#121: Fitness hacks: Juggle, don’t jiggle!

#121: Fitness hacks: Juggle, don’t jiggle!
8 minutes to read

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with juggling. At all. No, I thought I’d put together some more fitness hacks for you, following on from the roaring critical acclaim (!) that my last fitness motivation post had.

I’ve been trying to gently swerve my Instagram feed towards a health and fitness bias for a little while now. After the initial surge in follows / unfollows from Brazilian lycra models and such, it seems to be working quite nicely and I’m seeing stacks of parents who are really trying to up their fitness game. Of which I am one. It’s a nice crew to be in. However, I have noticed that lots of the comments I get tend to be things like “I don’t know how you manage it” and “I have no idea where you find the time.” So, here’s how you do it.

Classes

When I first joined my gym, three years ago, I started with classes because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing with myself. It was here that I first discovered spinning, which is literally my favourite type of exercise ever. Now, what you’ll notice is that even though the class titles are quite standard, e.g. Spinning, Abs, LBT, Pump, Combat etc, no two instructors will deliver the same class in the same way. And this is a good thing. Find an instructor with a teaching method that you like, and you WILL get a huge amount of motivation and enjoyment from each class. A good PT will check your form and technique as you go, and demo out each move. They’re a great way of testing your fitness level and experimenting with different weight grades in a safe environment, so that when you work out solo you have a few different things to try and you know how each exercise should feel.

{Gym Wanker} #100happydays Day 15 I honestly think that it’s worth hunting around for the exercise or sport that makes you rejoice in getting on it. I did my first spin class over two years ago and it’s without doubt my favourite way to work out. I carried on with spin until the week before Moo was born and I know it helped my labour and recovery. This morning I set a my new little in-class record of 32.4km in about 45 minutes…yeah yeah, I’m a gym wanker but there’s nothing quite like dripping in sweat and doing your CV system some good. I’ll shut up now, I made a cake. #gymwanker #spinclass #pedaltothefloor #spinbike #girlswhotrain #girlswhosweat #gymbunny #fitmama #fitnessroutine #sundayworkout #sundaysweat #sweatitout #nutrition #sundayfunday #letssweat #postpartumfitness #mummyfitness #mousemoometoo #gymlife #lovefitness #fitforlife #traintogain #legday #leanin2017 #goals

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Schedule

My husband and I both have a shared love for fitness and running. Yay!! Except, because we have these meddling children, we can never go out and train together. Every week is therefore a tightly honed daily diary of who is doing what, where. Put simply, we don’t bugger about with the schedule, unless something crops up that we know about in advance or there’s a bit of an emergency.

For example, during the week I go to the gym on Monday and Wednesday evenings. He runs Tuesday and Thursday evenings. If, on a Monday, I decide that I really can’t be fucked to go out, then it’s not as simple as deciding to go the next day instead. It has a knock on effect on him, and pushes the rest of our week out of whack. So, if I’m feeling a bit tired or just generally CBA, I’ll switch up my routine. I have two gyms that I go to, one of which carries an 8 mile round-trip run. If I REALLY don’t want to do the Big Run Gym, then I’ll either push myself but use the time AT the gym to focus on weight training rather than cardio, or I’ll go to the closer gym but make sure I don’t compromise on effort while I’m there. Unless you’re dying, there’s always something you can do with your allotted workout time that will help you to achieve your goals, it doesn’t have to be all-out hell for leather to drive results. What about some abs work or stretching, so at least you can pretend you’re having a nice lie down?

Obey the schedule and the schedule will obey you.

Fuel

Don’t underestimate the power of nutrition in helping you to achieve the maximum possible effect from your workout. I don’t just mean “cut out the takeaways”, I mean REALLY look at your diet and make sure it’s delivering enough energy and protein for you to stay strong and keep focused when you’re chipping in a 16 or 17 hour day. I know those ones.

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, whether you eat before you train or you go for a bit of fasted cardio and refuel afterwards. Having previously been a devout all-year-round porridge lover, I’ve just discovered overnight oats. This is the hackiest of hacks because you can prepare it the night before, so it’s there ready whenever you need it. It’s adaptable too, and a really good option for children of any age – perfect for Baby Led Weaning, actually.

My current go-to recipe is oats, a grated apple, some berries, a mashed banana, some chia seeds, a scoop of whey protein powder (leave this out if you’re feeding it to the kids), a sprinkle of cinammon, a few spoons of plain yoghurt, cold water, and a drizzle of honey. I could eat it for every meal, if left to my own devices.

Essentials

I wrote a post recently with a few of my absolute must have items as a runner and fitness enthusiast. It’s funny, I asked my husband about his list and he could immediately rattle off five things that he can’t be without either, and they were completely different to mine. He loves running in the heat (eurgh, I hate it) so sweatbands and good running sunglasses are a must for him. After a while of being in a routine with your fitness, you’ll start to learn what works for you – maybe you prefer one water bottle type to another, or you hate working out to music but you love listening to podcasts. All the little nuances and habits that make everyone tick – I find it fascinating and I love to hear about what other people have on their lists.

Progress

Don’t stay static. if you have limited time each week to work out then fine, but make sure you’re making a conscious effort to increase what you’re doing: be it through resistance, speed, endurance, whatever. If you’re doing something such as C25K then you’ll naturally be progressing on an upwards trajectory anyway, but what happens when you hit the 5k goal? Don’t stop!

I have a few staple machines that I use when I’m at the gym, that form part of my cardio and leg strength programme. One of these is the Stairmaster machine (think walking up an escalator while it’s going down), which I started using when I was pregnant (always seek medical advice and get a PT qualified in pre and post natal fitness, if you can). My PT taught me how to use the interval training settings, and I love the rolling hills mode. A few weeks ago I decided to increase the level and push myself a bit. After 10 minutes I swore I’d never go that high again, it was so bloody hard. But the next week, I did. And the week after. Then, I increased it again. See? It’s the same 10 minutes. The same machine. It just boosts my ability each time I go up a level.

So, there you go – I hope you can find something here to spur you on and help you to realise that juggling fitness and parenting, or actually fitness and life in general, is hard work. But it pays off. I’m just a normal person – I have two kids, a job, a sideline business (which you’re reading right now) and a house to manage. I have the same 24 hours in my day as Michelle Obama. If I can do it, so the hell can anyone.

-SJW June 2017

2 Comments

  1. June 13, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    I am loving your new IG feed, and the focus on fitness and health. Although I’m not too sure how you find the time. Keep up the good work. Claire x

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