Once you’ve adjusted to life with your new baby, if you’re like most women, your next goal will likely involve trying to reclaim your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. But you now have a little cutie in your life who makes it harder to find the time to work out. Long gone are the leisurely “I’ll get to it later” days, because with an infant to care for, things put off until later are less likely get done at all.
So how can a new mom find the time for exercise? Don’t worry; with some planning and dedication, it can be done. Below are 5 top tips from fitness experts to help new moms fit in regular workouts and get back into shape.
1. Assess the Schedule—
It’s time to take a long look at your weekly schedule, and try to find any blank spots into which you might fit a workout. Most of us feel busier than we actually are, with chunks of time during our days we forget about, so figure out where every hour is going.
If you can find 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, no matter where they may happen, grab them for your fitness time and don’t let go.
Also: Get a daily planner with an hourly breakdown, and write the workouts into their designated time slots. This will help you remember your exercise plans, as well as giving you a sense of satisfaction when you check them off as “Done!” afterward.
2. Solicit Support—
If you prefer running or gym workouts and need babysitting, sit down and have a talk about your fitness scheduling needs with your significant other, babysitter, family members such as grandparents, or even a friend who also has kids and might be willing to swap babysitting.
Don’t discount the accountability power of a workout buddy, either. Working toward your fitness goals together with a friend can help both of you stay better motivated.
By discussing your fitness goals with others and setting up concrete plans to fit in exercise, you will be more motivated to stick with it, which is how we get results.
3. Get Exercise When You Can—
There will be days when the universe seems to be conspiring against your goals, and the best laid plans will fall to pieces, like so many cellulite dimples. This is when you have to stand up to the universe, say, “You can’t stop me,” and take whatever you can get.
This may mean that when the babysitter you had scheduled for a reasonable hour is sick, you work out very early in the morning before your significant other goes to work, or you find another form of exercise to replace the planned trip to the gym, such as a long walk or workout DVD.
Whatever you do, don’t give up—at least find a way to work some movement into your day, even if it’s only 20 minutes.
4. Make Fitness a Priority—
Yes, it’s more fun sometimes to browse social media sites for hours, but if you want those pre-baby clothes back, consistent exercise is going to have to happen, and clicking a mouse doesn’t burn many calories.
This means showing television time and the Internet who’s the boss by turning them off and sticking to your workout schedule.
Social media can become quite addictive, so if this is an issue for you, try going cold turkey for a week of online hiatus, or consider only using the Internet on the weekends.
Some people may even need to have a trusted friend change the passwords to any social media accounts they can’t stay away from to completely take away the option and break the addiction.
5. Don’t Play the Guilt Game—
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
This is a funny saying, but it’s also absolutely true. In order to take good care of everyone else, your family needs you to be feeling good inside and out, and exercise is definitely a way to achieve this.
Remember that by finding time for fitness, you aren’t being selfish; you’re making sure you’re healthy and able to function at maximum capacity in order to be the best mother you can be.
Every workout is an investment in your good health, and that’s an investment in your family’s future, so don’t feel guilty: feel proud of yourself.
If you’re having trouble finding the time to work out, don’t forget that taking a stroller walk with your baby or doing workout DVDs at home both count as exercise, and that many yoga classes will allow moms to incorporate their babies into workouts to keep them entertained. Many gyms also offer daycare, so explore that option if you’re having trouble finding childcare support at home.
No matter what, you can get back into a healthy regime post-baby that will allow you to stay fit and feel great!