It is tough, I know — to manage family commitments and be dedicated to a fitness journey side by side. Especially after children enter our lives, so many aspects of it change that we could never have prepared ourselves for it. Life starts to take far too many unpredictable turns than we were ever accustomed to, and with each phase of their growing stage, we find ourselves in the same state of unpreparedness all over again. I hear you.
But I have also learned some important lessons in my life that I would always adhere to — as they have made my navigation through life a lot more peaceful. Here are my top 8 tips to make your fitness journey a success when you also have a family to take care of.
1. Have clear goals & set priorities
Who does not want to make the most out of life? We want to become more productive, progress fast in work, quickly become financially secure, become amazing partners, the best parent to our kids, have the best of health, learn a new skill, and the list goes on. But all this comes at the price of overcommitting ourselves to too many things — eventually achieving moderate success in any of those.
To achieve the most success, you need to get efficient in one Master Skill, and that is to learn to set your priorities right and set clear goals to achieve them realistically. You need to get better at what deserves your time and focus, remove distractions that are not adding value to your time. Prioritizing exercise, spending quality time with family, making time for continuous learning, mastering important skills.
As much as you are aware of the significance of these, you need to quickly identify what kind of activities are indeed working towards your goals and which are time-wasters in disguise. Not every shiny new skill is worth learning, not all the outdoor activities are quality time spent with your family, not every weekend ought to be spent outside. The point is, try to improve on picking out distractions and commit to working on the remaining few prime objectives.
2. Incorporate rituals into your life.
It’s a good idea for family times to be scheduled into our calendars — like quite literally I say. If not, you have no idea how sly other unimportant stuff of life are to sneak into our daily routine and you can’t even tell. Family time like meal (electronic gadget-free) times, should be non-negotiable to make sure the entire family comes together at least once and has an open conversation and connects. The advantages are immense and your future self will thank you for doing this.
Have exercise time scheduled into your daily tasks, be committed to check that off of your to-do list as per your routine. If this calls for getting up a few minutes early in the morning, then practice that until it becomes a new normal for you.
You can plan family activities that involve being physically active, like a bike ride, an outdoor family game, trekking, hiking, walking to the park, etc. These are simple and effective ways to achieve both intents in one attempt.
3. Plan and do things in advance.
Some of the most unavoidable tedious tasks are daily meal preparation times. When days are not planned, some meal preparations can unexpectedly take up more time than assumed and it is very frustrating. Sometimes you simply aren’t in the mood to cook after a hectic day, and then you end up ordering food from outside spoiling your plans of sticking to a healthy diet.
But a little bit of planning ahead of time can do wonders for your weekly meals. Make a weekly meal plan and get things ready for the weekdays by precooking them. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer which can be then ready for meals simply by reheating. Using this method helps me ensure that I buy the required grocery for that week without fail since I create my grocery list from the meal plan for the week. No more last-minute discovery that I am actually out of cheese from the pantry when I planned to make pasta for dinner.
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4. Workout from home.
Working out from home these days is easier than ever. You don’t need fancy equipment and still manage to do an amazing full-body workout using just your body weight. Pushups, planks, deep squats, lunges, etc are excellent ways to work on various muscle groups and burn calories all the same time. Plus, the time saved in commuting to the gym or putting on clothing that you don’t necessarily need for workouts is such a huge bonus. Money saved on a Gym membership is an add-on.
As you get more and more comfortable with working out, it’s also recommended to upgrade your ‘home-gym’ with some equipment for that added benefit of training muscles in a better way. Lastly don’t forget to include warm-up before starting exercise and cooling down at the end to avoid internal injuries.
5. Be open about your intention and ask for support
People are a lot likely to offer their support when you include them in your journey and ask for help and cooperation to achieve your fitness goals. Share your reason why you are walking on this path, what are the challenges you are facing, and then you might notice you are not alone in your journey anymore because some of them might come up with ideas that you would not have thought of.
We have built a community for that much-needed support we need in this journey, interacting and sharing ideas are very motivating to all the members to keep going. One can also find an accountability partner, to give that extra push when things are getting off the wagon sometimes. I often share ideas on coming up with recipes from the ingredients mentioned in their diet chart, we have discovered some awesome ones so far. I also share my meal-plan ideas with them and they share their ideas back, and it makes the diet phase much more comfortable.
Our online community interacts and shares ideas regularly. You can also find an accountability partner there to continue your fitness journey forever. I tell all my clients to try out new recipes with the ingredients mentioned in their chart. Also, I share the meal planning ideas to make the diet phase more comfortable.
6. Learning to say “No” and ignoring unsolicited advice
Most of us hesitate to say no, for the fear of sounding rude, unhelpful, unkind, etc. Understandably, we don’t want to disappoint our loved ones, but at the end of the day, if we are feeling stressed to be doing things unwillingly just to avoid disappointment it’s not worth it in my opinion.
If it does not align with your fitness goals then learn to say a polite ‘no’ to it. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication to walk on a fitness path. Not deviating from that path is one of the most difficult steps to reach your targets and sustain them. Never compromise on this, okay?
7. To ensure the best value of your time, have a plan before starting an exercise
A lot of time gets wasted in the Gym and even at home if there is not a proper plan laid out for exercise routine. It could be the time to wait for your turn in the gym or simply deciding on what exercises to do, it takes added time and energy. Often due to lack of planning, the motivation starts to wear off.
By having a plan, you get into this autopilot mode to just execute the tasks at hand, and your time and mental energy to make a decision get saved. Please do this, and for all that time saved and decision-fatigue avoided. You can thank me later!
8. Find a support system and/or accountability partner
While making lifestyle changes, it is not easy for others to understand your intentions and necessity for it. But you do need a support system in the form of upliftment when you feel demotivated or to receive some help in making those changes you need in your life. If you can’t find any in loved ones, then try to connect with a friend or coworker who is on the same page.
You may also find a huge motivator and accountability partner in a professional trainer since they have good experience from working closely with similar people like you — and can offer you the right kind of guidance to help you keep going. I had a trainer myself before I turned into one and I can vouch for this from my own experience as a mentee.
With a little bit of planning and discipline, all of your fitness goals can be achieved, and there are enough number of success stories that are screaming this out loud. Take small steps, and aim to maintain consistency and you will figure out all the possible ways to make your fitness journey a success. So good luck and never give up! Don’t forget to share your tips in the comments below that have been helpful to you, and share it with a friend who in you opinion might need this.
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3 thoughts on “8 Of my Top Tips to Balance Fitness and Family like a Ninja”
Really nice article with some great tips! I like to meal prep and plan my workouts in advance too 😃
Yes, makes the weeks go so much more effortlessly! ✌️
Awesome article for the life sustainablity to maintain the family and health fitness in a single stretch.