Getting to the Gym: Why Stronger Moms Make Better Moms
As a full-time trainer in various capacities, I’m in the trenches at all sorts of gyms. I’m also a Mom. And I’m a firm believer that time spent in the gym makes you a better Mom; that’s right—stronger Moms make for better Moms.
I’m a working Mom, so I’m in tune with the challenges all us working Moms face in our daily battles—from fighting traffic to making daycare pick up times, to navigating grocery store aisles while keeping a cranky toddler in check, to the chaos of making dinner, to dress up, potty training, and bedtime routines.
….So how do you fit in a trip to the gym amidst all the chaos and responsibility, and why bother when you have enough going on already?
Let’s address the “why” first…
A stronger body achieved with strength training will make life’s chores easier.
A strong-bodied mom is a healthier, more capable mom. Just think of all our possible daily physical challenges…
- A flight up the stairs with bags of groceries!
- Helping your child up to reach the monkey bars or climb at the playground, pushing around a stroller, plus the endless carrying, lifting, etc, etc.
- Moving the furniture around in the nursery.
- Endlessly picking up toys from the floor.
- And so on, and so on, and so on.
All the tasks we perform require strong legs, arms, and back muscles. When you can deadlift, squat, bench press, and perform the some other fundamental strength training routines that make your body stronger, life’s physical challenges become easier.
Additionally, exercise is a great stress reliever. And there’s nothing more stressful than maintaining the perfect balance between your career, your child (or children), your spouse and your household.
Using exercise as a tool to “flush” away the pressures of the day is a fantastic strategy. It allows you to “recharge” and therefore better able to address new challenges.
Now you know why becoming a stronger Mom is a “must-do”. So let’s discuss how you can fit exercise into your day…
1. Make YOU a priority by dedicating time in your calendar or daytimer to physical exercise.
I learned the hard way that if you don’t dedicate some time to yourself, everything else will suffer. If you’re the type of person who needs to write reminders on a calendar, do so.
I have a client who says that no matter what she has going on her life, she knows that if she’s paid to meet me, she’s dedicated to making that appointment.
- Invest in the money to meet with a personal trainer or pen in a session in your calendar. “Book” yourself at least 3-4 times a week, for an hour, and make it an appointment you never break.
- Another client says she books one hour of each day on her “mental” schedule to gym time. Does she make it every single day? No. Inevitably something comes up: a needed run to the grocery store, demands at work, kids getting sick, etc. But at the very least, she DOES make it to the gym 3 or 4 out of those days, and only because she has made it a priority and scheduled it in her day.
2. Eliminate or cut back pointless habits and behaviors. Like? Like internet shopping or watching TV. I look back and think of all the meaningless things I used to do pre-baby; shopping, going to wine bars, organizing my closet, surfing the internet, watching TV, etc etc.
I hardly do any of that now.
So I may not have the flashiest wardrobe, or the best organized drawers, or know what the hottest movie or sitcom is, or where the “hippest” bar is. So what? My body is strong, and I know it shows.
3. Stop making excuses.
They are holding you back from achieving your goals. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “I just don’t have the time” I’d be a (really!) rich woman. Set your alarm earlier, and get your routine in at home if you have to.
4. Work out when baby naps or make her part of your activity.
I still manage to get in a workout over nap time (here’s hoping she naps until she’s 18!). Or find ways to involve your child in your workout. I remember I lost my post-pregnancy weight quickly by strapping my little one in the baby carrier and pushing her in a jogging stroller. (Post-partum recovery varies from person to person, so proceed wisely, and follow your doctor’s advice).
Look, life happens fast and when you’re a mom, it happens faster. We all have a silly idea that we need to be perfect, that we need to do everything, and be everything for our kids.
I’d love to magically convince you that a stronger body will make everything easier. Mom or not, we all need to take that first step, off the couch, away from the computer or blackberry, and into the weight room.
Our kids are important, and they need to know that, but they don’t need to have us around every minute of the day. Get to the gym, pick up some weights, and do it with consistency.
It will do wonders for your body, your mind, and even your family.
Sumi Singh is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Austin, TX, an online diet coach, and the author of Stay at Home Strong.
Her training website is www.shailafitness.com and she can be contacted for personalized diet coaching directly from here.