You might remember a few months ago I set myself a challenge to get fit and gain weight by putting on some muscle. It started out so well and I really got into it. Within a few weeks I was in a routine of getting up early and increasing the difficulty of my workouts … and most importantly, I was enjoying it.
With the help of a trainer from WebFit Wales, I was actually able to hold a plank for nearly a minute, my stomach muscles that disappeared after two big babies could do sit ups again, and I even ventured into the weights room at a gym. It really was all going so well.
You might have noticed that I’m writing in the past tense … that’s because despite all good intentions, I fell flat on my face (figuratively, not literally during some overly energetic high knee jogging) and couldn’t keep it up.
It all fell apart after about six weeks. We went on holiday for a fortnight, and I don’t know if everyone’s the same but I didn’t want to be sneaking off to the gym and leaving the boys. I don’t see them enough as it is, and holidays are about quality time with them. So that was two weeks of no exercise and pretty much eating all the carbs. Attempting to get my meals, as well as the boys’ food at the buffet was more a case of grab and run than carefully selecting high protein mains and vegetables. I didn’t go overboard, but the afternoon scones and late night cheese and crackers weren’t part of the nutrition plan.
Then we got home and I was determined to get going again … only our littlest boy picked up a chest infection and hardly slept for a couple of weeks. When he did sleep, it was in our bed and so far into my space that I pretty much spent a fortnight hanging off the side of the mattress, which didn’t exactly leave me feeling full of beans when I woke up. It was enough to get through a day at work and an evening of sorting the boys out as Stew had a series of long days and night shifts, without getting up at silly o’clock to work out.
The workout programme was increasing in intensity, and the week after we came home I should have been doing five hiit-style sessions plus two runs. I was already getting up at 5.50am to fit in the shorter sessions, I couldn’t face the thought of setting my alarm even earlier when we were being woken by a poorly toddler every hour, and there wasn’t the breathing space of a rest day.
To be honest, it was overwhelming. Just looking at the schedule made me a bit panicky, so I just stopped. I went from all to nothing.
What I should have done was message my trainer and say we were having a rough time with no sleep, and asked for my programme to go back a few weeks to let me catch up slowly. But I thought I’d come across as making excuses – which I was, but sleep is pretty important, and I needed to function at work.
At the end of the three month programme I wanted to be able to show that you can fit in exercise around a full-time job and two children, but I just couldn’t. The idea of an app-based personal trainer is fab, and it was definitely working as I could see an increase in my fitness after just a couple of weeks. But sadly, I just couldn’t keep it up – there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Last week I excitedly clicked on an article that claimed to show how you could fit exercise around being a busy mum … only to be met with tips like “wear your workout gear on the school run, that way you’ll be less likely to skip your workout”. Nope, that way I’ll be sat at my desk in work wearing my gym kit.
Or, drop your kids off at the gym’s crèche for an hour and do a spin class. I don’t know where we’re expected to find this “me time” … I must be the only one without a time turner.
I have approximately 1.5 hours during the day when I’m not in work, looking after the boys or sleeping. That’s my time to sort the house out, shower, wash my hair, and dare I say it, attempt to relax. Without waking up at the crack of dawn, it is pretty much impossible to exercise on top of everything else.
So for now, I’ll have to live with the fact that my legs are untoned, hide the mum tum under my snazzy dinosaur print one-piece swimsuit and put off exercise until life is less hectic.
Unless anyone has a miracle suggestion?! That time turner, maybe?