No Gym, No Problem
Life is busy. Life is messy. Life is far from perfect. We all have our Pinterest full of gym workouts, quotes, and, of course, those adorable leggings that we just have to have. But the truth is, life is chaotic; and if you have kids, getting to the gym can be close to impossible. Maybe you worked all day and you can’t bare the thought of leaving them again once you’ve picked them up for the day. Maybe you were home with them all day but you can’t even consider putting them in one of those yucky gym child care centers. Maybe you just don’t have 125 dollars a month to shell out; I don’t blame you, the prices are atrocious!
So does the inability to make it to the gym mean your workout routine must cease to exist until your children require less of you? Absolutely not.
I’ll give you a tiny background on my fitness history. Before I got pregnant with my children I was unhealthy. I ate out a lot, I ate sweets regularly, I gave into almost every craving I had, and I rarely worked out. While I was pregnant with my daughter, in 2011, I was put on bed rest the last couple of weeks. She kept acting like she was ready to come out but then totally wasn’t ready until her due date. Just like her mama, she was annoyingly punctual. Anyway, while I was on bed rest I watched a lot of The Biggest Loser on Netflix. I was hormonal, pregnant, fat, and I was determined to get healthy after I had my daughter, and I did. I occasionally went to the gym but most of my success happened from what I did in my house with a set of weights while my babies were napping. I lost 62 pounds in three months (thank you breast feeding) and I have kept it off for over five years.
There is this cartoon that I’m sure rings true for too many women: The first picture is a thin, happy girl in a bikini. The next picture is the same happy girl in a bikini but pregnant. The third picture is the same girl only she’s sad, chubby, and holding her toddlers hand. I’m not a fan of this cartoon for two reasons: One, I think it portrays the mothers happiness as being tied to her weight, which is unhealthy and not normal as it is portrayed in the cartoon. Two, I think that it implies that her weight is the fault of her pregnancy and not the fault of her own eating and exercise habits, which is a complete fallacy. I know this because my cartoon would be the opposite of the one mentioned above; fat and sad without kids, pregnant, and then thin and happy with kids. I am thinner than I have ever been in my entire life, even after having my two children. I get that this isn’t everyone’s story but my point is that it could be.
How to maintain a healthy lifestyle without the gym:
Fitness is 25% exercise, 75% what you eat.
Say what? Yeah that’s right! Most of your health is going to come from what you put into your body. If you are putting sugary, processed, and fried foods into your body you won’t feel like going to the gym, working out at home, or even playing outside with your kids. And even if you make it to the workout, that hour in the gym is not going to erase that cheese burger and fries you just ate. Of course, it will help a little but not much and that workout will be literal hell.
Check out my NOMS board on Pinterest I have pinned a lot of healthy kid friendly meals, shakes, snacks and more! You can get lost in a web of healthy meals on Pinterest. Remember if you don’t think you should eat it, then don’t buy it. If it’s not in the house, then you can’t sneak into the kitchen half way through your favorite Netflix show to snack on it at 9:47 at night.
Why am I starting here? Mind set. The first thing that got me committed to living a healthy lifestyle was realizing that the food I eat is more important than the workout I do. Workouts are not fun when you put bad food into your body. Eating healthy makes working out less hellish and aids in the amount of weight you lose. My mom just recently lost over 10 pounds in a couple of weeks by sticking to a whole foods diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. She says, “I’m focusing less on what I can’t have and more on what I can put into my body to stay motivated.” (Go mom!) So, forget about the gym for a minute and start in the kitchen.
Get some weights.
Just because you can’t get to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t workout. Start small and work your way up. A set of 3 pound weights only costs 7 dollars at Wal-Mart. You can use these in workout DVD’s or you can develop your own exercise routine. To develop your own routine you just need a notebook and a pencil. Go on Pinterest to find some exercises that appeal to you if you are feeling stumped. Do an hour long workout with three pound weights in your hand and you’ll be just fine. Weight lifting helps tone your muscles and boost your metabolism. Just because you aren’t using 50 pound weights doesn’t mean you’re not getting the benefits. Trust me.
Remember that we all have to start somewhere and there is no shame in that. I lost some strength after a period of not using any weights during my workouts and I couldn’t even use my three pound dumbbells. I legit used two 16 oz water bottles filled with water. I was in my living room curling water bottles and dying. I will never exclude weights from my work out routine again.
Get on Amazon and order some exercise DVD’S.
I first started my fitness journey when my daughter was only a couple of weeks old. I was not leaving my new born with anyone, so I put her in her swing a couple of feet away from me in our tiny apartment living room. I started doing a couple of exercise DVD’s that I had previously bought and never done more than once. What was different this time? I paid attention to the fact that I was dying during these DVD’s which meant I needed to do them. The first week I stopped half way through the workout and gave up. I told myself that it was okay as long as I pushed myself until I literally couldn’t do it any more. After one week of quitting half way through I was able to get through each workout, which was half an hour to an hour long. These DVD’s remain part of my exercise routine today, five years later!
Here’s a list of my favorite DVD’s:
• Jackie: Power Circuit Training – Amazon (This one is hard but great for beginners. Or when you’re exhausted but still need to workout.)
• Bob Harper: Pure Burn – Amazon (65 minute workout. Get your lighter weights out for this one.)
• Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack – Amazon (This one is only 30 minutes but it will kick your butt.)
• Bob Harper: Cardio Conditioning – Amazon (Plan on 60 minutes of panting like a dog.)
• Jillian Michaels: Kickbox Fastfix – Amazon (Three workouts. 20 minutes of intense cardio that’s fun!)
• Bob Harper: Kettlebell Cardio Shred – Amazon (This one has great tutorials and you don’t need a kettle bell you can use a dumbbell if you want.)
• Jillian Michaels: Killer Arms & Back – Amazon (The title pretty much speaks for itself.)
As you can see I like Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. What can I say, their DVD’s are the best. I do like Bob better though because he is more active with the people in the DVD; plus he kicks my butt every time (in a good way). I usually like to do an hour of exercise so if the DVD is only 30 minutes I will do two of them. You can combine two that you really enjoy and because they’re only thirty minutes they seem faster. The 30 minute workouts are also great for when you really don’t have an hour but you need your butt kicked
Make a schedule.
Make a schedule for everything you want to commit to. This is basically a new rule that I live by. If you want to get something difficult accomplished you need to mark it down on a schedule. Put workout down on the days that you know you will have time to workout. Mark a specific time if you only have a small window to complete a workout. Your body and muscles need to rest. You’ll want to make sure you are taking a day off every couple of days, so schedule your off days as well.
Here is what our workout schedule looks like:
Monday – No workout (Matt has to get up at 3 A.M. to be at his job site by 4 A.M.. The strongest pre-workout they make wouldn’t motivate this man to workout on this day. So this is a perfect rest day.)
Tuesday – Workout
Wednesday – Workout
Thursday – No workout (I take a break from working outside the home, and on the computer. Plus, I need my blog edited this day. Resting on this day just makes sense.)
Friday – Workout
Saturday – Workout
Sunday – Workout
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and the same seven days in a week. Don’t let the gym, or lack of a gym, stand in the way of you reaching a goal, especially one as important as staying healthy. Working out is hard but it has become my me time and it makes me a better parent. Working out reduces stress, it is the best anti-depressant out there, I am able to be more active with my children, and I am giving them a clear example of how to properly care for their own body. Remember that staying healthy is not an option when you are a parent; it’s an obligation.