Be a fit parent

Be a fit parent

Just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you should give up on your personal fitness. Nikhil Kapur suggests how you can balance parenthood & your health

Whether you are a working mom or a homemaker, prioritise your workout the first thing in the morning.

Entering into parenthood brings you great joy and happiness as well as a lot of challenges to deal with. The three things that you need to balance are your career, family, and giving time for yourself. There are many ways through which you can manage and balance your personal fitness while being a good parent. Here are a few tips:

Set realistic & achievable goals

Set a specific goal and use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goal setting technique which will help you to stay on track to accomplish the goal. Goals like running a race or completing a number of steps a day or progressing to 80% of your 1RM in compound lifts. Buy a fitness band for goal setting, counting steps, monitoring sleep patterns, calories burned, and tracking your heart rate. It holds you accountable.

Dedicate time for fitness

Whether you are a working mom or a homemaker, prioritise your workout the first thing in the morning. There are possibilities you may tend to skip the workout during the day for various reasons. The advantage of working out in the morning is that it helps you boost your metabolism which allows you to burn more calories throughout the day, and you feel fresh and rejuvenated during the start of the day. If morning doesn’t work for you, then schedule a time during the day so that you can follow it regularly.

Work out with the family

There are many ways to achieve personal fitness. Make the workout interesting by having the whole family participate with you. You can go out for a walk, run, cycle or hike that will make exercise a fun activity. Most of the health clubs have separate classes for children and moms or for both. You can attend group classes like yoga, dance (zumba fitness, hip-hop and step aerobics), spinning, etc. There are also new generation fitness clubs where they provide free babysitting services.

Make modifications that work the best

If you have been working out for 4-6 days in a week with a split routine and finding that there is no time to cop up, then try to focus on the compound workouts and reduce the frequency. A 3-day plan with compound workout will be more practical and manageable to help you to get back on the track. You may then gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workout over time. Create a data collection sheet to enter the sets, reps, load and rest for each exercise to track your progress weekly. Stay focused and up to date with your workouts.

Setting up your own home workout station

It is not so difficult to set up a small workout station at home. You can start by investing in basic dumbbells, resistance bands and a Swiss ball, with which you can perform numerous exercises. All you need is a space and it can be a balcony, terrace or garden. Plan a 30 to 45 minutes total body workout and do it thrice a week. If you are at an intermediate level, then do a split routine more frequently.

Make yourself accountable

There are chances for you to skip a session or go out of the fitness plan. Share your fitness plan with your partner or a friend. You can talk to them about your successes and challenges, which means that you are less likely to give up as they will be monitoring your progress. Make them as your workout partner and you can do partner-based workouts which makes both of you accountable.

Plan ahead

It is always better to have a planned weekly workout calendar same as how you plan your job tasks and children’s schedules. You can use Google calendar so that you can see other schedules such as work, family events which will not interfere with your workout sessions. Be organised and mark every session you complete so that you can challenge yourself for more sessions in the following month.

Get help or support

Join a fitness group or community where you can participate in different activities in the weekends like cycle ride, kid’s games and swimming, which helps to meet new people who share their ideas and experiences to maintain a healthy lifestyle or fitness overcoming the obstacles.

(The author is founder & director, Atmantan)

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