Prioritizing exercise is challenging at any point in life, but it can become even trickier after having kids. However, exercise is an important part of caring well for yourself and when scheduled as a priority into your day makes you feel better and sets a great example for your kids. Here, I’ve shared some of the ways I’ve learned to make exercise a daily habit even with kids. I hope it blesses you.
Get up early
Getting up early to make exercise a priority is easier at different stages of our kids’ lives than others. I remember after my little girl was born, I would get up at 5 a.m. to work out after having been up 3 or 4 times during the night to nurse her. I was choosing that for the wrong reasons. I was exercising out of panic and not out of a desire to treat my body well. I strongly believe the season of infanthood should be more about self-care than running yourself into exhaustion (literally)! If that’s your season, be kind to yourself, the time to exercise will come! For those of us with older kids though, early mornings are the perfect opportunity to get a workout done for the day. Making the decision to get up instead of hitting the snooze button can be a challenging one, but it always worth it. I’ve come to cherish that quiet time while everyone is asleep. By the time my family is waking up, I’m filled up from some quiet time with God and feeling great physically. It’s good for all of us!
Have the Kids Join You
Last summer I was having a hard time prioritizing exercise myself. Our routines were off. Too many late summer evenings and too few regular early morning work outs were becoming the norm. I was working to find a healthy balance between restful home days and busy fun days. Despite my attempt to strike a healthy balance, my exercise routine was suffering. About three weeks into summer break, I decided to institute “home-days” boot camp. After breakfast while it was cool or in the evening after dinner we would all put on our gym shoes and get to it! We would run laps around the yard, have sprint races, jumping jacks, and do push-ups. We would each take turns calling out an exercise and try to do it for two minutes. Can I just tell you that I not only got a legitimate workout, but we had a blast! The kids loved it and it was a great way to burn off some of their energy.
Let them Watch
I’ve discovered from my own journey, and from speaking with many moms that one of the hardest challenges of prioritizing exercise when you have kids is often based on one common factor – guilt! It’s taken me eight years, but I can finally say that I am able to exercise with my kids guilt-free. I’ve settled into the peace of knowing that it’s really ok for them to entertain themselves for an hour or to watch an hour of TV while mom gets her exercise done. I think not only is it ok, but actually sends a really healthy message. It tells them that I value my health and that I’m choosing to care well for myself. I’ve also discovered an added bonus. Because I only listen to worship music while I exercise, they see me worshiping and spending time with the Lord. I overheard my daughter playing “mommy” one day and realized she was pretending to go for a run and I saw her praying and worshiping. It was a wonderful confirmation that it’s ok for her to just hang out and watch while I work out.
I’m so incredibly blessed to belong to a gym. If you get to enjoy that blessing as well, I would encourage you to take advantage of the childcare they offer. This was another source of “mommy guilt” I unnecessarily carried for years. I felt so guilty taking my kids to childcare at the gym. I was certain they were miserable and that I was being selfish. Thankfully the Lord used my sons’ words to release me of that last summer. About half-way into summer I asked him what he was enjoying most so far about summer break. Without hesitation he answered, “I love going to play with new friends at the gym.” I vowed to take off mommy-guilt that day over using childcare too.
However you choose to prioritize exercise, I pray that you always choose it as an act of worship and self-care.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for our children and for our bodies. We thank you in advance for showing us how to balance caring well for both gifts. Lord, please reveal to us “hidden” times in the day when we can enjoy a workout. Release us of guilt over taking time for ourselves and remind us of the truth that our bodies are a temple, a dwelling place of the Most High God, worthy of care and blessing. We thank you ahead of time for faithfully providing the time, the resources and the ability to make exercise a priority in our day. In Jesus name, amen.
This at home Turkey Burn Circuit workout is perfect for this busy time of year! Each circuit can be done once or three times through, depending on how much time you have- right at home, using your body weight!
|20 Jumping Jacks|
10 Alternating Front Kicks
|40 Jumping Jacks|
20 Alternating Front Kicks
|50 Jumping Jacks
30 Alternating Front Kicks
10 Alternating Lunges
20 Alternating Lunges
|25 Squat Jumps
20 Alternating Lunge Jumps
|30 Second Plank Hold|
10 Tricep Dips on Chair
|60 Second Plank Hold|
20 Tricep Dips on Chair
|60 Second Walking Plank
30 Tricep Dips on Chair (alternating one leg in the air, one leg on the ground)
|30 Second Wall Sit|
20 Alternating Knee Raises
|60 Second Wall Sit|
20 High Knees
|60 Second Wall Sit (alternating one leg in the air, one leg on the ground)
40 High Knees
|10 Push Ups (modified)|
10 Mountain Climbers
|20 Push Ups (modified)|
20 Mountain Climbers
|25 Push Ups (regular)
40 Mountain Climbers
|Repeat 1-3 times through||Repeat 1-3 times through||Repeat 1-3 times through|
I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed working out early in the morning, but now I can’t imagine it any other way! Here are my top ten tips to getting in an early morning workout!
1. Be Prepared- One of the most important steps for me to make my early morning workouts happen is to be prepared! I like to have my clothes laid out, my workout bottle filled and ready in the fridge, and my workouts written and ready to go! That way, I get to set my alarm with just enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth, and throw on my clothes. Being prepared means less things to think about when it’s early in the morning!
2. Find Workout Buddies- There is something so much more motivating about working out with a buddy or a group of friends! Not to mention, having someone at the gym to meet you makes it that much easier to jump out of bed knowing that someone is counting on you to be there at a certain time! My favorite workout buddy is my sister, Emily. We meet each other at the gym early a few times a week, (she is a teacher, so we have to meet at 5:30 am so she can get to school on time), but the great thing about our workouts are that they are done before I know it and then we have the rest of our day to enjoy! Click Here for a Circuit Partner Workout!
3. Go to Bed Earlier- Let’s face it… one of the most common reasons many people don’t like to workout early is that they feel too tired. If this sounds familiar, I have great news…This can be solved by getting to bed at a reasonable time! I find that if I get at least 7 hours of sleep, I feel great the rest of the day, despite how early I get up! For example, when I know I am waking up at 5 am to meet my sister, I try to be in bed by 10 pm. To me, that is not too unreasonable and it is totally worth it to me knowing I will feel great the next day after I have allowed my body to get enough rest!
4. Eat a Quick Pre-Workout Snack- I personally don’t like to have a lot of food in my stomach when I workout (it gives me stomach cramps), but often, I like to eat something really light before heading out the door. If you are someone that prefers to eat before a workout, I recommend something with carbohydrates and not too high in protein, unless you are able to eat at least 30-60 minutes before your workout. This gives your body time to digest it. I suggest anything from Dashing Dish muffins, overnight oatmeal, or some dry low sugar cereal. Again, this will vary from person to person, so I recommend experimenting with a few different options to see what works best for you. Also, be sure to always have a water bottle ready to go! Being hydrated is especially important before you’ve had anything to eat or drink for the day.
5. Get in the Mindset- I can honestly say that I enjoy working out early in the morning, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time when I would cringe at the thought of rolling out of bed and working out. However, I have found over time that there are more pros than cons when it comes to getting it done first thing. Here are a few examples of the benefits: Working out in the morning means that I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day, I feel more energized the rest of my day, and I tend to want to take care of my body the rest of the day, knowing that I put in the time and effort to workout!
6. Find a Workout You Enjoy- This might come as a shock to some of you, but I firmly believe that you can and should enjoy your workouts. If you are currently doing something that you find to be boring or you are doing something you dread, I want to encourage you to find something you enjoy. Yes it is possible! With all the options available today, there is no reason that you can’t find something that you love and feel that you are good at, and it doesn’t even have to be done at a gym! Try going with some friends to a work out class, buy some workout DVDs, or sign up for a walk/run/biking event. Do whatever you can to get out of your comfort zone. You never know, you might try something once and look forward to working out the rest of your life! Click Here for Some Fun & Easy Workout Ideas!
7. Workout at Home- One of the greatest reasons for not working out early is that you simply don’t have time! For most of us, the morning can be one of the busiest times of all…But there is an answer! Working out at home is one of the best and easiest ways to get an early morning workout in, because it doesn’t require the extra time to drive to and from a gym. I have plenty of at home workouts that require only a few simple pieces of equipment (such as dumbbells), as well as some that don’t require anything except for your own body weight! Click Here for an At Home Total Body Circuit Workout!
8. Plan Out Your Workouts- Having a plan, especially when it’s early in the morning is key to getting a good workout in! I know that if I didn’t plan my workouts ahead of time on my early workout days, that I would most likely have a hard time pushing myself in the gym. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I can get my brain to do at 5:30 am is plan out a workout, nor do we have time when I am meeting my sister, who has to leave the gym at 6:30 am. The best thing we ever did was buy a simple and cheap notebook from Target and write out all of our workouts every Sunday so that we know what we are doing for the whole week in advance! It is also more motivating to know what we are doing ahead of time and have an organized game plan.
9. Have a Workout Playlist Ready- I don’t know about you, but having an awesome workout playlist gets me in the mood to workout! Don’t have any idea where to start with a ‘clean’ and uplifting playlist!? No problem! One of my current favorites is Hillsong Young & Free! Click Here for a Awesome Workout Playlist!
10. Re-Fuel with a Healthy Post-Workout Breakfast- If you do make the time and effort to start your day off with a workout, be sure to fuel your body properly throughout the rest of the day! As important as working out is, nutrition really is the most important component when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle! If you are worried that you don’t have time to workout and prep a healthy breakfast in the morning, no worries! I have tons of healthy breakfast options on Dashing Dish that are super speedy to make and can even be made the night before. I personally like to re-fuel with something that is higher in protein and complex carbohydrates. My personal favorite is one of my Dashing Dish protein shakes! Click Here for a List of 20 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas.
Here are my top 10 tips for making workouts more enjoyable:
1. Download a book on your iPod or phone, and listen while you work out. OR Put together your own workout playlist filled with energizing songs.
2. Workout with a partner. Whether it is a friend or family member—it is great for motivation and accountability!
3. Try something different! Pilates? Kickboxing? Zumba? A new-to-you class can be motivating and energizing.
4. Schedule your workouts every Sunday for the upcoming week.
5. Switch exercise machines every 5–10 minutes. This variety makes time fly by—and challenges your body in different ways.
6. Work with a personal trainer (sessions are often cheaper if you do it with a friend or family member).
7. Change the time you work out. If you generally work out in the morning, try the evening—or vice versa.
8. Check out a new gym. Often gyms offer your first visit for free.
9. Go outside and do something to get your heart rate up. Try ice skating in the winter or swimming in the summer. Maybe ride a bike or walk the dog—or a neighbor’s dog!
10. Get your workout clothes ready the night before. This way you are less likely to make an excuse. OR Not only is that a time-saver, but it’s one less excuse not to go!
This program was designed with brides in mind, but it is awesome for anyone who wants to get in shape for a big day!
I can’t believe it’s already about that time of year again…Back to School!!! Where did the summer go!?!
My sister is a 3rd grade teacher, which always reminds me how ‘quickly’ the summers seem to go by! To kick the school year off right, there is no better time than now to start thinking about healthy lunches! I hope this video provides some quick and easy healthy lunch ideas that your kids will actually enjoy!
I have found that when I am really busy that it’s great to have a quick and easy workout options. Here are some of my favorite ways to get my heart pumping!
One of my favorite ways to get in a quick and enjoyable workout is to take a walk while listening to Joyce Meyers on my I Pod!
I don’t know about you, but I personally need a playlist of really up-beat, motivating songs to keep me motivated while I’m working out. The only problem is, most of the lyrics in many of the well known hip hop/R&B/pop songs today are anything but clean.
I’m not saying that I’m against listening to any music that isn’t Christian. However, I have found that in my own life, if I put things that glorify God in my heart, that is what tends to come out! So, that being said, I created a playlist of awesome workout songs with a really good beat to keep you motivated and energized while giving glory to Him…What could be better than that!?! Enjoy!!!
|Lacrae||Rebel||I'm a Soldier|
|Grits||Reiterate||Turn it Up|
|21:03||Twenty One O Three||Dance|
|Group 1 Crew||Ordinary Dreamers||Keys to the Kingdom|
|Group 1 Crew||Ordinary Dreamers||Movin|
|Toby Mac||Diverse City||Burn For You|
|Trip Lee||20/20||Who He Is|
|Trip Lee||The Invasion||The Invasion (Hero)|
Also, this is just a short list of awesome Christian artists that I personally have discovered, but I know there are MANY more out there, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment, I’d love to hear them! :)
I’ve found that it’s the little thing that have really helped me enjoy and continue on my journey to healthy living! As a way of saying THANK YOU to all of the amazing people that support Dashing Dish, I would like to share a few of these ‘little pleasures’ that have made living a healthy lifestyle all the more enjoyable!
Three Winners Will Receive:
To enter this giveaway you could do one of two things:
Then leave a comment here saying that you did!
Winners will be announced on August 9, 2001~ which is one week from today! Good Luck and Thank You again for all your love and support!!!