Healthy Mama Habits #3: Move It (a little bit of exercise goes a long way)

Exercise has always gone in spurts for me. I’d find a routine that worked for a few months, but then my schedule would change or I’d get sick or busy and that would be the end of that.
After Charlotte was born whenever I heard someone talk about their daily workouts I would just kind of roll my eyes and think well it must be nice to have time for that. But eventually life settled down and I decided to join a gym. I took a Zumba class a couple times a week and would hop on the treadmill or elliptical when I could. Then I got pregnant again. I tried to stayed active during my second pregnancy, but I gradually slowed down until the most exercise I was getting was a walk around the block.

Here I am the night before I had Tessa

 After Tessa was born and I was cleared to exercise I had to find a new routine once again. My gym had closed, and anyway childcare was more of a problem now that I had both an active preschooler and a newborn. Tessa was a good baby and only getting up once or twice a night, and my avid runner friend Mysti assured me that working out would actually help me have more energy. Still, I needed to find something that was short enough to do during nap time that I could do in our small living room. I was a member of a Baby Center April babies group, and several moms there mentioned they were going to use the Bikini Body Mommy 4.0 challenge to get back in shape. I looked into the program, and decided it was the perfect way to reestablish my exercise habit. The workouts were short (about 20 minutes), alternated between cardio and strength training, had lots of modifications, and were free on YouTube. The only equipment I needed was a set of dumbbells. The kicker was these workouts were daily, 6 days on with a rest day on Sundays. I’d never worked out every day before, but I thought hey I can do anything for 20 minutes. So I started. I decided Tessa’s morning nap was the best time to do it, with Charlotte joining in when she wanted or just playing on her own around me. It was hard. And painful. I was depressed at how out of shape I’d gotten. But I stuck with it. Charlotte became my accountability partner, faithfully asking “Have you done your workout yet Mama?”
I stop nursing and started THM right around the same time in August 2015, toward the end of the 90 day challenge. BBM next released a 6 weeks challenge, which I loved, that took me through December. We all got sick around Christmas and continued to battle illness through the winter, but this time I was able to pick my workouts back up. My friend Kari loaned me her 21 Day Fix videos so I decided to try those. They were a big step up in difficulty from BBM, but I liked the variety. I think I was two weeks in when I was doing the “Dirty 30” workout one Saturday and Charlotte asked Chris “Why aren’t you working out too Daddy?” Thanks to that little guilt trip from his daughter, my hubby joined me for the workout and then decided to keep it up.
We started getting up a little earlier so we can fit in a workout before Chris has to leave for work at 8:45. We put Tessa in her jumparoo and Charlotte watches from the couch and jumps in when she wants. It’s not a perfect system. Sometimes the girls sleep later and we have to stop the workout to give a bottle or pour some cereal. Sometimes T gets fussy in her bouncer. Sometimes Charlotte gets a little too close to our swinging dumbbells. But something is better than nothing, and I have absolutely loved working out alongside my husband. He’s a great encouragement and helps me stay motivated, especially on days when I’m just not feeling it. 
We got tired of the 21 day challenge after a few months and switched to Fitness Blender (also free on YouTube). There are something like 600 videos to choose from, with all different types of exercises and a variety of lengths (so far the longest one we’ve done is 30 minutes, though they have 90 minute workouts for the truly crazy). We try to alternate between cardio and strength training, and usually fit a workout in 5-6 days a week. Our favorite ones are High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) because they move fast with lots of variety and really make you sweat (my number one indicator of a good workout). On Sundays we like to pick a yoga or stretching routine to help ease any sore muscles before we start hitting it hard again. I’ve heard the statistic that weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, but I’m convinced that our daily workouts have really made a difference in our results on THM. I never thought I’d get to the point where I would enjoy working out, but I think I’m actually there. I don’t always want to do it, but usually once I start (and always when I finish) I’m so glad I did it. It’s amazing. I highly encourage you to think about where you can sneak 20-30 minutes of exercise into your day. I promise it will make a huge difference in your outlook on life! What are some of your favorite exercise routines? Here’s an image to pin if you want to be able to find the workouts I’ve referenced:


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