As a personal trainer at ClubSport San Ramon, I interact with women in all stages of life. I train clients between 16 and 95 years old. Among my clientele are young moms, some of whom are just returning to exercise.
I’d like to share with you a conversation that I had with a new client. Does this sound familiar?
Me: So what are some of your fitness goals?
Member: I’d like to tone up, lose some weight, and be at the gym more consistently.
Me: What do you think is keeping you from coming to the gym consistently?
Member: Definitely my kids…I have three children, one is a newborn, and two are under 3 years old.
Me: Wow, you sound extremely busy! So what motivates you to keep up with it all?
Member: My kids! They are so important to me. I want to be in shape so I can keep up with them and be a good role model. Do you see how it is working against her? Her biggest setback is the same thing as her biggest motivator. I told her that was about to change.
The first thing I recommend to women in this situation is to take advantage of all the amenities your gym has to offer. There are so many amenities that will help achieve your fitness goals and sooth your frazzled nerves. However, if you can’t make it to a gym in your area on a regular basis, the good news is you still have fun options. Actually many fun options. Let me lay them out for you.
If you’re a stay at home mom, you can make fitness a fun thing to do with your kids. Remember when jumping rope and hopscotch was fun, and not a workout? The more you make it a fun activity, the more excited your kids will be doing it with you!
Suggest going to the park, the playground makes for a great obstacle course. You can do box jumps, push-ups, monkey bars, and more! You can also set up an obstacle course, i.e.: go up the stairs, go across the monkey bars, go down the slide, do 10 jumping jacks. Also, time them! Then, challenge them yourself! Don’t let them have all the fun, get in there too! It’s not up to your kids to slow down to meet your pace; it’s up to you to keep up with theirs.
Remember that they are your biggest motivator. Another sound reason you should be striving to get more movement in your life is because of postpartum depression. It can be disguised as a decrease in metabolism and increase in weight, low stamina, lower thyroid function, mild depression, anxiety and/or feelings of being overwhelmed. Though the severe forms are less common, they require attention. The more common type, known as “baby blues”, can be treated with physical movement, a clean diet, and minimizing stress.
If your child is too young for the playground, but is able to crawl, try doing yoga with them. It is unbelievable how receptive babies are to tracking your exact moves and mimicking them. It is human nature. So take advantage of this gem. They inherently already do many yoga moves like cobra, child’s pose, and pigeon. See what else you can both do. Sometimes matching their moves is fun too!
If they’re not into it, use them as the weight! Lift them overhead, do squats, get creative. Put on some music and dance with your baby attached to you. You will increase bonding time and get a solid workout. What more could you want? And if they’re asleep, by all means, find a workout on the Xbox, Wii, Pinterest or YouTube. Use the internet; it’s a great source of information. One of my favorite YouTube channels to follow for at home workouts is Bodyrock.
New moms out there, I know things can get tough, but you are stronger because of your experiences. Besides, when you’re a mother, counting calories isn’t as important as counting kisses, and the best way to take care of your children is to take care of yourself.
Adrienne Hancik is just one of the many friendly and helpful certified personal trainers at ClubSport. She is certified in Corrective Exercise Rehabilitation and is a student of Holistic Nutrition for the past year. Outside of the gym, she loves cooking, gardening and enjoying the sunshine. Her favorite fruit is the avocado and her favorite physical activity is power yoga.