Monday, 28 July 2014

Fitting In Fitness

I spent my youth as an athlete and my entire adult life working in recreation and fitness. Until the birth of my youngest son I worked out for a living. If anyone in the world should be in shape, it should be me.'s just so hard to find the time. And just so easy to use "no time" as an excuse.

And it is hard to find the time. Between work, three kids, at-home-mommying, managing teams, volunteering, school, soccer, swimming and all the daily everything I don't even have five minutes to spend with my husband until after ten o'clock every night; how could I possibly justify taking up any more time out of the day - time from my kids, time from my husband, time from the work that I love or the work that pays the bills or the million and one other commitments I've made and organizations and committees counting on me?

I've let that excuse be - well, my excuse - for nearly three years. Oh, there have been little spurts of ambition here and there, days and weeks and even months of determined resolve, bursts of energy and determination that quickly devolve back into late nights lounging on the couch watching Netflix with my love and a glass or two of wine. There's never been any real long-term fitness commitment since I left my job as a fitness professional nearly three years ago.

It's not that I'm completely inactive or out of shape in general - I walk five or ten kilometres a day, bike ride, rollerblade, play soccer with the kids, swim, and chase around after my three boys every waking minute of the day. I'm pretty active. But for me that basic exercise doesn't count - that's just life. For me to feel fit and healthy, to feel like I look good and to feel good about myself, I need to be fit. Which means that for the last three years I've felt kind of crappy most of the time.

Not anymore. I've finally found a way to fit fitness back in my life.

I work out at my kids' soccer practices.

It wasn't even my idea, and I can't believe I never thought of it.

My soccer mom friends and I were lazing about in our lounge chairs, watching our sons play soccer and lamenting our lost figures. (Like one does.) My friend Josee suggested we start putting our soccer practice time to better use - for fully an hour and a half every single night we just sit there gabbing; why not work out? The boys' younger siblings keep each other entertained, ignoring us almost entirely as they run around playing tag and taking shots on net. There's no reason we couldn't watch the older kids practice, keep an eye on the younger kids at play, and get in a good workout all at the same time. As the fitness professional of the bunch, I was nominated to take charge.

We started the next night - reluctantly at first, a little unsure about pulling out the hand weights and resistance bands and unfurling the yoga mats right there on the soccer field sidelines with an audience of hundreds - but that faded quickly and we've been working out enthusiastically four nights a week ever since.

We Crossfit, Pilates and resistance train. Laps of lunges up and down the length of the pitch, hundreds of step-ups on the team benches. Weights and bands for arms and shoulders, down on the mats for abs. Burpees and squats, push-ups and dips. Yoga. Sometimes it's just Josee and I, sometimes a few of our other mom friends join in.

And now, halfway through the summer, it's finally paying off. I'm looking and feeling better than I have in ages - a little tighter, a little more toned, a little lighter on my feet, a little more energy every day. I find myself looking forward to our workouts at the field. I'm enjoying planning and leading daily exercise classes again. And, most importantly, I'm loving working out again. Hopefully that love will mean that this time around my fitness program sticks.

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