SHAPING UP: Striking a balance between looking after the kids and staying healthy

Sticking with an exercise routine can be hard enough for anyone but for parents in the summer holidays, it can seem impossible.

Most of your time will be spent entertaining and running around after your kids, leaving very little time to yourself.

But, it's really important to stay active because it will give you energy, reduce stress, and, of course, help burn off some of the extra calories you may be eating.

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So, how do you find that balance? These quick tips will help you stay fit over the Summer:

Workout First Thing

If you wait until after work, chances are you'll never get your workout in. There are just too many activities and commitments that come up. You won't get any distractions at early on a morning. That's the best time to get your workout done!

Make an Appointment

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If you have an appointment on your calendar, 99% of the time you'll show up. That same tactic helps with your workout. If you set aside specific times in your diary, they feel more like an appointment you'll have to keep. You could even alternate your workout schedule with your partner. Monday night might be your time to workout, while your partner looks after the kids and cooks dinner. Tuesday it works in reverse.

Have a Plan

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Once you've pencilled in your workout, don't forget to think about what you'll actually do once you get to the gym. You can waste a load of time just wandering around thinking about what to do next. Plan it before hand, turn up, blast out your workout, go home.

Include Your Kids

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It's hard to find dedicated "alone time" as a parent — but do you really need it? Get rid of the 'either-or' attitude. Kids instinctively love to move. Make it fun and get them involved in your workouts. It's great if they see you workout, they'll pick up good habits!

Sweeten the Deal

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Sometimes, it's ok to bribe your kids. Whether the bribe is a fruit snack, time at the play park, or something else, my kids are more willing to participate with minimal complaining when there is something in it for them.

Make Time

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Most of us have unused chunks of time in our day. Those 30-minutes we spend on Facebook or Pinterest. Those 10-minute intervals we spend checking emails or cleaning. Pay attention to how you're spending your time and figure out which activities you could drop in replace for a quick workout.

Exercise While The Kids Are Occupied!

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Between football training, dance classes or music lessons, kids are sometimes as busy as their parents these days. Use the time that your kids are in classes. If your child is occupied for an hour, put on your trainers and go for a jog.

Use Every Opportunity

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If you can't fit a workout in, walk as much as possible, use the stairs, volunteer to walk the dog. If you're hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag or hide and seek. You could also get them involved in doing the housework, or gardening.

Workout At Home

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This is often the most convenient method of training. No travel time and it doesn't matter what you wear. Do your workout, quick shower, ready for the day. If you need some home workout ideas, head over to my youtube channel ( where you can find lots of 10 minute HIIT style workouts, covering everything from cardio to circuit training to strength workouts with no equipment. Just follow along on your tablet or smart phone, or just use them for inspiration in creating your own workouts.

Parent & Child Classes

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We have Parent/Child Memberships at East Coast Fitness, which is a great way to get your workout done while promoting a healthy lifestyle to your child too. It's only £10 per month, per child. There's lots of flexibility with 15 classes to choose from, over six days a week. The children must be accompanied by a participating adult. However, the children's spaces are limited (6 spaces left). If you're interested call me on 07875548880 for all of the info.

Don't Beat Yourself Up

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Let's face it, everything doesn't always go to plan. There are days when I only have time for a few miles instead of the planned 7 or 8 miles on my training plan. I've learned to accept the time I do have and make the most of it. I might run the miles faster than planned or run a few more miles the next day. If you do miss a day, don't stress.