Did you start the Year Year with good resolutions and keenness to get to the gym after an indulgent Christmas period? For working parents, fitting in time for a workout can feel like an impossible task – especially in those first few weeks of January when everything feels a little bit up in the air and school and work are just getting started again.
We’ve put together a couple of tips to help you try and manage your time a little better – with a few insights from presenter Emma Willis, who has recently launched her first sportswear range with Next.
Tip 1: Try working out at different times to see what works for you
It may be that working out in the morning is an absolute no-no and the small window of time you have between getting up and getting to work simply doesn’t permit a morning run or gym session; meanwhile in the evenings, it may be that playdates, dinner dates or overrunning client meetings just don’t allow for a post-work gym session.
To that end, try going to the gym at different times of the day to see what works for you and your schedule (and remember that what works for one person may not work for another). You may be happier to fill your lunch hour with a quick treadmill session, while your friends might prefer to go in the evenings.
Presenter and mum-of-three Emma Willis prefers morning workouts because evening ones simply just don’t happen: “If I leave it till the evening then I find I don’t end up doing it”, she says.
Tip 2: Find a colleague to work out with
Finding a colleague to go to the gym with before/after work acts as an incentive. You’re more likely to make the effort to go if you know you’ll be letting someone down if you don’t. (Not to mention it also adds a bit of fun to the whole process – especially if you find someone who is a similar fitness level and likes doing the same exercises as you.)
Tip 3: Go straight from work; if you go home, you’ll end up staying there
If you work out in the evening, we recommend doing it immediately after work – as opposed to going home, changing and then heading out. If you do that, you might be tempted to stay at home in the warm (January weather can be biting at the best of times).
That’s why it’s also a good idea to find a gym/sports centre that’s near your workplace. If you know you have a long journey to and from the gym, this might discourage you from going.
Tip 4: Work out as a family
Getting your children involved in your workouts is a great way to spend time together and have some fun. As busy parents, time with our children is precious – but working out, going on park runs or playing games like rounders are great for bonding.
Not to mention it’ll encourage your little ones to live a healthier, more active lifestyle – something that will stand them in good stead for the future.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to reward yourself
Give yourself mini rewards when you make an effort to work out – this doesn’t even have to be something unhealthy or “naughty”; it could simply be a night in with your favourite boxset and pyjamas (Emma Willis is a big fan of loungewear, claiming “it’s all I live in” in a recent interview).
If you’re looking for workout wardrobe inspiration, have a look at Emma Willis’ latest sportswear collection. And if you’re struggling to achieve that work-life balance, read our tips for busy parents here.