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Back On Track

We make time for the things in life that are important. Dinner with a friend. Movie night with the kids. What about exercise and eating right? For most people, fitness and health is pushed to the back burner. However, I would argue that it should be kept front and center. You only have one body. One mind. Take care of you.

My good friend Hannah was telling me how she has struggled the past months to find the time to workout. Read it in her own words:

I recently gave birth to my third child. By recently, I mean 10 months ago. To make matters worse, I’m 37 years old. My paperwork the day I gave birth read, “Advanced Maternal Age”. No lie. You get that sweet handle when you are over the age of 35 and pregnant.

I am a mom. In this season of life, that is my job. My oldest is in 2nd grade and my middle attends a preschool in Little Rock. This means I drive a lot. I spend three hours of my day in the car with the other four hours in the school day spent taking care of the youngest. I shop. I clean. I mother. All normal, typical stuff.

Prior to my third, I consistently worked out twice a week. I tried to maintain that schedule during the pregnancy, but it didn’t last long.

A few months after my son was born, I showed up at my fitness center to attend a few yoga and strength training classes. The problem with these classes, for me, was that they didn’t push me. While they were absolutely beneficial, they didn’t target my problem areas.

I have heard that you need to show up for the classes that you hate. For me, that is bootcamp. I do not enjoy cardio. I do not enjoy running. I hate sprints. I hate box jumps. I hate anything that makes me feel like I’m going to puke.

But there – in that place – that is where the rubber meets the road. That is where the change happens.

So now, 10 months later, I’m still sucking my stomach in to button my jeans. I’m still doing squats to stretch out the legs of my pants. I’m doing double takes in the mirror at what simply cannot be my arms. Last time I checked, a baby doesn’t develop in your biceps, or lack thereof.

I knew I needed to get back in the gym. But when is that supposed to happen? I kept waiting on everything to fall in place. But things don’t ever just fall in place. It takes work, dedication, and persistence.

I am 2 months away from celebrating a first birthday. That’s when I realized I needed to reach out to my instructor to hold me accountable. This was my first step in getting back on track.

I was going to show up to Tuesday/Thursday 5a.m. bootcamp every week. I tried to make 5 am not work because it is so early. But that’s the only time that worked. That’s the only time I wasn’t needed at home. So I began showing up and working out.

Once I get some momentum behind me, I’m more likely to keep at it. I’m more likely to only put in my body what it really needs. I know that meal prepping is an absolute necessity for me to stay on track. I need to be able to open the refrigerator door and grab something clean and healthy. I needed good, healthy food in my pantry.

Finally, maybe most important of all, is my support group. I needed my husband to encourage me daily. I needed him to remind me (gently) why I made that promise to show up at 5 am. I needed him to notice the small, slow changes in my body and more importantly in my attitude and in my confidence. I needed him to value this as much as I did. He didn’t let me down.

If I, at 37 years of old age, can get back on track, trust me when I say you can too.

You must make time for you.

Hannah has to workout early in the morning because of her evening commitments. Some people do a little of both. Whatever the time of day you find to workout, here is how you should workout to maximize your time.

  • Plan your workout in advance. If you are attending a workout class, all you have to do is show up and the trainer has you ready to go.
  • Make the workout challenging. I love low impact workouts like walking, but the calorie burn
    and muscle development is not going to happen.
  • If you want to burn fat, you must consistently do the hard workouts. At least a couple times a week.
  • Find a friend to go with you. The accountability will keep you on track.

There will always be excuses or something else that is begging to be a priority. But if you don’t put your health and wellness first, who will?