Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Exhausted Woman's Guide to Staying Fit

This is the second in a series on Healthy Living. Today we'll talk about making exercise and healthy eating possible, even when we're tired.

Who knew that snacking, sleeping and short workouts would be the key to keeping exercise in my life three years after becoming a mom?

Though I’ve always been a pretty dedicated exerciser, throw two kids into my life and the urge to stay in bed in the morning is strong; and later, the urge to eat chocolate is overwhelming. Almost daily, I fight the three excuses I hear often from other women:

I am tired. (My kids are ages 3 and 1. Enough said.)
I don’t have a lot of time. (Refer to kids’ ages above.)
I have a sweet tooth. Especially for chocolate. Especially when I’m tired or stressed or bored or happy or sad.

But I really like being healthy and feeling good. So, I’ve developed six steps to staying fit.

1. Make a daily exercise plan:

The night before, plan a workout time for the next day. If it’s first thing in the morning, put your exercise clothes and shoes beside your bed. Then get up at the first sound of the alarm and immediately put on your exercise clothes, including your shoes. This turns you from a sleeping beauty to a strong athlete.

If your exercise plan is to work out after work on the way home from work, change into your clothes at the office. Again, you’re now an Olympian instead of a tired office drone. Drive directly to the gym, even if you’re really tired.

2. Choose your favorite exercise first:

If you’re feeling weak and tired and are about to just go back to bed, or go home after work or take a nap, pick the easiest, most enjoyable exercise first. For me, it’s walking. I figure, I can certainly put one foot in front of the other no matter how tired I am. Once you get started, the endorphins kick in and you remember what a stud you are when you’re exercising.

3. Stock your frig and pantry with healthy, yummy snacks.

Really, they must taste good so that you’re not tempted to just grab a cookie after eating the healthy food. So, splurge on the healthiest, yummiest granola bars you can find (or make your own!). Pick the yogurt with the fruit on the bottom. (Or try my easy recipe.) Buy your favorite fruit. Put some peanut butter on that celery stick.

4. Break up your exercise.

Sometimes my kids wake up earlier than I’d hoped and I’m halfway through my ab workout. Instead of just quitting, I finish it up at the next possible moment—while they’re playing quietly, during naptime, or even after they go to bed.

5. When you’re tired, move.

When we’re tired, we tend to reach for something sugary to give us the boost we need. Instead, drop and give me 20—of anything—crunches, push-ups, jumping jacks. Work a 15-minute mini-workout into your work day—either during lunch or during a break, or right after work. It curbs the appetite and gives you a healthier source of energy.

6. Be disciplined about your sleep.

Turn off the TV and go to bed (early) at the same time every night. If you’re continuously choosing to stay up late, then have to get up early for kids or work, your body will get run down and it will be harder to keep up a workout schedule. So, as much as it depends on you, get some sleep.

photo credit, lululemon athletica


  1. This made me laugh as I read it. I've had to move my workouts to the kids' naptime...right after my 'nap.' I try to lay down for at least 20 minutes while they rest, but I've been so tired lately that I fall asleep for those 20 minutes. I end up yawning through most of my work out, but by the end I'm sweating and wide awake and ready to handle the kids again. Caffeine gets me through the morning, workouts get me through the afternoon!

  2. Kim--Nap time is always my back up plan when I can't get out of bed in the morning. I like your idea of napping first. I always feel amazing after I get a nap. Thanks for the comment!


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