The battle of maintaining fitness as a mom…

Hi friends. It has been awhile hasn’t it!

I did not fall off some mountain. And we aren’t having any family crisis, thankfully. No, what has caused this blogging quiet over the last few weeks is my St. George Ironman 70.3 training plan…

When we ventured into this, I fully knew that every remaining amount of free time I had would be consumed with swimming, biking, and running. We knew this and prepared for it. What I wasn’t prepared for? The rest of life to go on! While I had two hours a day in my hypothetical schedule for workouts, I didn’t have time for the dentist, the orthodontist, my daughter’s standardized testing, or really anything that came up unannounced.  Even poor Kai, who needs to visit the groomer, is “suffering” due to my lack of time. 🙁

Now I know many of you are gawking at my self-imposed trial. I get it. I chose this. And I fully realize it is a season of my life, not the way I will be able to live forever as a mom. But I also realize every mom I know battles with finding the time, the motivation, the when and how of building or maintaining fitness as a mom.

We don’t need to be told why. We know exercise is good for our bodies, our stress management, our overall health, etc. We all say (as our toddlers waddle around the play ground) that we want to be able to keep up with them as they grow. But somewhere in our minds this is in the distant future.

Hiking and trail running with kids

I guess I’d caution you: it isn’t. A few months back my son asked to go on a run with my husband and proceeded to run 5 miles, on trail, just a minute under the pace I’d done it at a week before. I have no plans of competing with my kids fitness-wise as they grow older. But I certainly don’t plan on being left behind. And I didn’t plan on my kids starting to push beyond the boundaries many adults have on their fitness abilities at age 6…

So how do we insert fitness into our lives as a mom? Here are some things to think about:

  1. Find something that inspires you. And find the right motivator. If you aren’t a gym person, why try to be? Likewise, if you hate the outdoors, but love to dance, pursue it! If you love climbing mountains, set a goal, and then train to achieve it. Take an honest look at your life-long bucket list and ask yourself, “Why not now?”

    I like training for girls backpacking trips! Photo: Cirque of the Towers, WY 2014

    I like training for girls backpacking trips! Photo: Cirque of the Towers, WY 2014

  2. A supportive husband, friend, or family member is priceless. As a mom, I felt like I needed permission to take time for myself. Maybe it is just me… But my husband did more than just “wish I’d exercise more.” He told me to go (in a polite way). And even now, he offers to watch the kids, he prioritizes money in our budget for a gym membership, he asks what I need to succeed and makes it happen. Husbands, don’t be a passive stander-byer in your wife’s life. Help make happen the things she desires, cause often us women feel overwhelmed and swamped by the responsibilities of motherhood or work.
  3. Make a weekly routine and schedule it in. If you make vague plans to workout in a day or a week, I’ll bet ya it doesn’t happen. Take an honest look at your goals and your time. Schedule it in your week, like you would any other meeting or appointment, and then keep to it. I’d also believe that short but often workouts are better than one long workout every few weeks… Consistency over time is key.
  4. View it as a financial investment. The money we pay for gym memberships, running shoes, or a new jog bra now, will be far less than the medical bills later if we don’t care for our bodies.
Family hike to Desolation Lake, Wasatch Range

Family hike to Desolation Lake, Wasatch Range

Tips from other moms:

Kathy Dalton ( – It has to be a priority. What I do is make a promise to myself and say, “I am going to go for a run or get to the gym today”. I put on my exercise clothes and if I’m still in work out clothes by dinner time, I will go for a walk around the neighborhood.

Mae Funk Kiggins ( – I usually involve my kids. I take them running or we do Pilates at home. I feel like it is one of the best things I can teach them, to take care of themselves.

Linda Åkeson McGurk ( – I’ve tried running on my own but find it hard to motivate myself and finding the time for it. What has been a blessing for me is that a fitness center opened in our town, offering classes ranging from yoga to kick boxing. Now I have a set time for exercise twice a week, no excuses. It makes a difference that my husband knows what to expect too, so he can schedule around it.

Melissa Avery ( –  I am very goal oriented, hence committing to an event like a half marathon or an organized ride puts on “good pressure”. I also don’t go to the gym because I will always find an excuse to not go. I run and bike straight from my home. We also have free weights racks in our garage and make sure I schedule my own exercise time separate from our regular outdoor family activities, which is hiking or family biking.

Jennifer Fontaine ( – Balance? What balance? 🙂

What works for you?

9 Comments Permalink
9 comments on “The battle of maintaining fitness as a mom…
  1. You have balanced all this for a month now, and are still alive, stronger, fitter, not insane yet, kids still learning and feeling loved, husband still loving you and feeling loved, and Kai… a little fluffier:) If you can do it for a month, you can do it for another 3… and then rest! At least until the next goal hits. Thanks for the encouragement for all of us trying to find this crazy balance!

  2. Awesome post! As a former fan of cardio sports but having to back off for this childbearing phase (fertility for me improved when i backed off, as did milk production) i am constantly having to look at ways to keep myself healthy at a maintenance level for this phase. For now that can mean just 20-45 mins even every other day doing strength and interval workouts (increasing quality versus quantity) – and putting my hand up at least once a month for a “mountain fix day”. But I have a plan to get back and tick some goals off after this next baby has weaned (hello 2017 and 40th birthday!!). Having some longer term goals helps me stay focused not just on at least maintaining some fitness but also in just making sure that if I can’t “work out” formally, I at least MOVE plenty through the day – and I eat a diet where I can eat a lot but not gain unnecessary weight (yahoo paleo!!)…oh, and by making sure my hubby gets in his hiking and camping trips I know that HE knows he will owe me 🙂

  3. PS. Enjoy your half ironman and all that you learn from tackling this event in terms of training, time management, sleep and family balance! (oh, and don’t be scared to “miss” a workout, your body will enjoy the bonus recovery and you’ll feel less stressed 🙂 )

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’ll be turning my attention to strength and climbing some mountains after May 2nd! Ok, maybe more like May 10th… or later depending on recovery!

  4. Setting goals helped me a lot when I started my fitness. For example, set a big one, attainable in three months or more, and divide it in smaller weekly goals. Be realistic about yourself doing what it takes to achieve the goal at hand.

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