How to Create an Exercise Plan if You're 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 because of your juggling act, think again.  Exercising doesn't drain you of personal energy, it boosts it and this is exactly what working moms need!

 More energy!

If you created a plan you could follow blindfolded, would you exercise more?  I think so, but don't take my word for it.  You need to try this yourself.  

When you have a plan you can follow you'll know exactly what you could do given a certain amount of time.  A plan will get you motivated, set a time-frame, and have a goal to strive for that gets you out of bed in the morning (if that's when you choose to work out).

So let's get this party, I mean plan, started! 

Step 1: Get yourself super motivated to work out

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.

For me, working out does something to my brain.  Sure, there's a scientific explanation, but that doesn't matter to me.

 I just love that feeling afterwards, just completely energized.  So when I don't feel like working out, I think the She-Ra cartoon, the princess of power, and think about how energized I'll feel afterwards.  Get me every time, but this is me.  Find your vision that will light a spark within you to get moving and break a sweat.

Think about the physical and emotional benefits you're receiving. It's sometimes helpful to give yourself rewards, like new gym clothes, for completing a good workout or sticking to an exercise routine.

Step 2: Schedule time to do specific exercises

Despite how impossible it may feel, there's always time for exercise. It just may not be like how you used to exercise.  It will be different because your workload changes constantly as a working mom. So even if you can only spare a half hour two times per week (which is awesome!) it's better than 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 lunch break to do an hour of strength training
  • Going for an evening run after the kids go to sleep

After you've identified a type of physical activity 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 Zumba class.

Step 3: Set an audacious goal you can't wait to reach

Even if your main goal is to lose over 50 pounds, don't take on a very demanding exercise schedule, such as five days a week for an hour at a time. If you do this, you're less likely to stick to an exercise routine, and reach your goals! You can even injure yourself if you push too hard.

Instead, start out slow 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. 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:

  • To do 25 pushups
  • 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.

Now I want to hear from you!

How are you making time for exercise in your life?  Tell me all about it over on my Facebook page!

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory