I'm a wife, mother of a toddler, full-time employee, runner and a CrossFitter. I'm also currently training for my first ultramarathon.
Let me state up front that I do recognize that I am privileged to a certain degree. I have a husband (AKA The Mister) who is supportive of my fitness goals and will assist me with childcare. I live fairly close to where I work so my commute, including dropping baby off at daycare, is short -- for Atlanta anyway. I have my own car and don't have to rely on public transportation. I am able to afford a gym membership. I have a treadmill at home. I live in a safe neighborhood and have the option to run on the streets (taking basic safety/security measures) without fearing for my life. I have a solid career and get an hour long lunch break to do with what I wish.
I know there are people out there who have situations that make finding time to exercise extremely difficult. However, I can only write about my life and how I do it. We all have to figure out what works best for our own situations. I still maintain that the majority of us can find the time to exercise if we have the desire and we are flexible.
This Is How I Do It.
A Typical Day In The Life...
4:50 a.m. - 5:10 a.m.: Wake Up. Get dressed. Toast a 1/2 whole wheat bagel with some cream cheese for a pre-workout meal. Out the door for workout by 5:30-5:40 a.m.. I either hit my CrossFit gym for the 6 a.m. class, meet my running partner for a run, run solo outdoors, or run on my treadmill. I adjust my wake up time so that my workout is complete by 7 a.m. at the latest.
6:45 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: Get home. Shower, co-wash and bun up hair, and dress while The Mister feeds and gets the baby ready for school. Pack my food and snacks for work. Try (and usually fail) to get out the door by 7:40 a.m. Drop baby off at daycare and sneak into work hopefully by 8:30 a.m.
12:00 p.m.: Sometimes I trade off schedules with The Mister so he can sleep in. On these days, I will skip my a.m. workout, "sleep-in" until 6:30 a.m., and get myself and the baby ready. Then at lunch I will go for a workout. I try to limit my workouts to half-an-hour on these days. That usually means all I can do is a quick climb up and down Kennesaw Mountain or a three mile run on the treadmill at the gym. I've also done a quick run on residential streets near my job. Once I get back to the office, I take a baby wipe bath. Luckily, I have my own office so this is sufficient.
5:30 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.: Pick up the baby from daycare and head home.
6:15 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Feed the baby dinner. I cook a hot meal two to three times a week. Other times I rely on leftovers or crock-pot meals made the night before. Sometimes I make something quick and easy for myself and leave The Mister to fend for himself. If I'm feeling especially lazy, I'll order in pizza. After dinner, we have playtime, bath time, treatment time (my son is asthmatic and uses a nebulizer) and story time. This is a very hectic few hours after a long day. The Mister also has days when he gets off work at the normal hours and we can all eat and hang out together. Those are my favorite evenings.
8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.: Baby goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. so mommy is free! Sometimes, I'll watch a bit of a TV show I love, but most of the time I save that for weekends. I usually spend this time getting ready for the next day and enjoying a little me time. I'm also exhausted by now.
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.: I try to go to bed by 9:30 p.m. but I usually end up falling asleep closer to 10 p.m. I read a bit in bed and catch up on my Words With Friends games. I try to wait up for The Mister if he works the evening shift but I'm not always successful. Most nights I can hardly keep my eyes open and have no problem going to bed. After all, I have an early day!
My weekends are pretty much the same as far as exercise, except the workouts are usually longer. Saturday means long runs and/or races and Sunday usually involves an additional long run. Just to throw an additional monkey wrench in my plans, The Mister usually works on the weekend and his schedule varies. My weekend day sometimes starts even earlier than it does during the week! During the summer, I would wake up at 3:45 a.m. to do my 20-milers and get back home by 8 a.m. so The Mister could go to work.
So that's how I do it! You don't see a lot of time in there for fun or just goofing off and that's because I don't have it. If I'm not exercising during my lunch break, I do "fun" stuff like grocery shop or run errands. My house doesn't get a good cleaning until the weekend. I simply choose to prioritize my health and fitness goals over watching TV, surfing the 'Net, and folding never-ending piles of laundry.
I absolutely miss vegging out on the couch from 8-10 p.m. watching TV. I deeply miss taking a leisurely bath with a good book every night. I wish I could handle a date night with The Mister that included a movie starting at 9 p.m. without falling asleep.
However, I have this little 50-mile race that I registered for in December and my goal is to cross the finish line upright and smiling. I'm willing to sacrifice now so that I can finish strong December. Even after the race, my days will probably be very similar in structure. I love to exercise -- race or not -- and working out in the morning has become second nature. This is my new normal and I don't mind it one bit.
How about you? How do you fit exercise into your busy life? If you don't do it currently, do you see ways you could fit it in?