We're all well into the school year now. If you're lucky you're starting to see patterns emerge, and in between the obligations, prisms of light. Go to the light. These rays of time often don't last long.
When it comes to your fitness here's how to turn that time into a good sweat.
1) Acquire an appreciation for darkness.* With the oncoming time change you may need to workout before the sun makes an appearance. So much for all that talk about "go to the light." Instead, I say, "welcome to the dark side." I've said it over and over here, if you want to guarantee a workout, best do it before everyone wakes up. Mind you, not every day, unless you're sadistic like that. If you start with promises to get up at 5 a.m. every morning guns firing to make that exercise habit stick, you will end up too exhausted to carry on and very likely become, in your family's eyes, the scary monster that has indeed emerged from the dark side. My formula is is to determine the minimum number of days you want to work out each week. Subtract that number with the number of workout days you know you can get in on the weekend. That's how many days during the work week you need to get up super early. (Click here for my tips on working out in the dark.) If you don't get that workout in first thing, something will come up later and interfere with your workout. Often for me, it's an unscheduled trip to the pediatrician for something stupid like this:
2) It's acceptable to wear workout clothes to volunteer at school and/or attend PTO meetings. I know you want to look buttoned up like the other moms who will be there. But your kids' schools need your participation--they need a warm body. So what if it happens to be a little warmer than the other parents? If your opportunity to get some exercise comes with walking/running/biking to and from the school (extra points for the environment!), or a workout between leaving the office and that PTO meeting, do it. I'm not condoning waltzing through the school doors in running shorts and a jog bra (not cool, for so many reasons, don't make me list them). This is a situation when all-day workout wear comes in handy. (Here's a look at the all-day workout wear in my closet.) No need to change in a telephone booth supermom.
3) Acquire the tools to "couple up." This one is for the Thomas the Train fans out there. The Boy lives and breathes trains. He talks in third person to me: "'I'm hungry,' Thomas said." and when he's not watching or reading a Thomas story he is acting it out. So when he wants to lead me anywhere he wants to "couple up" first. Our runs in the jog stroller or rides with the bike trailer, in his mind, are train rides. If you still have little ones, having some way to "couple up" for fitness time is mandatory. At least it prevents you from missing out on fitness opportunities. I can meet with a friend to run or ride and not worry about getting a sitter. I can run or ride my errands (taking the bike trailer to Target is a great way to prevent "over shopping"). I can squeeze in my Plan B workout when I fail to get up early.
4) Learn something new. It's September! You're probably not in school anymore but you're still breathing in that air of excitement that comes with the start of the school year. Go for it! Try a class at the fitness center, set a new goal for yourself, do something new as a family. I mentioned in my last post my girls and I are going rock climbing more often. I can also add rollerblading, as of this weekend. I have not worn my rollerblades in more than 20 years and I didn't break any bones! Yeah, me! Don't wait until the New Year, to try something new or make changes in your life. Now is the time.
5) It's OK to sit down. What with all these rules to find ways to move in your day, I had to include at least one for slowing down and being still. Busy moms often forget how to do this. Just the other day I was eating lunch, all but one of the kids was out of the house, and there I was standing up as I ate. There was an empty table right before me. Chairs. To sit in. But there I stood. I shook my head, brought my plate to the table and sat down. Beyond the simple and obvious ways to be still, try (and I know this is hard) to take time to center yourself. At a minimum allow yourself three deep breaths, even if you have to do this while sitting on the toilet because that's the only alone time you get. Don't forget to lock the door.
I know Back-to-School brings with it it's own Back-to-Busy schedule. I love summer, but I do enjoy getting back to some structure. And when I say structure I mean kids in school full time and a toddler in preschool where I can extend the tease-me, two-and-a-half hour school day into four hours with a lunch option and "playbreak," which is a nice way of saying, "mommy is running late and can't come get you right now."
Anything else you do to find time to workout once the school year begins? You know we want to hear about it!
*I wanted to call the first rule "love the butt-crack of dawn." But I have friends named Dawn, and you probably do too, and I don't mean Dawn's butt crack. This is what you get when I drink and blog. Silly glass of wine!**
**I started this post Sunday night. Now it's Monday morning and I'm drinking coffee. Promise.