Realistic Fitness Motivation For Busy Moms That Want Results

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Effectively learn how to get fitness motivation for busy moms with realistic tactics that will inspire and support you through all stages of motherhood.

You have a unique role as a mother. A role that requires responsibilities, time, nurturing, hard work, long nights, devotion, and perseverance. In order to fill that role and continue to take care of others, it is important that you take care of yourself. Most importantly, your health, fitness, and overall well-being.

When you have so much on your plate, staying motivated to make your fitness a priority can be a challenge.

With a realistic approach and an effective game plan, you can reach any fitness goal you set regardless of what phase of motherhood you find yourself in.

Setting realistic fitness goals

Getting motivated to workout begins with effective goal setting. In order to see results, we must be able to identify what we are actually working towards so we can create a constructive plan.

There are 5 main components to setting a goal that we need to consider in order to be successful and maintain fitness motivation as moms.


Being too generic will cause you to lose sight and purpose when the going gets tough. This would look something like, “getting in shape,” “be healthier,” “start working out,” or “having a bikini body.” We must start strong by identifying what results we want to get out of our fitness. Some examples would be, “to reduce body fat,” “lower my blood pressure and cholesterol,” “maintain a regular exercise routine,” or “improve my strength and cardio endurance.”


Once you have thought of a specific goal, it must be set in a format that will have a measured result. Tracking progress helps us to know if we are getting closer to reaching that goal or not. A key feature in holding accountability. Such as, “losing X amount of weight,” “working out 5 days a week,” or “the ability to perform a set of push ups or run a 5k.”

Action Oriented

Determine what steps need to be taken in order to get you to your goal. This allows you to create an action plan that you can track and prepare for. Consider any adjustments you may need to make beforehand like, getting a gym membership, proper gear, adjusting your schedule, or finding an effective workout program.


It’s necessary to establish achievable goals considering responsibilities as a mom. Consider your daily schedule, season of motherhood, resources, and physical abilites while setting your goal. Set yourself up for success with goals that will take you beyond your comfort zone but within realistic limits.

Be aware of life’s demands that may adjust what kind of effort you can put into your fitness. For example, you may not physically be able to run a 5k by 2-months postpartum. Or waking up early to workout everyday may need to wait if you are sleep training a baby or frequently on-call for work.

It’s great to have big goals and be inspired to do great things, but being practical to ensure success will help you stay motivated long-term.

Time Bound

Attach your goal to a practical timeline. If there is no deadline, then there is no urgency to reach your goal. This allows for procrastination and inconsistency to hold you back. If you’re after a large pursuit or something that will take a major lifestyle change, you can break it up into smaller, more defined limits.

This allows us to take achievable steps while celebrating small victories and progress to maintain inspiration.

personal trainer

Having an ill-defined and unrealistic fitness goal is why you have no motivation to get fit. Set your goal using these pillars to get motivated.

How can I improve my fitness motivation?

Many of us have “body goals” that may ignite our fitness motivation as moms. However, finding intrinsic motivation beyond external appearance will resonate deeper in your will for lasting results. I call this, finding your “why”.

Your “why” focuses on overall health and well-being while helping you to serve your roles and purpose in life. This approach makes your fitness become a priority that you keep because you WANT to, not because you have to.

Ask yourself what inspires you to make your health and fitness a top priority. Is it having the physical ability to keep up with little ones? Maybe you want to reduce nagging discomfort caused by the physical changes of having babies. Or you want to find a way to instill hard work and perseverance into your kids by setting an example. Are you on medications due to poor lifestyle choices? Maybe you want feel energized and have a better mood throughout the day. Are you looking to boost your confidence and self-esteem?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your physique. However, goals focused on appearance don’t have as much personal stake. They are not functional to your role in life and therefore, not as fulfilling.

I have an entire post dedicated to teaching moms how to set a goal they enjoy working towards. Read How To Get Motivated Like An Athlete To Workout to adjust your mindset and make your workouts something to look forward to. When you feel better about what your body can do, you will also feel better about the way your body looks.

How can I find time to exercise with a busy schedule?

Just as you prioritize doctor’s appointments and work meetings, you must prioritize your fitness. If you find that your schedule is often full, try these tips to stay on track.

Set a designated workout time into your day.

Get a planner and work with your family to get everyone on the same page so you can look forward to your “me-time” appointment. Whether that is in the morning, when Dad gets home, or even after dinner.

Be creative.

If your schedule is unpredictable, use any opportunity you have. Workout while your kids are on the playground. Take advantage of nap time. Walk the perimeter of little league practice. Exercise by taking your dog for a walk. Use your lunch-hour at work. Wake up early to workout. Even if it’s just a 20-minute session, it’s a workout!

Incorporate HIIT

High intensity Interval Training is a format of exercise that consists of workouts that are short and sweet but burn a lot of calories. They are high energy and require your best efforts but are an easy way to sneak in a quick workout.

I have an entire playlist of HIIT Workouts you can do anywhere! They are all 30 minutes or less so you can get in and get out.

Learn more about why HIIT sessions are Effective Home Workouts With Killer Results For Busy Moms that want to stay in shape.

Workout at home.

Exercising without leaving the house is the ultimate fitness hack for moms. They are flexible and eliminate wasted time on travel to get to the gym. Plus, you aren’t waiting on anyone else like a coach or other members. As a coach, I understand adjusting to home workouts can be hard.

If you enjoy the competition of others and the social aspect of going to the gym you may wonder how to motivate yourself to workout alone? Workout videos are a great substitute for the gym. You get the motivational push of a coach, follow-along demonstration, and a pre-made workout that you just show up for. My Youtube Channel is dedicated to home workouts for moms, check it out!

If you’re a stay-at-home mom like me and have a hard time getting inspired with the distractions, check out my post The BEST Fitness Motivation For Stay-At-Home Moms.

Dealing with Mom Guilt: Is It Okay to Prioritize Exercise?

As moms, it’s so easy to put everyone else’s needs first and forget about our own. We give and give until we feel like we cannot give anymore and get burnt out. Although selfless, it is harmful to your mind and body.

I think most parents, especially moms, carry the load quietly. Having no outlet is not conducive to a balanced emotional or mental state. We all need some time for ourselves to just be, think, and do with little to no interruption. Some time to make ourselves feel good. And exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood and release tension in a way that benefits our minds and bodies.

Although exercise can work as some much needed “me-time,” it serves more purpose than just a mental break.

A regular fitness routine is essential to good health, inside and out. Exercise is one of the best forms of self care for moms in any stage of life.

mom and daughter on playground

In order to do our jobs as moms, we need to take care of ourselves as well so we can support the ones we love. So we can recover from pregnancy. To have the strength to carry our babies and young children. So we have the endurance to play, cook, clean, work, and show our family how much we love them.

If you feel guilty about needing to “get away” for your workout, try incorporating your family and fitness! Get your kids to workout with you, go for active family dates, practice sports with your kids, jump on the trampoline, play chase on the playground, or have a dance party. There are endless ways you can get active with your loved ones and create memories in the process.

Some of my best memories were just getting active and playing with my family! Plus, it helped instill the importance of maintaining your health and fitness. Inviting your family to join you is a great way to balance fitness and motherhood.

It’s easy to let our guilt get in the way of our fitness motivation as moms. Make your health a priority. Your family will thank you for it.

How to motivate yourself to workout everyday?

We are not looking for a quick fix. We are looking to create a sustainable fitness routine. Easier said than done. However, with the right strategies, you can stay consistent with workouts and adjust your lifestyle.

Break bad habits

Begin by looking for opportunities of improvement and commit to making a change. Be honest with yourself, use replacements, designate compromise time, reward your wins, and hold yourself accountable. Learn how to all of that and more in my post Break Unhealthy Habits With Exercise In 5 Simple Steps.

Unhealthy habits hold us back mentally and physically. Eliminating unnecessary extracurriculars and/or stressors is a more passive method to get fit when you are unmotivated. You will gradually feel better inside and out as your self-confidence grows.

Make small changes

Look at your day-to-day, think about where you can make little changes that will have a big affect on your overall mood and energy levels. Like nutrition such as eating clean, drinking enough water, or avoiding junk food. Or getting extra bouts of activity wherever possible. This could be stretching during movie time, taking the dog for a longer walk, or just standing/walking while you watch little league practice.

Start your day with exercise

Making a habit to wake up early for your morning workout minimizes and eliminates the hurdles and excuses that slowly build up throughout the day. I love working out in the morning. It gives me a natural mood boost, I feel energized to play and care for my kids, and I’m more motivated to do all the crummy have-to’s on my list. Plus, I tend make healthier food choices throughout the day.

morning workout fitness motivation for moms

If you’re not a morning person, learn how to motivate yourself to workout in the morning HERE.

Be flexible

The most important part of working out everyday is that you do it…everyday. Life gets messy and unpredictable. As busy moms, we must be resilient to the challenges we face by doing our best with what we have to work with.

Whether it’s the day-to-day, phase of motherhood, or season of year. This might look like working out after bedtime. Or exercising on the sidelines during soccer practice. You might need to squeeze your workout in during an impromptu nap time. Or adjust your workout routine to stay fit during the holidays and stay motivated in the winter.

For more habit forming fitness motivation for moms, check out my post Stop Being LAZY – Get In The HABIT Of Working Out.

Fitness Motivation for Moms When Tired or Sleep-Deprived

One of the biggest hang ups for busy moms is fatigue. Little sleep, managing schedules, work, homemaking, and taking care of kids all add up. Let’s talk about coping with fatigue and finding motivation on low-energy days.

Energy-boosting tips & exercises for tired moms.

Low energy can be a sign of something we aren’t doing enough of, rather than a sign of too much. Things like low water intake, poor nutrition, long periods of inactivity, not getting enough mental rest, a monotonous fitness routine, and poor stress management.

  • Begin at the table. Stay hydrated all day long and aim to get in at least half of your bodyweight in ounces. I like to suggest a gallon/day across the board, but that may be too much for some. Talk with a medical professional if you need advice or drink enough water that your pee is pale or very close to clear. Take time to assess your diet. Are you eating whole foods that are minimally processed? Eating clean is a major component to improved digestion and getting in the right nutrients to optimize energy and performance.
  • Get up and move. If you find yourself sitting for long periods of time you’ll start to feel sluggish and unmotivated. Ever felt tired even though you didn’t do much that day? Plus, excessive sitting can cause muscular imbalances that lead to chronic aches and pains. Exercising can feel like the last thing you want to do when your body hurts. Start incorporating a daily mobility or flexibility routine to lubricate your joints, increase circulation, and fight off tight muscles. If you find yourself sitting all day, give these ones a try! I also have a mobility and flexibility playlist you can try out too.
  • Listen to your body. If you find yourself feeling burnt out during your workouts or no longer excited when you once were, you may need to try a new format of training. If you find yourself always doing the same style of workout this could be the cause. You may be overtraining. Not providing your body adequate recovery from high intensity or long duration workouts can cause fatigue and a decline in performance over time. Schedule in an extra rest day or include more balance and variety in your intensity, duration, frequency, equipment, impact, and exercise selection. Workouts that are low-impact, low intensity, and short duration still count as exercise.
  • Remember that stress is collective. Mental/emotional stress can be just as fatiguing as physical stress. See if you can reduce your workload, get more help with housework, get a babysitter, have screen-free quiet time, ditch caffiene, or get some social interaction.
  • Be productive. Sometimes all we need is a little help igniting the fire. Just go through the motions of a warm-up, knock out a few chores, or get something done off your To-Do List to get the ball rolling.
Adjusting Workouts During Pregnancy and Postpartum

The pre- and postnatal phases of motherhood undoubtedly come with some grade of fatigue. Whether that is due to physiological changes or just poor quality of sleep, you will most likely find yourself tired during these times.

Maintaining fitness motivaiton for expecting moms may require an adjustment to your fitness routine as your body is doing so much to grow your baby. It demands extra nutrients, rest, and hydration. As you progress through pregnancy, your workout intensity, duration, impact, and possibly frequency will gradually need to decrease.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy HIIT workouts, or jumping jacks like you did before pregnancy. But you just may not have the capacity to do the a same workouts as often or without modification during pregnancy. For days you find yourself waking up tired, read my tips on how to Get Better Sleep for Better Prenatal Energy.

Maintaining fitness motivation for new moms is a different ball game since you will have a newborn that likely is not sleeping. And for me, even when I get the baby to sleep in a predictable window, my body won’t let me! I am so sore and tight and uncomfortable. It takes a while of just laying in bed to finally start snoozing. Not to mention, the lack of activity for so much time can make your joints and muscles whine even more.

Stretch your chest, shoulders, and hips frequently to help prepare your body for sleep by reducing aches and pains that can keep you up. Incorporate these Stretches For Better Sleep As A New Mom and improve your fitness motivation for postpartum recovery exercise. Feeling your best postpartum is key to getting motivated to workout again.

Take small steps, love and appreciate your body for it’s amazing accomplishments, and remember that fitness empowers us as moms to be our best!

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About the Author

Coach Zoe

Fitness trainer and mom of 3! I love working out, hanging out with my family, and motivating others.

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  1. Thanks for the encouraging and realistic post! I will definitely be trying some of your suggestions!

  2. Love this! I definitely need to make moving my body more of a priority. Not just for me, but to be an example to my children. What a sweet picture of you & baby sleeping as well! 🙂

    1. Thanks Kelsey! You got this girly!

  3. Thank you for sharing these great ideas, tips, and good habits for making exercising part of our daily routine! This is very inspiring.

  4. Great post! I’m an empty nester busier than when the kiddos were at home! Now they are out & that time got filled! Thank you for sharing your tips!

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