Consistency and Practice in real life
I was on a course this weekend. At lunch, I overhead a couple of women in the building talking about how they can’t exercise because they have a child. This is a subject that I know all too well, so I thought I’d write about how consistency and practice has solved the problem for us.
So, without going all ‘sanctimonious moron’ (I hate those people too), I want to share a little insight into my own experience of family life and exercise…
A little back story…
Here’s a snapshot from daily life at chez Hoyles…
That woman doing a headstand is Rachel, my girlfriend. I’m showing you this as an example (in a roundabout way) of what happens when you make time to exercise rather than passively conclude you don’t have the time.
Rachel and I have two sons and we both work.
Like a lot of women who have children, Rachel wanted to get back into shape after pregnancy.
After our first son was born, she started to train again about 6 months later. With one child we found it pretty easy to find the time.
The second time around was much tougher. Two kids is double the workload. This is shared between us, but I work longer hours so Rachel does the majority of school and nursery drop offs, pick ups, bath times, bed times etc in the week. She also works 4 days per week.
Rachel can get out for a run or go to the gym when I get home from work, but with my long hours sometimes I’m not back until late at night.
Fixing the Lack of Time to Exercise Problem
We (I say ‘we’ because I wanted to support her at the start until it became a habit, so trained with her) started to train at home a couple of times per week. I’ve shared a couple of examples of the workouts we’ve done at home on the blog…
The workouts are short (around 30-40 minutes) but get the job done. By making the workouts short we removed a potential barrier – time.
Rachel also took up yoga at home and practices when the kids are in bed. We have a ‘Broga’ DVD (terrible name, good content) and if I have the time, I join her.
With the yoga, she wasn’t very good at first (I’m still not).
She practices though and is getting better all the time. She stayed consistent and is seeing the benefits from that consistency and practice. As you’d expect, it’s bearing fruit and her yoga is now pretty good!
Even Isaac, our eldest joins her when she does it at the weekend. In fact, the picture above was taken yesterday when Isaac’s friend Tom came for tea. Isaac told Tom that “my Mummy can do headstands” and insisted that Mummy showed Tom she could!
We’ve even taken the kids with us to the gym – they play on the astroturf whilst we do our workout. The boys love it and join in! Plus, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for our sons to see their parents exercising…
Consistency and Practice
If you’ve recently had children, you’re likely to find exercise more of a struggle than usual. That’s totally normal, is to be expected and can be dealt with by exercising a little patience. You will make progress with a little consistency and practice.
At first, a yoga headstand was a pipe dream for Rachel. As you’d expect after pregnancy and childbirth, her body had been under a lot of stress and needed to be rebuilt.
Using baby steps (no pun intended), she did it. She started with short workouts. Basic exercises, progressing when she could. Her yoga practice started at a very basic level but she stayed consistent and has made a lot of progress, as you can see from the picture above.
There’s always a way
I’m well aware that advice on a health and fitness blog is a tad sanctimonious. It’s why I write articles from personal experience, sharing what I do and how you can do it too. I don’t pretend to live my life at some impossible ideal of perfection. I try to offer solutions to problems, I suppose.
This solution is to a real life problem – a problem that many parents, not just mothers have. I understand time pressure (I run a business and have two kids), but there is always a way to incorporate some kind of movement into your day. You just have to make it a priority and keep your commitment to consistency and practice, even if that’s not conventional.
Hearing those women chat about how they found it difficult to exercise made me think about us at home and the differences between sacrifices and excuses.
The truth is, you can exercise at home. You just have to stop making excuses and start making sacrifices.
Yes, you could sit and watch the TV every night and complain you can’t exercise…
You could spend 20-30 minutes a few evenings per week exercising at home, thensit down to watch the TV if you so please.
When Rachel made exercise something she could do at home, she’d removed a significant number of barriers to exercise…
- Time. She could do it whenever she wanted to. She didn’t have to sacrifice a long time to train.
- Travel. She trained at home. No travel time.
- Simplicity. The workouts were simple movements, done well – she didn’t need instruction or coaching.
- Confidence. Some people aren’t confident enough to head straight to a gym. This wasn’t an issue with Rachel, but if it was training at home, in her own environment removed the lack of confidence barrier.
Within a few months she’d lost the 20lbs she had put on during the second pregnancy and is now 2lbs lighter than she was before she was pregnant with our first son!
Nutritionally, this is what she did and still does to this day. It’s less of a diet, more a set of guidelines to help you decide what and how to eat…
A few take away points…
- Consistency and practice are vital to maintaining fitness motivation and progression. Above all else, be consistent. Make movement a habit.
- Exercise is a skill – there are movements unique to training. Practice them and you’ll enjoy it more.
- Don’t let slow progress get the better of you. Even slow progress is progress. In time you’ll be impressed by how far you’ve come.
- You don’t always need to get to the gym to exercise. You can exercise at home and make dramatic changes in your health and fitness.
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