In my opinion, one of the best ways to stay motivated when it comes to working out and staying fit is being a part of a team (this really goes for everyone, not just pregnant women and Mommies).
When you’re a part of a team:
- You’re held accountable
- Your workout is anything but boring
- You challenge yourself
- You’re not alone
- You’re setting a good…no, a GREAT, example for your kid(s)
Before I go further into each of these benefits, I have one thing to say: I practice what I preach when it comes to this particular Stay Fit Mommy tip. I was a part of team before my pregnancy, during my pregnancy (I played until I was 4.5 months along), and I started back up when Abigail was 4.5 months old. My sport of choice? Basketball. I’ve been playing since I was the only girl on a YMCA team in the 3rd grade (when my Dad was the coach and my brother was my teammate).
And while I know not every woman plays competitive sports before or after their pregnancies (let alone during), I do know that being a part of a team had invaluable benefits for me.
1. You’re Held Accountable
Motivating yourself to workout consistently is not an easy task whether you’re single, married, expecting a baby or you have 5 kids. There are always excuses: you’re burnt out; you’d rather go grocery shopping; or the weather’s perfect for happy hour (like it is today)…there’s always something that sounds better than working out.
When you’re a part of a team, you make a commitment. When you’re a part of a team, you’re held accountable. When you’re a part of a team, you’re making a promise to both yourself and your teammates that once a week (or however many times you meet) you will be there. And trust me, I know that getting there (wherever that “there” is) is very often the hardest part. But once you’re there, you’ll be happy you went because of #2…
2. Your Workout is Anything but Boring
One of my favorite parts of being on a team is that I’m never bored. As much as I LOVE my typical gym workout and I enjoy long walks along the beach, they can get tedious. Playing basketball and being involved with a team forces me to change things up (which is not a strong suit of mine). It’s something different to look forward to. Your body will also thank you because you’ll be working different muscles than you typically would. Plus, I find that after a game day all I want to do is go back to my “tedious” activities and they seem new and enjoyable again. Funny how that works.
3. You Challenge Yourself
If you’re a competitive person at all, I think you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s much easier to push yourself when there’s an goal in mind (ie: winning a game; blocking a shot; running the fastest; etc.). When I step out onto a basketball court, I work harder than I would if I were to go to the gym by myself. I push myself. I challenge myself. Some of my friends talk about spin class and how they love the energy in the room. The energy is what motivates them to challenge themselves harder than they would otherwise. If you can find an activity like this – with great energy – I believe you’ll be more willing to stick with it (and enjoy it).
4. You’re Not Alone
This benefit is particularly important for new Mommies. There are days when you feel lonely. Days where you wish your kids could speak English (not just “baaaaaa” “maaaaaaaaa”). And days when you miss going to lunch with old co-workers. Joining a team isn’t just positive for your physical health, it’s also beneficial for your mental health. It’s an inherently social activity and going to hang out with your teammates (or spin class buddies…or Mommy & Me friends…etc) is a very positive change up from your daily baby activities.
5. You’re Setting GREAT Example for your Kid(s)
This is quite possibly my favorite benefit of joining a team…Mommy has activities that are important to her too! Mommy time is so important. I love knowing that on Monday evenings, I get to take Abigail to the Olympic Club and drop her off with Daddy (the best Daddy on earth for knowing how important this is to me and for watching women’s basketball which I’m prettttty sure is not his favorite sport!).
The best part is that they stay and watch me play. They sit on the sidelines, smile at all my wonderful teammates and friends, and spill Cheerios all over the court (whoops!). I firmly believe your kids watch and learn from every single thing you do and I feel awesome knowing that I’m setting a great example for Abigail. Here she is at her very first basketball game back in June (she looks thrilled, right?):
I need to wrap this up, but before I go I wanted to throw out some “team” ideas for you…I say “team” in quotes because I define it loosely. As I said earlier, most people probably won’t read this and then sign up for a basketball team (but if you do, let me know because I know of a few…). That being said, there are many other ways you can get involved in something that produces the same benefits I touched on above.
- YMCA: as you saw from above, the YMCA is where I began my journey into basketball. I’ve also played in adult leagues (they have a variety) and they are very family friendly!
- Kickball: I’ve never played in a kickball league, but this would be a super fun, social activity that I’ve heard great things about.
- Team in Training: there’s an added benefit here because you’re supporting a great cause!
- Sports for Good: I’ve played coed basketball through this organization but they have many sports to choose from (basketball, indoor and outdoor soccer, flag football, dodgeball, volleyball)
- BootCampSF: if you’re into getting your butt kicked, you should check this out. They have awesome reviews!
- Crunch Fitness: this is our new gym and we love it – they have a TON of classes to choose from (which I consider a team-like environment) and they have an awesome spin class (just ask 7x7xDaddy)
- JCC – another organization that has plenty of teams, activities and classes to choose from (plus, rumor has it they have childcare – I’m jealous!!!)
What am I missing!?! Do you have any other activities/teams/organizations to add to my list? Please share!
*Teams/Classes/Organizations: the links are mainly for San Francisco, but if you click on home pages there are many other locations to choose from!