If you’re working, and a mum, where can exercise fit in?

My friend Julie Delvecchio had a New Year’s resolution to start exercising.  She works in a demanding job where her mobile rings at odd hours, and her toddler son is not always understanding.  I asked her how she managed to make it work, and whether she had any tips to share.  Here’s what she said, in our first guest post.

Everyone’s heard the saying “fake it until you make it”. When it comes to exercise, nothing could be truer.

I am bad at exercise. It hurts. I hate sweating. I look bad in shorts.

But on the past few mornings, robot-like, I am getting myself out of bed to exercise.

I won’t lie to you: when the alarm goes off, it is so dark and I am so tired I honestly wonder what I am thinking. I need more sleep and lots of it.

So how do I do it? I don’t know, I just do it. I don’t think about. No excuses. And I just keep on doing it until I can’t not do it.

I also pack everything by the door the night before, everything I need to make things run smoothly in the morning. I really mean everything – shoes and socks by the door, change of clothes.

I try for daily on weekdays and if I get there, that’s a bonus. I never do, but that’s the goal. Weekends aren’t possible, too much to organise, negotiate and I figure I can’t ask hubby to take on more given I can’t really take on more myself.

While I am faking it for now – ie hating it, wishing I was asleep, I know somehow I’m creating a habit.

What works for me is;

1.      Focus on the mornings

I do some lunchtime-exercise sessions on work days but mornings are better. This works for me because the streets are deserted. I feel like I have a little part of my neighbourhood in the palm of my hand. That I am the only one enjoying it, like a dirty little secret. Also, as a constant multitasker, I can catch up on news while riding on a stationary bike.

The mornings also mean I have backup if my plans fall apart –  lunch, or if that fails, after work. I also get this weird fresh feeling – like I’m starting the day having done something good. For myself, not for the million of other people demanding attention

Cancelling, well, in the morning I don’t give myself any excuse. Bad sleep? Yep, that’s just about every night. If I didn’t go on that account, I would never exercise. Anyways, it helps give me energy.

After wearing a t shirt I bought in 1998 that was so worn out, you could almost see through to the underwear, I lashed out on some lovely gym gear. It helps. Sure I may be the most puffed-out person but my goodness I look “for real” in my gear, very convincing! I try to buy myself a treat, ie gear  as a thank you to myself every 4 or 5 months. Doesn’t have to be expensive but keeps me locked in.

2.      Making a financial commitment

The gym works for me because I can spend about $26  week at a major fitness chain without a contract and with outlets everywhere so I can go from home, first thing or at lunchtime in the cbd. Everyone’s different but for me, some financial commitment means I’m less likely to squib it.

3.      Reducing the impact on family time

Mornings work best for me, mostly because my family DOESN’T really know I’m not there. The least amount of impact means valuable time NOT negotiating with husband on when I’m going and what extra stuff he needs to do or what I will owe him in return. We are both busy so I get that.

Also, I try to go when a family member stays over so if there is extra care needed ie if little guy wakes up, hubby doesn’t have to do more, but mum does. And she is much, much easier to negotiate with. I sneak out, leave the monitor by her bed and close the door, very, very , very (did I say very?) quietly. even if he wakes up, and he does, I JUST GO. And yes, I do pretend not to hear, evil, isn’t it?

Can you find time for exercise?  What works for you?

4 responses to “If you’re working, and a mum, where can exercise fit in?

  1. Dibs! Of all the things I miss about my child-free earlier life number one on the list is sleep! I have romantic ideas about being an early morning runner and starting each morning feeling fresh and fantastic – and I know I would, but sleep wins every time.

  2. Yep, if it’s not first thing in the morning, it doesn’t happen. I fake it a lot too!

  3. Are there any working mums with the energy to exercise at night? I do not possess such stamina!

  4. Great tips Julie. The part about the right gear is so true. I used to wear pretty daggy old stuff, but splashed out about 18 months ago and bought nice gear. A little more expensive, but I love it and it has lasted so well.

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