Fitness & Motherhood

by tinareale on July 17, 2012

**Registration for Best Body Bootcamp ENDS FRIDAY!!**

Last week I received an email from a reader with a GREAT post request. As a fellow busy lady with children, she wanted to know how I manage to make time for my workouts regularly…and do I ever feel like NOT working out?

Let me answer the last part of that question first. Uhh…YEAH! I have my times where the last thing I feel like doing is heading to the gym for a workout. In fact, this past Saturday would be one of those days. I did NOT want to go to cycle class. I even asked Makenzie if she thought I should go, figuring she would say “Stay home, Mommy!” and I could then have a viable excuse to opt out. Wouldn’t you figure the little bugger said to me, “I think you should go because the gym helps you be healthy and strong”. Gotta love when the lessons you teach your kids come back to bite you in the butt. Winking smile

Did I regret it, though?


Nope! I felt a million times better for getting it done – so good in fact, that that’s when I came home and did that little workout I shared with you all yesterday. I was on a roll!

So, I certainly have my times where I either don’t feel like doing a workout or when finding the TIME for a workout poses many challenges. I know that I need that time, though. I need it for my own personal sanity and well-being…and apparently my actions do speak louder than words and are making a positive impact on my kids. Fitting in workouts brings way more positives than negatives to my life. That alone makes them a priority to me. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to make it happen day in and day out.

So, how? Here’s how I personally almost always find the time to workout, even as a busy mom.


I plan ahead. It sounds trite, but it is SO true and necessary in order to be successful! I take a look at my weekly schedule and try to loosely plan my training. If that means an early wake-up call to workout before the kids get up, so be it. If it means working out during naptime and not having the time to write a blog post, so be it. If it means trying to keep my motivation up to do a workout in the afternoon after Peter gets home from work, so be it. I make a plan and I just do it.

I’m not afraid to get help. My gym offers child care that I use at least a couple times per week. I ask Peter and don’t feel guilty about having him watch the kids when he gets home from work so I can go for a run. I have a great sister-in-law who helps watch Braedon a few hours a week when Makenzie is in school so I can get work done. If I need to use some of that time for a workout, I will.

I make the most of my workout time. I have plenty of days where I have to cut a workout short or do something quick and to the point. I will use shorter workout DVDs – like Jillian Michaels’ or Jackie Warner’s – or put together a fast paced circuit to do at home, so I don’t have to use time driving to and from the gym or that I can fit in during nap times.I consider which workouts will get the most bang for my buck and do those.

I prioritize my workouts. I’m okay if I have to let go of some of my planned workout goals for a time. When training for races, I don’t fret if I can’t fit in as much strength training as I would like. I instead focus on fitting in the runs I need to do and move on. There have been other times when wanting to lose weight that I might have scrapped as much running and focused more on challenging weight workouts with short, intense cardio blasts. I make my workout fit my goals and my time.

If all else fails and I still want a workout, I workout WITH my kids. I have done a strength workout in my gym basement with Braedon crawling on my back as I do my planks or push-ups. I have had Makenzie sitting by my feet coloring as I do a set of squats. I have done rounds of plyometric drills while having my kids pretend to do them with me – Makenzie has a mean squat jump. I have even put a DVD on while I ran a few miles on the treadmill a few feet away from them.

Overall, I make my workouts a part of my lifestyle. They are a priority. I think a lot of times we may feel guilty for wanting to make time for the gym as a mother. I’m here to say that it’s OKAY to make that time. You can even make that as time WITH your kids – they think it’s FUN! You just need to take a look at where your workout time can fit in your life…then make it a habit. Who knows? Before you know it, your kid may be pushing YOU out the door to the gym. And then you may be the one coming back with more energy than when you left…and a smile on your face thankful for all the other times you fit in your workout and set that good example. Think about it. Winking smile


1 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) July 17, 2012 at 7:15 am

I would agree with all of that! Since my kids have grown up with me setting an example of exercising regularly, they know it’s important for my health and theirs! It’s not always easy to get that workout in when you have kids, but I have found that (especially when they were little) getting up a little earlier was the best time for me. That way I start my day on a positive note and nothing would get in the way of my workout time. Great post Tina!

2 Coco July 17, 2012 at 7:24 am

Ah, out of the mouths of babes! Of course, she learned that from YOU! When I don’t feel like working out, I focus on how GOOD I will feel once I’ve done my workout and how lousy I will feel if I miss it.

3 Katie @wishandwhimsy July 17, 2012 at 7:25 am

While I’m not a mom, I can appreciate your tips. Planning has been such a key factor in my fitness success. If we want to make fitness a priority we must do everything we can to fit it in. Great tips!

4 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama July 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

Great post, Tina! You have been a fitness inspiration to me since I found your blog.

5 tinareale July 17, 2012 at 7:41 am

And you’re a healthy eating for family inspiration to me!!! Seriously! So much!

6 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) July 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

Being that Hailey is 10 months old and I’ve had to adjust my schedule every month or so based on her new schedule, I am a big fan of all these fabulous techniques you’ve mentioned. I believe if it’s a priority and I can stay flexible, then I can make it happen. You’re such an inspiration Tina :)

7 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey July 17, 2012 at 7:37 am

Great tips! You’ve definitely mastered the whole busy mom/workout thing!

8 Amanda July 17, 2012 at 8:00 am

This is so great that you posted this today. I was just struggling with those thoughts the past few days and trying to work out the logistics of spending time at home and working out. You pretty much said everything I’ve been thinking and trying to do :)

9 Ruby @ Focus, Woman! July 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

Yes, yes and yesser! I do the same things. Actually, I feel like having a kiddo makes me prioritize exercising more. There’s no way I’ll ask my husband to watch her while I go read a magazine or paint my nails for 30 minutes, but I (now) don’t have a problem asking him to do so in order for me to go run or do a DVD.

10 Amy Lauren July 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

I don’t have kids but I loved reading these tips, it shows that you’re devoted to both your workouts and your family. And, I love the Mackenzie bit about going to the gym… a lot of women feel guilty leaving their children in the gym’s childcare (at least they did at my old gym) but at least this shows that working out keeps you healthy and makes you a better mom in the long run and sets a great example for your kids :) .

11 Steph @fitmomtraining July 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

Yes, yes, yes and YES! It’s all in the planning! It’s a tough balance sometimes but it’s far from impossible to get it done! Thanks for sharing and keeping me motivated!

12 Megan Evans July 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

Great post! That’s exactly how I feel about working out… gives me energy and a positive attitude about life. I tell my kids that exercising is like brushing my teeth: it’s good for me, and it’s a superb habit to keep for the rest of my life :) My children know that exercising helps me stay healthy so I can be around for them for a long time to come!

13 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More July 17, 2012 at 10:20 am

It’s so inspiring to hear your kids are picking up on your healthy habits and WHY you do them. I hope that means when they get older, they’ll want to make sure they live a healthy lifestyle like you do as well. But man, I think I’d have an initial “darn little bugger” moment too.. ;)

14 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige July 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

Love this post, Tina. And LOVE Mackenzie’s answer to your cycling workout. Such a wise little girl ;)
I’ve actually been wondering (and wanting to talk with you) about this – as well as how you balance your online training being a mom. You seem to prioritize it all very well!!

15 tinareale July 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

I do most of my work for creating plans a) early morning before kids get up, b) during nap time, and c) the few hours a week when my SIL helps out (I pay her to get a more cost friendly caregiver for them and they love hanging out with their cousins!). That’s also why I set up the wait list so I can make sure I don’t try to cram too much in and not have enough time for family. :)

16 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries July 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

you truly are such an inspiration for other mothers and future mothers out there! i loved little mackenzie’s answer to your spin class workout – you’ve taught her well. ;)

17 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy July 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

what a great post! i love your daughter’s response about working out! smart girl:)

18 Nicole July 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

i love that you make exercise a priority, yet you are flexible about it. thanks for sharing what works for you!

19 Shanna, like Banana July 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

My bestie (also a new mom) and I were just talking about this and how the key is being flexible. Case in point, she wanted to go to Bikram before work but her baby had a rough night so she swapped the Bikram clothes for cardio clothes and is going to use her work gym to get a mid-day workout. Genius!

20 Lisa July 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

You are a great inspiration Tina! It must be tough to workout a balance between the kiddos and fitness but you manage to get it in. I love how passionate you are about your family. This post makes me happy, while I’m not a mom I hope I can apply these tips in the future. You are a great motivation and role model to your kids and even us readers!

21 Greg Boss July 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Great post Tina, those are inspiring tips. Getting to the mentality that you have, and the “plan it and get it done” idea makes me want to leave work and get some exercise! Thanks for the inspiration.

22 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson July 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Fabulous post! I definitely needed this!

23 Heather (Heather's Dish) July 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

amen mama! i think the last point about making it part of your lifestyle, and thus part of your kiddo’s lifestyle, is so very true. when it becomes second nature then it’s so much easier to just do it and move on with life!

24 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf July 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Great post Tina! Completely agree with you on all counts, especially making fitness a priority. For me, it all starts from there because I don’t, it’s so easy to let it slide or to find an excuse not to do it. Plus, it sends a positive message to my family and kids that health and fitness should be a priority in our lives. You’re setting such a great example!

25 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength July 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I love this. So many people ask me how I fit in workouts between working and taking care of my son. I actually own a gym and I hardly ever get to workout there because I only have childcare a few days and I need to work during those times. I have some kettlebells and barbells in my basement so I make that work most of the time. I do my workouts before my son gets up, or like you if necessary I do them during nap times once in awhile or with him playing next to me. (Or in the stroller as I walk/run!)

26 [email protected] July 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Great tips! I don’t have kids, but I could see how all of those things would be helpful in making fitness a top priority too! :)

27 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed July 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Tina, it’s official. Our kids are smarter than us.

28 Kelly July 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Oh my gosh such a great post. I will admit that one of the scarier parts of becoming a parent for me is wondering when I will my workouts in. I know some people roll their eyes but for me it IS important. Such great tips and if I ever become a mom one day I know I will heed your advice! :)

29 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef July 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

not a mom but love this & will pass it on to some friends who are. being a mom does not mean giving up everything that makes you you… personally, health-wise, etc. and finding that balance is hard!

30 Alarna July 18, 2012 at 12:16 am

Thank you!!! All my questions answered!
No excuses now (well, except for the baby in my tummy :-) )

31 Stacy @ Stacy Eats July 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

I’m not a mom, but some of these are even great tips for me. So much of staying fit is about planning and just doing the workout. I hope to use all of these someday when I am a mom though. It’s awesome to hear how your kids are learning healthy habits from all that you do, congrats mama! :)

32 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness July 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

My runs happen before my kids are awake. Otherwise they don’t happen. Plus I feel less mommy guilt for taking time away from them. DH and I switch off mornings to run, so we both get to run in the am.

33 Molly Ritterbeck July 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I must admit that sometimes I feel really guilty when I ask my husband to watch the kids as we both work and I know he needs his time. I guess that I need to get over that so that I can get more in! Love your blog and I think you are awesome!

34 tinareale July 22, 2012 at 7:55 am

Perhaps you guys can even set up a schedule of days he can have some time after work and days you can have some time and then days to do things together that are active as a family? :)

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