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Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions yet? Every year I resolve to be healthier and I usually do well for the most part. I have made a lot of great lifestyle changes that are keeping me healthy in the long run. However, having two babies so close together really did a number on my poor body. And let’s face, even just one baby can take a toll on you. While I do want to look good and feel good in my skin, I really just need the energy to run around after two toddlers. Finding your fitness groove after having kids can be hard if being active isn’t something that comes naturally to you. Luckily, I’ve done this before after my second kid and was able to get in great shape before I popped two more kids out. I’ve picked up some tips and tricks along my journey. There are a million different ways to be successful, but here’s 10 that I think are just awesome.
1. Create a plan. The first thing you need to do is figure out some direction. What changes are you going to make in your life to put you on the path to better health? How are you going to work out? Where are you going to work out? When are you going to work out? (Fitting it into your busy mom schedule is probably the hardest part of this whole thing.) The path you take doesn’t necessarily matter as much as just sticking to it. And I always find that I’m much better at sticking to something when I have everything planned out.
2. Figure out your motivation. Why are you even doing this? Are you trying to fit into an old pair of jeans? Do you want to look great for an upcoming event? Do you want to have the energy and strength to keep up with your kids? Do you need to make serious changes to your lifestyle because of health problems? Are you hoping to have another baby and you want to have a healthy pregnancy? Whatever it is, write it down. Stick it on your mirror or your car dashboard. Make it the background to your phone or computer. Put reminders wherever you need them so that you don’t lose focus.
3. Find a partner or a group. Losing weight, getting healthier, finding your pre-baby body – it doesn’t have to be a solo journey. In fact, you’re much more likely to succeed when you have someone cheering you on. If you don’t have anyone close to you, there are an abundance of online groups you can join for support. (If you need me to point you in the right direction, send me an email!) I’ve always found the most success in having a partner who is farther along their fitness journey than I am. It helps inspire and motivate me to work harder to keep up and even catch up.
4. Go shoe shopping. I know this sounds totally shallow, but there’s nothing like a fun pair of shoes to make your workout more exciting. If you are trying to get on track with your fitness routine, you need some snazzy footwear. I snagged couple of pairs of running shoes for 75% at my local sporting goods store. I got two really great pairs for less than $20 each! Even on a tight budget you can find something, so check those clearance racks.
5. Find out your favorite exercise. Do you hate working out? Chances are you don’t hate all forms of exercise, you just need to find the one that works for you. If you’re anything like me, you may have spent too much money on fitness DVDs only to find that they’re hard to follow. Don’t get discouraged. It’s just not your thing. You may like group classes better, or you might prefer something a little calmer like yoga or swimming. You might put on your running shoes and hit the pavement for miles and miles. Or maybe you just want to take it slow and walk off the weight. Whatever kind of moving you love to do, do it.
6. Be positive. Don’t even dwell on your failures for one second. As long as you are doing your thing, failure is not a part of it. So you took a group class and had to sit out for some of it? You still got out there and did your thing for the other part of that class! So you were trying to run for a mile without stopping and you only made it halfway? You still got off your butt and ran for half a mile without stopping! Whatever you do, there’s a victory in it somewhere. Always look at what you accomplished, not what you didn’t.
7. Fuel your body. They said that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. So that means that even if you are working out three times a day, 7 days a week, it won’t make a difference if you’re eating crap. You’ve probably heard someone say “You can’t out-train bad nutrition,” and it’s totally true. If you’re going to put all of that effort into exercising, make sure to give your body what it needs to burn fat and build muscle.
8. Stock your kitchen for success. So you found an eating plan that works for you and you’re doing awesome. One evening in a moment of weakness you binge on a box of cookies that were hiding in the cabinet and you feel like you just sabotaged all of your hard work for the week. Don’t even give yourself that option! Stock your fridge and pantry with lots of great food choices, even some tasty snacks that you can binge on without the guilt.
9. Sleep. Don’t laugh! I know that getting a full night of sleep is nearly impossible when you have kids. Believe me, I know. But it’s important to get at least 6 hours of restful sleep each night. That doesn’t mean you should go to bed at midnight to get up at 6. On average for me, only 80% of my sleep is restful, so aim for at least 8 hours in bed to make sure you get 6 good hours in.
10. Get the right accessories. I don’t like having a ton of gear when I go for a run, so I prefer accessories that multi-task. I use my phone to play music as well as track my run (or fast walk) on RunKeeper. I used to wear a heart monitor bracelet on runs, but I found that it would lose contact with my skin while I moved around and I was getting inconsistent results. I tried a different one that involves straps on your chest and it was just way too confining for me. When I heard about the Intel SMS Audio BioSport Earbuds – great quality earbuds that have a built in heart rate monitor – I knew I had to get them. Paired with my phone, they are the perfect accessory for my runs.
The best part of all? No calibration or confining straps necessary. You’re free to enjoy your workout without any distractions. Plus they’re super simple and easy to use!
Take them out of the box – they don’t need batteries, just plug them into your phone!
Turn on the RunKeeper App. If you don’t have it already, just download it. The basic version is free. The BioSport EarBuds come with a free month of RunKeeper Elite, so you can try it out if you want to!
Plug in your earbuds. Make sure you switch them to “on” as well. (The heart should meet up with the dot.)
Go into the settings tab on your RunKeeper app, and then choose the option that says “Apps, Service, and Devices.”
At the bottom, tap on “Devices and Hardware” so that it will recognize your earbuds.
Select analog headphones. That’s it. A little green box will pop up for a second to let you know that you did it right!
All that’s left to do is start running.
I found my BioSport EarBuds on Amazon, but you can get them right on their website, and for a limited time you can save a little money on them too. For 20% off SMS BioSport Headphones on SMSAudio.com, use code BioSport20. Hurry! It expires 1/31/15. (US only.)