A Real Mum’s Guide to Exercise

In a past life I’m a double Olympian but in this life I’m a mum of three. I wouldn’t say I’m busy, not really. I’m definitely more lazy than busy. I mean, I could be really busy if I had other stuff to do.

I’d love to have meetings, photo shoots, online calls, paperwork, or important emails to reply to – but I don’t. I live in France and I’m a SAHM.

I have laundry to do, floors to clean, kids to feed and boys toilets to scrub.  And If I choose not to do it for one day (apart from feeding the kids) then no-one would really notice.  Ultimately, if I want to binge watch Netflix for an afternoon, then I can and I will.

I am a normal, stay-at-home-mum.  I love my food and wine and bread and cheese…… but I still get 3-5 workouts done a week and maintain my weight.


Because as an ex-international athlete, I understand these 2 things;

  1. Action comes before motivation.
  2. You can’t out-train a bad diet

If you can’t push yourself into action then no amount of money you spend on results based programmes, fancy gear or pricey gym memberships will get you into the shape you want to be in #hardtruth.

No-one wants to go for that first run.

No-one wants to get off the couch to meet a friend for a walk when they’re feeling blah about themselves.

No-one wants to push play on that YouTube exercise clip and actually do it!

Yet, everywhere online we see these amazing women that inspire us.  Those mums that are back in their pre-pregnancy jeans after one month.  The women rocking the abs after completing an 8o-day-challenge or the mum at the school that is always in her ‘active-wear’.

But guess what?! Guaranteed, when they started they all had to get themselves into action way before the motivation arrived!

Now, if you’ve been in-the-zone before – which is that sweet spot where you’ve been doing regular exercise, eating well and noticing changes, then you know how good it feels when that motivation arrives.

It feels like the sun shining on your face after a long cold winter.

That feeling of an extra bounce in your step because your jeans fit that much better today.

The desire for summer to hurry up so you can wear a singlet top and show off your fitter, firmer chicken wings!

You don’t have to stop living to get healthy – I’m a social girl. I like to go out and drink wine and overindulge like everyone else. I enjoy eating the foods that I love. (Read my blog post “A Real Mum’s Guide to Fighting the Flab” here)

But here’s the thing….as I get further into my zone….

My desire and craving for bad food, decreases.  I become more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth versus what energy I’m burning.

I like feeling good about what I eat, how I feel and how I look and that’s the #bloodytruth!

So, with all this in mind – here’s what I do to push myself into action before motivation arrives (ps I don’t do early mornings. Fullstop. If you do, then then you have a head start on me! Get up and smash out that exercise before you have a chance to procrastinate.)

When you’re ready for action, put yourself into one of the following two categories:

a) Zero But Wanna Be a Hero:

This is beginner status.  Start small if you’ve done very little exercise before.  Don’t get fooled into buying a full online program, they are not for beginners.  Prime your body first then buy one! Start by walking the dog or the kids.  Take the stairs instead of the lift. Check the mailbox 10 times a day. Walk to the shops instead of driving. Learn to love putting laundry away if you have stairs. Walk after dinner. Spend at least 3-4 weeks building up the intensity.

b) Rockin the Return!

If you’ve been in the zone before and you need to find your way back. You know how good you’re going to feel, so JUST GET STARTED! Decide on a time of day and GO. Even if its a walk. Even if its a 10 minute run. You MUST start somewhere.  Take a photo of a person you admire and stick it the fridge or your bathroom mirror. Buy a pair of jeans you want to be able to fit. Tell a friend, heck, recruit a friend!

Below is my action list (3-5 exercise sessions/week):


In France unless you want to pay €7.52/day/child for a canteen lunch (which is a 4 course gourmet meal) then I have to collect the boys from school at 11.30am and return them at 1.30pm before heading black to school at 3.45pm for pickup.  I don’t love this, but I do appreciate the extra exercise I get which gets tucked away into my wine-calories-account!

Alternatively, I wait for hubby to get home and walk out the door as he walks in. I plug into my favourite podcast and mellow out for an hour with no interruptions. No-one whining at me or asking for food. No fights to referee.  I’ll go in the rain, hale and snow if I have to. The action is driven from the need to get some me-time!

Home exercise pgms:

I am currently doing a 21 day Tabata Yoga Body Challenge – online. It takes 25 minutes a day – that’s all!  After the boys are at school, I set Lily up in her high chair with her breaky and I get my workout done, before I can pull out because it’s too hot, or I need to clean, do laundry or batch make a week’s worth of dinners (all things I hate, but it’s amazing what I can get done when I really don’t want to exercise!).

These are the best, especially if you are lacking in confidence, time or money.  You don’t need to drive anywhere, find childcare or necessarily need equipment.  You can do a lot with your own bodyweight – believe me! At minimum grab a cheap yoga mat a couple of cheap dumbbells (or two x 2 litre bottles of milk or water!) and an elastic band and you’re away! You just need the internet.

Running / Jogging

This is my fav because I get to leave the house without any children and pound my frustrations out on the pavement. I always come home feeling better and back in love with my kids.

It doesn’t have to be a marathon. Start twice a week for 15-20 minutes, just put your shoes on and go no matter how you feel or what kind of a day you’ve had.  I never run longer that 30minutes because I get bored, but do what your body likes best.

Mum Bootcamp Groups

Find one and join. Don’t be intimidated! I can guarantee there are more women there like you (looking for support and a start) than pretentious mums looking for a gossip.

This was a lifesaver for me after Lily was born when I was 38. No one cared what you were doing, they just wanted to support you doing it.


Personally I can’t stand the battle to get to the machine in front of the mirrors.

The gym is not totally my scene but I could do a few classes. As I get older, yoga or pilates is a great way to keep my body from seizing up.  This coming from a girl who has never been able to touch my toes and yet I still see benefits! So that’s always an option.

You can do it – it’s only 30 minutes, just press play

I hope by now that you can see the #realtruth.  You can’t motivate yourself by following the latest fad or buying the right gear.  Motivation comes from the results of action.  You have to commit to putting your shoes on and starting your workout. You might hate every second of it.

But when you make yourself do more, eventually you will start to look forward to each workout.

And that is motivation – wanting to do more!

Get out there and get started…good luck mamas!


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