How I squeeze my workouts in as a busy mom and teacher
Someday when my business grows and I need to hire an awesome team, I plan on hiring two groups of people-moms or teachers (or the ever powerful double whammy of a mom who is also a teacher). I am sure there are plenty of people who are neither mothers nor teachers who can get stuff done but not in the efficient way that moms and teachers can do it.
Where I started with my exercise journey
I have been a teacher for 17 years and a mom for 12 years. My first five years of teaching kicked my butt, good thing I was not juggling motherhood at that time too. I thought I was busy then but after I had two kids, I realized that I had so much free time in my pre kid life. I did not start taking exercise seriously until after I had my second child (ten years ago). I needed to have something that was just for me (and to be honest, I had a lot of baby weight I wanted to get rid of). At first glance, there was not a sliver of time in my day to fit in a workout. I had a baby and a toddler plus I was teaching full time at that point in my life.
I really had to get creative and decided it was worth it to sacrifice an hour of my precious sleep in order to have time to workout each day. I was a young 30 year old at that time, now that I am in my 40s I don’t think I would be so willing to give up sleep in order to workout. It was brutal for the first month or so. I had to drag myself out of bed and working out was miserable after recovering from pregnancy (I gained 50 pounds which is quite a lot on my small 5’2” frame). After about a month, I started to notice a difference in my energy levels and mood. I noticed I was not as quick to overreact when my kids did something ridiculous. My pants even started fitting better. I was hooked.
What it looks like today
Fast forward ten years later and daily exercise is still a major part of my life. My kids are older now so I can head out for a quick run or do a youtube workout while they entertain themselves. Now the tricky part is fitting in time to exercise now that I have become a professional, youth sport spectator. My kids are very active which I love but it means I spend a lot of my nights and weekends driving them to practice and watching them compete.
Tips for fitting it in, no matter your schedule
- You need to make the decision that exercise is one of your top priorities. Oftentimes when people say they don’t have time to exercise what they actually mean is they are not prioritizing it. This means I say no to a lot of extra things. I don’t spend a lot of time preparing elaborate meals (I don’t enjoy cooking so this is not a sacrifice on my part). I watch very little tv. I limit my time scrolling on my phone. I let my hair air dry instead taking the time to blow dry and straighten it. I don’t get my nails done. The only time I talk on the phone is when I am driving. All of these little nos add up to more time in my schedule to spend exercising.
- At the beginning of each week, I first schedule my work obligations, then my kids’ obligations, and then my workouts. If I write them down ahead of time, I am much more likely to follow through.
- I have learned to be flexible. In any given week, I aim to do at least 3 strength training workouts, 3 cardio workouts (running, HIIT), and 3 yoga workouts. I like to break it down by week instead of by day because I know I will have time for two workouts somedays (like the weekends) and other days I won’t have any time to workout. Somedays, I get a 30 minute strength training workout in the morning and a cardio workout after school. This way of thinking about it is so helpful to me.
- Working out for an hour does not give me permission to be sedentary throughout the rest of the day. I try to move as much as possible. I walk my dogs at least once a day. If I arrive early to pick my kids up from practice, I walk instead of sit in my car and scroll on my phone. At work, I will walk to my co worker’s classroom to talk to them instead of sending an email. Yard work and housework also require me to move a lot. It all adds up. I find wearing some sort of tracking device (like an apple watch) helps motivate me to move more.
- Accountability buddies are worth their weight in gold. If you can find a friend to help keep you accountable, do it! Don’t know where to find one? Ask a fellow mom or teacher friend. Or better yet, join my Healthy, Happy Teacher Facebook Group!
- This is going to sound a little cheesy but I wholeheartedly believe that your mindset is the most important tool when it comes to building an exercise habit that lasts. I often remind myself that working out is a privilege I get to do instead of something I have to do. Want more mindset tips? Read my blog post about motivation.
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