A common phrase in our house:

“I need to do some kind of workout today or I might lose it.”

Yoga tree pose BW

My hubby knows that if I have gotten to the point of saying that out loud, it means: For the sake of our family’s happiness and sanity, mommy better get an endorphin rush goin’ STAT.  I am unfortunately (and sometimes fortunately) one of those extremely high energy and overly anxious people that feels like there are energy fire balls inside of me that have to be “worked out”. If those fire balls don’t get worked out, everyone in the house suffers- my hubby the most.   Pre-children, my idea of a typical week included 3-5 workouts, with one of those workouts being a trip to the mountains to hike/snowboard, or a long 2+ hour bike ride around town.  Those standards have changed drastically over the past few years of pregnancy and child-rearing.

I no longer think about workouts in a medium of how long, how hard, or exactly what combination of things I’ve done in a week to make sure I’ve balanced it all out.  I’ve had to completely re-think the way that approach working out.  It has taken me a long time to transition to a point where I am ok with this difference, but I am finally there.  I now think about workouts in a much different light- with a slightly more opportunistic mindset and much lower standards.  Like REALLY low standards.  Here are some examples of how I have had to re-think the way that I get exercise:

The OLD Workouts 

My New Exercise Reality

2 hour road bike ride through town Sitting on a man’s size spin bike downstairs for 25 minutes while Jumping Bean is upstairs loudly battling bedtime.  (On a good week, I might commute to work on my bike and feel like I haven’t ridden a bike for 5 years.)
5-10 mile hike in the foothills or mountains Pushing my double stroller up a hill in our neighborhood to take kiddos to the playground or open space area.  A one mile hike in the foothills might be an accomplishment.
Challenging hour long yoga class Waking up at 5am before the kiddos and using the tablet to do a 25 minute yoga “workout” in the basement before getting in the shower or nursing Lebowski.
45 minute jog with the dog, followed with stretching Racing from work 15 minutes early to jog for 30 minutes in the park near my office… followed by jumping in the car to pick up Jumping Bean from day care.
A 1.5 hour workout at the gym Using the free On-Demand fitness workouts to do a combination of weird 10 minute workout combos in the basement after the kids have gone to bed.


Like I said, it’s taken me a long time to be ok with this, and I’m still working out some kinks, but I’m overall pretty happy that I can at least still motivate to get some workouts in.

I started thinking more about how honestly, I do this a lot at work, too.  It’s extremely useful.  I work in the field of employee development at a local non-profit, and I adore what I do.  Unfortunately, the constant story of a non-profit is how you are always trying to do more with less.  As long as you can try and re-frame how you approach the problems and potential solutions in your job, this “re-thinking” approach can help you come a long way.  Thinking differently about the ideal, and instead thinking of it as “what can I do to get me somewhere towards where I want to be”… can serve you in negotiating your stance in meetings, when developing programs, and in delivering the type of employee development that you want for your organization.

Think more about what would work best for you now instead of shooting for the moon.  It can be a win win.