Posted on December 16 2019
This post goes out to Karen and her team from Singapore. As promised Karen (and so sorry for the delay :(), here goes!
Even if I try very hard, I will not be able to judge how busy life can get when you are a working mother of a toddler. When most women complain to me that they do not have time for fitness, I often tell them that they need to learn to prioritise fitness. But really its much easier said than done. I take fitness and the time I have to work on my personal fitness for granted. True, there are days when I have to sleep less or rush work in order to make it to the gym, also are days when I have to wake up to a 20 min quick workout knowing I will not have time later. But most days are good and 11am- 1pm is generally a ‘me’ time. I operate a fitness centre so practically live in the gym.
But what if I had a toddler who depended on me looking after her/ him or had a second full time job? Would I still prioritise fitness? I’d like to think I would!
I now understand fitness is just more than physical health. My two hours is not only my physical fitness but my mental and emotional health too. Trust me, you do not want to deal with the cranky and emotional Roshni who has not worked out in anything longer than 3 days!
I believe when looking at ‘gym time’, think about it more than just health. Your 45 minutes away from your work, spouse, child etc gives you time to recharge and come back refreshed. Its like charging your cellphone battery. If not done, the phone eventually gives up and stops working. Its going to take time for you to fall with fitness, but eventually you will start enjoying it and even looking forward to it!
Of course being fit will also mean you can utilise your body better and get the best out of it. Studies have shown how fitness helps deal with symptoms of depression by releasing serotonin (the happy hormone) and a fitter body also boosts of self- confidence. Your goals need not be fat loss or weight gain but simply being able to perform activities of daily living better.
Think of fitness as meditation for mental peace. We live in a world where we eagerly look forward to the once in a year holiday to ‘escape’. Trust me, my daily gym time is a mini ‘escape’ vacation everyday! Its a time for me to just listen to my favourite tunes or listen to an audio book while working on my health. Its more than physique goals, its therapy :).
However, there is still no denying the fact that you are busy and don’t yet know how to prioritise. So here are a few tips that might help!
1) When we say “we don’t have time” we mostly mean that “its not yet our priority”. So try playing this game. Every time you check Facebook on your phone, do 5 jumping jacks. I know it sounds super silly but do it. Now if you are in a meeting at work and happen to check Facebook (cuz who doesnt in a meeting right ;)), then dont get up to do jumping jacks and blame me for how insane you look. But keep a tab in the notes section on your phone how many times it was and immediately after meeting go into the bathroom and do that many jumping jacks.
Trust me, within just 4 days you will get out of mindless social media strolling and have soo much more time!
2) If the gym is boring for you, join a group ex class. Now because this is for all my lovely ladies in Singapore, refer to this link here . Pick a class early mornings or late evenings when you know you will have some free time. A quick one hour class during your lunch break around office is also a great option. Group ex classes help you not only stay fit but also socialise and meet new people.
They are a fun and quick way to get in shape if you do not have a lot of money to spend on personal trainers. Maybe only going to group classes over weekends when you know you have some extra time!
3) Organize! Grocery shopping should only be once a week on a designated day. Meal preps should be no more than two times per week. Click here for some meal prep ideas. Always have frozen veggies and fruits handy for a quick stir fry and some healthy micro nutrients. If you leave things for the last minute, you will eat any junk available around you or waste too much time on cooking. If properly planned, you will not have to spend more than 30- 40 minutes in the kitchen per day for the entires days food. Maybe take help from a professional who will help make a customised nutrition plan for you to match your daily needs.
4) 40 minutes worth physical activity (minimum required per day!) can be broken down into two sessions of 20 minutes each or even 4 of 10 minutes each. Every few hours set your watch to remind you to get up and take a 10 minute brisk walk/ stair climb around your work station. Remember, 10 minutes is not much but will definitely add up overall! Maybe 20 minutes of timed walk with your dogs in the morning and 20 minutes of running around your toddler in the evening? Here is another example of something you can do as soon as you wake up!
5) Mix family time with fitness time. Schedule weekends for cycling, hiking, swimming, day at the park etc. Try and get in atleast 2 such days per week so you get in a total of good 150 minutes of physical activity atleast per week. Make your ‘me’ time into a ‘we’ time. Its just as fun!
6) You really don’t need dumbbells or fancy equipments, you have a baby! Click here for some workout at home ideas. There is so much you can do without having to go to a gym or any group ex class. This will keep your toddler entertained while at the same time keeping you fit.
Remember however, you already are stressed from work and family. Fitness should not add more physical stress to your body. So start at a slow and sustainable phase and only increase intensity when you are ready. Do not try and push your body too much at a time. 3-4 times per week is a good starting point and build up from there when comfortable.
7) Be accountable- No one is going to be concerned about your health and only you have to take action to change it over. Your office will replace you but your family cannot. To expect your kids to be healthy means to set the right example and be a good role model. Take up responsibility to makes lifestyle changes such as including more fruits and veggies in your diet and cutting down on processed food. Kids learn what they see and you want to set the right example form home. Even if you have very little time for fitness, changes in diet matter to keep you healthy. Invest in organic and fresh produce. Trust me, the money spend here will be way less when compared to the money spend on hospital bills when you fall sick. Take baby steps but sustainable. Refer to my old blog posts and YouTube page for more tips.