A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the Overwhelmed Mom’s Guide to Eating Healthy. You absolutely loved it and felt like it finally made healthy eating easier and more doable for overwhelmed moms. So, let’s tackle the flip side of the coin, your workouts.
Your days are jam packed. The little one always wakes up half an hour before you were hoping, and then the rest of the day goes downhill from there. Sibling fights, work crises, constant snack requests, grocery shopping, and random errands like getting the tires rotated (why???). By the evening, you still have to pull dinner out of your magic hat, do bath time, chaotic bedtime, and then maybe get a few moments on the couch to relax and catch up with your husband.
“So wait, I’m also supposed to a workout in there somehow?”
Or maybe you're one of the lucky few that has a gym membership with childcare (glorious!), and you might occasionally use it. But the moment you step out on gym floor, it's all so overwhelming that you just head to an elliptical and mindlessly glide away for half an hour. "Well, at least I did something!"
Deep down, though, you know those cardio machines just aren't cutting it. But wandering away from the safety net of the elliptical over to the free weight area is like Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on water. So scary and overwhelming!
Fitting a good, quality workout session in when you’re already overwhelmed with life feels like an impossible joke. And because it feels that way, you don’t think you’ll ever have the capacity to get in shape like you really want.
It’s easy to want to give up.
But before you totally give up on yourself, let’s try this. Here are five tips for making workouts far less overwhelming:
1. How can you move a little bit more every day? Let's just start here. You don’t have to be doing big, dramatically sweaty workouts to make a difference. (If it is just the elliptical on a regular basis, that's great!)
In fact, simply being a woman that moves constantly throughout the course of the day really adds up. It's something called NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis; and it actually accounts for a large portion of your metabolism!
To get your NEAT up, just keep moving. I bet you can get the kids out of the house to go for a walk a couple times a week, or play tag in the backyard, or purposefully go up and down the stairs more than normal during the day. Do you have a Fitbit or a similar step-tracker? Give yourself a goal and try to hit it.
There's nothing overwhelming about just moving more. You can do that.
2. Don’t aim for perfection. We hate admitting that only 2 workouts a week is, in fact, a lot better than what we’re doing now. But in our minds, we think that unless we’re working out every day, it’s not going to be good enough. You need to just start by committing to only one or two planned workouts per week.
Look at your entire week at a glance and consider the most likely days and times to make these one/two workouts happen. Perhaps one week day and one weekend day? Maybe Tuesday morning before work, and then Saturday morning? Or does it make more sense to do Wednesday and Thursday? (By the way, it's really okay if your workouts are on back to back days, especially when you're just gaining momentum!)
If you think about it, two 30-minute workouts over the course of the week is not that big of a sacrifice, yet it's still enough to actually feel yourself getting stronger!
Don't aim for perfection with your workouts; aim for better.
(This is how I design the workouts for the Strong Mommas Coaching Program. Every month, the girls get five brand new workouts to try each week, Workouts A-E, but they know that as long as they just do Workout A and Workout B every week, they'll make real progress. And they do!)
3. Get the most bang for your buck. Most women gravitate to the treadmill or elliptical machine when they workout, especially at the gym when everything else is so scary. Sure, they help you move and it’s pretty brainless, but you’ll get so much more out of the little amount of time that you have if you do a full body strength training session, which moves and uses every muscle in your body dynamically. You’ll see much quicker results!
There may be a little bit of a learning curve as you learn to move and use your body apart from a weight machine, but it's worth every minute.
To get you started, think of these movements and try to hit one exercise for each:
That's just 8 exercises. Do it a couple times through, and you'll be getting a way better workout than 30 minutes on the elliptical.
4. Make it a no-brainer. You won’t gain any momentum or last very long if you don’t know what you should do. You need to walk into the gym, or even your living room space, with a well designed workout plan.
The plan should be...
We talked about decision fatigue when I taught you how to streamline your healthy eating habits. The same goes for working out. If you have to make too many choices and you suffer from exercise overload, you'll flounder. Having an actual workout plan eliminates this problem.
5. Be gracious with yourself. We tend to set our expectations so high, which gets completely overwhelming. Bring your expectations down to a completely reasonable level, where the workouts are predictable, enjoyable, and actually feed your soul, rather than stress you out more.
So what if you don't transform into a sleek, fitness model in 60 days, or even 90 days?? You don't have the capacity to devote so much of your life to working out 5 or 6 days a week, and that's ok!! Momma, you already live in a crazy, chaotic world. Don't let working out be one more thing that overwhelms you.
Just work on moving more than you do now over the course of the day, shoot for one or two bang-for-your-buck workouts per week that don't waste your time, and continue to be gracious with yourself. You've got this, sister!
Does this sound doable? I hope so!
If working out has always been overwhelming for you, you need to try the Strong Mommas Coaching Program. I personally design all the printable monthly workout plans...they're not part of a bigger company or system. Every workout has a quick video demonstration, they take 30 minutes or less, and can easily be done at home or at the gym. They're perfect for brand new beginners up to advanced strength trainers.
It's so relieving to finally have a clear and concise workout program that will challenge you just enough without overwhelming you! Click here to try the Coaching Program for a full month for just $1!
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Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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