My Fitness Journey and How to Make Yourself a Priority

We all can think of a million excuses for why we don't do any physical activity and why we can't eat well and why we aren't as healthy as we can be. Life can get in the way of making yourself a priority. We all have family commitments. We all have careers, jobs or other engagements that take up our time. Yet, somehow SOME people still are able to put their health and wellness at the top of their To Do list. You can too!

As a mom, my time is not mine. My entire day, week, month, life is built on the needs of my children. From the time we wake up to when I have time to workout, grocery shop, run errands and do laundry all rotate around the schedule of my children. I will come out and say something that every mom will cringe at; I'm not a self sacrificing mom. I'm just not. I'm not ashamed of that either. Why should a sacrifice myself? Who benefits in the end? I am a MomME. I'm a mom first and foremost. 100%, my children and my family come first. BUT the "ME" part is a HUGE priority. I can't possible take care of my family if I do not take care of myself.

Every person has certain things that are very important to them. Things they do no matter what. Things that they make a priority. Things that make them feel good. For some a visit to get their hair done is important. Perhaps getting a massage is important. Maybe you are someone who values going out with your husband or friends for adult time.

For me, the two things I do every day no matter what are:

1. Workout. My workout time is MY time. It is my only non-mom time. It's the very precious time I have to focus on me and my fitness goals.

2. Get dressed. I don't mean put on clothes and head out the door. I mean actually get dressed. I pick an outfit, and GET DRESSED.

My Fitness Journey

I'm one of those lucky girls whose parents put importance on sports and physical activity from a young age. I grew up in a sall town; Jasper National Park, Alberta. I think between my sister and I we did every possible sport that was offered. Volleyball, basketball, skating, dance, swimming, badminton, we did it all. The sport I thrived most in was swimming. I was a competitive swimmer, turned coach and a lifeguard, competitive lifeguard turned coach. Being active was engraved in my mind as being important. When I was old enough to go to the gym I did. It gave me a high I couldn't get with anything else. It became an addiction.

After I moved to Edmonton, Alberta I found an amazing little boxing gym. I had wanted to try boxing. My maternal grandfather was the Champion boxer of Egypt. My father loved boxing and it was something I wanted to try so bad. I googled boxing gyms in downtown Edmonton and found Panther Gym. The first time I went down there into that basement gym with the stench of sweat I felt like I was walking into the "Fight Club". After my first class, I was hooked! Hooked on the sport, the people, the atmosphere. I was hooked on the feeling I got from pushing myself, releasing anger, frustration, stress, anything I was feeling. I did that for about 5 years.

Since then, I have had gym memberships where I have enjoyed strength training, Zumba, Spin (honestly I don't love spin but it's a good workout), Step and so much more. I am currently taking an All Ladies Bootcamp run by Rosie T from Rosie T Fitness. It is an amazing workout that I have been able to build on to push myself to my limits. She's loud, crazy, obnoxious and knows what to say to push you! Most often we are swearing at her under our breaths and she knows it.

Tips for Making Working Out Part of Your Life:

1. Schedule your workout: Pick and time and stick to it. If you are in a boot camp like me or taking specific classes, this part is easy. On the other hand if you workout at home or go to the gym on your own it is often easy to let other commitments come first. The workout you planned to do after lunch is now being replaced with a load of laundry. Choose times that make sense for your life. If you are not a morning person, do not plan your workout at 6 am! If your child naps at 11am don't plan your home workout for 2pm.

2. Do what you love: If you love Zumba, do Zumba. If you love Step, do Step. If you love Yoga, do Yoga! Of course you should try other things and make your fitness plans well rounded but do what you love. This will keep you motivated to come back to it over and over again. It's easy to get demotivated otherwise.

3. Find Your Motivation: The most common motivation for anyone is to lose weight. I get that. I've been there! From my experience, it's far more important to have other motivations too. Some may include, reducing the risk of health issues, keeping up with your kids, boost in self confidence, better sleep, more energy, etc.

4. Ask for Help: I do not mean ask google! Yes, you may find lots of great advice on there. I mean seek professional advice. Trainers can be expensive but so worth it for even a few sessions to get you on track especially if you have little to no experience. The worst thing you can do is to "self medicate". You could end up damaging your body. There are programs that are already designed by professionals like P90X. These set out specific workouts to meet various goals. I did these for a while. Man are they hard!

5. Set Realistic Goals: When you set your goals, look at that you want to achieve and look at what you are willing to do to achieve your goal. Are you willing to cut your sugar addiction? Are you willing to workout 5 days a week? What are you willing to do? Look at your life also. What factors in your life affect your ability to achieve your goal and how can you work around them?

6. Find Inspiration: I follow a couple of amazing sisters who keep me pumped! @wondermama_ Marina Farook is a badass babe! She lifts heavy, goes hard and always has a great Instastory to enjoy. @sfm_fitness, Saman Munir is a hardcore mom of 3. She is a beauty blogger and Under Armour ambassador. Her youngest is 3 years old and take a look at her!

On one of Marina's instagram videos she said that people ask her what her inspiration is and she said that you should be your own inspiration. Brilliant! So I'm going to tell you. Find someone who inspires you until you become your own inspiration!

7. Build Your Support System: My husband is my biggest support for my journey. Sometimes he's a little too supportive. Asking me if I've been working out or watching my food, or eyeing me as I reach for the fries on my plate. But in the end, I appreciate it. Another great idea is to use Social Media or other ways to connect like minded people. Some friends and I have a Whatsapp chat called "No Excuses". We motivate each other, share recipes, vent about the struggle of getting to that spin class or not reaching for a second slice of cheesecake. We all have different goals but as a group of health conscious, motivated moms we understand one another and keep each other in check.

Other Tips:

- Increase your water intake. This was a huge struggle for me! I basically drank no water aside from what I drank during my workout. I had to find other ways to drink water. I now drink a cup of warm water with lemon as I make breakfast. I feel this wakes up my system. I also got a cute tumbler that I put a sachet of Crystal Light in. Each sachet is between 5-10 calories. I prefer not drink my calories, but this helps me take in more water. Then finally I have my water bottle and my Green or Oolong tea for the day. Of course tea does not take the place of water but Green Tea has its own benefits

- Mix it up. Try different forms of exercise. Try going to a cross country ski in the winter, a swim, hot yoga, tabata, bellyfit, the possibilities are endless! Basically anything you do that exerts effort and makes you sweat in my books is a workout. For me, that means running after Malik at the drop in gymnastics session, hopscotch in the backyard or running around at the park.

I hope you will share our journey with me. I would love to hear about what you enjoy, what tips you may have for other sisters working towards an active lifestyle.

Best of luck! Keep me posted!

** Disclaimer. I'm not a trainer I am just passionate about being active, healthy and I want to share my experiences and tips with all of you.