertation was basically on efficiency.
What’s funny is during that time in graduate school, I had endless hours to burn away running and marathon training. I sometimes went to the gym multiple times a day (and what’s even more funny is, I thought I was busy, hahahaha).
Fast forward to going back to work after having my son, I did not have time or energy to keep my old routine, so what I did was … well, if I’m honest, nothing, nada, zilch besides thinking about it and “planning.”
Ultimately, I was continually setting myself up for failure with unreasonable expectations of what I could do and what really was necessary for me to do. (Keep in mind, I was a certified personal trainer at this time and I still couldn’t make it work. I know it’s hard!)
I’d say I’m going to go to the gym 3x per week (in my head thinking I need to devote a whole hour to my workout because that’s what I was trained to do with my clients). Then when it came time do actually do it, I made a million excuses because I couldn’t commit that hour. I would miss it, feel like I need to make it up, then miss again because it was too much, then give up….
I was stuck in a cycle and I was losing trust in myself. I kept telling myself I was going to do something and then not following through. I was so much talk and no action that my word stopped meaning something.
Something had to give, something had to change!
If you are in the same boat or something similar...below is was did work for me and what has worked the hundreds of moms I've worked with. I figured it out through quite a bit of trial and error, but you can skip that step and start efficiently and effectively working exercise into your routine now!
#1 realistically decide what you KNOW you can commit to.
How much time do you really have??
Go back to my example an hour in the gym 3x per week going to the gym. It wasn’t feasible. I wanted to go home. I wanted to see my son. I was just to damn tired to spend another hour in the gym. Instead, I committed to 15 minutes a day. I knew I had 15 minutes and mentally it didn’t seem as daunting to just start as an hour did.
So, what can you REALLY do?
Not should do, not what you did in the past before kids, with your life right now, what can you really commit to?
#2 Throw out SS cardio and the idea that you need MORE time to get results.
Unless you enjoy long walks, runs, bike rides...whatever… and if you goal is to trim down and tone up, stop doing steady state cardio. Steady state cardio is simply moving along at a continuous, steady effort. All it does is burn time, you can destroy the calories burned with one "snacksident".
Steady state cardio can be great for your mental health though. I know many people (myself included) that genuinely enjoy that time alone to just feel your breath and be in the moment. It’s a wonderful thing….but I know I don't have the time to devote to it regularly and it doesn’t get results in terms of changing my body composition. If you have the time, keep it as part of your routine and work in the interval training and strength training.
#3 Work in interval training and strength training.
By bringing in some short bouts of high intensity running (I'm just using running as an example here), you will burn more calories in less time - compared to regular old steady state cardio. Without going into all the science, what you need to know is, whenever your body is using oxygen, it’s burning calories.
When you push yourself past the aerobic threshold, where oxygen isn't directly used to create energy, you end up continuing to burn more calories even during the recovery period. Think of it this way, if you run hard for 1 min, then stop and walk for 1 minute, that whole time you are walking your heart is still pounding and you are still breathing hard (aka. your calorie burning engine is still firing hot). Repeating this cycle keeps the fire burning hot the whole time (and even after your workout) as opposed to the slow simmer of a steady state cardio routine (with virtually no after burn).
On top of all that, these workouts can spice up your workout routine. Instead of slowly plodding along thinking about all the other things on your your to do list --- laundry, grocery shopping, what’s for dinner, scheduling kids doctors appointments, finally getting around to organize your pantry or the disaster that is your kids toys, not to mention what you might have to do for work, phew-- Because interval cardio switches up every minute or so, it’s over before you know it and you can get on to the rest of the to do list of the day.
Ok, so let’s put this in Action Today!
Skip the steady state cardio on your next workout and opt for metabolism boosting interval cardio!
Here’s how it works:
The whole thing will take you 25 minute tops and you will immediately be able to feel the difference.
A couple of final notes on interval training.
First, Same principle can be applied to any type of regular cardio- if biking or swimming is more your thing, follow the same formula for fast results!
Second, if you are one who enjoys longer runs and/or are training for a specific race. Keep your longer runs for enjoyment or race specific training runs and work in some of these interval workouts on your shorter run days to increase your fat burning potential (bonus: it will help you get faster).
Speaking of increasing your fat burning potential, strength training, resistance training, weight training, whatever you want to call it, offers some serious benefits!
#1 efficiency and I know we mamas need that! You workout more effectively in a shorter amount of time!
Strength training helps you burn more calories. By increasing muscle mass you increase your resting metabolic rate. That means you burn more calories doing anything and everything. Even just sitting here reading this blog post.
Before you even think it, let me nip this in the bud…. I hear a lot of woman say that don’t lift because they don’t want to add bulk. You will not get bulky, weight lifter style muscles unless you live in a weight room, and the fact that you are here reading this post means you don’t have time for that! Women only have a fraction of the muscle building testosterone that men do. In fact, you will see your dress size go down (even if the weight on the scale doesn’t) because muscle is more dense (takes up less space) than fat.
Best of all (in my not so humble opinion), strength training is empowering. Continually challenging yourself to try new things in your workouts, especially things you didn’t know you could do, and feeling physically stronger increases your confidence in all aspects of your life! Trust me, try it and see!
So here's the thing, there are a million and one strength workouts out there on the interwebs. Instead of sending you out to aimlessly search, here are 3 of my full body strength circuits to choose from.
The Only Strength Workout You’ll Ever Need - This is the best place to start because it has modifications for whatever level you need.
A Full Body Resistance Band Workout
A Full Body Dumbbell Workout
All three of these workouts are circuit style (the most efficient way to get in your strength training) and are carefully designed to effectively work ALL of the muscle groups in your body.
Best of all, they all take less than 30 minutes and you don’t even have to leave your living room!
Before you go off and put this into action, it’s important to keep in mind that any movement is good movement! The best workout program is the one that you enjoy enough to do regularly.
If you rolled your eyes at the idea of enjoying exercise, I know what it’s like to start back up again and I’ll be honest, it will be hard, but stick with it. You will find what you enjoy and begin to crave it.
So first go back to my first point and commit to what you KNOW you can (and will) regularly do).
Frame your choices around creating consistent habits for a sustainable lifestyle NOT what you think you "should" do.
I know if you take action and implement just ONE of the ideas we talked about today, you’re going to see a big difference and be on your way to real results. But this just scratched the surface...when I work with clients we’re able to deep dive into exactly how to sustainably fit it into your life.
I’d love to do that with you by inviting you to a have a little strategy session with me. In this session we will look at what is and isn’t working for you, your schedule and your crazy mom life and put together a strategy that with a little accountability from me will provide you with the path to truly life changing
Send me a message and let’s move you into action.