When you’re a mom sometimes you forget to do things for yourself. Your days are filled with getting kids dressed, taking kids to school, doing grocery shopping to make sure the kids have enough of whatever they’ve decided to only eat this week, picking up the kids, making dinner, putting kids to bed, then falling asleep on the couch after eating too much cheese. Okay maybe that last one is just me.
What I’m getting at is that most of the time moms (and dads too) get too consumed in everyday life. We go about our days and daily routines thinking that we take time for ourselves when really we barely steal minutes to do the things we want to do; if we’re lucky. Three times a week I decide to steal at least an hour of my day to work out. Joining Shanghai Fitness 443 in the Willowbrook compound has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Before then I was stealing minutes with getting my nails done or getting a foot massage, but this is one stolen moment that I can actually say has led to some positive change in my life.
Now, I used to HATE working out. I absolutely loathe gyms and gym atmospheres. That’s why when I found 443 it fit perfectly with everything I was looking for in a place to work out: small class sizes, personal attention from your teacher, and a sense of camaraderie amongst classmates. Opposed to some, I actually don’t like being anonymous while I sweat, I like to have people around me who know me and say: “Look at you Sweaty McSweaterson! Get a towel!!”
This past week I was fortunate enough to join Jill and other members of 443 on a fitness retreat to Thailand. Twice a year, Jill, who by the way was a dietician on The Biggest Loser and who is an excellent trainer, takes a group of her students to Phuket to whip them into holiday shape and kickstart their fitness goals before going on either Christmas or summer vacation. There were 18 of us, doing about 5-6 hours of activity a day including beach workouts, hill intervals, yoga, Pilates, and aqua-fit. Despite all of this, hands down the hardest workout was being at the bottom of the steps to our villa at the end of a workout and knowing that you were 40 steps away from a plunge in the pool or food. 40 steps doesn’t seem like much until after you’ve run a 75 degree hill in Phuket temperatures. You’ve never wished so hard for an escalator or one of those senior citizen motorized stair chairs more in your life. How three small flights of stairs could be so hard I can never actually express, but believe me they were.
Although most of us aren't as lucky as me to take 4 days to themselves to sweat up a storm somewhere, if you do have the opportunity, don’t pass it up. Do something big just for yourself, whether it’s fitness related or something to soothe the soul. Keeping yourself happy and grounded is the key to keeping your family life balanced. Even if it’s once a month or once a year, taking some hard earned time to better yourself makes coming back to your family that much sweeter - and not killing your kids that much easier.
For about a week.