Tips on making workouts fit into your schedule

If you are like most parents, getting the kids back to school means getting life back into a normal routine. That is what makes now the perfect time to start hitting the gym, even if your tennis shoes have collected lots of dust!

For Monique Faulk, working out at Gigi's Fitness is a family affair, with her young boys in tow for social time.  "The kids want to come to play with other kids in child care," she said, "so they would inspire me to come, 'Mom, why aren't we going to the gym?'"

Busy mom, Monique, has a story that rings true for lots of other moms and dads.  She had fallen behind on the fitness curve after her kids were born.  When she first began a new workout routine six years ago, she was 60 pounds overweight.  "I just took it small steps, baby steps and just a couple of days a week and then when I started seeing the results, I wanted more," she said.

Group fitness classes helped Monique get on track, dropping 60 pounds, and getting a schedule in place to plan a few gym visits each week.  "Without a plan, you're gonna be left to when you feel like it and that probably won't happen," said Gigi's Group Fitness Coordinator, Ellen Papania.

A realistic starting point is two to three one hour long workouts or classes each week that will give you strength training and cardio.

Johnny Manuel started making exercise part of his daily routine over a year ago and has lost close to 70 pounds.  "Exercise and eating right is what I call a non-negotiable item on my list," he said, "I've learned that you do the things that you really want to find time for those things."

If you are ready to get going with a new workout routine, it is important to make it fun.  Zumba can help you dance away the calories.  Body Pump can help strengthen and tone.  Body Flow connects mind, body and spirit.  The treadmill or elliptical both fit into the cardio groove.

Whatever you do, Papania says just be consistent!  "We get started with some goals, we get two or three weeks under our belt and then life happens and we get side-tracked, so consistency really is the key," she said.

Find a way when the kids go back to school to keep a workout routine as a priority.  That is something Monique has got figured out.  "My neighbor takes the kids in the morning, so I'm able to go straight to the gym and I bring my two-year-old with me, so it works out,"  she said.

To really make your workout schedule stick, try to pick the same time of day to go to the gym or take a brisk walk. It can be before your kids wake up for school or immediately after you get off work.

Another tip is to make a healthy menu plan with your family that you can cook in bulk on Sundays and have go-to healthy foods at your fingertips.

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