A single mom’s view on fitness

It is time for another installment of “One Fit Mommy”! As I surf around the blogosphere, I come across fit moms (and dads too!) who inspire me to fitness.  From there, I hunt them down and force them to tell me their secrets, which I then share with you! There are no excuses with these parents, just support on how we can ALL find time for fitness!

laughingThis week’s mommy is Alison, who blogs over here. She is a busy single mom who makes fitness a priority. If you live with a significant other and claim that you have “no time to exercise”, then I encourage you to think again. Single parents have very little, if any, time to themselves and if they can find the time to exercise, then we can certainly find time as well.

Alison proves that it can be done and even has the dedication to sign up for a few half marathons each year to keep herself motivated. I absolutely love how she emphasizes that we as parents set the stage for our kids.  If you are not modeling an active lifestyle, how can you expect your children to learn to love fitness?

Please read on for more about Ali and the great ideas she shares with us.   She is definitely “One Fit Mommy”!

Q: Have you always been fit?

I have been dubbed an “athlete” as long as I can remember, but by no means have I always been fit.  I am like everyone and have had many, many fitness peaks and valleys.  That said, in the past three to five years I have been more consistent with my fitness than I have ever been, namely because as I’ve gotten a older it seems that it becomes increasingly more difficult and painful to take breaks and pick up where you left off.  It is also more imperative than ever for me to stay fit, as I need the energy to keep up with my 9 year old son!

Q: What inspired you to live a fit lifestyle?

I grew up with very active parents, and I never realized until I was older and had my own child how difficult/rare it was to have parents who kept up with us and would actually come outside after school and throw a ball around, or play hide and seek, or whatever we dreamed up. It’s just the way we grew up, and it set the stage for me for the rest of my life.  I am a single parent, and so as my son has grown I have been very conscious of imparting an active lifestyle on my son.  I want him to see first hand how to compete, how to practice healthy habits, how to love exercise, and find passion in something so good for both the mind and body.  I believe it is so much easier to impart healthy habits at a young age, and I want to be the best possible example.

Q: What advice do you have for moms who claim they don’t have time for exercise?

You make time for that which you value, it is really as simple as that.  It is difficult for a lot of people to conceptualize how to fit exercise in an already busy day when it looks/feels like a special kind of torture, but at the end it is still plain and simple– a great excuse.  I will be the first to say, I have used the “time” excuse myself, but it’s still a cop out.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to be creative with your workout and I think the key is that you cannot allow yourself to get into such a regimented schedule to where if your kid takes an untimely poop, your entire workout goes off the rails.  You always have to have a “plan B” and for that matter, when you have kids, a “plan C” is probably a good idea too.

I have modified every aspect of my workout as my son has grown from a baby to an active nine year old and could write multiple posts on what to do when your child is a certain age and still get your heartrate out of the zone/fit in a workout.  For example:  I have carried him on stairs workouts in a backpack, put him in a carseat with a tiny bike helmet and r him a Burley for a bike workout, stuck him in an exersaucer while I pounded out videotapes.  And now, as he’s in his own activities and I am driving him all over: jumping rope at the gym during his basketball practices, running laps during his football and soccer practices, practicing not-so-zen yoga/pilates with him.  The options are endless.  I keep my running and spinning shoes in my car as I never know when I might squeeze in a quick run/spin.  I also have a spin bike in the middle of my living room and a DVD player with my favorite yoga tape sitting on a table at the end of my bed.  I want my fitness staring me in the face so I have no room for excuses.  There is never an excuse that is good enough to put off my health, and the possibility of being active when my son has his own children some day. I am a 100% better mother for it.

Q: What is your favorite exercise and why?

I like to say that I have self diagnosed attention deficit disorder, so the key for me in continuing with any fitness regime is mixing things up.  I have been practicing kickboxing at a martial arts gym for more than a year now and I absolutely love it.  I use this training as a cardio/core base for my competitive cycling.  I also run a couple half marathons thoughout the year, and I keep those on the schedule just to drive that activity.  But if I had to pick an all around favorite, I’d say, Bikram yoga…although there is not a Bikram studio in my state!  The workouts are intense and the idea of being present is really something I struggle with. I found Birkam to be a life changing, transformative experience not only from a physical perspective, but also from a spiritual one.

Q: Are you more of a cardio mommy or strength training mommy?

I tend to really lean/prefer the cardio but have realized with years and years of denial that the strength training is SO necessary and therefore always a part of the routine.

Q: Do you have any mental tricks that you use when you just don’t feel like working out?

I believe that working out is like a constant conversation you have with yourself.  I am in great shape compared to most people my age, and every workout is still a persuasive conversation with that “person at the table in my head” who is dreaming up 1,000 things I ought to be doing instead, or where I could be napping, or what I could be eating.  That never changes.  But I think, after so long, you get to the point where you recognize that the endorphin rush AFTER you work out is so worth telling all those “people” to shut up and go away that they become more and more insignificant.  But they are still powerful little buggers, even when you are fit.

Q: Random question:  favorite brand of running shoes?

I have worn nothing but Asics Gels for the past 15 years.

Thank you again Alison for allowing me to feature you and for being living proof that it can be done!

So gang, put aside any excuse you might have come up with today and get moving!


  1. says

    I’m kind of curious how Alison performs Bikram’s yoga without going to a studio? I’m guessing she just follows the postures by herself at room temperature? Still, with her drive, she might want to consider opening her own studio in her area. I bet it would do well!

    – Dave

    David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.coms last blog post..Free Fitness Ebook

  2. syd says

    I *love* it – totally inspiring, and a great new blog to follow – thanks for this!

    syds last blog post..the woman i plan to become

  3. says

    Great profile–love everything Alison says particularly about role modeling. I can also identify with fitness being a constant conversation with yourself. Love that analogy, it’s so true, but many think that if you’re fit it’s a “no brainer” to workout. Don’t we wish!

  4. says

    I love this quote from the interview: “You make time for that which you value, it is really as simple as that.” I don’t want to agree with that, but I know that it’s completely and totally true. I strive to have that same mentality. No matter how busy I get, I never want to be too busy for my health/fitness.

    I love Asics Gels too. I can’t wait to start running again after baby #2 arrives in March. I wonder how soon I’ll be able to get back into it…

    Stephanies last blog post..Discover Cool Products @ Daily Grommet

  5. Teri says

    I love this section for single moms. I am part of a single mom’s group in Kansas city and we’ve added a link to your site!

    What a great resource!