Can we detangle things?
No, not this.
I mean this whole fitness thing.
Because I think we tend to make exercise and fitness this big, mysterious thing that no one can really quite figure out. Like the Bermuda Triangle, only it’s a black hole of badly interpreted research and crappy diets and celebrity trainers.
There is money to be made in keeping you confused, *|FNAME|*. As long as the average mama feels unsure about herself, confused by conflicting studies, and self-conscious of her body, she is prime fuel for the fitness machine.
But the truth is, if we simplify all the research we have and strip it down to what really matters, it’s pretty simple.
You’ve heard that famous Michael Pollan quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Well, I think we can get just as simplified with our fitness.
Move as much as possible.
Mostly strength training.
If we keep thinking that every mama has to be 14% body fat, run two marathons per year or try out for the Crossfit Open, we’ve gone way too far off the deep end. We’re complicating things we don’t need to complicate.
We think we need to weigh, measure and track everything. It’s not good enough to go for a walk; we have to run 5K every time we step outdoors. It’s not good enough to enjoy hiking on the weekends; we have to track the calories burned on an Apple watch. It’s not good enough to eat homemade meals; we have to be tracking grams of carbs to stay “keto.”
Tracking, manipulating, weighing and measuring are high-level strategies for high-level exercisers. These are strategies and tools borrowed from professional athletes, bodybuilders and extreme physical pursuits that most of us will never actually need.
But we can tend to feel like our exercise programs are not “good enough” unless they’re the BEST science has to offer. If it helps astronauts recover, or helps bikini models shred, or helps olympic runners get faster, we should be doing it too, right?
The average mama doesn’t understand these strategies fully, implement them properly or need to bother with them at all, in my opinion.
You know you need to walk more. You know you need to strengthen your muscles. You know when you feel good in your body that it’s working. You don’t need a gadget, a diet, a Fitbit or an app to tell you that.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t use your Fitbit or eat low-carb if you’re really into it, *|FNAME|*. And if you’re lucky enough to have a trainer and well-rounded program, you’re ahead of the game.
But I hereby grant you permission to just loosen up. Try to walk daily. Yes, even to the store or to-and-from daycare/school drop-off counts. Then just look for opportunities and inspiration to move as much as possible. Mostly strength training. If there is one thing the research HAS proven that we can apply to any mama’s life: It ALL adds up.
Add in a BB class or another structured workout each week to help you learn better technique and fill in the cracks when it comes to your body’s particular alignment and quirks. Schedule a yoga class because it feels good and gets you out of the house. Meet a friend for a hike because it makes your heart beat fast and your head feel calm. Take the kids to the pool to make memories together. Spend 10 minutes doing bodyweight exercises while you watch TV — not because it burns calories, but because it helps you feel strong and mobile and capable.
In my experience, when we stop looking at exercise as some quota we have to “hit” or something we have to “master,” we can see SO many more opportunities to move our bodies.
We see movement through different lenses, and then we see our bodies as vehicles of FUN, not objects to be manipulated by the latest science.
Unstructured, low-stress exercise is the bomb. If you feel frustrated that your workout routine is never “good enough,” get started today with this 10 Minute Legs & Core Workout!
Of course, a home workout is fun and good for you, but you might need more support than that.