Whether you are the mom who cried by the bus on the first day of school or the mom who opened a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, one thing is certain: it’s Back to School time. The start of a school year brings a flurry of activities and emotions, any of which can help or hurt your fitness goals. Don’t let your newfound jobs as Chauffeur and Master Lunch Packer deter you from making exercise a priority.
Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your time and energy and be the fittest you can be. These tips apply to working moms, homeschool moms, wannabe trophy wives, and ordinary women like me- everyone can benefit!
1. Meal Plan
Meal planning can mean different things to different people, but doing some form of it will help you meet your goals. Planning out your meals will save time, stress, and ensure that you eat healthy. The weeks I don’t meal plan are the weeks we eat out more, eat less veggies, and feel sluggish. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Plan out 6-8 weeks worth of meal plans, make grocery lists, and rotate these plans throughout the school year.
- Pick a day and a spend an hour or so prepping things like lunches, snacks, or dinners for the week. If your kids are old enough, teach them to help you!
- Shop online. If you have a grocery store that offers this, order your food online and pick it up. Our store charges a fee of $4.95, but I save way more than that by avoiding impulse buys. You know exactly what you’re getting and how much you will spend. Some stores even deliver for a greater fee.
- Make freezer meals in advance to use on those busy nights.
- Use a meal planning service. You can find a site to fit most dietary needs. These provide weekly meal plans and grocery lists, and help you save time by telling you what to prep in advance. Click here to see a list of websites and apps you can try.
- Use a website that delivers your meals to your door. Most of them do not use all organic food or Fit Tutor-approved meat, but there are some that use meat without antibiotics. Here’s a list of companies you can check out.
2. Find An Exercise That You Enjoy
If you hate what you’re doing, you will find every excuse in the world to avoid it. Find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy, and make sure it’s effective for your body, works for your lifestyle, and fits your schedule.
If groups energize you, join a running club or join a fitness class. With each of these you will benefit from the built in accountability and friendships. This would be good for people who can find clubs or classes that fit their schedules.
Back to school can be a busy time, and some may only have time for early morning, late at night, or fast as possible workouts! If you fit that description, I recommend working out at home so you don’t have to drive anywhere and can fit it in around your family’s schedule. The Fit Tutor is designed for busy women. We have workouts for every level of exerciser, and they vary in time and intensity to meet your needs and goals. We’ve had many success stories from busy moms who have been using this! A bonus is that you can try it free for 14 days.
3. Schedule Your Workouts!
Whether or not you get an adrenaline rush from crossing things off a list, most parents need a to-do list and schedule to stay sane. Plan your workout times in advance and put it on a calendar or to-do list. Then use the power of technology to remind you it’s time to exercise! Here’s a great post about using Google Calendar to schedule workouts and meals from Tammy at Organize Yourself Skinny.
4. Seek Accountability
Find a workout buddy. This holds you accountable, makes workouts more enjoyable, and can even create a little fun competition to keep you going. If a workout buddy isn’t an option, find someone to check in with you about your exercising and eating habits. Knowing someone will ask is often a good enough motivator. The Fit Tutor offers accountability options for members if you’re interested in weekly or daily check-ins and accountability.
B.F. Skinner was a brilliant man who taught pigeons to play ping pong, and he knew those same principles of reward and punishment would apply to changing human behavior. There are accountability sites like Pact and Stickk that can reward or punish you based on your progress towards your goals. Find what works for you and get started!
5. PLAY With Your Kids
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Play with and enjoy your kiddos. If you’re tired and need extra motivation, remember that sitting kills, and even just walking by them while they play on the playground will improve your health.
My parents were always outside playing with us, and our activities changed as we aged. They pushed us on the swings and played in the sandbox with us. As we got older we kicked around a soccer ball, and as we got interested in sports our family times included golf and tennis. My dad would pepper with me for hours in our backyard to help me reach my goal to play collegiate volleyball. Even if you aren’t a pro at sports, rebounding your son’s basketball can be great quality time and a chance for you to MOVE! Active video games, bike rides, and walks are also good options.
And finally, do what you can and don’t put stress stress on yourself to be perfect. No one is perfect, even if their Pinterest makes you feel like they are. Remember that your kiddos need a healthy mom if possible, so exercise and eating healthy are great places to start. By making this a priority it will show them a great example. It will also remind them that although you love them to pieces, you’re not their employee and deserve some you time!
Good luck, God speed, and if you’re interested in joining The Fit Tutor I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you on this journey! I believe in you!
Meal Planning Websites:
- Lifehacker: The 5 Best Meal Planning Apps
- eMeals (Wide variety of prices, plans, and grocery stores, as low as <$5.00/mo)
- Plan To Eat ($4.95/mo)
- The Fresh 20 wh0 also created The Fresh 20 Cookbook – Focuses on fresh, in season and organic ingredients
- 100 Days of Real Food (I love this blog and hers are FREE!)
- Relish! ($7/mo)
- CookSmarts ($8/mo)
- The Scramble (as low as $3/mo)
- No More To Go ($7/mo- less if you commit to a year)
These websites are all different, and most offer a variety of plans for how many people are in your family, different dietary needs or restrictions, picky eaters, and some offer breakfast, lunch, and dessert options too! Here’s an article from Shape.com that gives a summary of some listed: 7 Super Sites to Make Meal Planning a Snap.
Meal Delivery Sites:
- Healthy Chef Creations (Offers organic food and BPA-free containers!)
- Blue Apron (antibiotic and hormone-free meat)
- Hello Fresh (as far as I can tell their chicken is antibiotic and hormone-free)
- Dine Wise
- Bistro MD (this one’s not really for families, but was worth including. rBST-free Beef)
- Veggie Brothers (for my vegan friends)
- Fresh N Lean (vegan)
- Metabolic Meals (not for families, but including it because they offer organic food!)
**I wouldn’t recommend these services unless they will really help you. Organic and local ingredients are the way to go. However, if this saves you stress and trips to the drive-thru I would try and find a program that works for you, although some are pricey. Let me know if any work well for you, or if there’s a great one I didn’t include. There are a lot that serve just single people that I didn’t mention. :)