This entry is mainly to address a question I am often asked:
“How can I fit it all in? How can I train, eat well, work and look after my family?”
I’m definitely not SuperMum. I have a degree of help – I’m fortunate that my husband is a very hands on Dad, and my eldest goes to nursery 3 days a week.
I’m not going to lie – it’s not easy. Occasionally at the end of the day I can get quite cranky, my boys know how to push me to the limit of my patience and I just want to crawl into bed at 9pm with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s (phishfood, in case you are wondering..), but on the whole I do feel great and I do fit try my hardest to fit it all in.
I have my two boys, I homecook ALL meals (including my husbands meals, 4 of which he takes into work in tupperware) and in addition to teaching group exercise classes I do some form of physical training for about 12 hours a week.
So, trust me when I say that if you want to, you can find 4 hours in your week to train and another couple of hours to bulk cook.
I 100% believe in most cases it is absolutely possible to get fit, train for certain goals (be it sport or just to look good), eat healthily and to do this around commitments like working or family. I wanted to list out some practical tips. But first, have a look at the image on the right, which I found on a friend’s facebook page the other day.
So if you are one of those people who say “I don’t have time to….” STOP!
If it is truly important to you, you DO have time. You make time, you figure out your priorities and you find efficiencies where you can. So here’s some practical tips grouped under the main sections of:
2) DO IT
3) REVIEW & ADJUST
Setting a goal is super important. You don’t have to be extreme and sign up to a bodybuilding competition, or say you want to play sport to a high level, but I do encourage you to set a goal and really think about what you want to do and your motivations for this.
For example, I want to lose X kg of fat, I want to put on Y kg muscle, I want to get very strong and conditioned to help my rugby, run a marathon etc..
Being specific is great, but one of the best general goals I think is “I want to get as healthy as I can, and as a by-product of this health I will look great and be fit”
Set mini goals and targets. If you are looking to lose fat (and I say lose fat and not weight because rarely does one want to lose muscle, water etc), aim for a healthy 1-2lbs drop a week. Assess yourself regularly to see if you are hitting or on track to hitting these targets
Write these down somewhere where you can see it. Check out our motivation board…and my 3 year old’s vegetable chart below which has worked a treat (click on it to see it in full).
GET INTO A ROUTINE
I do my first work out at 5:45am. Then I may train in the afternoon and put the kids in the crèche, or in the evening when hubby gets home. If you are at work, can you give up your lunch hour or can you wake up earlier to make time to train? Most gyms open at 6:30am, and there are 24 hour gyms (like Pure Gym) which are cheap and contract free.
I know people who work during lunch hour then train when they have a free slot in their diary outside of lunch, the gym is quieter too so they don’t hang around waiting for equipment. It is all about finding little time savings here and there.
If you are at home and don’t have access to a gym, how about an intense home workout?
Do you ever say you want to work out 4 times a week and then find yourself putting it off and getting to the end of the week not making this target? If so, try and fit these in as early in the week as possible. You’ll have more chance of making your target by the end of the week and retain flexibility to do other things if you need to.
PLAN YOUR TRAINING
Write down exactly what you are going to do. For inspiration check out bodybuilding.com which has some amazing resources, nutrition programmes, and training programmes – all for free. Print off a training log and use it.
The best training plan is one that you will stick to because you enjoy it. If you like high intensity stuff then incorporate outdoor sprints into your plan. If you prefer weights then plan a mix of strength training and also resistance based circuits sessions to get your heart rate up. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I even tried water aerobics and Zumba (which I completely failed at – I kid you not, even the men that were weight training were pressing up against the glass window to laugh at me as I tried to shimmy and look sexy, but tragically failed).
PLAN YOUR FOOD
I would avoid getting too serious initially with counting calories and macronutrients. Of course, if it works for you or if you want to gauge your daily food intake then do so.
Focus on the simple stuff like cleaning up your diet, drinking more water, cutting alcohol consumption and getting good quality sleep.
Don’t even consider media-sensation diet protocols or meal replacement diets before trying the “cut out processed junk and eat whole, single ingredient foods where feasible” diet.
And actually, I like to think about it as a ‘lifestyle’ instead of ‘diet’ as that word for me has connotations of restrictions.
Bulk cooking is fantastic and once you get the hang of it saves a heap of time. I make my food up to 3 days in advance, I don’t have tummy issues with the meat.
Bringing Tupperware into work takes some getting used to but it stops you eating junk for lunch, saves money and time. Even bring your healthy snacks in like nuts, fruit, rice cakes. When I was at my corporate job my colleagues would spend minimum £5 on a sandwich, crisps and a drink and then maybe tuck into the 3pm pick-me-up biscuits for sugar hit.
You can do so much better for yourself nutritionally taking in a homemade chicken and mixed bean salad with yoghurt mint dressing, for example. And please don’t be embarrassed to get your tupperware out and say no to the triple chocolate muffins your colleague has brought in for their birthday – this is to improve your health!
I do a large weekly grocery shop which again saves me time but I started having an issue with the supermarket delivering me poor quality meat with short use by dates. Once I complained in a fit of rage and they even refunded me £50 (all the chicken), but we had enough and now don’t order meat from them.
Check out your local butcher or online specialists like musclefoods.com. The chicken we get from them is amazing quality and much cheaper at £25 for 5kg. We just freeze most of it. Their websites are www.musclefoods.com and www.foodsforfitness.co.uk.
I hope the above has been useful in some capacity. I didn’t expect to write quite so much in Part 1 so I will cover Part 2 and Part 3 in different blogs.
In the meantime, any questions or comments please do comment below to get in touch with me!