The kids are all in school full time, and you have 5 full days to yourself. Now what?  It’s time to think about yourself and take a common sense approach to getting back into shape.  A lot of our time, energy, and emotional well being is spent taking care of our children, families and work.  Too often we neglect our own health and fitness. 

But how does one trade in their comfy sweats for fitness apparel. 

The first step is realizing that we are all created unique, so embrace it. We are not in our mid twenties anymore, and some of us have had children. Let’s show ourselves some grace and be realistic.  Having a healthy mindset will set one up for a feeling of accomplishment, confidence and empowerment.

This is not a race  

Change does not happen overnight.  With a little motivation and perseverance you can set goals, conquer them and feel better about yourself both physically and mentally.    One may start to “feel” better after a couple of weeks of increased physical activity, whether that be less effort when climbing stairs, or mentally feeing confident and motivated.  All too often we are caught up on seeing muscular changes, because we want to see results.  However without an efficient neurological system, the remaining physiological systems will lack direction. It is common for the neurological system to respond prior to the muscular, connective, endocrine and metabolic systems (Ratamess, 2012).   Be patient, some of these changes can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to respond.  Give yourself time and listen to your body.  If it is a specific goal you are striving toward, give yourself time to train. You cannot properly train for a 10 km race in two weeks, you may injure yourself.      

Vary it up

Training all muscle groups and not just focusing on one particular area is beneficial as it  provides muscle balance, decreases injuries and optimizes your performance, (Ratamess, 2012).  Additionally, as mentioned in McGill (2017) alternating exercises “stresses” or “stimulates” specific biochemical, neurological and mechanical adaptations.  How our body responds and adapts to this stress is known as  General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).  If you do not vary your exercise regime your body will adapt to the repetitive exercises and you may end up in a plateau state.  This may be difficult to change and you will not experience the desired physiological response. Additionally, constant repetition of a particular mode of training is putting your body at risk for an overuse injury. 

Don’t just vary what you do, alter where you exercise and who you exercise with. Exercising in different venues or locations with different people can be a realistic way to connect with friends, or make new ones.  Some people only like to run, some like to road bike or spin, others like Barre or yoga. Best of all, spending time with different people on different days of the week is a great way to keep connected with people. Find some friends you enjoy training with and trade in your coffee dates at Starbucks for a bike ride or a run in fish creek.

Set a goal

Set a goal for yourself. It might be a fun 5km race, an inflatable challenge, maybe a family triathlon, or a half marathon.  When you give yourself a goal to train for, you may be more likely to train.  It may feel like a job at first, or it may feel easy to stay motivated the first couple weeks of training, but what happens when the honeymoon phase wears off?  Maybe your muscles are sore? One of the kids gets sick?  Stick to your goal!  Make this lifestyle a habit. Stay motivated. It can help to have an accountability partner or friend.  One must believe in themselves, set a goal, conquer it, and feel empowered afterward.  I love the quote “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”.

Watch your Nutrition

Keep it simple. Eat a balanced and healthy diet really does help.  Try to cut back on sugars and processed foods. As moms we tend to grab and go. Stay organized. Try to have a couple containers of pre cut veggies and fruit in the fridge, turkey pepperoni sticks, or almonds.  I like to tell people when you walk into the grocery store, stay on the perimeter of the store.  Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.  As we make healthy choices, our children and significant others will follow.

Show yourself some Grace

Be kind to yourself, think encouraging thoughts, if you stumble, get back up and try again, but most of all enjoy the journey.

Author Bio:

Jennifer is from Calgary, AB and has a passion for health and fitness, Prosecco, fine dining, being in nature, and good music.  You can typically find her playing outside with one of her three kids, running her dog, cycling, swimming, or at the Barre studio.  As a previous operating room nurse Jennifer has developed an appreciation for anatomy, movement and nutrition.  Jennifer left nursing and embarked on her training as a Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for fitness as she wanted to have an impact on the women in her life.  Being a mother of three she is fully aware of how easy it is to be hard on ourselves and find time for health and fitness. “It’s all about giving ourselves grace to accept the way we were created and working hard to achieve the goal we desire”.  It is Jennifer’s desire to assist women in developing an appreciation for how they are each unique, while developing strength and confidence as they embark on their journey together.