Mum, author, and former Biggest Loser trainer, Libby Babet shares her top tips on staying fit with a toddler.
When my 19 month old Izzy was a new born, I couldn’t wait for her to be a toddler because I thought it’d be easier. How wrong was I!
A toddler (well, mine at least) is a LOT of work and, while they’re incredibly FUN, it can be really freak’n hard to maintain your own fitness when you’re spending every waking minute looking after a demanding small human.
So, here are my go-to’s for all the mums out there who are struggling with their fitness, like so many others.
1. Think “movement” instead of “exercise”
The word “exercise” gets most people thinking “gym” which isn’t for everyone and definitely not on the cards right now! Our bodies are made to move, and we just need to move every day. This might mean something as simple as grabbing the pram and going for a walk, or having a stretch (disclaimer: “simple” probably needs redefining right now!). We also like doing night walks after dinner when you may have an extra set of hands to help. I find Izzy is so much more calm when we’re outside in a park, so this can also be a good time for you to do a little stretch, maybe some squats and lunges.
Whatever it is, just remember not to worry about exercising, just think movement! A 30 min walk a day is better than smashing yourself in a workout once a week. And it’s much more likely to last long term as it’ll become a habit you look forward to.
2. Find something fun
Humans are hard wired to run towards pleasure and away from pain. If you dread your workout or movement, you’re only going to stick with it until your motivation runs out. Find something YOU love to do, or at least that you love doing with a friend. That’s why I started The Upbeat which is all about fun, dance inspired workouts to a pumping beat that are super satisfying! It’s also why we’re rated in the Top 10 Live Online Workouts In The World by ClassPass. You can try one of my pre-recorded workouts free here.
3. Try Live Online workouts
Feedback from mums who I train through The Upbeat’s Live Online classes tell me they much prefer training from home because they can have their toddler with them and if the little one(s) needs their attention they can easily stop for a few minutes or try again with a later class. Oh, and because you need to book for live classes and someone is expecting you to show up, you’re much more likely to do it.
4. Energy is created
Feeling like you have the energy to move is important. So, if you’re sitting on the couch feeling exhausted, it may be handy to remember that energy is created. The more you sit around, the more exhausted and lethargic you’ll tend to feel.
If you’re trying to get up the motivation to do a workout, try going for a walk first, get moving and build some energy. It’s like starting a fire, you don’t just throw a log on – you start with paper and twigs, then sticks, then logs. Start your fire first.
5. Start small
For the same reason as above, aim to start small. Start with a 5 min walk or workout every day. It’s an easy goal to commit to and chances are that 5 min will become 10 or 20 or 30 min on some days. And it may not, but if you’re just doing 5 min every day, that’s great!
The other benefit here is that if you do something easy every day it’ll quickly become a habit, and that’s the secret to long-term change. Motivation won’t last forever, but a habit will last a lifetime.
I can’t just give you fitness tips without talking about nutrition! If you’re eating poorly then chances are you’ll never have the energy to make a start.
So, my top tip for your food is to think of food as information – your body needs information to create the things your body needs to have energy and function well, like hormones. In nature, colour equals nutrition, so eat the rainbow.
If you just don’t have time to eat well, start with looking at your snacks. Cutting out sugary snacks can make a big difference because sugar causes your energy to spike and crash. I’ve created some healthy, no added sugar snacks just for this reason. Head to www.beautyfood.com.au and use the code LIBBY to get $10 off your first order. AND, if you’d like some help with your nutrition, please give my 6 week nutrition program a try.
No money, no time? Follow my #SneakyNutrition posts on Instagram @libbybabet