Exercise. Often it’s those that need it most that have the least time for it. And for those that do find the time, maintaining momentum and motivation proves just as difficult. It’s challenging for everyone, but even harder for moms. But there’s a quiet revolution of online workout and nutrition programs that directly tackle the barriers of lack of time and are designed to trigger whole new habits that you’ll stick with.
I am talking about programs like 21 Day Fix, Bikini Mommy Diet, Balanced Life Sisterhood, Fitness Blender, and Movement for Modern Life. Designed by (mostly) moms for moms, these programs are getting results. The benefits are not just physical, the mental and emotional well-being gains are just as celebrated.
So what are these fit moms doing right?
- They set a goal – Whether that’s 21 days, 8 weeks, or 90 days, all of these programs start with a time limit. Psychologically it’s easier to keep up the daily workouts when it’s just for a defined period. Plus behavioral science says that for a new behavior to have any hope of becoming ingrained as a habit you need to do it every day for at least 21 days.
- They work out every day – 21 Day Fix recommends you choose a time of day, preferably the same time every day for your workout and treat it like an appointment. You wouldn’t cancel a client meeting at the last minute, so why your workout? Scheduled like this, working out becomes something you do every day. The program includes a workout everyday, isolating upper body or lower body on different days, and including a yoga and pilates session to facilitate recovery days but maintaining the discipline of daily workouts.
- They work out in the nap time. A postpartum personal trainer is out of the realms of possibility for most of us. Leaving the house to go to the gym feels like an unachievable luxury. The 21 Day Fix makes finding time to exercise a breeze, with short 20-30 minute workouts that you can easily fit into your day or naptime, and do at home. Other programs like Balanced Life Sisterhood include even shorter 5-10 minute workouts via YouTube.
- They monitor their performance. Today’s diets are not about measuring success in pound loss, although that can be nice too, but most of the metrics involve measuring body fat reduction by taking measurements around the waist, arms and legs. Seeing these shifts towards the goal are really motivating and help you stay with the program. I lost 2 lbs on the 21 day fix but it’s the 2 inches I lost off my muffin-top that really made my jeans fit better and made the most difference to how I felt. These programs also recommend taking before and after photos, in your underwear or swimwear. Feels horrendous at the start, but very rewarding in the end. These visible signs of success help spur continued participation.
- They watch what they eat at the same time. No fitness regime today excludes food. Eating the right balance of foods to hit all micro-nutrients is critical to sustaining the increased energy levels required to step up the physical activity, while maintaining portion control is also essential. The emphasis is on clean eating, cooking at home, and making better choices when you eat out. The 21 Day Fix makes it super easy with color coded containers to help you measure out the right balance and portions of different food groups.
- (Bonus Habit) They make themselves accountable. Whether that’s committing to start a program with a friend or joining an online challenge community, fit moms know that to keep up the motivation you need the support of others. Sharing photos of workouts and meals on social media is incredibly powerful. It’s not uncommon to hear fit moms saying they worked out just to keep up with their peers.
There are plenty of sites out there to choose from. Here’s but a few. Enjoy. Please let us know what programs you recommend in the comments!
21 Day Fix
21 day challenge, with meal plan, success stories, app to track workouts and portion control containers. I bought the DVDs and portion control containers for $40 online, plus I joined Beachbody online for $1.99 a month as I prefer live streaming, but I can also recommend Kansas City coach Beth. Guidance on how to adapt workouts safely during pregnancy here. I’m not a fan of Shakeology protein shakes, but you can do it without them.
Movement for Modern Life
Unlimited online yoga for the price of one class. This site has hundreds of yoga videos in a range of styles, emotions, benefits, level, duration and you can even search by teachers, who are some of the world’s leading yogis. The site has a section of challenges from 7-day detox cleanses to 21 and 30 day yoga challenges. There’s an active Facebook challenge group to support you through your practice., plus they offer a 14-day free trial. Monthly subscription is $19.99 or $159.99 for an annual subscription.
Eight-week programs with day by day plan mixes of cardio, strength training, plyometric, pilates, circuit training and stretching for fat loss and toning. meal plans. Designed by a husband and wife duo that do it from a sense of purpose and desire to make healthy lifestyles accessible and affordable to all. Totally free but donations gratefully received.
Balanced Life Sisterhood
Robin Long, pilates and barre instructor, offers daily 5-10 minute workouts plus one monthly 30-40 minute Pilates or Barre video. Workouts free on YouTube, but sign up for the monthly missions around balanced, holistic living such as practicing mindfulness are $13 per month or annual subscription is $117.