Yvonne Cole, the very lovely Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert who is going to be coaching my blog partner Belle through her weight-loss journey during the next couple of months, sent me the funniest picture ever this evening:
It’s not only hilarious to me because it has this overall mood of constant panic throughout every picture, but because it also is so true! It’s almost as if mother nature has decided that life for the modern mum should be challenging also physically, in order to keep that body strong and slender (NOT). No time for the gym? Well, at least you have every opportunity during the day to incorporate some undesired elements of workout into your everyday life.
This evening was a prime example; I was outside Dubai Mall, watching the Fountains, or, as my 5 year old son calls them “the dancing water”, and just before the first show (they run every 30 minutes) is about to start I am smart enough to buy a cup of hot coffee, NOT feed my youngest son in order for him to chillax in the buggy and to arrive 2 minutes before it starts so that my 5 year old doesn’t have anywhere to stand where he can actually see the action. The interlude comes on, as I am desperately mixing a bottle of formula for my youngest. Now, I already know I won’t be able to give him the bottle until the “water dance” is over, since I will need to lift up my 5 year old so that he can watch the show. It goes down something like this:
-Momy, it’s starting, it’s starting! My eldest song keeps shouting over the noise of the crowd
Hot water. Cold Water. Formula powder, 7 scoops, or, was it 8? I stopped counting. Shake, shake!
-Momy, it started, I can’t see, momy!
My youngest starts crying and more so, when he sees that I am ignoring his initial little innocent cries and instead lifts up his brother onto one shoulder. The crying turns into scream-crying. The sound of his voice cuts through Celine Dion’s, as the water has started dancing. My eldest one is very happy, sitting on top of my one shoulder. My two arms are holding him, a 24kg little guy, giving support to this one shoulder. I feel the burn in both biceps and smile as I am thinking about how this all must look to other people standing by; Here is this woman, with her hair all messed up, one 5 year old on one shoulder, one screaming baby in the buggy that she just ignores and a bottle of formula in one hand which is getting colder by the minute. Haha, so carefully planned, sophisticated really. I was so totally in control. The workout side of things was totally given here, I was lifting 24kg above my head, and kept holding it there for a good 3-4 minutes. Letting go was not an option, mind over matter.
Looking back, it was kind of funny, but I think we find ourselves in many of those situations with our kids, where our bodies are just tools for us to make a situation work, and not something that we necessarily listen to or pay attention to until it’s 8pm, and you can literally hear the bed calling your name. Your body is exhausted and so is your brain. I could think of several other situations where exercise is unwillingly incorporated into family life, and here follows a few more:
Picking up your children
Ok, you may not think about it, but for me at least, my arms are always most fit during the first year of my son’s lives. Reason being you lift them, carry them, bounce them around, lay them down, and pick them up and so on. So, to those mothers (I know you are out there) who go to the gym, and pick up that 3kg dumbbell for some good old bicep curls, go back home and pick your child up instead, that’s a better fitness investment. My youngest is a really heavy little fellow, so for me, it’s challenging to carry him around any longer than a few minutes. That definitely qualifies as undesired workouts during the day.
Playing with your children
-Momy, come climb up here!
-Momy, come on, let’s play some football
-Momy, can you throw me up in the air like a bouncing ball?
Playing with your children is definitely what you make it. Perhaps you are more the type who bring your children to the playground, hoping they will meet someone they know there so they can play together and you can catch up on the latest FB gossip or candy crush (waste waste waste of time people!), but if you are not, and you see playing with your child as a benefit to you as well, then get cracking! The kids absolutely love when their parents come down to their level and play with them the same way their friends do. You will see the joy on their faces!
Laughing and Yelling
Lol, yelling, oh yes, I do a lot of that with my 5 year old, and as with laughing, you are most likely engaging your stomach muscles, secretly working on that 4 pack while disciplining your child. Happy days!
Laughing we all know extends your life, of course not only because of sheer physical activity, but also in terms of the happiness that usually goes along with it.
Not the type you do on a treadmill, or on a nice jogging track in a park on summer mornings, but rather the type of running you do for school drop off and pick up, to be on time for work, to leave work on time etc. The stressful running. I, for one, do a lot of that every single day! That, combined with the picking up and carrying of a baby (that weights a lot more than your average baby, so to speak) provides a nice mix between cardio and weight training.
I am not the type of mom who take my baby out in the park and actively use him as a weight pack for squats, deadlifts, glute bridges and shoulder press (and film it for my blog:)) but that’s not because there is anything wrong with it (provided you do know that you can indeed carry the weight of your baby during those particular exercises, safety first!), it’s just that for me, working out is more than just physical movements in order to stay fit, it’s my time, to focus on me, preserving my sanity. So, I will keep it separate for now, and should I change my mind, I promise you will be the first to know (park, camera, action!)