As a full-time working parent and business owner, to say I’m busy is an understatement. If you’re a working parent, you know exactly what I mean. On top of being a parent (which is a full time job all by itself), you’ve also got your career and work responsibilities.
If you’re also a business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, you’ve not only got parenting duties and work duties, but you also have all of the tasks to shoulder that come with business ownership. You’ve got sales, marketing, invoicing, estimating, networking, education, training, and more — and sometimes it may even feel like responding to email is your job!
So how do you fit exercise and healthy activity into your workweek too?
For a long time, I put off getting in shape because I never had time to go to the gym. I couldn’t even get all of my work done in an eight-hour workday. How on Earth was I going to find time to go to the gym? Then I put off working out because I just didn’t want to. After a long workday I was tired. I wanted to play with my kids, relax, and just hang out. I didn’t want to sacrifice time with my family to workout.
Brian and I had to consciously shift how we were approaching our business, selling our projects, and working with our clients over time to create more space in our schedules and give us time to focus on our health as well as the health of our business.
As I spent more and more time away from my computer being active, I found that I had more energy, was in a better mood, and I even became more productive. Some of the shifts I had to make include:
- Getting up extra early to fit a workout in before my workday begins.
- Grabbing a smoothie and going for a walk at lunch instead of catching up on a Netflix show, scanning social media, or going out to eat.
- Getting a Fitbit Alta to make getting my daily activity in more fun — I love the challenges and accountability, even if it’s a bit obsessive. (My friends have the Charge 2 HR and love it, but I wanted a smaller option.)
- Going for evening walks, going hiking, or going to bike rides with the whole family.
Now I simply do what works best for us in our schedule, taking baby steps to lasting healthy lifestyle changes, and it often is in flux based on what we have going on. How you work your daily activity or weekly activity into your workweek may be a little different, because you have to do what works best for you and your family.
Because everyone is different and there is no one right way to get active — and because I’m also looking for new ideas — I asked the Inspired Imperfection community for their input about staying active during the workweek, and here’s what they had to say:
How do you fit exercise and healthy activity into your workweek and make it fun? What about your family?
The best thing I’ve done is start going to a group HIIT class 3 times a week. I’m incredibly motivated by those around me and a little healthy competition (hello, entrepreneur much?) and I really enjoy workouts with weights and very high intensity.
I use our trampoline for at least 30 minutes on the off days, family exercise FTW! When it’s raining or just too hot or cold out I’ll hit the treadmill or spin bike.
Keeping our kids active is hugely important. My son is autistic and it really helps him when he can move and play and burn off energy all day long. We have a trampoline and swing in the house to keep the kids in constant motion in addition to the backyard fun. We also walk to the park about a mile from our house weekly.
The key for me is to exercise first thing in the morning, right after dropping off my kids at school. I actually leave straight from my kids’ school for a 1-hour walk on gorgeous country roads twice a week. Heaven! I listen to inspiring podcasts like Get Gutsy (mine!), Ali Brown’s Glambition, Joel Osteen, John Lee Dumas’s EOFire, and Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness just to name a few.
The other days of the week I practice yoga. Again, I go straight from school drop-off to my yoga class so there is no chance of me skipping exercise because I got sucked into work. I absolutely am convinced exercising + meditating in the morning makes me more productive and happier throughout my day.
Tip: treat your body like a temple, everyday.
I finally figured out that if I don’t take myself on a run+yoga every other day or so I start to get very grumpy. I keep track of my exercise using a app called Rewire that helps me feel accomplished.
We have a “no screens on school nights” rule and kick the kids outside after their homework is done. We just put up a slackline (tightrope) in the front yard using those cinching car tie downs and a hand hold rope. All the kids on the block are over playing in and around the trees.
Our youngest just learned to ride his pedal bike so we try to bike around the neighborhood and get involved in events like Kidical Mass. And I finally gave in and signed both kids up for soccer.
As a single mom, business owner and NLP post-master student, my time is very busy! Although I always make time for what is really important, I know that if I don’t play outside, do sport and eat properly my energy level will go down, I will feel tired and cranky.
So this is why I have a pretty strict schedule to allow me to be on the treadmill at 6:00 am watching online training videos, go rock-climbing each Wednesday afternoon and I take my kids skiing on week-ends.
I also introduce them to all kinds of things — drinking green juice being one of them! I explain to them the benefit of organic food and watch documentaries to teach them about health, wealth and happiness. And recently my son decided to become vegetarian! We’ll see how that goes!
We’re not a team sport family; this isn’t easy for us! We ski and swim, but those are plan-dependent, so impromptu fun exercise means creative thinking! Couple that with the kids’ infatuation for electronics (ug) and we really look for ways to make physical activity ‘en passe’ as they say in chess — on the way to some other goal. So we walk a lot!
Sometimes we drive a little to walk by the Pittsburgh rivers as a family — we look for wildlife, boats, barges, and there is an eagle’s nest somewhere, but we haven’t seen it… yet. Or we walk to the nearby grocery or thrift store, to a playground, or a convenience store for a treat. And we garden. Each kid has a garden and we share a big one!
Over the last several years, I have learned one thing about myself when it comes to exercise, if I do not do it first thing in the morning, it will not get done. Between running a CPA Firm with my business partner and being a single mom to three very active and athletic boys, there is not much time for me.
So, that time happens to be at 5:00 a.m. I know not many people like that hour, but for me it is peaceful and quiet. I subscribe to an “OnDemand” feature through Les Mills online and do their workout classes which include weight lifting, mixed martial arts, and high intensity interval training.
Keeps me feeling good and healthy so I can keep up with my boys!
In the early morning! With running a business & the afternoon activities of 3 kids, the mornings are all I got. My regimen is:
- Monday 05:30-Cycling
- Tuesday 05:30-Cross Training (C9 currently)
- Wednesday 05:30-Cycling/Strengthen Fusion
- Thursday 05:30-Ashtanga Yoga
- Friday/Saturday 08:30/09:45-Hot Vinyasa Yoga (Friday & Saturday are my “sleep-in” days & I aim for working out 5 days a week so I choose one or the other)
These are group classes held at a large local gym & we have such a blast! The community there makes it fun!
Our kids are in dance & marching band. This provides them with regular physical activity. As a family our go-to activity is a bike ride around town. I’d love to find time to incorporate a family hike.
Well, it’s not easy! I am more of a morning exercise person so I sometimes plan my work schedule with enough time to drop off the kids and go straight to the gym before I begin my day. Otherwise it’s too likely to get derailed when I have other peoples’ schedules to contend with.
If I missed out that morning, I’ll try and spend time with the kids outside in the evening, take a family walk, or play some hoops in the backyard!
In January I enrolled in a Running Group. I wasn’t a runner and it felt weird doing something that was “just for me” but I kept thinking about the advice we receive before a flight takes off: “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others.”
I discovered that when you join a running group, it’s so much more than running. You’re among other people in the same boat — trying to do their best and be their best. We meet twice a week and exercise, laugh, cheer each other on, and slowly improve. It’s fun and I look forward to attending!
Committing to the running group has set a positive example for my family too. Now everyone in my family is more interested in eating better and exercising regularly because they see what I have accomplished.
Getting Active Looks Different For Everyone
As you can see, while all of these moms are finding ways to work exercise and/or activity into their workweek, no two women share the same approach or plan. And, while each of them are making healthy living a priority for themselves and their families, they are doing what works best for them, what fits into their schedules, and what makes them feel great.
I hope that by reading their stories, you are inspired to take action in your own life and work some activity into your workweek too — and that you do it in whatever way works best for you. It’s okay to start small and start simple, and then increase your activity over time.
That’s exactly the approach to fitness that I take!
What About You?
Now that you’ve heard from me about my approach to fitting exercise into my workweek, and you’ve heard from these busy working moms about how they do, I’d LOVE for you to share in the comments below how you stay active during the workweek, and how you work activity into your family’s schedule. I hope to hear from you!
Also, if you’d like to be featured on Inspired Imperfection like these awesome moms, check out our Contribute Page, and simply answer our current call for stories!