So many people ask me how I can be so busy and yet stay so active and train for races regularly – especially as a working parent. It’s a juggling act my friends. It’s not easy and you pick your battles.
What do I mean? It’s a balancing act of compromise – knowing when to rest. Knowing when to be a little selfish and knowing when your family needs you. My workouts to me are important – they keep me sane, healthy and give me the 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of me time I know I need to be the best version of myself and thankfully, I’m blessed to have a husband who understands that.
Despite finishing Iron Girl and being relatively happy with my time, I did not train 100% according to my plan. I didn’t get nearly as many miles on the bike as I would have liked, I nursed injured calves through most of my training, and I leaned on hubs a lot in the mornings when I would get up and out to work out and he’d get little Man up and ready for school. But I did my best and really, that’s all I could have hoped for.
Check your schedule
What do I mean by that? I mean look at your family’s schedule first. I know that little Man has speech therapy two days per week. One of those days I take him. Now, hubs is back in classes so I know two evenings a week I’m on the hook for pick up. I don’t work out every day – I try to – but I also value rest days. Weekends we go out and be active as a family whether to the park, or walking/running around the neighborhood. Weekdays are tougher but as many working parents of toddlers especially can understand, you just have to do the best you can. But I always look at my schedule and know what days are going to be ideal for morning/evening workouts
if you’re not a morning workout-er, don’t bank on getting in a 5 mile run or a 15 mile bike before work. Save the long workouts for the weekends when you can compromise with your spouse. As i mentioned, do the best you can. Maybe set the goal to workout 4 days per week rather than 5 or 6. Setting yourself up for success, versus failure, will make a huge difference when it comes to setting realistic goals for yourself.
Don’t underestimate strength workouts
Can’t make it out for a run or a bike? Weather crappy? Oversleep? Too many morning meetings to risk getting into work late? I’ve dealt with all of those things, and do pretty regularly. Now that hubs is back in classes, I know I can plan for an evening workout for 30 minutes or so after Little Man goes to bed with a fitness video (last night I did the 21 day fix Upper Fix – my arms are HURTING today). There is nothing wrong with getting your butt kicked for 30 minutes with an intense cardio DVD or whatever other workout you may scrounge up. It might not line up with your training plan, but it’s better than nothing.
Make it a Priority
Listen, there are certain musts in every day. If you prioritize your workout x days per week like you prioritize your cleaning routine or how many nights you’re going to cook a family meal, then you might actually get your workouts in and feel accomplished. I add my workouts to my to do list and make sure it’s either the first thing I check off in the morning or the last thing I check off before winding down at night. If it’s a priority for you, then you’ll make it happen.
I plan my workouts out for the week at the same time I plan our meals and our grocery list. I take into account: Hubs’s MBA classes, Running Group nights, Work happy hours, plans with friends, and everything in between. Will I make it to my regular Thursday night yoga class? Should I work out in the morning? What’s the weather going to be like? This helps me plan out my week to set myself up for success but I also factor in my rest days because those are just as important and I can go about my day without stressing about missing a workout.
Find a buddy
Nothing says accountability like finding a friend. Whether you join a weight loss group (think DietBet), Weight Watchers, a running club, or sign up for a training program – finding a group to hold you accountable does wonders. I joined up Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries 10k group as a mentor – now I have to run Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday’s – I’m accountable and I know that people rely on me to be there. Additionally, some moms and I got together and have a dietbet-ish type of facebook group – we weigh in once per week, we comment regularly, and we pay $10. I haven’t hit the goal yet (5% this time around!) but it’s the accountability and knowing that i have a group of mamas who have the same struggles that I do that makes it fun for me.
It’s a balancing act though friends. My fitness and healthy living efforts are not flawless. I am not perfect. I dove right for those stupid sugar cookies at Wegman’s yesterday in the brief 20 minutes I had between meetings – but gawd was it delicious.
Working parents, what are your tips for balancing training for big races, accomplishing hefty weight loss goals while juggling a family and a full time job?