Let’s be real, this article applies to more than just new moms. We all have days filled with full time jobs, responsibilities to carry out, errands to run, and maybe even a social life (if we’re lucky). Finding time for our health often falls to the bottom of the to do list.
Before having a baby, I was able to eat, train, and rest how I wanted and when I wanted. After having a baby, that’s no longer an option… and having a dialed in training and nutrition plan isn’t as important to me anymore.
However, leading a healthy lifestyle is still very important to me. So rather than throwing in the towel and giving up my established routines and habits, I opted to find ways to make it work. These tips are what’s helped me continue on my fitness journey and I hope they can help you too!
Tip Number 1: Plan Plan Plan!
It’s a lot easier for me to make a plan (even if it doesn’t go according to) rather than try to figure it out each day. My gym schedule changes every week depending on work and child care. Sticking to a rigid workout split just doesn’t fit my lifestyle anymore. So on Sundays I think ahead to what days I’ll be able to workout, and more specifically what I’ll be training. If I know that I can’t get to the gym, then I’ll schedule a cardio day or a rest day.
Something that I never imagined would be a problem, is guilt. It’s hard not to feel selfish or guilty when I’m doing something for “me.” I work full time and want to soak up every minute with my little one, so another tip that helps me enjoy my time in the gym while I’m away from her is getting it done when I know she is asleep. That way nobody is missing out on anything and we’re both happy!
Tip Number 2: Be Flexible with Your Frequency and Intensity
The fact is, you may not be able to get to the gym every single day that you want to. If you once trained six days a week, consider mixing it up so that you can train 3, 4, or 5 days a week instead. The awesome thing about decreasing your frequency is that you can INCREASE your intensity. When I decreased the amount of days I trained, I was able to increase the intensity (weight being lifted) because I knew my body would have enough time to recover. I ended up loving this more than I would have thought. Sometimes, getting outside your comfort zone can be just what you need!
Tip Number 3: Utilize “At Home Workouts”
You’d be surprised how much cardio and bodyweight exercises can provide you with a good workout. The biggest hurdle for me, is finding motivation at home. It’s very hard for me to get in the zone, but like I said above… be flexible! Something is always better than nothing.
Tip Number 4: Use Caffeine Strategically
This goes along with nutrition. In the past I wasn’t big on meal timing, but now it makes all the difference. As long as I’m eating enough, then I won’t need to rely too heavily on caffeine to push me through my workouts. The second my calories get too low, then I’m totally dependent on coffee and it can easily become a 3 to 4 cup of coffee kind of day. Keeping my carbs and caffeine around my workouts gives me the perfect combination of strength and energy to get through my training session. Depending on how much time I have, I’ll opt for something light such as rice cakes, cereal, a banana, or oats. As for caffeine, I stick to coffee for the time being but there are tons of pre-workout formulas on the market that can help prevent fatigue during your workout.
Tip Number 5: Keep Nutrition Simple
When it comes to nutrition, I like to meal prep for about 4 days at a time. That way I don’t even have to think about what I’m eating, if I’m eating enough, or too much, etc. Sometimes I calculate my macros, sometimes I don’t. It’s your personal preference really. For protein, I rotate pretty much the same few foods: egg whites, chicken, and Quest Nutrition Whey. For carbs, I stick to rice cakes, cereal, and rice (especially because I don’t have to cook the rice cakes or cereal!). For fats, I almost always stick with mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, etc.) but avocados are also one of my favorite options. Just find what you like, and it’ll be much easier to fit into your day, and you’ll actually enjoy it!
Tip Number 6: Welcome Help…
It truly takes a village to raise a child, so if someone offers you help, TAKE IT! I’ve learned that I can’t do everything, I won’t be there for every moment, and I don’t let that get to me. Instead, I turn the negative into a positive by reminding myself how grateful I am to be surrounded by people who love my child so much. So if someone offers you help, take it.
New Mom or not, we all have days filled with jobs, responsibilities, errands, friends, and family. Don’t let your health fall to the bottom of the to do list, don’t throw in the towel, and don’t give up.
Because you can find ways to make it work. I hope some of these tips will help you continue on your fitness journey. I would love to hear some of your tips that help you live a balanced healthy lifestyle too!