Have you ever noticed how our society tends to body shame parents? A male physique that lacks muscle tone is called a dad bod. An overhanging belly on a woman is known as a mother’s apron (whether the belly’s owner has had kids or not). When did we collectively decide that body confidence and parenthood should always be mutually exclusive? Of course, nobody’s denying that parenthood makes it harder for men and women to get in shape and stay in shape, especially in an era where most parents work full time. Parenthood can be time-consuming, expensive, and exhausting. Nonetheless, self-care shouldn’t just be the preserve of the cash and time rich (whoever the heck they are).
The truth is that even the most over-stressed, overworked and underpaid parents can and should still enjoy fit, healthy and beautiful bodies. Even the busiest Mum should be able to wear her bikini with pride on the beech and even the most dedicated Dad shouldn’t consider a beer belly an inevitability.
Here are some ways in which even the busiest and the most cash-strapped parent can get in shape without maxing out their carefully crafted family budget.
Leverage special offers to save money on gym membership
It’s a commonly held fallacy that gym memberships are prohibitively expensive for busy parents. Sure, there are a lot of pricey gyms out there. But there are also gyms that are built with the needs of cash strapped parents in mind.
A healthy dose of competition has made it easier for even the most budget-conscious Mums and Dads to enjoy a reasonably priced monthly gym membership without getting themselves locked into lengthy and restrictive contracts. What’s more, in order to one-up their competition, today’s gyms are tripping over themselves with special offers and promotions. You may be able to get even better offers (like referral bonuses) if you and your significant other join together.
Can’t afford to join a gym? Work out from home!
Even if you still can’t afford a gym, or if there are no reasonably priced gyms within easy reach of your home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a comprehensive full-body workout. You don’t even need to fork out a small fortune converting your spare room into a home gym. If you have a little to invest in a few kettlebells and/or dumbbells you may be surprised at how much you can accomplish. Take a look at the Origym Guide to getting a Summer Body. You’ll find lots of great exercises which can be done with kettlebells as well as isometric exercises for which you’ll require nothing other than your own body and determination.
Struggling to find the time to work out? Go to bed nice and early and set your alarm for 5
Learn to cook takeaway faves at home
Who doesn’t love an indulgent takeaway on a Friday night after a hard day’s work? Yet, as much fun as it is for the whole family to gather around a pizza box, a bargain bucket or a big box of Chinese or Indian food, even this weekly indulgence can derail not just your fitness goals but your budget, too.
The good news is that there are lots of ways in which you can make healthier versions of all of your takeaway favourites at home at a fraction of the price. Here are some great recipes. In fact, a little takeaway-style window dressing can be a great way for the whole family to eat more veggies. Just take a look at this completely plant-based Kentucky Fried Cauliflower recipe.
Learn the wonderful art of meal prep
We all know that great bodies aren’t just made in the gym… they’re also made in the kitchen. For time-poor parents, it can be a real challenge finding the time to cook three nutritious and balanced meals every single day.
As such, when their blood sugar gets low at work the temptations of the vending machine can be all but irresistible as can the idea of a lunchtime trip to McDonald’s. This is why busy parents need to make meal planning and prep their best friends. Cooking in large batches (curries,
When you always have easy access to a healthy meal, it’s much easier to avoid making bad food choices. While you’re at it, be sure that you always have access to a healthy snack. Nuts and seeds, for example, are f
Master your macros
Counting calories is all well and good, but it can obscure the bigger picture. Remember that not all calories are created equal. An egg and a can of Coke have the same amount of calories… But nobody in their right mind could argue that they are comparable where nutrition is concerned.
While keeping an eye on your calories is important, it’s just as important to keep track of your macronutrients; your protein, fats, and carbohydrates. To build lean muscle mass and keep your body fat low you should aim for 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats,
Take a course
You could even take a course in nutrition, there are so many different courses to choose from. If you did choose to go down this route, it is really important that you do your research into what company you’re looking to get your qualification from. Traditionally, people enrol on a course with the intention of specialising in a particular area. On the nutrition front, as a parent, it’s arguable that having a good understanding of nutrition is essential to keeping your family healthy and happy. Childhood obesity You can actually take a level 4 nutrition course at HFE, within this you will develop skills and knowledge to have a strong understanding of nutrition and how to utilise it to your benefit.
Exercise together as a family
Finally, one of the best and most enjoyable ways to stay active is together. Find opportunities to exercise with your partner and kids as a family. Whether it’s a long bike ride, a brisk walk, or your own Olympics in the back garden, staying active together can help you to stay close, healthy, and happy!
DISCLOSURE – This is a collaborative post.