I was in great shape before I had kids. Weren’t we all? All the free time I wanted to hit the gym and go to all the classes, come home around 8pm, grab dinner and then spend some time watching my favorite shows. It feels like my days had 36 hours back then… Now? Not so much. In fact, I haven’t been a “regular” in any gym in probably 6 years, and it is finally starting to show. Not by weight gain so much, but a really big fat out-of-shape feeling. It’s kind of hypocritical for me to write a health blog and actually be the one that huffs and puffs after 4 flights of stairs.
I even have a post on how to overcome the most common excuses for not exercising! Yet, I always seemed to find new ones. Until the day that things started to hurt. My jaw that is. I have TMJ and recently finished some physical therapy to try to stretch and realign things so it won’t sound like a stone quarry anymore when I open my mouth. What I found out there is that my neck and shoulders are so tight (desk job, you are killing me), and my shoulder muscles are way to weak. I have caught myself slouching at my desk may times, but once someone tells you that your posture is about to permanently go in the direction of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I woke up.
I started to realize that i need to take better care of my body in more ways than just eating healthy. This thing with exercise really is important to your health and well-being. Don’t wait and push it back until something starts to hurt. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that only those that are overweight need to exercise. EVERYONE NEEDS TO EXERCISE. Find what works for you but do something. Get your heart rate up at least 2-3 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
This was my struggle: time. My daily schedule on Mon/Wed/Thu/Fri is:
up at 5:30am, get showered and ready, then wake up the kids, breakfast, etc.
7:30am off to school and work. I work 8am to 6pm right now.
6:30pm – home, eat dinner, homework/bath/playtime
8pm to 9pm – lengthy bedtime routines with our kids that I won’t give up because they’re only little once.
9pm to 10pm or later: schoolwork, pack lunches
On Tuesdays my hubby works from home so I always used that day to “sleep in” (until 6:15am) since he’s home to help with the kids and he takes them to school.
I went to yoga on Sundays. That was it. That was the only hour I took for my health. I didn’t want to give up the little bit of time I have with my kids. As a full time working mom, spending time with these 2 is precious. But on the other hand, I had to do something. My legs aren’t getting any younger.
I don’t know what exactly gave me the wake up call, but I refuse to let this body go to waste like this. I’m 39 and not 89. I got a lot of living still to do and I don’t want to be all rusty and achy before it’s time for that. I want to move and feel alive! I want to be able to run with my kids and not be out of breath after 4 flights of stairs. I am tired of being tired. I want to be able to RUN. Run for more than 45 seconds without my legs burning or feeling like concrete blocks.
But oh, what I couldn’t find was not the time. It was motivation. I realized that I have plenty of time to squeeze in 3x 30 minutes a week, but nobody holds me accountable. Finding the motivation to work out after a 10-hr work day is hard. Fighting the urge to stay in bed when the alarm goes off at 5:15am is hard. Going to the gym while my kids are playing at home is hard. But guess what:
Being tired, out of shape, and unhealthy is hard too. So choose your hard.
I am always jealous of runners. I admire the stamina, fitness and euphoria they carry from running. I always wanted to be able to run. But my legs didn’t want to. My legs only want to start burning after a few hundred yards. They want to start tripling their weight after 2 minutes of running. How am I ever going to do this? How does anyone do this???
I found a way. Yesterday I ran 3 minutes straight and had no burning at all, no concrete block legs, no surrender. Yesterday was day 1 of week 3 of my new partner for the future: Couch to 5K.
You may have heard of it before. It’s a beginner runner program that eases you into running and promises to have you ready for a 5K in 9 weeks.
It starts out really slow and easy. The first week you only jog 60 seconds at a time. One minute. You can totally handle that. If I can, you can. Trust me. Download the C25K app on your phone, add an upbeat music station, and then GO!
A lot of people think that I’m in great shape because I’m tall and lean, but don’t be fooled. Weight is not everything. Health is.
So here’s where I added the Couch to 5K in my schedule:
Tuesday’s at 5:30am (before the kids are up)
Thursday at 6:30pm (right after work), and
Sunday at 11:30am (right after yoga).
And guess what: I skipped Tuesday this week, so I had to make up on Wednesday. After work. Oh, it was really hard yesterday to go to the gym instead of just going home. I was sooo tired. It’s been a couple of rough weeks with long nights of studying and I was pooped. But I felt committed to that little app in my phone that was waiting for me to log another run, so after a lot of back and forth, I decided to go. And I fully expected it to suck because I was so, so tired. I was expecting concrete legs and dry mouth…
But it didn’t happen. It was GREAT! It was the first session with a 3 minute jog leg and it was hard but I did it. And I felt awesome!!! I was sweaty and huffing and puffing but I did it.
And so can YOU