It is not easy to make exercise a priority when you are in the crazy first years of raising kids. People will ask how I find the time to workout every day, and this is my answer: I don't! I have never, not one single day, suddenly found a chunk of time lying around with nothing to do. I don't find time, I MAKE time and one of the main forces that keeps me on track is knowing that I have found a fabulous tribe of moms who are also MAKING time for their own fitness.
The single best way to overcome those mornings when the very last thing you want to do is drag yourself (and your kids!) out of the house is the knowledge that your tribe is waiting. Other moms, going through the thrills and difficulties of life with small children, just like you are. Others who may be functioning on less sleep than any of us previously thought possible. Others with teething babies, milk (or any number of substances) spilled on their workout shirt, and most importantly: Love for their little ones and a desire to be the strongest, most powerful role model possible.
I am currently training for my very first marathon, and have been very fortunate to have found some wonderful running partners. I believe I would have done my training without them - but WITH them I have gone faster, farther, and had so much more fun than I ever thought I would. The positive energy of others gives me such a lift!
No matter what your fitness goal is, the key to success is to put yourself out there and find your tribe. Find people you like to be around, who are also interested in similar goals so you can motivate each other. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring people dedicated to the journey. Meet them at the gym, meet them for a walk around the neighborhood. Schedule playdates where you join in the playground fun and run up those hills!
If you are new to town, or new to parenting, and not sure where to start looking to find a group to motivate you, here are some suggestions:
1. Come to a Stroller Strides workout!!! You know this had to be first on the list, right? It is the best place I know to get in a great workout in the company of other moms.
2. Do a search on www.meetup.com where you can browse groups in your city or by interest area such as "parenting" or "fitness". There are some great active groups in Anchorage for parents of young children, many with a focus on getting outside!
3. Look for classes where parents and kids can participate in exercise together! Google is your best bet - type in your city name and a phrase such as "stroller fitness" or "mommy and me exercise".
4. Facebook - put it out into the social network world that you are looking for some company for a power walk in the evenings, or a hike after work, or a workout during naps. You may be surprised at how many friends or acquaintances are also looking!
5. Ask your midwife or hospital for suggestions.
The value in working out together, putting yourself out there and making the effort to increase your fitness and set a shining example for your babies – TOGETHER – can’t really be overstated. Knowing that you are going to get great exercise and the camaraderie of other moms with shared goals is an amazing motivator. It becomes more than a workout, as you start building a strong support network. Coming for your workout is also coming to see friends. One thing I have learned for certain: women who sweat together, stay together. That is a sisterhood I love to be part of.