Guest Post by Jack White | How to lose weight & get fit as a parent
I was recently approached by local personal trainer, Jack White, who asked if I might be interested in featuring a fitness post from him. Now we all know I’m not the fittest mama on the block; to put it into perspective I’ve had a really expensive gym membership now for 6 months and visited once. So yeah, I’m THAT mum.
But with the New Year approaching, I thought it would be good for me to get some hints and tips – and I’m sharing them with you too.
Over to Jack…
Parenthood. Such a magical experience. Raising our beautiful little human beings and guiding them through the first stages of life. However, all too often we get caught up in the magic and lose track of other important things in our lives. Things such as our own health.
I’ll be honest with you…
During the first few months of fatherhood, I got fat.
My diet completely went out the window. I found myself ordering takeaway after takeaway and bingeing on junk food like there was no tomorrow. Despite fitness always being a part of my life, exercise didn’t even pop into my mind.
Now finding time to work on yourself is always going to be a challenge as a mummy or daddy. However, I hope the tips and advice I give you, from experience, can help you re-find (and then smash) your fitness goals.
Working out at home
‘How are we supposed to find time to exercise?!’ – I hear you.
Time is of essence as a parent. What little time we have must be used wisely.
Going to the gym isn’t normally a viable option. The time it takes to get there, complete your workout amongst the crowds and travel back home means that more often than not, it just doesn’t work. Then there’s the issue of finding childcare, too.
What if I were to tell you that you can get an equally as good, if not better workout in your own home?
What’s more, you can do this in as little as 20 minutes. No equipment needed.
With a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, you can build strength, burn calories and improve your fitness extremely effectively. This style of training also comes with the added benefit of the EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which means you’ll continue to burn calories long after you finish your workout!
Here’s an example of a HIIT workout:
8 exercises, 30s per exercise, 20s rest between exercises
- Press Up
- Mountain Climbers
- High Knees
You can then repeat the circuit for as many rounds as you have time for!
The best part is there is an almost unlimited source of bodyweight exercises to choose from online, so you will never get bored.
Why not give this one a go the next time your little ones are having a nap? Or you can attempt to do it with them involved too! (No promises with that one)
Eliminating the Exhaustion
For the first few weeks of being a dad, I was a zombie. I was relying on caffeine alone to get me through the day (bad idea, by the way). When you get time to yourself, all you want to do is sleep.
Sometimes, that is exactly what you need. Sleep is so important to your health and lack of it can affect you both physically and mentally. However, that drained feeling at the end of the day can be cured.
Exercise can actually boost your mood and energy levels.
Have you ever experienced that uplifting feeling during or after exercise? This is the result of your body producing endorphins. Endorphins are also known to relieve stress, reduce depression and actually improve sleep.
So when exercising is the last thing you feel like doing, it may be exactly what you need.
Eat to Fuel Your Body
At a time in your life where your diet may not seem as important, it’s all too easy to end up eating whatever is quickest and easiest. I dread to imagine the amount of pizzas I got through during that phase.
The food you eat affects your mood, gut health, body composition and more.
If your goal is to lose weight, then the most important factor to consider is the amount of calories you are consuming:
Total calories consumed < Total calories expended
In order to find out how many calories you should be consuming, you can use a calorie calculator online. This will give you an estimate, not a 100% accurate figure, so a bit of trial and error is needed from there on (try it for 2 weeks, if there is no change, reduce calories by 200).
However, more importantly; your diet should be viewed as your fuel for the day.
Consuming whole foods with low GI (fruit, veg, oats, etc.) will give you slow releasing energy throughout the rest of your day. Whereas although poor quality junk food may give you a short burst of energy, it will be over quickly and you’ll be left feeling exhausted once more.
Look for foods with high protein content, too. This includes meats, eggs, nuts and beans, amongst other things.
Protein is important for building and maintaining muscle.
If you are losing weight, protein will allow you to keep hold of your muscle and lose predominantly fat, creating a more defined physique.
‘But I don’t have time to prepare and cook all these meals every night!’
The easiest way around this is to meal prep for the week. This involves making up a large amount of a healthy, balanced meal (large enough to last you multiple meals) and freezing separate portions to use whenever you wish.
You now only have to put the effort in once and you’ll have lots of healthy meals ready to eat in under 5 minutes. Voila!
Some of my favourite options for meal prep are:
- Chili Con Carne
- Chicken Fajitas
- Chickpeas, veggies & rice (v)
- Thai Green Curry
Click here to see some more great options!
Not only will you save time and be eating yummy, nutritious meals; you will also be saving yourself a good chunk of money!