Mom fitness 101

Today I have another guest blogger, Jenna. I've known Jenna since we were both little girls running around playing dolls like little girls do best! We have many things is common as she also has a photography business, a love for style, health and fitness, and encouraging moms and woman in their Christian walk through her Instagram account! She's full of joy and love for her family and God, hope you enjoy her tips for today! 

Hello there! I’m Jenna! I’ve been married for almost 10 years to Nate and God has blessed us with 4 beautiful children—1 girl and 3 boys. I grew up in Upstate N.Y. but God now has us living in the very large and very hot state of Texas.

I homeschool my children, am very involved in music in my church, and run a photography business. I’m busy, but no busier than all of the rest of you Moms ☺.

Obviously 4 kids means 4 pregnancies and many, (too!) many pounds collectively gained and lost over the period of 9 years.  It also means that I get a lot less sleep and my life is way more demanding than it was before I had children, so it is more important than ever that I keep my body strong and healthy.

It’s not easy to make working out a priority as a Mom, but  with a little planning and a lot of dedication, you can stick with a consistent work out routine.  I’m definitely not the “skinniest” I’ve ever been and have a long way to go, but I’m more in shape than I have ever been and that’s what matters!

 Here are some tips that I hope can be an encouragement to you. Staying fit and healthy as a busy Mom can be done! As always, please consult your Dr. before starting any routine. I’m not an expert, just sharing what has worked for me!

1. Make it a priority.  This is key! Schedule it in, even if it’s just as simple as “I am working out as soon as I lay the baby down for her nap”. It has to be more important than the dishes in the sink or the toys all over the floor. Your health is more important than a clean house anyway, right? And chances are, when you’re done with your work out, you’ll have more energy to clean the house anyway! Get dressed in the morning in your work out clothes if you need to and have your sneakers ready to go, that way when they time comes you’re ready to start and don’t have excuses. Make sure your husband is on board as well. If you prefer an outdoor walk or run, see if he can watch the kids for 30 minutes or so when he walks in the door from work. I’ve done this many times and Nate is fine with it because he knows it’s important to me!

2. You don’t need a gym membership. I had a gym membership for about a year when I first had my daughter. It had childcare and was fairly close to our house, so I was able to go 5-6 times a week. I loved it, but then we moved and had more babies and it just wasn’t as convenient anymore.  I was thankful for my time and classes there because I learned a ton, but I haven’t had a membership now in 7 years and my exercise routine hasn’t suffered a bit! There are so many resources out there that you really don’t need to spend all that extra time loading kids up, driving there, working out and driving home. I think it’s easier to stick to when you can just lace up your sneakers and start, rather than making a huge production out of it. Plus, I’ve saved thousands over the years by not going!

3. YouTube is your best friend.  Free workouts right at my fingertips? Yes please! If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. There are many options on Youtube, and you can walk 1 mile or 5 right in your living room. (Side note, these are my favorites when I get to the last month of pregnancy because it’s just a nice brisk walk and I can add in squats and lunges as well… even though I can’t go very far down without my huge belly getting in the way ;) The Fitness Blender channel is probably my favorite now because I can do some higher intensity workouts in 25-30 minutes and be done, but there are hundreds of other videos available as well. I like to change things up all the time to keep my body guessing and work different muscles! Find something you enjoy and that challenges you!

4.You don’t need expensive equipment.  I have an elliptical machine and a few dumbbells lying around, but I don’t really need them.  I mostly use my own body weight as resistance and can get plenty of cardio other ways. I’m not saying that I don’t love the little bit of equipment I do have, but it’s not a necessity to run out and spend a ton of money on weights, a mat, etc. I use a folded up blanket as a mat, ha! The only thing I do like to buy is new work out clothes because it’s a good motivator to have something cute to wear. And of course, good sneakers!

5. Aim for 20-30 minutes —that’s it! Any longer and you’ll probably end up dreading it and won’t do it. Figure out what works best for you. It could be in the morning before the kids wake up, or if that’s just way too early, do it during their naptime. If you have a small baby that doesn’t nap consistently, this is what I’ve done: dress in the morning in your work out clothes and have everything ready to go. I’ll even open the video on youtube and pause it until I’m ready. Then, when baby happens to sleep you can start your routine right away! My older kids that don’t nap anymore know that it’s Mommy’s sacred time and in order for me to be a happy, healthy Mom I need my “me time” every day. They finish up schoolwork or play quietly and usually leave me alone ;). It’s important to me that my kids see a good example of Mommy taking care of herself, but I try my best not to talk in front of them about being “fat” or “skinny” or losing weight. (I get it all out when I’m just with my husband-poor him!) I try to only use words like healthy, strong and happy so that that’s what they will associate a healthy lifestyle with.

I don’t want to end without touching on nutrition, because that’s obviously a huge part of staying healthy! I try—try—to stick to lean protein, whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies. I try (there’s that word again) to limit my sugar, white flour and processed food as much as I can. I would say it’s about 80-90% of the time. ;) I track my calories on the loseit app, but there are several similar ones you could use as well.

I hope these little tips have helped you and encouraged you that you absolutely can start and continue working out every day as a busy Mom! Feel free to comment if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer!