How to Find Time to Work Out and Eat Healthy When You’re a Busy Mom

It can be tough to find time to work out and eat healthy when you’re busy- especially as a mom that is juggling all the things! Between work, family, and social obligations, it seems like there’s never enough time in the day and the to-do list keeps growing. 

It is possible to make time for fitness and nutrition- and enjoy it too! It just takes a little creativity and problem solving. In this article, I will discuss some tips on how to find time to exercise and eat well when you’re busy!

Why It's Important to Find Time for Exercise and Nutrition

Getting enough exercise and proper nutrition are essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

  • Exercise helps to improve your cardiovascular health, strengthens your muscles and bones, and can help to improve your mental health. 
  • Eating nutritious foods helps to boost your immune system, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and provides the energy you need to power through our day. 

When you have a lot of things on your plate, it’s easy to let these things fall by the wayside in favor of other obligations. But if you want to be healthy and have enough energy to accomplish your goals, you need to make time for fitness and nutrition. 

For moms that are always on the go, this is extra essential- even when it feels impossible to achieve.

It All Starts with Changing Your Habits

Many of us want to go all in when we want to start exercising more or eating better. However, making radical changes can be hard to maintain and lead to failure in reaching our goals. Rather, the best thing you can do to start exercising and eating nutritiously is to make one small habit change at a time.

Since you are short on time, the first change you make should be something that can be done within a matter of minutes. This might involve something like doing 50 jumping jacks every morning before you jump in the shower, or swapping your sugary coffee drink for something less sweet.

You can gradually add in more changes as time goes on, but it’s important to start small. That way they feel overwhelming and time consuming, instead starting to feel natural and seamless with time. Making radical changes all at once is more likely to lead to failure than if you ease into new habits.

Tips for Finding Time to Exercise

So how in the world will you exercise when you don’t have a spare minute? You can do it! Here are some tips you can use to find time to exercise when you’re busy:

  • Get up earlier: This is easier said than done, but if you can find even 10 minutes in the morning to workout (or make a healthy breakfast), it will set the tone for the rest of the day.
  • Use your lunch break: If you have a job that requires you to be away from home, use your lunch break to get in a quick workout.
  • Exercise while you watch TV: If there is a show you cannot miss, use commercials as an opportunity to do some bodyweight exercises or stretches. You can also put a yoga mat in front of the TV and do some light stretching or yoga.
  • Take the stairs: If you have the opportunity to take the stairs instead of the elevator, do it! This is a great way to sneak in some extra steps and get your heart rate up.
  • Make it a family affair: Get your spouse and kids involved in your workout routine. You can do an at-home workout together, go for a family walk/run, or even play active games together.
  • Join a gym: If you have the time and resources, joining a gym can be a great way to make exercise more convenient. There are usually childcare options available so you can work out while your kids are being cared for.
  • Work out at home: If you don’t have the time or money to join a gym, there are tons of home workout options available. You can find workout videos online, buy home exercise equipment, or even just use your bodyweight for exercises like pushups and squats.
  • Try a HIIT workout:  HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are a great way to get a lot of exercise in a short amount of time- even as little as 5 minutes per day. Start by choosing 5 moves and doing each one at an all out effort for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between. Then, progress from there. 

Tips for Finding Time to Eat Well

In addition to exercising, eating well is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips you can use to make sure you’re getting nutritious meals as quickly as possible:

  • Cook simple meals: When you’re short on time, cooking complicated meals is not realistic. Plus, most kids like basic meals anyways!  Instead, focus on simple tasty recipes that can be made quickly. Here are plenty of healthy and delicious options available online. Some family favorites include a charcuterie board or buddha bowl.
  • Meal prep: One of the best ways to make sure you’re eating healthy meals is to prepare meals in advance. This involves cooking several meals at once and storing them in the fridge or freezer. Then, when you’re short on time, you can just grab a meal and go. If you don’t have time for this, you can buy pre-cooked freezer meals or pre-chopped veggies to make it a bit easier for you. 
  • Keep easy to grab healthy snacks on hand: It’s also important to have healthy snacks available so you don’t make poor food choices when you’re feeling hungry. Some good options that require no prepping include nuts, whole fruits and vegetables, string cheese, and yogurt.
  • Set up your environment for success: If you have unhealthy food options readily available, it will be harder to resist the temptation to eat them. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy foods that are easy to grab and go. And of course, don’t keep tempting snacks at work or in your car.
  • Double your recipes: Another way to make sure you have healthy meals available is to double your recipes (similar to meal prep). This way, you can cook once and eat twice (for dinner or an on the go lunch). If you don't like eating the same thing twice, then throw the second batch in the freezer for another day.

Other Tips for Feeling Your Best

When you are taking good care of yourself, you'll be able to put your best foot forward in every aspect of your life. Your kids will notice the difference, plus you are setting an excellent example for them. Let's review a few final tips to help you stay on track.

  • Put it in your schedule: Just like you would schedule a meeting or dentist appointment, put taking care of yourself in your calendar. This will help to make sure that it actually happens. A concrete schedule is much better than a vague plan for following through.
  • Get your family and friends on board:  If the people you spend the most time with are not supportive of your healthy lifestyle, it will be more difficult to maintain. Talk to your loved ones about why eating healthy and exercising is important to you and ask for their support.
  • Be realistic:  It’s important to be realistic when it comes to your goals. If you try to do too much at once, you’re likely to get overwhelmed and give up. Start with small changes that you can realistically make and build from there. And if you are struggling, don't be hard on yourself! Simply try again when you're ready.
  • Change your mindset: One of the biggest obstacles to a healthy lifestyle is negative thinking- although many people don’t even realize they are doing it. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you can’t do it, you probably won’t be able to. Instead, focus on all the positive things that will come from making healthy choices.
  • Don't forget about your other healthy habits: While eating healthy and exercising are important, they’re not the only things you need to do to be healthy. Make sure you’re also getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and managing stress. When you're ready, these can all build on each other to help you feel amazing. Plus, if you feel like you're "working your butt off" with no results- these sneaky habits that are often neglected are often the reason why.
  • Take it one day at a time:  It’s impossible to make all of these changes overnight. Just focus on today and do the best you can. Every healthy decision you make is a step in the right direction.

All of Your Hard Work Will Add Up Over Time

As a busy mom myself, I know the days can feel so long. You have so much that needs to be done, yet you feel like you're spinning in circles- all while your health goals go down the drain. 

You can have it all mama! It starts with prioritizing, scheduling, and small habit changes. I hope this article helps you feel motivated and ready to make a change. No matter what that first step is, it's worth it and you can do it! I see women successfully make these changes all the time in my career- and once they gain momentum they're unstoppable!