Back to School Means Back to Fit

The leaves are changing, the nights are cooler, and in Upstate New York, the apples are ripening. That means fall is near and with it is the start of the school year! My little guy will be going to preschool this year and although part of me is sad, a bigger, much louder part is ecstatic; screaming from the roof top, “Hallelujah!” I will now have two hours of time to myself on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Sure, I could do laundry or crochet or work, but what fun is that?

Instead, I am going to take this time to get stronger, leaner, and more centered. That’s right.  Exercise. Two hours to myself? Amazing, but it really is not that long since I also need to carpool, pick up, drop off, hugs, kisses, helicopter, and finally get the boot from his teacher, so I will need to make these training sessions efficient and effective. The secret? Prioritize. Just like in life, we need to prioritize to make sure that we are addressing the most important and fruitful opportunities that we can? My four year old spilled his cereal? Well, it may have to wait until after I change this dirty diaper. Priorities, see?

So, when we have just a few short, glorious minutes to ourselves this fall what do our training priorities look like?

Priority #1 Strength

You cannot be a mom without being strong. Period. It takes a tremendously strong woman to be patient, caring, attentive, intuitive, and firm at any given time, often at the same time (not to mention the physical strength required of the job). In addition to being able to haul around a toddler mid-tantrum AND a newborn in a carseat, strength training gives you more bang for your buck in caloric expenditure. What does this mean? You burn more calories in the 12-24 hours following the training session. So make sure to hit your resistance exercises before you commit to the treadmill. Plus, your kids will admire your ability to crank out push-ups better than their gym teacher.

Priority #2 Intervals

Go. Go. Go. Go to soccer, go to dance, go to school, go to play-dates, go to the grocery store, go to bed… As moms, we go, go, go. Maybe we are programmed for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training?) Kicking up the intensity during cardio for short durations and then backing off to recover create the blueprint for a quick, effective, fat-burning workout. Interval training is proven to have a greater caloric burn than steady state cardio due to the amount of oxygen we utilize. Oxygen, Shmoxygen, I have limited time and went overboard on the cupcakes at Preschool Parent Night. Kick it up.

Priority #3 Long, Slow Distance

Zoning out on the elliptical for 40 minutes in front of an episode of “Ellen” sounds amazing, but the reality is that it will not help you get lean or strong as quickly as your first two priorities: strength training and interval work. However, steady state cardio does burn calories, which is a major component of the weight loss and nutrition game. Plus it increases endorphins, and can help us clear the head. Rough day of potty training? Too many time outs? A jog around the neighborhood can help turn it around, reset your patience, and aid in weight loss.

Strap on those backpacks. Pack those PB&J lunches. Take some selfies in front of the school bus before you follow it to the school. Once you shed those tears, I know I will, get yourself moving doing some strength training, intervals, or running in the brisk, Fall air. Whatever it is, do something. After all, you deserve to be healthy and happy following a whole Summer of breaking up sibling squabbles, putting Spiderman bandaids on boos-boos, spilled milk, and waking up before the sun, right? 


Image via Flickr User Serge Melki