It happens every year. I’m in the highs of celebrating the holidays with tons of food and parties, when I got to slip on my favorite pair of jeans. What I once considered as nurturing, cocooning feel has now turned into my pants trying to suffocate me to death. Holiday weight has found me, and I’m not too happy about it. Thus, a New Year’s resolution is born- one in which water is my new best friend, I hit up the gym more times than not, and I once again slip into the embrace of my favorite skinnies.
Now that I’ve waxed poetically, let’s get down to business. Like many people, you probably started this year with hopes of getting healthier. Maybe it’s to lose weight, maybe it’s to get toned, or just eat better. All of these things take commitment and hard work and as a mom, it’s going to take a lot of dedication. To help you get through this year, I’ve come up with a few hacks to reach your fitness goals. From one mom to the next, you got this!
1. Start Out Strong
One of the quickest ways to reach your fitness goals is to put all your effort in and start out strong. If you want to hit up the gym four times a week, start doing it now. Don’t waste time by “working up to it” (unless you’ve spoken to your doctor and they say otherwise), jump right in. Research has shown it can take anywhere from two to eight months to establish a habit, a long time to dedicate to yourself (and as a mom, we know that’s hard to put yourself first). Don’t be afraid to set the bar high- you’ll be shocked how quickly you meet your goals and how much better you feel. It’s much easier to carry on a routine that you’re used to doing, then having to try and up the ante mid-way through the year.
2. Front Load Your Week
As a mom, my weeks are insanely busy and thing always pop up that I don’t expect. The only way to guarantee that I meet my fitness goals is to schedule my workouts for the beginning of the week. Plan one weekend workout when your partner is around, and then try and hit the gym Monday- Wednesday (not necessarily all those days, depending on your goals). That way, by the time Thursday or Friday comes around, you may already have met your goals and not need to squeeze in another gym trip, OR you can get a bonus workout in. It’s pretty impossible to squeeze in 3 workouts come Saturday, so don’t let the week pass you by!
3. Get Some New Workout Gear
The day after Christmas I hit up the mall to exchange a jacket and was surprised to see an otherwise obscenely priced fitness apparel store having a major sale. I walked out with a better fitting jacket, but also three pairs of new workout pants for the price of one. Even more importantly, I wanted to high tail it to the gym to put those babies to work! Now, I’m not saying you have to run out and overhaul your entire collection of sports bras and leggings. But there is something to be said for purchasing a few updates that you probably need (hello, new sports bra that actually holds everything in) that will motivate you to get sweating. You don’t have to spend a ton of money, either. For years I shopped exclusively at Target for all my workout clothes and I still wear many of them that are 5+ years old. So long as you get excited to work out, who cares where it’s from?
4. Track Your Progress
One of the easiest ways to keep your fitness goals is take before and after pictures. There’s nothing quite like seeing your hard work pay off through photos, especially if you need that motivation to keep going. Even if you don’t think you’ve made a difference, take the photo! Little changes show up in ways you don’t always see at first. In addition to photos, I also highly recommend recording other things, like how much water you drink on a daily basis and how much weight you’re lifting at the gym. You can create challenges for yourself, like drinking a specific amount before lunch or by the end of the day. If a goal is to lose weight, keep weekly records of how much weight you’ve lost to keep motivated.
5. Record Your Workouts
There’s nothing quite like checking off my workout for the day, and even more so when I’ve reached my goal for the week. I use a Fitbit to help track my steps and workouts and it’s been a game changer. I absolutely hate looking at the dashboard when it tells me I didn’t meet my goals for the week, and that’s motivation enough to get to the gym. Whether you use wearable technology or track your progress in a paper planner, recording your workouts is a great way to stay on track. Research has shown you are more likely to meet your goals when you write them down, so don’t just write when you HAVE worked out, but plan for it in advance.
As a mom, I KNOW how hard it is to put yourself first and squeeze in a workout. But as a mom, I also know how important it is to take care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty mamas! Your kids will look up to you as you take care of your health, and hopefully follow in your footsteps.
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