The Journey Back to a Fitter Me: Finding Activities I Enjoy

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last week I started a new series about my Journey Back to a Fitter Me.  I’m trying to get back on track after having my third child, and I’m hoping that anyone who’s struggling to start and maintain a regular fitness routine will join me.  I was overwhelmed by the number of people who said they were ready to begin again right along with me.  Some said that lack of motivation had derailed their fitness efforts, while others had injuries or life circumstances that got in the way.  Regardless of the reasons, we’re all in this together.  I’m focusing on things one step at a time, and thought a weekly discussion of those steps as well as a recap of my progress will help me- and might help you too.
Week one recap:  My first step was to focus on developing a consistent routine.  I’m starting slow, aiming for 20-30 minutes of activity, 3-4 days per week.  If I can do more, great, but at this point, that’s the minimum that I’m working hard to achieve.   Last week was a little easier than most will be, since my husband was still off work for “baby leave”.  I had the flexibility to work out at different times of day since he was here to help, but I tried to pretend like he wasn’t.  I got up early (even though I didn’t have to) so that I could see what it might be like next week when I’m on my own.  It’s important for me to feel a sense of accomplishment because that will give me the confidence to feel like I can still make this time for myself on a regular basis.
A few of the workouts went well.  A few were a little rough when the baby needed to eat in the middle of my video, or my older kids wanted to workout with me.  Honestly, those interruptions annoy me more than they should, but it’s something I’m going to have to get used to.  Even though I got interrupted, I picked up where I left off and was able to stick with it.  So overall, I’ll consider Week 1 to be a success.
So where do I go from here?  Now that I’m getting into a routine, I’ve been thinking about what Step 2 should be.  Because my time is limited, I want to make the most of my workouts.  But more than focusing on burning as many calories as possible, my main goal is to challenge myself while finding activities that are fun for me.
Step 2:  Find some new workouts I enjoy.  I’ve always loved running, so starting with walking and progressing to running is an easy choice for me.  The only problem is that right now, I don’t have lots of time to go outside for a workout, and it’s also tricky to fit in a treadmill workout in the mornings.  So for now, I’m going to try walking/jogging a few days per week in the evening or on the weekends when my husband can watch the kids.  On my other workout days, I’m going to stick with videos.  My preference is videos that have a cardio and strength component to them, and at this point my options are limited.  So my goal for this week is to try some new videos, either by renting them at the library or borrowing them from friends.  I try not to buy a video unless I know it’s going to be a good fit for me and I’ll be able to use it long-term.
One of the keys to sticking with a regular exercise routine is finding things you like to do.  If I hated running and someone told me I had to do it every week, it wouldn’t be long before I’d give up.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, like a new class or machine at the gym.  Dust off your bike in the garage and take it out for a ride around the block, or venture over to the walking track while your kids are at soccer practice.  Find opportunities to try something new, and you might just find you start enjoying exercise more than you ever thought possible!
Next week I’ll share what new activities I tried, how the routine is coming along, and what’s next.  I hope you’ll have some good progress of your own to share too!
Have you found activities you enjoy?  Do you think that’s one of the keys to your fitness success?  How did Week 1 go for you?

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3SISTERS 6/22/2017
I liked this. Have been thinking about some of the things you wrote and am going to try something a little weird. Every 10 min or so am going to do some arm weight exercises in between tv and computer and book etc. Report
week 1 is going well. i enjoy walking/jogging and cardio dancing dvds (hip hop abs and zumba). i hope i can keep exercising consistently so i don't have to keep starting over. Report
One I enjoy is running, and I stuck with my 5k training program and completed the Trick or Treat Trot! Report
I love to dance! Although a contra dance is scheduled only a couple of times a month, I dance around in the kitchen to recorded calls by Dudley Laufman, an old time New England dance caller/fiddler. Report
I have an odd homelife schedule since my husband works a 1st/2nd weekly swing shift, so in order to find consistency and ensure I would be able to workout with no obstacles, I choose to use my lunch break. I adjusted my hours with my supervisors so that I could have an hour lunch each day and I use that time to either run or ST. I take a "baby wipe" bath when i'm finished, freshen up and head back to my desk. It's worked out very well for me so far. Report
This is so apt for me today - I've been on what I might politely call a 'Spark break' and now that I'm back I was saying to a friend here that everything would be better if I wasn't so anti-exercise - that is to say if I didn't feel like I HAVE to do it. Her response was exactly along the lines of your blog - she knows me quite well and made a few suggestions and thus far it's working for me. I look forward to reading the next blog with your own ideas on finding something we enjoy as individuals. I need something/someone to make me think! Thanks so much for posting. Report
I enjoyed reading your blog, and look forward to reading more. Report
So far so good. Last week I added another day of Zumba This week I'm walking outside every day that it's not raining, and to make up for having to miss Zumba on Monday and Friday. Report
Good for you for getting back on track! It can be very difficult to exercise with little ones around- I know, I've been there! But, it can be done. Just stick with it! I love any of Chalene Johnsons's Turbo Jam DVDs - they're high energy and positive, and burn lots of clories. For strength training try her 3T video. They can all be purchased inexpensively on Best of luck! Report
At this stage, it's all about flexibility and good humor.

My daughter also tends to get in the way if I'm doing an exercise video in her presence, but I try to reframe it in my mind as playtime with Mommy (or, Mommy being a good influence!). Maybe the workout isn't as intense as it would have been, but it's still pretty darn good... and she has a great time too!

And nothing is better than hearing that little voice yell "YAY, Mommy! Exercise!" Report
I tried tennis the other day with my daughter and son-in-law. I can still play a bit! Glad you are finding fitness workouts ! Report
I really enjoy Oregon we swim in heated indoor pools! At this point, swimming is difficult because my one suit doesn't fit well. I'm making a goal of looking for a swimsuit in my size that will work for swimming laps.

Thank you for showing us that this happens to everyone! Report
Really enjoying your blog and the great comments. I'm getting so many great ideas. This is actually my week 1. I would love to fit in a morning workout, but just 8 weeks old, my littlest one has yet to get on a regular "early morning" feeding schedule. And generally by the time I put her down, I have to get my oldest off to school. My goal is to fit in a workout in the evenings. I have a variety of DVDs as well as a treadmill, so I'll find something to do for at least 30 minutes. :) Report
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Blog. I'm encouraged to know that what I'm experiencing at this particular stage in my life is not uncommon. It's been a rough 1-1/2 to 2 years for me and I'm struggling with motivation to get back to a steady workout routine. After injuring my back in May 2010, I had to completely stop everything I was doing for exercise and that started my downfall. It's taken a year and a half for my back to recover and it's finally to a point where I can start exercising regularly again. Complicate that by the fact that I had surgery in March 2011 (hysterectomy) and I'm now in full-blown menopause, I've gained quite a bit of weight. I may be only 45 years old, but I feel like I'm 65 years old. Fatigue, muscle and joint pain, etc., are a few of the symptoms I'm experiencing in conjunction with the weight gain. I'm trying hard not to get discouraged and I've started slowly trying to find a workout routine that fits into my busy schedule. One day at a time.... One foot in front of the other.... Like my doctor told me, "Menopause doesn't last forever." Right now I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel but I'll have to take her word for it. I'm looking forward to reading more of your Blog and wish you all of the luck and motivation that you need to succeed. I'm right there with you!! Report
I enjoyed your blog. I remember those days when my kids were small. I go to the gym & enjoy spinning class, body works plus abs class & pilates. However I must of pulled a muscle in my shoulder, so I didn't go to class last night & it feels a lot better. injured it 2 weeks ago. I'll be glad when I can lift dumbbells again. when I stay home I just eat & watch tv in the evening. I've been going on the treadmill, elliptical, stair master & sit-ups. 15 lbs. lost & a lot more to go. Report
Week 1 went well for me so it was a success! I was able to get four days of exercise in. I definitely think one of the keys for fitness success is finding activities you enjoy. I love yoga & swimming, but those are more relaxing for me. Usually I like switching up the bike or the elliptical at the gym, but for some reason lately I have been focused on the treadmill. I have exercise-induced asthma so running & even jogging have always been out of the question for me. Realizing my lung capacity is not the greatest & wanting to push myself further in cardio, I decided to start working on this lately. While I don't entirely love it right now, I am committed to a walk/jog work-out where I walk for a couple of minutes, jog for a minute, etc. There are times where I can feel my body wanting to go faster or longer, but my lungs literally cannot keep up. I'm hoping it'll improve eventually and it can be an activity I'll enjoy. :) Report
I just resigned up at my gym since I took a break from it for two months thinking that I could do it on my own. I have put on some extra pounds and am determined to get them off before they become allot of pounds. So I will join you too Report
If you haven't tried it, I'd suggest looking into Leslie Sansone's "Walk and Firm: Fat Burner Walk". It's about 30 minutes and she does intervals of walking and strength training. She uses gloved weights, but I use light dumb bells. Report
I have found that I love spinning! I Love it So much more than I thought I would ever love exercising! Report
It is a struggle to keep some variety in there. But you're right, trying new things is key. Good for you! Report
These are great. I've lost my workout mojo with running this past season and need a kick in the pants to remotivate myself. Part of the issue was scheduling, part of the issue was after acheiving all my running goals, i couldn't keep up with the rigorous workouts and took the all or nothing approach. I couldn't wrap my mind around doing shorter workouts with my runs. Now, I'll be happy to build up to shorter runs and incorporating strength training into my routine. Report
Good for you! It is a struggle to fit in the "me" time; I get up at least an hour earlier so that I can fit it in. I just purchased some great treadmill DVD's to keep me motivated through the winter - Spinervals and Treadmoves. They are adaptable to any level of fitness! I would definitely recommend them! Report
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