How to Create an Exercise Plan For a Busy Working Mom

Make exercising struggle-free with these tips

5 Steps for making time to exercise
Follow these 5 steps to build a good exercise regime. Getty Images/Jamie Grill

When you have one or two full-time jobs and you have to take care of kiddos you probably don't feel like exercising often.  When you have some downtime you'd rather sleep then go for a run.  Am I right?

Before you convince yourself that you have no time or energy for exercise, think again.  Exercising doesn't drain you of personal energy, it boosts it and this is exactly what working moms need.

If you created a workout plan you'd be more likely to follow it.

When you have a plan you'll know exactly what you could do given a certain amount of time.  A plan will have a set a time-frame and a motivating goal to strive for that gets you out of bed in the morning.

So let's create an exercise plan you'll find hard to resist:

Create a Vision To Motivate You

Why is exercise important to you?  Is it to stay fit? Lose the baby weight? Stay healthy so you can keep up with the kids? Write this questions down and think what kind of motivational mantra you can tell yourself for when you don't feel like working out.

How does exercising make you feel? You love that feeling afterward and although you're tired you're also more energized.  You may even feel like Super Woman and love the power you feel. So when you need a bit of motivation, think of how strong you feel afterward. Find that vision that will light a spark within you and get you moving.

What will be your end result?

Forget the ideal weight you want and focus on how good you want to feel. Perhaps you want to be able to carry more groceries at one or be able to run as fast as your toddler. When you don't feel like putting on your sneakers, think of your vision to help you lace up.

Book an Exercise Appointment for Specific Exercises

Despite how impossible it may feel, there's always time for exercise.

Before you became a working mom you have enjoyed long sweaty workouts. Now that your time is a bit more limited it's time to change your workout routine.

First, plan out when you'll workout each week. If you can only exercise twice a day for 30-minutes it's better than doing nothing. When could you schedule a specific exercise?  Here are some examples:

  • Waking up a half hour earlier to do a Pilates video on YouTube
  • Use your hour-long lunch break for strength training
  • Going for an evening run after the kids go to sleep
  • Bring the kids to the playground and do an upper body workout

When you've identified the type of physical activity you want to do it may predict the best time to exercise.  For example, an early morning wake-up routine might consist of gentle yoga, while a lunchtime cardio fix might include a Jazzercise class.

Step 3: Set an Audacious Goal You Can't Wait to Reach

Start your workout efforts slowly and build up to a challenging exercise routine that feels awesome. If it's in your budget, work out with a personal trainer who can help you ease your way into exercise. Then buy a calendar just to mark your progress, fill it with gold stars to track your fitness training and feel like a superstar!

Here are some fitness goals you can aim for:

  • To do 25 push-ups
  • Run a 10k race (with friends for an added bonus)
  • Lower your body fat percentage (great motivation to get your yearly physical!)
  • Figure out how to make exercise part of your daily routine so it just becomes a habit

Step 4: Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself

If you or your child is sick, or you simply had a rough day at the office, it's all right to miss one day of exercise. Your goal is to have the time and energy to exercise on a regular basis. Don't fault yourself if you have to skip a day as long as you stay dedicated to your goal(s). Remember it's all about taking care of yourself.

Updated by Elizabeth McGrory