I mentioned this month that in prep for the back-to-school routine around here I’d be sharing a few personal posts including recipes and organization tips to help during this time. I’ll be sharing my day-to-day organization and how I structure my to-do lists and calendars with you too. But my workout program was on this list. While some of you may wonder why, it’s because I believe if you’re organized you can fit a workout program into your life – even with a small amount of available time.
I’ll admit, it’s only been in the last 2 years that I’ve embraced a regular fitness regime. For years it was something that ended up at the bottom of the list. Why? There were lots of excuses, but just as many genuine reasons too. A couple reasons? My gym (in Arkansas and here in California) doesn’t offer childcare. Another is I was busy being pregnant and having 3 children for about 5 years. I figured…oh, I’m chasing kids around all day – that’s plenty of exercise. While this is sorta true (some of my lowest weigh-in’s were during the toddler years while chasing little people everywhere), we need to get that heart rate up and get moving.
And here’s a bad excuse…I was busy putting everyone else before me.
As mothers I think it’s easy for reasons and excuses to happen. Especially when our children are small. As they get older, it’s easier to find pockets of time to workout without the guilt. So I’d say, as I do in almost everything in life or with the people who hire me, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself and do it when it works for you…but do it, even if you start small / slowly!
You can start by getting up 10-15 minutes earlier each morning to do a little stretching and yoga. You can do squats while folding laundry. You can do abs in front of the tv while the kids watch Dora or Sesame Street. It’s not only a good example to set for them, but it’s GOOD FOR US. Women need to workout that heart!
That said, you guys know how busy I am. Yet even I manage to squeeze a fitness program into my life. For the last 2 years. While managing home improvements, a growing business, day-to-day house stuff, kid stuff, sports, homework and more – yes, I did! It’s possible and I’m here to give you hope.
How do I fit it in? Simple. I found the program that worked with my schedule / lifestyle.
Let me preface this post real quick by saying I am NOT getting paid to talk about this program…although I should because of the recruits I’ve sent her way. #ahem
I’ll mention the program in just a sec. First, let me tell you that I started off with a trainer and slowly. Since I hadn’t worked out for years (and years), I eased myself into it. I knew hiring a trainer would keep me on task and not allow for more reasons / excuses. Before you think I spent tons of money hiring her, I didn’t. I met with a trainer 1-2 times a week for only 30 minutes each session. I bought a 20-session package and broke it up over a period of several months. She did a variety of workouts with me and taught me about effective stretching, diet and more. In the process, she became a good friend too, which certainly helped my mental health after a long-distance move.
As far as my workout / health history? Believe it or not, my natural weight tends to be a bit heavier. I’m 5’7″ and currently weigh 125. I look and feel my best around 120, but I’m ok with where I’m at today and am careful not to base everything on weight, especially now that I have more muscle (we all know muscle weighs more than fat). But for years I weighed closer to 140. Over time, and with age, I’ve lost the appetite I once had for bad foods and now I crave healthier foods. I believe this contributes to my weight being less.
Over the years, I’d be really into working out, then take a break. I’ve done videos and been a gym rat. At the gym I was always the group exercise junkie. I worked out quite a bit before the kids came along then it went downhill and I totally focused on them and not on my health / fitness.
Here’s a rare selfie of me in workout gear from August 2014…
I’m not big on taking pictures of myself, so it was tough finding full-body shots to share in this post. One thing I wish I’d done…and will do more of from here on…is take progress shots to see the difference in my body.
I stopped working out with my trainer early summer 2014 because my kids were out of school and it was impossible to keep an appointment. My schedule was off since they were home and her schedule couldn’t accommodate me anymore because she worked early mornings. Instead, I spent the gym time I did have each week roaming around doing a little cardio and the machines. But I was tired of going and not working up a sweat or seeing significant results.
Speaking of results…what do I want from my body? I don’t want to be crazy buff. I don’t want to compete in fitness competitions (not a stage person). I think I’m like most women when I say I want a lean, toned body. One that doesn’t jiggle too much in a bathing suit. Or at least jiggles in all the right places. 😉 One that makes me feel my best and is easy / realistic to maintain.
I’ve done a lot of fitness research now that I’m working out regularly and it’s true that your results aren’t solely based on workouts, but more importantly what you’re eating. So keep this in mind! Your results are from both workouts AND the foods you eat.
I continued searching for a program that would fit my life…then one day on Instagram I found this awesome trainer, Kayla Itsines. If you’re on IG, chances are you’ve heard of her since she has millions of followers. I’m probably the last woman on earth to cross her path, right? This is my life, people. Anyway, I watched her feed for a few months and finally took a moment to check out her website / bikini body guides from an actual computer…not my tiny cell phone screen. To be honest, I was surprised how little it cost to purchase her guides. $60ish? That’s a little more than what I was paying for my trainer per hour. I decided to start with the guide for weeks 1-12 instead of buying the entire package…
It was love at first workout. Not kidding! The guide is not only crammed with tons of great info, but her workouts are easy to follow and doable! It’s a circuit training program and she breaks it down into 28-minute workouts 3 days a week – arms, legs and abs. The days in-between you do cardio / HIIT.
What did I notice during and after finishing the first 12 weeks? A ton! First of all, I had abs! I could see my abs for the first time in a long time. My core is very very tight. My arms are toned and people (including my old trainer) have said my legs look smaller. My problem areas are my hips / thighs / butt. Also the back of my arms. I think this is typical for a lot of women. I’ve always had a small waistline, but could never see my abs. I love how tight my core feels, which is important for back health and to keep up with these kiddos. Here’s a shot taken right before I finished the first 12 weeks…
This was a special night when I had friends in from out of town. I rarely get a chance to dress up…but I was able to wear a fitted dress…and felt comfortable wearing it! My body and core were tighter, my body overall was leaner, and it gave me the confidence to wear something like this. The Nordstrom employee made me buy the dress and glad she did. 😉
Once I wrapped up week 12, I purchased weeks 13-24…
Weeks 13-24 are structured the same way with the circuits and HIIT / cardio days in between, but the workouts are ramped up a bit and incorporate a little more weights and a little less body weight. I worked my way through those 12 weeks and wrapped it up early July 2015.
What should have taken a total of 24 weeks took more like 34 weeks. Ha! I’m going to keep it real in here. Truth be told, life is busy, but I did my best to get to the gym. I wasn’t able to be religious and follow each week the way it was set up. So while I stayed in the correct workout order, 1 workout week took me 1.5-2 weeks instead. For example, for week 8 I may have done arms on a Monday, abs on a Thursday and legs on the following Monday or Tuesday…something like that. I never missed a workout, they just didn’t always fall in line the way they should have because of my schedule.
Why? My daughter was in pre-school and got out at 12 each day. I only had 3 hours between drop off and pick up. Many days I had to run errands or work with a client, so working out was knocked off the list. This school year however, things are changing because my baby will be in school full time…and starting much earlier. I’ll now be free of kids starting at 8:15 each day instead of 9, so the workouts will happen right after carpool and before I work with a client.
This program worked well for me because it was structured, easy to follow and about 45 minutes total. That time frame was doable for me last school year. I didn’t have time to be in the gym for hours upon hours. And I don’t think that’s good for anyone, unless of course you’re training for a competition or something. I would start my workout with a 10 minute warm up and then jump into the circuits. As long as no one stopped me to chat, I was in and out of the gym in 45 minutes…
You can see my print out on the floor near my feet.
So now what?
With the 24 weeks completed, I’m gearing up for the next phase. And I’m hoping to take better before and after pics ;-). A trainer at the gym offered to modify Kayla’s 24-week program and we’ll add in more cardio. Like I said, I wasn’t great about getting to the gym on cardio days. Last school year, 5-6 days a week in the gym for 45 minutes didn’t work for me. Especially with my youngest getting out of school at 12 each day. Now, we are going to modify the 24 week program to be more intense with less reps…and we are adding in spinning (bike) several days a week. Another trainer at the gym is an avid long-distance biker and has watched the program I’ve been doing. He has some great ideas about adding the spin bike to this 24-week program. So I’ll be starting next week and will be sure to update with any tips or ideas he shares.
You guys recall I recently set up this small workout area in my garage…
This is really all I need for Kayla’s program. You don’t need tons of equipment as a lot of her workouts are based on body weight. The reason I created this space is for the days when I absolutely can’t get to the gym because the kids are home.
I wanted to share this program in here because it genuinely worked for me – physically and with my hectic schedule. The program fired me up to keep at it because I was seeing results and it was easy…and if I missed a day I was upset. I really wanted to do it. I really loved it. If you’re looking for a new program, consider this one. It’s easy to follow, not a time suck and not a big investment.
What type of workouts do you do? Have you discovered something that works well? Share it with me in the comment section. While I’m modifying Kayla’s program for round two, I may be up for something new and different – so please share!!!
Have a great day guys!!
I'm a total Beachbody girl! Working on 21 Day Fix right now and excited about doing Cize next! I completely understand the need to find something that you can fit into a busy schedule and for me working out at home is a must since I'm a homeschooling mom of four littles! Thanks for sharing your journey! I've always wondered how you stay in shape! 😉
I've heard good things about the 21 day fix too! Good for you for finding the time for exercise when you have 4 little ones AND you're homeschooling!? I bow to you, my friend!
So glad you read my post and commented – and you're so sweet….I'm not "in shape"…but I'm getting there!
Hi Samantha, I've only just purchased kayla's guides and keen to get started. Did you follow her eating guide also or just the workout guides? Thanks Melissa
No, I didn't follow her eating guide…didn't purchase that…YET! Haha! She's got me sold and I suppose I'll end up buying that too 🙂
Good luck with the guide! It's so so awesome! Love the program so much! Be sure to check in with me and let me know your progress.
Thanks Samantha for sharing this! I know that there are tons of other workout progams out there but I think I'm gonna give this a try! This post has inspired me to stay healthy and fit!!