The Fitness Struggle is Real


As a mom, fitness is a struggle.

We have competing needs, limited time for self, and too many sleepless nights. A commitment to a fitness routine requires creativity, flexibility, and dedication. You will have to choose workouts over competing interests and needs (sleep, TV, phone, books, cleaning), and your desire to workout may not always win. It’s important to celebrate your victories along your fitness journey.

My deep love for fitness started in 2005 after I finished graduate school and moved back to Austin. The cold weather and amazing food in Boston and graduate school lifestyle left me with an extra fifteen pounds that I wanted to shed. I started running and steadily increased my fitness routine and passion over the next nine years. I ran, practiced yoga, did Insanity DVDs, attended Les Mills Body Attack classes and Zumba classes… basically you name it, and I was game. Then came children.

It took eighteen months after my first son’s birth to get back into the fitness world.

After my second son’s birth, I returned to workingout much quicker. I even got back down to pre-pregnancy weight after my second son– the weight was distributed differently, but I still felt fairly proud with this accomplishment.

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Despite my fitness commitment, after I weaned my second son this past fall, I unexpectedly gained ten pounds. As they say, the struggle is real.

I am currently working out like a mad woman, but the weight won’t budge. It may be getting older (I’m now 37) or my refusal to give up chips and queso and wine, but I will continue to work hard to be fit and stay healthy.

I don’t have this all figured out, but here are some tips to help you along your way to become a fit mommy!

Keep Accountable

There are so many options for accountability these days. You can download an app to track your own eating and fitness, join a Facebook fitness group, participate in a mom-focused exercise group, or hire an actual accountability coach. I have used a mixture of all of these over the years. While I lived in Jacksonville, I found a great group of moms to work out with through Jax Stroller Strength, and I know there are many similar options for moms’ workout groups available in the Corpus Christi area. I loved the ability to get together with fellow moms a few times a week for a challenging workout. I currently participate in a challenge group through a Beach Body app where I track my eating and workouts with other members of my group. I have a coach who posts daily to motivate us and follows up on our progress. Personally, I love this format, but the key is finding what works best for you!

Set a Goal

And not just weight or pant size, although those can be helpful too. After my second son, I was back to pre-baby weight within six weeks, BUT my body was definitely not back to pre-baby status. The clothes didn’t fit quite the same, and the same weight was distributed completely differently.

Rather than a number on a scale, I find the most success when I am working towards a fitness goal- often this means training for a half-marathon or completing a fitness program like Insanity or 21 Day Fix through Beach Body.

I like to work out 4-6 times a week and enjoy varying my workouts. A goal helps organize my workouts and push myself to run longer or increase my weights. You can also use measurements as a goal. Before completing the Insanity workout for the first time, my husband and I took our measurements and completed the Challenge Test to see how we improved by the end of the two month program. My current goal is to complete the 80 Day Challenge workout program through Beach Body on Demand. Wish me luck!


Be Flexible

Fitness as a mom comes in many forms- online programs, fitness dvds, running outside, or heading to the gym. I have had the most success with streaming at home workouts- cardio, weights and resistance bands, and yoga. You can even find workouts through Amazon Prime if you don’t want to pay extra for another program. When I first returned to working out after the birth of my first son, and I was working full time and lacking time for myself, I actually started with workouts I found on Pinterest. They were easy to follow and required no equipment. If at-home workouts are too difficult for you to manage (either finding time or staying committed,) consider finding a gym with childcare. The first time I took my sons to gym childcare, I felt like I won the lottery. It was at the end of my husband’s medical residency, and we didn’t have the budget for a gym membership prior. Belonging to a gym with childcare felt like such a luxury, and I didn’t take one gym workout for granted.

However, you also need to be realistic in what you need as a mom. Did you get sleep last night or were you up all night nursing or with a sick child? If it was a rough night, I would take a nap, not a workout. Do you need to finish laundry/dishes/get groceries/work? Or do you need to take a break from household chores and focus on you and your health? Every day is different, and what your body needs changes daily.

Involve Your Kids

Since becoming a mom, it has been fun to try to incorporate fitness into our family time. It is an added perk to fit in a workout while modeling health and wellness to our children. We started with family runs with our eldest son in the stroller, and now he wants to run with us or ride his bike or scooter alongside. It’s a commitment to both purchase and push a double jogging stroller, but it is by far my favorite piece of baby equipment. It enables me to fit in a quick run when our schedules are crazy. Plus we can run to the beach, play for awhile, and then run back, which is a win for everyone.

Time is precious. I don’t want to lose time with my kids for a workout, so I try to incorporate fitness into our time together. I do lunges and squats when we walk the dog or play on the trampoline with them to work up a sweat. Sometimes they’ll join me in a workout if someone wakes up early from a nap, and I’m in the middle of one. Also, our eldest son has joined us for several races in the kids dash. I love that he is learning to love to run as much as I do.

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What tips do you have to make health and fitness a priority as a mom? What tools do you use to fit workouts into your busy schedule?

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Stephanie recently moved to North Padre Island from Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, two sons, Wilder (1) and Bouldin (4), and beloved golden retriever, Bodhi. Stephanie grew up in Amarillo, but spent most of her adulthood in Austin where she met her husband. They moved quite a bit as her husband started medical school and then attended ER residency. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, Stephanie received a masters in social work, worked for several years in fundraising, and ran a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of breast cancer patients in El Paso. She began blogging as they started moving around with her husband’s medical training- it started with a focus on thrifting, and as life transitioned, the blog also shifted into travel and motherhood. With her husband’s crazy ER schedule, she tries to keep her boys active hiking, biking, and heading to the beach. Stephanie is learning to slow down and soak up every moment with her young boys.