Step 1: Wake up in the morning and put on work-out clothes instead of regular clothes. This just means wearing a sports bra with your yoga pants and t-shirt this time. Also, running shoes instead of whatever flip-flops or rain boots you usually wear.
Step 2: Get ready for school as usual. Commence van-filling procedure, including seatbelts and shoes and backpacks and coats and the toddler-toy-of-the-day and CHILDREN. Double check to make sure the toddler and baby are both wearing pants and clean diapers, because we are not coming straight home as usual.
Step 3: Drive to school and say goodbye to older children, as well as their backpacks, coats, library books, and show-and-tell items. Don’t forget to send the children straight to the office for a late slip, if necessary (it’s necessary). Wave goodbye and take a deep breath of relief. Commence your drive to the gym.
Step 4: Suddenly remember you didn’t feed the littles any breakfast. Pull over to the side of the road and root around the floor of your van for a granola bar, a small package of goldfish crackers, and half a cookie. Divide the food between your children, and drive to the gym.
Step 5: Arrive at Fitwells for Women with plenty of time to get to the 9am step class. As you drag your children out of the van, do NOT think about where you are and what you are doing. If you think about it, you will put your kids back in the car and find a drive-through instead. Channel Dory and “just keep swimming.” Or in this case, just keep dragging your children through the parking lot.
Step 6: Go inside. Congratulations! At this point, you are basically done. Steps 1-5 were the most likely to trip you up, but now you are IN THE DOOR. If you’ve made it this far, you are not going to give yourself any more excuses. So THIS should be your goal next time. Don’t think about anything else. Just literally get to the gym and the rest will follow.
Step 7: Say goodbye to your children in the childcare room. This will take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the mood of your children and how soon they are willing to be distracted by a funny train toy and a kind stranger while you sneak out.
Step 8: Go to the change room. Slowly fill your water bottle. Fix your messy bun in the mirror. Go to the bathroom. Then, sit on the comfy leather bench and chat with a friend on your phone.
Step 9: Notice that it’s almost 9:00am. Heave a big sigh, and walk out the door. Go to the exercise class floor and set up your step. Place yourself strategically, so that someone else is directly between you and your reflection in the mirror.
Step 10: Do the step class. You will not want to, but everyone else is and you won’t want to be embarrassed. You will decide that you don’t have to do a good job; you will just do the minimum. But soon you will find yourself paying attention so you get the steps right. And then you are keeping up with the instructor. And then you start to think that this is pretty easy, actually, and maybe you should put a little extra bounce to your step. Then a super awesome song comes on (a Taylor Swift Dance remix, if you’re lucky) and you start to think you are probably in the wrong career because you should have been a dancer! Catch a glance of yourself in the mirror and reconsider. Finish the entire class, even the awesome, easy stretching part at the end.
Step 11: Because you feel so proud of yourself for being the sweaty, uncoordinated, exercising mess you are, decide that today is a great day for WEIGHTS as well as cardio! Start to do the circuit system, where the red and green lights tell you what to do. Like the step class, it requires very little internal motivation; you just have to follow along. This is your exercise niche.
Green: “Change! Change!” Red: “Not yet, not yet…”
Step 12: Get interrupted halfway through by an apologetic daycare staff member because one of your children won’t stop crying (hungry?) and the other needs a diaper change. Abandon your workout knowing that some exercise is better than no exercise, and maybe you’ll be able to do the whole thing next time.
Step 13: Buy a coffee for yourself and a muffin for the kids from the shop next door on your way out. But skip the cream and sugar this time. You know, because you just exercised and you may as well eat better to go with it.
Step 14: Eat most of the muffin, too.
Yep, that’s me at the gym. That selfie is PROOF that I was there. In the change room.
If you’re looking for a gym, Fitwells for Women (in Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, or Tsawwassen) is a really good option. They gave me a month’s membership in exchange for writing about them, and I very much enjoyed the great atmosphere and all the classes. Plus, all the cardio machines have televisions, and that means you can control the remote for once! No Bubble Guppies!
Now they want to give away a THREE MONTH MEMBERSHIP! FOR FREE! Fill out the rafflecopter below to be entered to win. To earn all 48 entries, leave a comment on their website, and click “I Commented!” and then all the other choices will open up. You’ll see; it’s pretty easy.
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