A Parent's Guide to Fitness

by Nick Shaw | Jun 04, 2021

Parenting is hard and can sometimes be overwhelming with all of the responsibilities and obligations that are thrown your way on a daily basis. For many parents, this means that their fitness needs go by the wayside. While it is important to take care of your parenting obligations, it is equally important to tend to your health and general needs so that you can be happy, healthy and there for your kids. As a bonus, when you take good care of yourself, you set a great example for your children to follow! 

While it is not always easy, there are some tips and tricks to staying healthy and fit even as a busy parent!

Tip #1 – Know that consistency beats perfection. 

This knowledge often lifts a huge burden from parents’ shoulders. You do not need to be absolutely perfect with your diet and training. If you follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to your nutrition you’ll be on the right track for health and weight maintenance. The beauty of this rule is that you still eat mostly healthy foods, but if you want to get pizza or ice cream with your kids once in a while…you’re totally okay to do so!

This also applies to your training. You don’t need to be in the gym for 2-3 hours a day (unless you can make that work with kids, then go for it!). What this means is if you can clear 30-60 minutes out of your schedule each weekday that’s more than enough time to make progress lifting. The other good news is, if things are really tough at the moment––it takes even less work to maintain the fitness you have achieved! Getting in three lifting sessions per week is enough for most to maintain muscle mass. Add a little cardio for your heart and you will be golden.

If you’re stuck at home and can’t make it to the gym, you still have options! The RP Gym Free Training Templates for example can be done in as little as 20-30 minutes with some dumbbells in your living room.

If you can make it to the gym but are tight on time, the RP Simple Training Templates are a good bet because you can get all of those workouts done in under an hour by just sticking to the basics…the main, compound lifts. 

Tip #2 – Involve your kids

Nobody said you have to do it alone. Depending on the age of your kids, you might be able to involve them as easily as pushing them in the stroller while you are running or walking. It’s great cardio and there’s a good chance they’re going to love it as well. 

If they’re a bit older, get them to exercise with you. You can do an exercise and then show them how to do it. Maybe they can do some bodyweight squats while you squat with a barbell or try some burpees if you’re doing those. They are likely to love playing along and if you can lead by example then it’s a win/win all around. 

As for nutrition, keep it simple! Prep one healthy meal that you can portion out for everyone and save yourself the time cooking separate foods. Simple, healthy recipes that can be prepared in bulk are a great idea. Think enchiladas, chile, or just protein chopped up with a healthy sauce. You can get tons of great healthy recipe ideas from our cookbooks. The Turkey Enchiladas that are in Time To Eat are a family favorite for the kids and adults!

Tip #3 – Set your priorities

Listen, we’ve all heard the reasons (or excuses) that you don’t have time for fitness. It’s easy to say that when you’re stressed out from the pressures of parenting, but I’m here for a bit of real talk, chances are if fitness is a priority for you, you’ll find a way to make it work. Making it a priority if you don’t feel inclined naturally can be as easy as reassessing your reasons––do you want to be around and fit and healthy to play with your kids and even your grandkids years from now? This can be your “why” for making fitness a bigger priority if your tendency is to push it aside!

You might have to cut out something else from your schedule such as watching TV or scrolling on your phone looking at social media. Remind yourself of why your health and fitness are important to you and map out a plan (and a plan B for when things are crazy). 

Tip #4 – Make it easier to do what you want to do

Knowing you don’t have to be perfect all the time can help, but sticking to that 80/20 rule is easier if you have more access to healthy options and less access to junk––then when you do have some fun it’s a choice not an impulse! The next time you find yourself at the grocery store, skip the junkier snacks and buy lots of fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein, and healthy carbs. Junky snacks are a heck of a lot easier to resist if they aren’t in the cabinet.

Making the gym easier to get to can help as well. Buddy up with a friend so that you get some fun hang out time along with working out (this tends to make it more motivating). Or get some dumbbells and the RP Gym Free Training Templates to cut out the commute time to the gym and squeeze your fitness in at home in your undies if you want! 

Whatever you do, try to make your nutrition and training goals easier to achieve by taking off the pressure of perfection and finding the tricks and strategies that make you more likely to get in your 80 from the 80/20!

One last thing, it’s also perfectly okay to acknowledge that fitness just can’t be a huge priority for you at a given time. That’s totally fine! Sometimes that’s just the reality of the moment. You might be overwhelmed with a newborn baby or a new kids activity schedule. Life is about balance and making choices that determine tradeoffs for you and your family. We’re not here to judge, we’re just here to help when you can and do find the time to work on your health and fitness! No matter how crazy life seems at the moment, eventually you will find a time and place where you can make your health and fitness a priority and we hope we can make your goals easier to achieve with tips like this and our diverse line-up of products and information for people at all starting places!