written by Cheryl Maguire | photo by Willow and Pine Photography
Online Fitness Resources
Yoga with Adriene
BeachBody On Demand
I’m a fitness fanatic. Normally I’m either in a spin class, body pump class or TRX class at a gym but now that I’m confined to my home because of the Coronavirus I am participating in at-home workout classes.
One of my favorite parts of participating in the classes is the motivating messages the instructors shout out as the sweat pours off my skin. Sometimes during the day, I think of the phrases to help me overcome parenting challenges. Here are a few of my favorites you can use the next time you are struggling.
“You are stronger than you think”
This one is often said to help you lift that heavier weight. In strength training, the goal is to move up in weight over time. So if you have used 15-pound weights for several weeks you try to move up to 20 pounds. Sometimes there is a fear you won’t be able to move to the next level and by hearing this phrase it helps you overcome it.
It took me a long to believe this message both related to fitness and parenting. After eleven years, I’ve come to the realization I can at least try to lift that heavier weight. Parenting is hard both emotionally and physically which requires a great deal of strength. Knowing you are strong helps you to face those challenges with confidence.
“Get out of your comfort zone”
Arnold Schwarzenegger said that if he remained comfortable while being a bodybuilder, he never would have achieved any success.
When you are strength training over time your body becomes used to the weight you’re lifting. In order to build your muscles, you need to move up in weight. When you do this for the first time it is both hard and uncomfortable but leads to your becoming a stronger person.
As a parent, you experience many uncomfortable situations. Your child is continually moving through phases of developments that require you to change your parenting techniques and interactions with your child. For example, the time out technique you used with your toddler would not be the same as the one you use with your teen. You need to get out of your comfort zone and try new techniques to overcome those challenges.
“You can do anything for 5 minutes”
During every fitness class, I participate in, at some point, the instructor will shout out, “You can do anything for 5 minutes”. Usually, it’s during a difficult part of the class towards the end when you are tired and wondering, “when will this class end because it feels like it never will.” It is meant to help you push through the difficult part, helping you realize it is time-limited.
This is a great phrase to tell yourself the next time your child has a full-blown stage 5 meltdown. Granted it may last longer than 5 minutes, but at some point, your child will become tired, right? The fact is, it is time-limited and you can push through the pain just like you finished the fitness class.
“Don’t phone it in”
There are days you don’t feel like working out. On these days you may be inclined to just go through the motions. This message is meant to help you work out at your 100% effort even though you might not feel like it. It does help you to realize you can push yourself harder by increasing the resistance on your spin bike or running at a faster pace.
There are many days you don’t feel like being a parent especially when you are all stuck in the same house for the past three weeks. You want to just crawl back into bed and forgo your responsibilities. Those are the days you must work at not “phoning it in”. Your child will notice the difference. You must push through and give it your best effort.
Go Try a Virtual Fitness Class
Here is my motivation message. If you are not already working out, go try a virtual class. Workout videos are a great way to have a high energy workout. Most libraries offer free streaming videos through a service like Hoopla or Libby. You sign in to these sites using your library card and then you can borrow videos that you can stream on your devices.
Some cable companies or Amazon Prime offer free or paid workout videos through the On-Demand option. You also can find free workouts on YouTube like the YMCA 360: Your Virtual YMCA, Fitness Blender, and Yoga by Adriene.
There are many membership online programs like Beachbody OnDemand offering a 14 day free trial or Peloton Digital offering a 90 day free trial (besides cycling that they are known for they offer Bootcamp and other types of workouts) that you can stream from home using a smart TV or a device like a Roku.
You will feel better physically and emotionally after taking the class which will also make you a better parent. At the very least you might hear a new motivational message.
Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings, Your Teen Magazine and many other publications. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05