Guys, moms need exercise.
Recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when a fitness influencer’s post caught my eye. It shared all of the criticism that followers and haters had unleashed at her over time. I’ve been scrolling through Instagram (follow me here) trying to find the post, but since I am currently drawing a blank on who posted it, I’ll give you the gist.
As someone who has publicly shared her fitness journey, this badass mom has been accused of the following:
- Starving herself in the name of fitness
- Being a selfish mom for working out regularly
- Ignoring her kids
- Being vain & modeling unhealthy behavior
- Being “obsessed” with looks & obtaining a certain body type
People had been absolutely nasty to this mom, but she was still willing to share a peak into her life in hopes of inspiring others. Because she knows that moms need exercise and inspiration. Of course, I couldn’t help but think about my own fitness journey and all of the things that lead me here.
Publicly sharing your own health or weight loss journey is scary because there are so many people judging from the comfort of their screens. But I found out the hard way how much moms need exercise.
You Don’t Know Someone Else’s Struggles or Motivation
After my daughter was born in 2014, I fell into pretty severe postpartum depression. It lasted almost two years – it was so long that I’m not sure it could really be called PPD by the end. I’d had a history of depression starting from the time I was 13, but it had never been as bad as this.
I don’t tell a lot of people about this, but when I was driving, I often wondered what it might be like to just drive off of that cliff. Or, what if I just drove right off the bridge? I honestly think the only thing that stopped me was my baby in the back seat.
On top of that, I was a horrible wife. Sad and mad, constantly blaming my own issues on others. I never hurt my child, but I wanted to toss her across the room a few times. I was really sick.
Being so sick, I also gained a lot of weight. Within a few weeks after having my daughter, I dropped to about 139 lbs, which put me at a healthy BMI. But once the baby blues gave way to postpartum depression, my weight made a slow climb to an all-time high of 174 lbs. That’s a gain of 35 lbs on a 5′ 4″ frame. NOT GOOD.
I ended up on anti-depressants, ultimately trying two different kinds. They made me sick and fatigued, which is apparently a side effect for some people. I knew there had to be another way. So I started working out with a personal trainer.
I learned a lot during that time, some about fitness but mostly about myself. The biggest takeaway was that I needed exercise and a healthy diet in order for my mind to also operate in a healthy way. Every day that I worked out, I felt energized and my mood improved significantly. My husband knew within five minutes of coming home from work whether or not I’d been to the gym on any given day. It was kind of a big deal.
Making a Commitment to Fitness
For about two years after that, I contemplated becoming a personal trainer. But I distinctly remember my turning point. For whatever reason, I hadn’t been to the gym in a few days. When I went back, I walked into the gym and felt truly happy to be there and excited to work out. I remember texting my husband while foam rolling and saying, “I want to be a personal trainer.”
Why? Simply because I needed it.
I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, and I had finally realized that I can’t be half-in with my health. I wanted the accountability of being a trainer and I wanted to support other people who wanted to combat mental health issues with exercise – especially moms.
So when my daughter turned three, I started to work on my NASM personal training certification. I JUST got it (November 2017) and I’m now 7 months pregnant, but I’m so happy that I’ve made this commitment.
Fitness is Not Selfish
Never is a person who exercises regularly selfish. Never ever. I remember being a new mom and thinking that it made me selfish or vain to spend time putting on makeup or going to the gym. This went to the extreme and I dropped all of my self-care routines, which ultimately backfired. I felt so cruddy about myself that I went into a deep depression.
Only now do I realize that I’m a much better parent when I do things that make me feel good about myself.
What would you rather see – a happy, energetic parent setting good examples for their children?
Or overweight, negative, sluggish parents who model self-hate?
The answer is a no-brainer for me.
So next time you think about judging anyone – especially a mom – about her fitness “obsession,” think again. Because moms need exercise, just like everyone else.
Not convinced of the actual reasons why? Let’s get that idea out of your head. 🙂
5 Reasons Moms Need Exercise
- Energy begets energy. In other words, exercising can leave you feeling more energized throughout the day, even if you felt like you didn’t have any energy to begin with. That’s helpful when you’re a new mom in high demand.
- 1 in 7 new moms in America experience PPD. That’s a lot. You probably have a friend or family member who is quietly fighting postpartum depression. Exercise has been proven to improve mood and fight depression.
- It offers a mental break from “mom” status. If you’re lucky, you can find a gym that will watch your kids while you work out. I did and it was a game-changer for me. I could zone out for an hour and think about myself. What? Even if you only get 10 minutes in during your child’s nap, a 10 minute mental break can have a huge impact on your day. If you don’t have a gym with childcare, try streaming home workout programs.
- It improves self-esteem. If all you ever got out of a workout was a sense of accomplishment, it’d be worth it. Luckily, your body image will change as your body does, too.
- Community. One of the best parts of being a gym member is just being in the presence of other people. You know, adults with similar goals. People who don’t cry and need a diaper change. The same applies to group fitness classes. I remember being a new mom. After isolating myself in the first few weeks after birth, it felt nice just to exchange smiles with others. Camaraderie is important to staying healthy body & mind. If you can’t find a community, please please join my FB group for accountability & fitness stuff!
Honestly, the list here could go on. We all know that exercise benefits everyone, but no one can argue that moms need exercise.
If you’re a mom, what are your reasons for exercising? Have you ever caught yourself thinking that other moms are being showy or selfish for exercising? Tell me about your experience below.