I’m Alex, a busy parent and Director of Revolution Personal Training studios Brighton. Being in the industry for the last 10 years, something that’s come up a lot is the challenge of achieving fitness goals whilst balancing raising your kids and clocking your hours at work. Most clients have had personal trainers in the past who have told them they must get 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Having a kid myself (with another on the way!) I know it’s just not possible. It’s a real pet peeve of mine and these are my top tips of how you can get around it.
How to increase your total sleep as a busy parent
accept that as a parent it may not be possible to sleep uninterrupted for 8-9 hours. Instead, I would be focusing on creating a best-case scenario. Make sure you’re getting to bed early, not scrolling through Instagram, not watching Netflix until it asks you if you’re still there. These things will keep you up longer and late-night screen time is proven to reduce the overall quality of your sleep. This can be tough as a parent as you may cherish the end of the day, the “me time” before bed. However, I’d encourage you to use that “me time” for good and get some rest!
How to avoid junk food as a busy parent
Once the little ones are off to bed, the last thing most people want to be doing is cooking a meal. I’ve been there, I know it. The easy solution (that you may regret) is to order a takeaway but is this going to move you closer or further away from your fitness goals?
I would suggest you get yourself some healthy backup options and store them in the freezer for those days where you are just too tired to make good decisions on your own!
In 2021 you can buy healthier microwave meals at most shops (we love the meals from m&s). This way you know that you’re going to be getting the right calorie intake, you’re eating a reasonably well-balanced meal and it takes 4 minutes (no dishes!). Don’t set yourself up to fail and make life harder for yourself than it has to be.
How to stick to your workout plan as a busy parent
So this one is all about your exercise. Book your exercise sessions any way you can. This is where a personal trainer or firm class booking can become really helpful. Having that accountability of knowing that you need to show up for something means that when the sofa comes calling late in the day and all you want to do is sit down, you will find the gumption to go and smash out that session. The workout that gets done is better than not training at all.
Lastly, try and build movement into your day as much as possible. If you have a meeting, make it a walking meeting. If you’ve got a phone call, walk while you talk… Incidental exercise is a wonderful way to move closer to your goals and mentally, it’s great to get out of the house or office for a short walk. At the very least, set an alarm every hour to go off on your phone, just to remind yourself to get up from the desk and stretch.
These are my top tips for achieving your goals even when you have young kids. Don’t beat yourself up. Do the best you can and just keep remembering that it may be a little bit harder, but it is still achievable.