There are a lot of good reasons for all of us to find good workout motivation. Things like better physical health and emotional health are obvious benefits to a consistent workout routine. But for us moms, we have even some especially deep and powerful reasons that have nothing to do with our appearance which may fuel our motivation. Perhaps these unique reasons may be the most important ones we have.
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Let’s discuss why for as moms, workout motivation matters so much. Many of these apply to everyone, but some especially apply to us.
Before we get started, I’m going to recommend some free printables that you may want to use to help, as well as a paperback planner I’ve created for sale, if you’re interested. I'll tell you more about that later.
So why should we moms care about workout motivation? First, for better health. Not only will it enhance heart health, circulation, strength to lift children and perform necessary tasks we moms have to do, and all our physical health issues, but a good stretching routine can help with flexibility, too. The kind of flexibility that will allow us to play on the floor with our own children now, and lord willing, our grandchildren in the future. Not to mention a greater likelihood of a longer life, Lord willing!
One of the most immediate benefits that we can experience from good workout motivation, even before the health benefits I just listed, is an elevated mood. If you've done any aerobics recently you may have noticed this. If not, there are actual studies that show this to be true. Yes, exercise is as powerful as any mood enhancing drug, but without the toxins (like fluoride, and other substances known to be harmful) potentially dangerous side effects that come with pharmaceuticals. (If you are already taking one of these drugs and wish to stop, please consult your local health care practitioner first, or find one who will work with you to taper down safely, and detox). When you are in a better mood, it makes you a better version of yourself. A better wife, better mom, better friend, better worker, and so on. Also, if you are prone towards being too critical of yourself or others, a better mood can help take the edge off your attitude.
Another immediate benefit, using the right kind of workout, may be an increase in energy. And your consistency with workouts is an excellent example to each of your children, multiplying the benefits of your efforts not only in each of their lives, but potentially in the lives of your grandchildren someday, Lord willing. And best of all, all of these things, done with the right spirit, will bring glory to God, which is our ultimate purpose in life.
When is the best time to work out, to sustain workout motivation? The answer is different for everyone. We each have unique schedules, but we should be able to carve out time one way or another, if we choose to make it a high priority.
Statistics say most people find it easiest to work out consistently when they work out in the morning. Some moms do great by doing their exercise before their kids wake up for the day, when the house is still quiet, and there are no distractions.
As well as this works for some moms, this could be a disaster for you. If that is the case, do not despair!
If your kids are awake when you work out, they will know you are doing your regular exercise and benefit greatly from seeing you make this a priority. There is a saying that when it comes to teaching children, more is “caught” than “taught.” They will be more inclined to do what you do, not what you merely instruct them to do with your words.
Your example is a powerful influence in each of their lives. So if you aren’t able to do things like work out or read your Bible and pray before they wake up, take heart! They will instead see you live out what you say is important, and that is huge.
So find a time when you know you can be consistent. Every option has its pros and cons. Maybe mid-morning, during the baby’s nap. Or maybe at lunch time, during afternoon nap time, in the late afternoon with the kids with you, or the evening, if you’re a night owl.
(Just take note if your late-night workout makes it hard to fall asleep, you might want to move it a little earlier next time if this happens). Whatever works for YOU to be consistent, will work!
Another consideration to keep up your workout motivation and maintain consistent workouts is to carefully choose where to work out. Ideally work out in a pleasant atmosphere. If you have just one or two young children, a gym membership may work fine for you, if you find motivation in that atmosphere. Most gyms have childcare, but be sure you fully vet the people who will be with your children, and the environment in the childcare room, so you know your children will be well cared for. Your children's immediate safety and welfare is obviously a much higher priority than your workout on any particular day, but knowing your kids are well cared for will help free your mind to fully focus on having the best workout.
If you have any doubts, then home workouts may be a better option. In fact, home workouts are advantageous for a number of reasons. For one, if you have a sick child, that will keep you home from the gym. Granted, a sick child may need so much care it will be hard for you to work out anyway, but if you are prepared to do a home workout, you might be able to squeeze in a short one, which can help you keep going.
When our children were little, and we just had our oldest two, my husband and I had a gym membership, and I made it there a fair amount of the time. But as our family grew and I became busier, I settled on using my home workouts for the most part.
Another benefit of working out at home is that our kids will be better likely to actually see that we are working out. They may even imitate us, or join in. (Be careful, though, if you are doing a kettlebell workout). If the space in your home is limited, there are definitely good workouts that produce excellent results and you only need an area that is 4 square feet in which to to them. In other words, you can do certain workouts in the size of some bathrooms or closets. And they really work!
Anyway, whatever location will work best for you to work out consistently and boost workout motivation is certainly best.
How to get—and stay—motivated? Plan your workouts, and track your workouts. Then track your results.
Plan your workouts.
On the first day of each month, note how often you worked out in the previous month, and set a realistic goal to maintain or increase your workouts. Whether you met your own standards or not, evaluating how you did can help boost your workout motivation.
As I write this, today is the first day of June. From my workout tracking (which I will explain below) I can see that I worked out sixteen times last month. So today, I am planning to workout at least sixteen times again this month, with a “stretch” goal of reaching 20 workouts for the month. I always do better when I make a simple plan like this (yes, as much as I love to work out once I get started, I struggle, too!).
Also, don’t be too much of a perfectionist with your workouts. Some days I plan to do an hour-long workout, and as life happens that day, I realize that is not realistic. So I will do one of these quick workouts. This is the one I use the most.
Track your workouts.
I love to use a regular monthly calendar to track my workouts. My system is simple. Each day I work out, I take a highlighter in a color I like, and draw a line across the top of the box for the day’s date. Then, with a regular ball point pen, I write which workout I did. Simple.
I keep a regular wall calendar on my bathroom wall, and as I see more highlighted days accumulate for the month, it spurs me on to work out more. I currently have the current year's version of this calendar, I am partial to it because it features artwork by my cousin. And it looks nice, too! But any wall calendar can work. Seeing how I am doing from day to day when I look at my calendar definitely helps my workout motivation.
Track your results.
First, you can track your short-term results. The instant benefits you get when you do the right workout at the right time. Things like your getting into a better mood and finding and increase in energy, tracking how you feel before and after each workout. For this, I have created a weekly workout log that I share with my subscribers to my email list, at no cost. It is meant to help you immediately notice if the workouts you are doing are really helping you or not.
Also, one of the most vital tools that has helped me to get and stay motivated to work out is to take weekly measurements. I use this body measurement chart that you can get when you subscribe to my email list. Once you get your chart printed, be sure you take your measurements right away, as a baseline. Then each week, take your measurements again, ideally on the same day of the week. If one of your goals in working out is to lose inches, you will see right away if what you are doing is working. This has been really powerful for me, I attribute this as the single most important thing I have done to increase my own workout motivation over the years. If you are seeing inch loss, you know you are on the right track, and should keep doing what you’re doing. If not, then make a change! I have found greatest success with this workout, you can read more about it, here.
If you’d like even more help with setting goals, planning and prioritizing your days to build your workout motivation, I have also incorporated another version of this chart, along with a bunch of other helpful planning resources, into my Daily Focus Quarterly Planner. I created it for my own use, and I definitely notice that I have more consistent workouts, and more productive days, when I use it.
I know that conventional wisdom says that we shouldn’t work out for the sake of others, that you should “do it for yourself.” While I agree that we should never work out simply to gain the approval of others, the fact is that the choices we make, and habits we establish regarding how we take care of ourselves have a ripple effect beyond ourselves and into the lives of others, both now and through future generations. Let’s make prayerful, wise choices about fitting in an appropriate amount of self-care through exercise into our days and weeks, for our own sake, the benefit of others, and most of all, for the glory of God.
“…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
As I get set to publish this article, I continually think of even more reasons to encourage us in our workout motivation, especially motivations that go beyond outward appearance. So now I want to know—what are YOUR biggest motivators to exercise regularly? Please use the comments to share your thoughts.
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