How many times have you gotten to the end of the week, frustrated that you didn’t get enough workouts in?
How many months have gone by where you’ve been disappointed by not seeing the changes in your body you’d hoped you’d see by now?
How many promises have you made to yourself that this week it’s going to be different? This week you’ll take care of yourself for once?
Fitting in fitness as a mom can be complicated.
No two weeks are the same.
Heck, no two days are the same!
You do your best to plan out your workouts, decide when you’ll do them, get everything ready.
But then you’re up 5 times soothing a teething baby and too exhausted to do that HIIT workout.
Or you forgot that your kids have a doctors appointment so you can’t make it to the gym like usual.
Or you set your alarm to get up early and it works! You get up before anyone else on Monday and get your workout in. But then Wednesday rolls around and you have an early morning meeting so the workout will have to wait.
With so much inconsistency in your life, you can end up feeling like there’s no way you’ll ever get your workouts in on a regular basis.
This is why you need to take it one day at a time.
Or, as I like to tell my clients, plan but be flexible.
Here’s how that looks in my life.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are my “strength days”.
On these days – now that I’m over a year postpartum with Nora – I typically do some kind of core and glute warm-up with some mobility mixed in, then head into a HIIT or challenging circuit style workout.
That usually means I’m doing two circuits with three exercises in each circuit (so six exercises total).
Then I finish it off with some stretching.
With warm-up, the strength circuits, and stretching, I usually end up spending 30 – 45 minutes working out (if everything goes according to plan!).
Then Tuesdays and Thursdays are either rest days or – if I’m feeling like it – I’ll do light yoga or another less intense workout.
Saturdays and Sundays are typically just spent with the family doing fun, active things so I rarely workout. If I do, it’s probably a group yoga class (or maybe a strength workout if I missed a day or two during the week).
But here’s the thing, I have yet to have a month where all my workouts got done as planned.
Some weeks everyone’s sick.
Some weeks I’m filming demo videos and using that as my “workout”.
Some weeks I’m feeling amazing and want to do 5 strength workouts.
Other weeks I’m feeling drained and just craving some simple Yoga with Adriene (my fave YouTube yoga pro).
So while I just described how my ideal week would look in terms of exercise, I don’t get caught up in making it always happen that way.
I have a plan.
But I’m flexible.
Maybe instead of doing two circuits, I only have the time or energy for one.
Great. I go for that.
Or maybe I’m up early and have lots of time so I add in a finisher to the end of my workout.
Or maybe I’m having an insanely stressful, busy week and right now even thinking about doing anything HIIT-like exhausts me so I stick to walking and some lighter, less challenging workouts.
I have a plan.
But I’m flexible.
Now here’s the important part…
Being “flexible” doesn’t mean not working out just because I’d rather sit on the couch and watch Netflix.
It means that I recognize that exercise is important to me, because it makes me feel so darn good.
But I’m flexible in terms of how it shows up in my life each week.
If the week gets crazy and workouts get missed, I look in my calendar and figure out a new plan.
Sometimes that means I move a strength workout to a Tuesday or Thursday.
Or I hit a group fitness class on Sunday.
Or I change when I workout. Instead of doing it in the morning, or during naptime, I get it done at night or just after dinner when my husband can have a play with the girls.
I’m not strict with my schedule, but I’m firm in my devotion to exercise.
This is what makes me feel good.
This is important to me.
So even on the worst weeks you know I’m at least going for a walk at some point because I need it.
For my mental health and personal joy.
So the point isn’t to be so flexible that you end up never working out because you can’t seem to find the time.
The point is to make a plan, try to stick with it, but not let yourself get totally derailed and give up if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.
You can even adopt this lovely little mantra to help you take it day-by-day…
“I can’t promise I’ll workout tomorrow, but today I choose to take care of my body.”
Just because you feel like it should look a certain way, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure if it doesn’t look that way.
Just because you feel like you should be exercising everyday in a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to happen that way for you to get amazing results.
Because if you keep focusing on the way things should be, you’ll miss the way things could be.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
You don’t have to be perfect.
You simply need to stay hungry for the goals – the reasons – you started doing this in the first place. Set a plan, be flexible, and keep making choices that help you get that much closer to where you want to be.
You deserve to feel good.
You deserve this time for yourself.
You deserve the grace and empathy you need to give yourself in order to make it happen (without expecting perfection).
You’ve got this.
P.S. Please share this post with your mom friends. I have yet to meet a mom who isn’t hard on herself when things don’t go according to plan. We could all use more grace and self-love in our lives.