The One Thing that Helped Me Learn to Exercise Guilt-Free

Learn to exercise guilt-free

I’ve been a mom for almost eight years and have only just begun making exercise a priority. Why did it take me so long to make a solid attempt at getting healthy?

Because I felt guilty about it.

That’s right. I had exercise guilt.

How many times have you thought about exercising but guilt stopped you? You spend all day either working or taking care of your kids, yet you can’t bring yourself to carve out a mere thirty minutes to take care of yourself!

Learn to exercise guilt-free

So how did I get over the guilt and get started on a path to wellness? I had a very tough run of sickness last winter. I spent a lot of time in my bed with different illnesses missing out on life. It was all because I hadn’t been taking care of myself for a long time. I’d let myself go.

My body’s natural defenses were nowhere to be found.

I knew what I needed to do to get healthy but I was stopped in my tracks by the “mom-guilt.” Inside my brain I heard . . .

My kids need me. My husband needs me. I should be spending the next thirty minutes with them – not exercising!

It was my husband who eventually helped push me out the door to go for my first run, which led to my first 5k. He said, “Go honey, I’ve got this.” And the rest is history.

When I realized the world would not come crashing down without me, that’s when I finally felt free to exercise.

If you’re like I was, unhealthy and unhappy, but you don’t think your family can spare you? Believe me – THEY CAN! The little bit of time you spend on yourself will help you so much when it comes time to take care of everyone else.

On Becoming a Runner

One year ago I laced up a new pair of tennis shoes and went for my first run. I didn’t have any fancy running gear. And I didn’t have any clue how I would feel. But I assumed it would hurt like hell and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

I’m not sure why the trend stuck this time. I just knew I was tired of feeling like shit all the time, physically and emotionally.

The past year was one of the most difficult years of my life. There are a few things that kept me going and that runner’s high they talk about was one of them. Running changed not only how I felt. It changed who I am. After so many years of feeling weak I found out I’m actually quite strong. Better than that I found out I can accomplish anything as long as I don’t give up. I’m so grateful for the multitude of chances we get in this life.

I’m not the fastest or the best. But the point is I get out there and I go for it. That’s what matters. I’m so proud of myself.

So to celebrate, I’m gonna buy a new pair of running shoes and go for a run. But this time I’ll do so with the knowledge that life is just one big marathon. There are bumps in the road, stop to enjoy the view once in awhile, watch to see who’s really rooting for you, and your breathing technique is really important ? 


3 At-Home Workouts for Busy People

3 at home workouts for busy people

I have now been running for over a year and although running has become my favorite way to exercise, I know it’s time to diversify my workout. I can tell my body needs a break from the strain running puts on my muscles and joints. As hard as it is to admit it – I’m not a spring chicken anymore! I have three kids so time is short. I’m just plain worn out after the day is over! That’s why doing at-home workouts seem to be the best choice for me.

3 at home workouts for busy people

I know there are so many options out there to choose from when you decide to get in shape. So many, in fact, that it can become a little overwhelming. That’s why I decided to create a list of what I wanted in a workout and decide what to try based on my current needs.

The ideal work out for me has these points:

  • Can be done in the comfort of my own home
  • Can be done in thirty minutes or less
  • Free or reasonably priced
  • Low impact since I am out of shape/have neck and back problems
  • Proven results

Luckily, I was able to find a few exercise videos that meet all these criteria.

3 At-Home Workouts for Busy People

1. Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout

The first one I tried was Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout. I have been following the creator of this workout on Instagram and she is absolutely stunning and inspirational! I’ve wanted to try this for a while especially since I did ballet for so long when I was younger and I miss it.

I read reviews before doing this the first time and I was a bit nervous. They all kept talking about your muscles “burning.” Well, they weren’t joking! I definitely felt the burn and had to take breathers multiple times throughout. If you do the entire workout it is an hour long but I didn’t last that long the first time because OUCH! I told you I was out of shape. The best thing about it is there are six different segments and you can do one, two or all! I like this because it is rare that I have a whole hour to exercise. Ladies, I’m sure you can relate!

2. Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown

The next one I tried was Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown. I have faith in her because I have done her 30-day shred before with great results. But as I’m starting out I don’t want to do high impact exercise just yet. Plus I have always wanted to be skilled at yoga. The first time I did this I didn’t know what to expect because JM can be pretty tough on you! Honestly I was a bit disappointed in this one. I didn’t read the reviews first and as it turns out it’s not a great place to start with yoga.

3. Element: Barre Conditioning

The last one I tried was Element: Barre Conditioning. Once again I have been following Sadie Lincoln, the founder of Barre3 on Instagram and have been impressed with the results of people who do this workout. It’s a cross between ballet, yoga and pilates. I have a friend who has been doing Barre classes and she is in spectacular shape with those long, lean muscles I am craving. It is split into two segments, which is great in a time crunch. It’s a little over an hour all together but you can pick which one you want to do that day. There is Burn and Firm and then Lengthen and Strengthen. I did both and had to take a lot of breaks. This was expected since I’m just starting out.

Any of these workouts would be a great way to do something good for YOU! It’s so important to put yourself at the top of your priority list! If you’re just starting to workout start slow and work your way up. Remember everyone has to start somewhere! Believe in yourself and you’re halfway there!

Running my first 5K

I set a goal for myself in March to run my first 5K in the summer and I’m happy to say – I did it! I really did it!

::throws hat and does Mary Tyler Moore jump::

As I mentioned in my post on running last week – I used the 5K Runner app, a version of Couch to 5K, to whip myself back into shape after years of not doing much physical exercise due to pain from a car accident. It’s safe to say that this little phone app has changed my life.

You can go from not being able to run AT ALL to being ready to run a 5K in as little as eight weeks. I took 13 weeks but whatever. I finished the training and that’s what matters!

Just as I predicted, halfway through the training I started to lose steam. I decided to force myself to finish by registering for a run that fell right at the tail end of when I thought I might be finishing up my training. I gave myself some leeway because, in all honesty, I didn’t truly believe I would finish. I hate to be hard on myself but let’s just call a spade a spade – I hate exercise. And I *thought* I hated running.

Now? I freaking love it. Loveeeeee it. It is calming, frustrating, challenging, amazing. Everything my husband told me about running turned out to be true. You will hate it when you start but pretty soon your body will begin to crave it. I didn’t believe him but he was absolutely right (says the guy who randomly goes for ten-mile runs). Now if I go a couple of days without running I am antsy to get back out there. To hear the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. He also told me about runner’s high. And oh yes, that really exists. When I’m done with a run I feel like I’m on top of the world!

At some point I became a runner. I always said I would NEVER be a runner. But #sorrynotsorry – I’m totally a runner!

On the morning of my run I was a bundle of nerves. I had never been a part of something like this. I believe there were about 1,000 people there. When we arrived I instantly regretted my decision. There were so many differences to how I had learned to run. First, I usually ran at night after work. Second, I had only ever run in our little neighborhood. It has no inclines and no one else was running beside me!

Not to mention there were definitely some diehards there. But my only goal was to finish the 5K without stopping to walk. I didn’t care about my time. I didn’t care how long it took me to cross the finish line. As long as I didn’t stop I would be happy!

running my first 5K
Smiling because I’m still on mile 1.

It was difficult. There were hills and potholes and people whizzing past me. All things I’m not used to. There were many times I wanted to stop and walk. BUT I DIDN’T.

And before I knew it I was at the finish line – reaching my goal. I’ll tell ya, after 13 weeks of pushing myself – through shoulder and neck pain, through knee pain, through my negative thoughts – it felt really, REALLY good.


I would be remiss if I didn’t give Naaman credit here. There were so many times I would tell him I wasn’t going to run. And he would say, “Yes, you are. Go run.” I would make up every excuse but my favorite is, “I don’t want to leave you with the kids.” And he would say, “It’s okay. I got this. Go run.” He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Yes, I’m the one who ran, but he was the one at the finish line cheering me on.


My first 5K is in the books and I am so proud of myself. I’ve gone from someone who couldn’t walk up the stairs without pain to someone who can run for 40 minutes without stopping.

Not too shabby. I would give myself a high-five if I could.


I’m also proud of my boys who ran the Little Firecracker run after I was done. They ran fast and hard and afterward said they want to run a race beside me someday. I’m totally cool with that. We can be a running family.

Next step is to improve my time while training for a 10K. Then I’m going to do a half-marathon. And then I’m going to go all the way and do a WHOLE marathon.

I mean business.

::high kicks and spirit fingers::

5 Things I Need for a Good Run

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HydrationToGo #CollectiveBias

In March I began a running training called Couch to 5K. This basically means you go from not being able to run AT ALL to being ready to run a 5K in as little as eight weeks. Although I had a couple weeks in there where I wasn’t able to run, I’m finally finishing my training at 13 weeks.

I’ll be running my first 5K this Saturday on Fourth of July! I’m both excited and nervous to participate in a run with a lot of other people. But mostly, I’m crazy proud of myself for setting a goal and REACHING it.

It has been very eye-opening to see how much my body and my mindset can completely change in the span of three months. That’s all it took to start seeing muscle definition and an increase in strength and endurance.

This has truly been one of my greatest personal challenges. As someone who said she would NEVER be a runner, it hasn’t been easy for me at all. Especially as the temperature and humidity has risen during the transition from spring to summer. I started running in much cooler temps. But now it is hot and humid and honestly, really difficult to finish each running session.

There are definitely some important things I need to have a good run.

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1.) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Vitamin Water to stay hydrated #HydrationToGo [ad] |

I’ll admit I’m not great at remembering to drink enough water. I learned my lesson the hard way when, after a particularly hard run, I had severe muscle cramps, light-headedness and a migraine. I realized how important it is to stay hydrated before, during and after exercising. With the heat making me sweat even more than usual I know I need to rehydrate my body. Since plain water doesn’t always sound great I will grab a vitaminwater (my fave!) at CVS pharmacy, which just happens to be less than a mile from my house!

Bonus for me and for you – right now you can purchase four smartwater, vitaminwater, Gold Peak and Honest Tea in any combination with your CVS ExtraCare card for $5 and receive $2 in ExtraBucks, good towards your next purchase (deal valid until July 25th). I love my CVS ExtraCare card and use it every time I’m in the store.

2.) Proper Clothing

moisture wicking running clothes
I always laughed when my husband spent money on special clothing for working out. Now I’m eating my words. Buying moisture-wicking clothes is so important, especially during summer outdoor activities, to staying comfortable and cool. Investing in a few key pieces like this is a good idea, including a good pair of running shoes.

3.) 5K Running App & Sports Earphones

5 Things I Need for a Good Run #HydrationToGo [ad] |

I loveeee the #C25K running app I downloaded to my phone. It’s called 5K Runner and it has been integral to my training success! You hit “Let’s Go” for the training day you’re on and a friendly voice tells you when to start and stop running. At first, there were a lot of starts and stops as you’re building endurance. But by the time you finish you’re running for 30 minutes straight! Pretty amazing what a simple phone app can do for your health! You can listen to music while running the program. But I recommend sports earphones so they don’t fall out of your ears.

4.) FitBit (or other fitness tracker)

I am a big believer that exercise doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I don’t belong to a gym and I don’t believe you have to pay a bunch of money buying expensive equipment to get in shape. The only reason I even have a FitBit is because it was my gift for Mother’s Day. But I can tell you, I’m soooo glad I have it now. I set a goal of 7,500 steps a day and it tracks it for me. I never thought I would be so excited to hit my goal but I stop to do a little dance every time I reach it! It also tracks stairs, calories burned and sleep patterns. Love this thing!

5.) A Good Night’s Sleep

I feel like this is completely overlooked especially by people who are new to running or other types of strenuous exercise. I noticed right away if I didn’t get a good night’s sleep my run the next day did not go as well. You need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Now, I’m not a great sleeper. I’m a dreamer and a tosser/turner. Since I’m a writer and I get my most creative ideas at night, I often stay up late to finish assignments. But running has definitely made me a better sleeper, that’s for sure! I think my body knows it needs sleep because I’m gonna make it work the next day!


And there you have it! Five things I need to have a good run. I cannot wait to report back on how my first 5K goes. And to decide whether I’m gonna train for a 10K next! Wish me luck!