Before you have children, it's easy to underestimate just how much time you'll no longer have to yourself.
Of course, you're expecting parenthood to be hard work and incredibly rewarding. I mean, you will be keeping a small human alive after all. That takes some skills.
But what about the simple things that you take for granted?
Did you really ever consider that going for a wee alone might become a luxury?
How about exercising at your own leisure?
Picking out your new shiny buggy probably takes up the majority of pregnancy, so I very much doubt that these things are high up the list of priorities.
They certainly weren't for me anyway.
As a parent, it's important to make time for exercise.
Not only will it help with your waistline, it will also bring other health benefits. I'm talking about better immunity, more energy and a longer life, hopefully.
Once you have a child though, working out has to be planned in. It's another thing to add to the 'to do' list.
No childcare = No workout.
Unless you attempt a home workout, that is.
The home workout
I've watched endless videos of beautiful families working out in harmony with their kids, lulling us into the idea that it's all plain sailing.
I try to do it regularly, and here's the truth: it isn't as glamorous as they make out.
Why? Because it's virtually impossible to get a decent workout at home when your child is around.
In fact, it's doubtful that you'll even make it through one set of ab crunches without disruption.
And when you try to make it work in every way it's doomed to fail...
"I'll just get up early and leave them in bed" - guaranteed that is the morning they get up early too.
"They can just watch TV for a bit (it's only 20 mins)" - good luck with that before the mum guilt sets in and you imagine your child psychologically damaged through too much screen time.
"I'll just get them to join in - it'll be fun" - after 2 minutes they get bored, need a wee or want a cuddle.
"I'll just modify workout today"- changing the planned routine to something quicker (perhaps some quick abs or lunges), they take that as an invitation to sit on your stomach or hang off your leg.
So what's the conclusion?
The only perfect thing about those clips you see on social media is the editing.
I no longer watch these videos with envy. I know how long it must have taken to get that 30 second clip.
And I'm laughing.
So here are a few tips on keeping fit with a young child around:
- If you do have to do it at home, wait until they are in bed and make it the thing you get done straight away. Otherwise, the sofa or a glass of wine will be too tempting.
- Make every minute count - if you have a spare 10 minutes to yourself, go for a mini-run. A quick run is better than no run.
- Target an area whilst doing something else - squats whilst folding washing, lunging when the kettle is boiling, or even press ups during tea time.
- Find a gym with a crèche or PT studio that doesn't mind kids or holds a parents class - if your child is being well cared for and having fun, it'll make it much easier to justify a better workout.
- A runner? Buy or borrow a running buggy and find yourself a nice and even route (traffic free if possible).
Whatever you do, just don't don't attempt it at home whilst they are awake and active.
You have been warned!
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