Getting Fit: 11 Simple “no excuses” Strategies for Busy Moms
Let me take a guess…
It’s been a while since you exercised. You want to be more fit, but you feel you’re too busy, tired, and stressed out most days.
When you become a mother, your children become priority. Life’s consumed with family and work. But after a few years of putting your health last, you see the result of the neglect. Maybe you struggle with unrelenting fatigue, excess weight, or making healthy food choices.
You’re not alone. Many moms struggle to make their health a priority. They face the same obstacles and false beliefs about getting fit as a busy mom.
“I don’t have time”
“I’m too tired”
“I feel guilty if I take the time to exercise”
“I’m too busy to work out or eat healthy”
I’ve been there and to be honest, there are days when I just don’t want to commit to my health. But I know now that I don’t need to have a gym membership or workout for an hour every day to be healthy and fit. And I don’t need to eat perfectly either.
Mom life can be hectic, but you have more time than you think.
With a little bit of planning and mental reframing, you will have the healthy lifestyle you want and deserve.
To help you get back on a sensible path to health and fitness that works with your schedule, I have 11 “No Excuses” strategies you can implement daily.
It’s not a long list of tips that you’ll skim over and forget about. They’re realistic and doable, every day.
Whether you’re a SAHM, WAHM or Working Mom, these strategies can work for any mom at any stage.
1.Before you get started…
There is one very important task that most people don’t take the time to do.
A lifestyle change takes some effort, and awareness. Know WHY you want to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.
It’s not enough to say you want to live a healthy lifestyle because it’s good for you. Get down to the core of why you want to move more and eat better.
“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started”
Maybe you’re tired of feeling sluggish all the time. Maybe you’re struggling to keep up with your kids and it’s getting in the way of quality time with them. Or maybe you’re just tired of making excuses and you want to finally be fit and healthy every day.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is, as long as that reason is significant to you.
It’s the fuel that keeps you going. Otherwise, you’ll see yourself back to the beginning going through the struggle all over again.
When you know your WHY, the real reason you want to make a lifestyle change, you will start with confidence and drive.
And if you face a setback, you’ll be more resilient than if you went into it without a clear and meaningful reason.
2.Practice a Positive and Winning Mindset
Thinking all or nothing isn’t going to be effective when you are just starting on your journey to be healthy and fit. It might work for an athlete or trainer but if you are a busy mom with a hectic schedule, it won’t work for you.
So many moms want to “Bounce back” or “Lose the weight fast”, but these words usually come from a negative mindset. If you don’t see results fast enough you might feel that there is no point in putting in any effort.
That kind of mentality will derail your efforts and you’ll fall back into bad habits. You’ll probably be beating yourself up over it too.
Focus on health not weight loss. Aim for long term success not just fast results. A lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight.
Know and believe that you are capable of making this change and that your busy schedule has no power over your ability to change.
3.Start Small with Bursts
Did you know that to start on a healthier and fitter path all you need is 5 minutes? That’s right!
Small bursts of movement are great when you’re struggling to fit in exercise. It’s great for the beginner and for those with tight schedules.
Anyone can do 5 minutes. You can increase it over time, but to begin 5 minutes is all you need.
You don’t have to do a full 30-60 workout at once! Research by the Journal of the American Heart Association1 reveals that shorter bouts of exercise spread throughout the day reduces risk of disease and even death.
So many moms think that fitting in exercise is too difficult or near impossible. This is how you make it possible mamas! 5 minutes, that’s it!
Try it for a week or two and see how you feel about adding another 5 minutes. You can do 10 minutes of exercise at once or two 5-minute spurts spread out over the day.
You are not wasting your time by exercising only five minutes a day. You know that life as a busy mom has so many curve balls. Unexpected things happen all the time.
There is no shame in a handful of minutes to do some Yoga, some squats or whatever works for you. It all adds up and it will help you get into the habit while being realistic to your schedule.
4.Start with Your Core
Having children changes your body especially your core and pelvic floor. Your core keeps you stable and strong.
A strong core keeps your posture aligned and prevents injury during exercise and movement.
After having kids, you might notice you have pain, or weakness in your pelvic muscles.
Maybe you might leak a little when you sneeze, still look pregnant (domed stomach), have frequent back pain, or have discomfort during sex.
If you do, it’s possible that you have a weak core.
Kegels alone won’t help. An exercise program dedicated to core health is the only way to go.
Unfortunately, women are led to believe that a weak pelvic floor muscles are inevitable and it’s something you just have to deal with. That’s not true.
Your core can be healed and restored with the right exercises. After I gave birth to my son, I started a program called MUTU.
MUTU is an online postnatal exercise program made just for moms. The low-impact core workouts take only 12 minutes a day.
It’s a program I’ve never seen before when I started it and it’s great. Every mom needs to make core health a priority.
Speaking of exercise that works for you. I highly recommend that you stick to low-impact exercises if you are a beginner or are getting back into a fitness routine.
The reason is simple – Injury.
No mamas got the time to heal damage caused by high-impact work outs.
Just because they’re tough to do, and you can “feel the burn” doesn’t always mean it’s effective or that you will see results faster.
Low-impact exercise is great for moms because let’s be honest, we don’t always get a full 8 hours of sleep at night. When our bodies don’t get the rest needed to recover you are more likely to pull a muscle(s) or aggravate sore joints.
Low impact doesn’t mean you aren’t going to sweat. Low-impact exercises are effective, and your risk of injury is reduced. Better safe than sorry, right?
Some examples of low-impact exercises that are safe on joints and muscles are walking, swimming, yoga, step aerobics, no-contact kickboxing (cardio kickboxing), low impact calisthenics.
There are opportunities everywhere to get in your move minutes. On your way to work, at home when you’re preparing dinner, and in the evening when you’re watching your favorite show.
I want to emphasize that movement doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. It all adds up and you are still better off than not doing anything at all. No matter the activity length or intensity level, do it whenever and wherever you can.
“It’s not about having time, it’s about making time”
When going to work park further away from the building. If you’re fortunate enough to live close to work, try walking instead of driving.
If you were to park only 5 minutes away from your workplace, you get an extra 10 minutes of activity. If you were to walk to work every day, you would easily hit your move minutes for the week.
The American Heart Association2 recommends 150 minutes of activity per week. As an example, if you were to walk to work and it takes about 30 minutes. That’s 1 hour of walking per day – 5 hours per week. That’s double the 150-minute recommendation. You have to go to work every day, so why not use this time as an opportunity to fit in some extra activity.
Don’t forget work and lunch breaks. Walk the stairs, walk outdoors, or nearby malls/shopping centers (if the weather is bad).
If you’re at home, use the stairs too! Do some squats, leg raises, march on the spot while cleaning up or chasing the kids.
The opportunity is there you just have to take it!
This is a common tip but it’s an important one! If you are not self-disciplined (that’s ok!) it’s a good idea to pair up with someone who has similar fitness goals.
An accountability partner will be helpful to you if you have the habit of giving up on an exercise routine before realizing the benefits.
Maybe you’re hooked on starting new exercise programs only to get discouraged and then quit the moment you face a setback.
Can you relate?
I’ve been there and I understand. Your intentions are good, and you want to succeed but struggle to stick to the plan. A fitness partner can help you stick to it and even enjoy the journey too.
That partner can be your spouse, a supportive family member or friend. If you can’t find someone to join you, look for mom fitness or mom meetup groups in your area.
You might find your forever fitness friend!
8.Online and At Home
There are so many fitness programs available online today where you have access to a variety of work outs for a cost much cheaper than an annual gym membership.
But just like a gym membership, it’s only useful if you actually use it.
Streaming fitness programs are great. They’re like Netflix for fitness but you’re not sitting on your butt. Many offer meal plans and tracking too so the value you get is significantly more than a gym membership.
You’re not limited to home use. Take it anywhere, at work, or when you travel.
You will be tempted to go all in on a program but instead of tackling a 30+ minute plan right away, start with the shortest workouts first. If you want to try the longer exercise routines, do what I suggested for strategy # 2. Break it up into small chunks and build up to longer workouts over time.
Go at your own pace. I can’t stress that enough. The goal is that when you start, you’re able to keep going.
Another perk to fitness subscriptions is the community support. Take advantage of the community to reach out to other moms, get positive feedback, encouragement and information. Unless you have a personal trainer or your own health coach, you can’t get that anywhere else.
Avoid scrolling through Instagram accounts of people with rock hard abs or impeccable eating habits.
They’re people that have been working on this way of living for years. They did not come out of a 30-day shred program as a total beginner looking like the person on the cover of the DVD. Nope, doesn’t happen.
It can be demotivating because you only see the result but not the amount of time and effort it took to get there.
It’s great to be inspired but I recommend that you find healthy sources of inspiration. If you have to, adjust your feed settings so you’re not overwhelmed with unrealistic body images.
There are so many amazing moms that don’t have chiseled abs but are fit and healthy. Find those moms online and get inspiration from them.
“Work out. Eat well. Be patient. Your body will reward you.”
It’s safe to say that most moms have heard of meal prep, meal planning, morning and evening routines. Maybe you’re already doing all those things or maybe you’re not and you’re just winging it.
If you’re just winging it, you will never have enough time for fitness and it’s likely that you’re eating a lot of fast food. If you want a smooth transition to a fitter and healthier lifestyle, you must be prepared.
Pre-plan your meals, prepare your shopping list, and lay out your workout gear the night before. Don’t forget to schedule in a handful of minutes to exercise into your calendar will set you up for success.
“Someone busier than you is working out right now”
Remember that your workouts don’t have to be long or rigorous. When you’re getting back into the groove of fitness and eating healthier, be realistic. You will more likely stick to your plan if you’re prepared and set a fitness schedule that’s right for you.
11.Put It in Perspective
5-15 minutes per day of physical activity is a small time commitment.
Think about things you do on an average day that takes you about 5 or 10 minutes.
In the time it takes to grab a coffee at Starbucks® you can squeeze in the same amount of time for some fitness. And if you have the time to surf social media, you have the time to do five minutes of exercise.
When you look at it that way it doesn’t seem so daunting does it?
“Today, I have to GET TO workout”
Remind yourself of the reason why you’re on this journey and know that there are people who have tighter schedules and less opportunity to commit to a healthy lifestyle than you do.
Instead of saying discouraging works like “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time”, use motivating words like “My workout will be fast and easy, I can do this!”.
You can also look at it in a view of gratitude like, “I get to exercise and it’s quality time that for me”.
Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle
These strategies are not to push unrealistic standards. They’re to encourage you.
As a mom, I know that impractical routines are not going to be sustainable for me long term.
There are so many moms who are nailing it and you might be discouraged by that.
These super moms were at one time in your shoes and went through the same hurdles as you are going through right now. Over time they refined their routine and found what worked for them.
If you revert to bad habits, don’t beat yourself up! It happens to everyone. There is no real secret solution to this other than keep going.
If you’ve been skipping exercise because you feel too tired or because you didn’t make it a priority. Acknowledge your setback and continue to make small steps towards eating healthy and fitting in as much exercise as you can.
If you’re struggling to stick your plan go back to your WHY.
You are an amazing, hardworking mama that deserves to be healthy and happy.
Take one small step towards a healthier lifestyle. Remember, your busy schedule has no power over your ability to make change.
1Journal of the American Heart Association
2The American Heart Association