#MomLife: 11 Life Hacks for Getting Fit

“Having four kids is kind of like, you’re drowning—and then someone hands you a baby.” – Jim Gaffigan.

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Seriously, every. single. time. I hear this quote, I absolutely die laughing, because I think every mama out there—with 1 kid or 6 kids—can relate to the feeling of absolutely drowning in to-dos and better-be-theres and then, wait for it… ya’ gotta’ care for and nurture your kiddos too! The struggle is so real. Hence, the #HotMessExpress shirt.

Being a mom is a full-time job in and of itself, and then some of us have a full-time job on top of that full-time job to pay the bills. Whew, I get exhausted just typing that! Now, try squeezing in a trip to and from the gym (or even just the bathroom, for crying out loud!) and it’s just not gonna’ happen.

Mamas…this is for YOU gals…for all you busy ladies who can’t seem to make it to the gym but who desperately want to live a fit life for yourselves AND for the example it sets for your family.

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But before we dive into it, first things first: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Period. Plain and simple. Don’t forget it.

The foundation for our fitness (and really, ANY goal you might have related to fitness) is set with our nutrition. It truly accounts for the majority of our success. Any exercise we do is used to stimulate muscle growth and accelerate our results. But food is what is needed to actually grow and develop the muscle, and the right balance of food is necessary to reduce the layer of fat on our bodies. If you are looking for a lean, muscular, sculpted body, as the saying goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen.”

If you are just starting out and looking to make some fundamental changes, try following my 5 foundational rules:

  1. Drink a gallon of water daily (or at least a quart of water more today than you did yesterday)
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Eat protein at every meal
  4. Reduce your sodium to less than 2500mg daily
  5. Reduce your sugar to less than 50g daily

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Easy, right? More like easier said than done. I mean, anyone can get into the shape of their lives if they follow a exercise and nutrition plan. But the trick is in the “F” word there…you gotta’ follow the plan to make it work for you. As moms (or dads…and even nannies), following any structure can seem like the most daunting of all tasks when you can’t even get your toddler to follow the rules or your tween to follow your orders.

Don’t be afraid to take on one at a time. Research has proven that one life change at a time equates to an 80% success rate. However, taking on two at a time drops your rate of success to 33%!!

Another key I have found through my OWN experience, is to be realistic and to appreciate how HUGE the small things are. Each and every minute effort you make in your everyday life, added to yesterday’s minute effort, and the day’s before, etc…adds up and creates massive changes over time. Trust me! So, my mommy friends, here are some of my tried-and-true SIMPLE tips to make BIG changes in your own busy lives:

1. Make sure you eat BEFORE you feed your kids (if you aren’t eating at the same time as they are) to avoid snacking off of their trays and being the human garbage disposal for their leftovers.

2. PLAY with your kids! The more you can get outside and encourage your kids to move, the more calories YOU burn! Remember, being fit doesn’t only mean an hour at the gym a day, it means simply moving more too!

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3. Snack the same way your kids do! Chances are that your kids don’t just eat 3 meals a day. They most likely snack at school before lunch then again when they get home from school before dinner. Why? Because their active bodies need a constant fuel-drip, and so does yours. Even if you aren’t moving as much as a kid is, the more you can evenly divide your meals into 5-6 a day, the hotter your metabolic furnace will burn.

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4. Piggy back rides for the win! What kid doesn’t want a piggy back ride? And what mom or dad doesn’t want to burn a few extra calories? There is nothing quite like resistance training, and your kids are the best weights you’ve got! So next time they ask (or even if they don’t), let ‘em hop on and go for a ride.

5. Don’t overthink it! As moms, we are programmed to feel like we need to do it all, and do it all perfectly. I got news for you…you will NEVER do it perfectly, and neither will I. Cut yourself some slack and realize we are all doing the best we can. Focus on loving your babies and moving a little more today than you did yesterday…and eating just a little healthier today than you did yesterday. That’s all!

6. Be beneficially selfish. Selfish?? What?? Yes…BE selfish for the benefit of yourself, and consequently, for everyone else, at least once a day. Think about it this way…if mom ain’t happy, NOBODY is happy! And how can you effectively care for anyone else if you can’t properly care for yourself? So as the flight attendants say, “Secure your mask first, THEN secure the mask of your child!”

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Now, if you feel like you’ve got these tips down…well, then you’re probably delusional. 😉 Kidding…kind of, because the truth is that we are ALL a constant work in progress, so chances are that we can benefit from the occasional reminder to work harder at the “balancing act.”

If you do feel like you are ready for more than the Foundation 5 tips above, and you think you’re progressing with these Mommy Hacks, you MAY be ready for the next nutritional step…one that you’ve most likely heard me talk about a time or ten—macros and carb cycling. If you want to explore these options now or in the future, check out these blog posts for a ton of free info:

Macro Tracking for the Win! All of Your Questions Answered
Eating with Macros: A Day in the Life
Carb Cycling 101

One last thing: No matter where you are on your own journey to find balance as a busy mom—even if it’s only for a few glorious minutes at a time—please know that you’re not alone! We all have those days when adding one more thing, even if it only takes a few minutes, seems too overwhelming and makes us seriously want to cry our eyes out and eat a ½ gallon of ice cream or that bag of Oreos. Trust me…I’ve been there. More times than I can count. But you know what I know to be true? When you do add only one tiny thing—meant  specifically for YOU—to each day (the things in my list are super tiny!), not only will you feel better physically, and most importantly, emotionally, but you’ll have that incredible sense of personal accomplishment that is sometimes so difficult to find when we’re so focused on everything else and everyone else. Moms, what are some small things you’ve done too keep your sanity, or some small changes you’ve made to become the best you? Please share in the comments below.

Xoxo,

Heidi

PS: Want to snag your own #Momspiration-slash-#Womanspiration shirts? Find ’em here:

Perfectly Imperfect shirt
Love Who You Are shirt


26 Comments

  1. Sally - October 30, 2016

    I loved reading this…. need help in this department. Thank you

  2. Tera Willingham - October 29, 2016

    I love your blog and seeing your updates. You keep it real. You make me laugh. You help me to believe in myself. I have a long way to go before I reach my goals but believing I can is a big step. #perfectlyimperfect

  3. Jocelyn Williams - October 29, 2016

    These are such great tips! I like that you remind us to celebrate all of the small steps that lead to bigger changes. I often forget that.

  4. Niki - October 29, 2016

    I have been following your tip to drink a gallon a water a day and it has helped me tremendously. Since I am conscious of my water intake I have avoid sugar filled sofas which has helped lower my calorie intake and my daily sugar intake. One small change at a time!

  5. Bethany - October 28, 2016

    Great advice and reminders. It is important to remember we are all in this together and we all have things that we excel at and struggle with. Good to remember to allow ourselves grace!!

  6. Ricarda Gonzalez - October 28, 2016

    This is one of my favorites! Thank you for the great tips.❤ #MOTIVATION💪

  7. Elizabeth Meyers - October 28, 2016

    Love this post. It’s so easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Chasing a toddler with a newborn, being a clean freak, working an actual full time job and running my own business = cutting corners. Moms are all so busy anymore! Seeing you make time with your crazy schedule and giving these tips is incredibly helpful. One day at a time but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  8. Carrie - October 28, 2016

    Such a good post! So hard to find the balance with two little ones and two older stepsons, -and working full-time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom (i have hope that I can get back to my prebaby bod one day!)

  9. Jameika - October 28, 2016

    You give me mommy goals with these blogs!

  10. Andrea Curtis - October 28, 2016

    Just had a baby this month and working in losing the baby weight. i already do most of these, but just started ttrcking my macros again and i know i need to watch my sugar intake as i do like sweets. My vial for the next week can be to reduce my sugar intake

  11. Christian Montalvo - October 28, 2016

    Love this post. Read it a few days ago… as I’m mentally, spiritually, emotionally, AND physically preparing to be a mom I have become dependent on posts like this to show me there is super moms out there who conquer the challenges every day!

    https://www.facebook.com/csmontalvo/posts/10153745907207303:0

    Love,
    Christian

  12. Jenni Price - October 28, 2016

    Oh my gosh, I am loving this post! I honestly work so hard feeding my kids healthy meals/snacks that by the time it’s my turn to eat I am exhausted! I embarrassingly slack on my own health. I need to eat with them more… and what I serve them! I am totally starting your 5 rules today. I just had my 4th baby, and think this will give me exactly what I feel like I am lacking. Thanks Heidi!

    • Jenni Price - October 28, 2016

      And your kids.. can’t get any cuter! I love watching them grow up! I remember when you just had Ruby… in a non stalkerish kinda way! 😉

  13. Kristina - October 28, 2016

    ❤️ I love this post. I plan on putting everything you said to work!! Thank you!

  14. Heidi P - October 28, 2016

    Loved reading this post. I am struggling to get back into a routine since having baby #2, 5 months ago. I’ve struggled with weight and self worth for most of my life, and having kids only magnifies that struggle. However my kids are also my motivation to BE healthy. It’s hard to find balance, and most days I feel like I’m not actually making any progress, but if I can be active with them for 5 minutes longer today than I was yesterday…that’s a win! You’ve shared some great tips, and I will definitely refer to this post for encouragement and tips! ❤️

  15. Holli - October 28, 2016

    Thank you Heidi for the great tips . I am a stay at home mom and I will be writing these down and following them as I am going to be starting my weight loss journey . And I need more energy to chase my kids around

  16. Sherry Manzano - October 28, 2016

    I only have 2 kids and I feel like I’m already drowning, thanks for sharing these mommy hacks to stay fit. I love that you define clear items we can do on a daily basis. Keep them coming!

  17. Lilie - September 27, 2016

    Je suis française et ne comprend pas tout… j’aime beaucoup ce que vous êtes et faites… j’aurais vraiment besoin d aide…

    • Team Powell - September 27, 2016

      Hi Lillie: (Traduit en utilisant Google Translate) Vous pouvez atteindre vos objectifs de transformation par le biais du programme de vélo carb Chris et Heidi, et vous pouvez en apprendre davantage à ce sujet dans ce post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Et assurez-vous et suivez tous les liens au sein de la poste aussi. Tu peux le faire!

  18. Sam - September 22, 2016

    Love this Heidi! Also a full time working mom of 4! I work with special needs kids so exercise has been a nice stress reliever for me-this past year my husband and I work out together in my classroom so we can haul along our kids (who play and work out along with us off and on). My big question is HOW do you keep fresh produce in your fridge? My kids love fruit and veggies but I swear I’m running to the store 2-3x a week just to keep it on hand! (Puke) like they eat 8 apples a day collectively and we can easily zip through lbs of broccoli in a day.

    • Team Powell - September 22, 2016

      Hi Sam: That’s awesome that your kids love produce so much! I know that Heidi keeps her produce all prepped and ready to go so the kids can grab and go. 🙂

  19. Heather - September 15, 2016

    Where is your awesome #hotmessexpress shirt from?

    • Team Powell - September 15, 2016

      Hi Heather: The shirt is from Cents of Style, but it’s not available anymore. 🙁

  20. Ange Singleton - September 14, 2016

    All the way here in new zealand, we love you and all the inspiration you provide . Thank you . Great advice from one busy mum to another .

  21. Keri - September 13, 2016

    Thank you for this. It could not have come at a better time. I am 4 month post pardium and back to my full time job as of a week ago and am STRUGGLING with getting a workout in. Hard to transition from Crossfitter to Mom. I know it can be done. 1 goal at a time. Thank you!

  22. Bridget - September 13, 2016

    I love this post. I am currently working full time, writing my dissertation for my PhD in history, and raising my daughter. I am lucky enough to have the love and support of my amazing husband but just yesterday I felt like a complete failure. I felt like nothing I am doing is 100%. It’s a tough place to be. But I am taking smaller steps. My daughter comes first and my husband is helping me free up an hour to go to crossfit everyday so I can feel good about myself. But I am also going to follow these hacks. Just getting outside or doing piggy back rides is just so simple and do-able. Thank you for the awesome post!!

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