Being a mum is incredibly hard work and each stage of motherhood presents its own unique challenges.
It's a whole lot, from waking up in the middle of the night to feed your bub, dropping the older kids off to school, while trying to keep the house in order, food on the table, and everything in between.
As a result, many mothers tend to put their own health and fitness journey aside, which might seem like the easiest thing to free up some time. But it's when you start running low on energy, or feel like you're struggling to keep up when running after the kids that you realise the importance of prioritising your own health too.
If you're wanting to start your fitness journey for the first time as a mum, or get back into it after some time off, it can feel overwhelming to try and find the time and energy for it on top of everything else.
We know your struggle, and want to let you know that it's still possible to have the best of both worlds.
We've put together some practical tips to help you seamlessly integrate your health and fitness rituals through motherhood.
#1 Exercise when kids are asleep
One of the easiest times to schedule your workout is when the little ones are asleep and not pining for your attention. This could be first thing in the morning if you can wake up before they do, during the day when it’s nap time, or in the evening if their bedtime is fairly early.
You may be tired and have other priorities to do at that time, which is totally understandable, so don’t put super tight expectations on yourself - go with the flow. If you need rest, listen to your body and rest - but if you still have that bit of energy left, putting it towards a workout can help you feel refreshed and accomplished.
#2 Get your kid(s) involved in your workout
If your children refuse to nap, or they’re a bit older and want to be a part of everything you do, then you can encourage them to get moving alongside you.
Naturally, kids love running around, trying out different movement patterns and staying active so you can use it to your advantage and have fun with them.
Feel like a cardio session? Spend that time playing soccer with the little ones.
Do your kids love repeating after you? Give them a toy dumbbell or empty water bottles, and let them play “monkey see, monkey do” while you’re going through your exercises.
While you may not be able to focus on the workout as much as if you were doing it alone, and may have some unexpected interruptions, remember that any movement beats none at all and you're doing your best.
#3 Meal prep is everything
Being a busy mum, cooking time is something you might prefer to minimise - which is why it’s so important to try and cook your meals in bulk where you can. If you can set aside some time to meal prep for the week ahead, you'll be much more organised and more likely to stay on track with your nutrition.
#4 Don’t compare yourself to others
We'll say it louder for those in the back - everyone’s journey is different, and beautifully unique at that.
If you've watched someone “bounce back” from their postpartum physique in no time while you're taking a bit longer to reach your goals, please don't belittle yourself, compare your progress or feel guilty. Keep on walking your own path.
We all experience progress differently, and we don’t always know what others are going through. Focus on yourself, celebrate all achievements - big and small - and remember that we can only rise by lifting others. You are beautiful, loved, and you’ve got this.
#5 Reach out for support
You never have to go through this journey alone.
Reach out to a relative to help with kids a couple of nights per month, find a training group with creche, or lean on your friends shoulders for emotional support - please know that there’s nothing wrong with getting help.
If you’re feeling like your emotional health is affected and you're going through a rough patch, we encourage you to contact your healthcare provider for support.
When you’re feeling supported, it becomes much easier to work towards your goals - and in-turn, sticking to your health and fitness regime makes you feel even better.
#6 Be kind to yourself
Self-love and self-compassion are some of the most important aspects of your overall wellbeing, so be kind to yourself.
We all have our moments of being dissatisfied with ourselves, being that changes in physique or feeling like we aren’t accomplishing as much as we could have been. These feelings of guilt can be especially true for mums.
Don’t forget that kids are always listening and picking up on your energy. They notice how you talk to yourself and how you describe your body, and by nurturing positive body image and self-love you are setting them up for a better relationship with themselves.
So, here is a gentle reminder:
Your body may have changed, but it’s because it’s made beautiful humans.
Just because your body might look slightly different doesn’t mean you’re any less beautiful. You are glowing, embrace and celebrate yourself.
You may not have as much time to focus on work or some hobbies anymore, but you are currently working on the biggest project of all - raising a happy, well-rounded little person. This is hard and requires so much dedication, and we applaud you for being a mother!
Your house may not look super tidy, but your heart and home is full of love, which is exactly what really matters.
You are allowed to focus on yourself. You can’t pour love and compassion from an exhausted, empty cup. So claim as much me-time as you can, even if only 15 minutes at the end of the day.
Thank you for all that you do, beautiful mummas.
We hope these tips are helpful, and remember that we're here to support you through all stages of your health and fitness journey.