Fitness, Motherhood and fitting it all in!
By Gina Barlow – Bump to Beyond
Being a mum is hard – physically and emotionally!
From giving birth up to chasing your child through soft plays and through the massive wave of emotions you go through; being elated to feeling low or lost and everything in between. Whichever way you look at it, the job is a tough one. Fact.
It does not matter whether you are a mum to be, a new mummy or have children that have grown up.
The job and its challenges just grow with your kids!
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom!
Being a mum is my favourite job in the world, it is why I do what I do and just one awesome aspect of being a mum is just how much you now fit in your day.
When I had my first son I remember saying “I can’t remember how I used to fill up my day.” That statement I now buddle up with another of my own favourite sayings BC (or before children if you prefer) which is:
“I could not manage with less than 8 hours sleep” perhaps a slightly less awesome aspect of motherhood…
Well, the brutal truth is, all that swiftly went out of the window!
Here I am 10 years into my journey as a parent maxing out at 6 hours sleep on a good night and adding more into my days as I go!
So, what do these things have in common and what do they have to do with fitness?
Too much to do not enough TIME!
When you are a mum, time for yourself never takes priority – understandably – and it is and one of the most common barriers mums may have to get back or continue to exercise.
Nothing restricts you more than adding a whole new activity into an already busy routine right? Maybe its the thought of fitting your life around a gym class timetable or not being able to face taking yourself out of the house in the evening when you’ve finally got your child to bed,
But hang on, let’s think about time…
You didn’t think you could function without your normal sleep and you didn’t see how you can take responsibility for a whole new persons routine as well as your own before leaving the house in the morning on time, but I’m guessing you do.
You adapted to it. You learnt a new routine and you did it.
Let’s apply that to fitness…..
What does FITNESS really mean?
According to the United States Department of health and human services, fitness is defined as:
A set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity (1)
That definition does NOT say fitness means having defined abs, a pert backside and a thigh gap! Neither does it say, attending 3 exercises classes a week, or running a half marathon…you get the point.
What it actually refers to your ability to perform a physical activity – and that concept is far less intimidating, chances are you are doing this already!
Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to have a flat tummy and pert bum as a mum and fit in regular exercise and if you can, have and want those things, then that is awesome.
My point is rather, that if you are struggling with weight gain after having a baby, feel more “unfit” or are struggling to find time, your perception of what fitness is may be very different just by what we see in the media.
So what is a FIT MUMMY?
Being a mum is a tough job without the additional pressures that the fitness industry can seemingly place on you.
You’ve all seen the before and after pics on Instagram of seemingly “back to pre-pregnancy shape within weeks” posts right?
This is not about shaming ladies who are proud of what they have achieved- because that deserves pride and recognition, but what about mums like me who struggled? I am sure I am not alone…
I gained weight, couldn’t get out, lacked body confidence and bought clothes 2 sizes too big to hide my “back fat.” I felt I didn’t have time and stepping into a gym full of fit bods was less than appealing. The “mum” part I had nailed, but how could I be fit as well?
If you are wanting to do more physical activity, move about more or make some changes then there are ways to think about in order to start you off…
ADAPT, QUIT BEATING YOURSELF UP AND MOVE MORE!
If one thing becoming a mum teaches you it is how to adapt and if you are sat at home thinking ‘I would like to get a little more in shape’ then think about these simple steps to help you.
1. Adapt your mindset
Stop beating yourself up and comparing yourself to others – its something we all do and rarely leads to happiness.
Take control of your mindset and think more about your Fitness and what that means to you not what it looks like on someone else’s Instagram page.
2. Move more
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, you are doing something. Enjoy it? Do it more!
Whether you are able to spend dedicated time focussing on your preferred exercise or whether you are unable to take time away from your children, there are always ways to move more.
Try simple things you can build in each day to kick start increasing movement; whether it’s a short home work out, a walk to town instead of using the bus, or just throwing a ball in the garden with your child.
These movements are functional, specific to what you need as a mum and increase your fitness!
The best part, these things can involve your children too. What better way to get back into exercising than to be the example for your child!
3. Give yourself a goal and be accountable
Goals will vary from one person to another but a simple idea, set goals and write them down!
I’m sure you have a ‘to do list’ for shopping, work etc, try it for movement:
’10 squats when I get out of bed’
‘jog on the spot whilst the kettle boils’
That type of thing.
With the information that we are bombarded with it is sometimes difficult to remember that sometimes the smallest changes can give some of the biggest results.
Start your own journey by taking small steps and don’t beat yourself up along the way!