General Health

The 6 Golden Rules of Exercise for Busy and Time Poor Mums

The alarm sounds as the clock ticks over to 5:15am. It’s early. It’s dark. It’s pretty bloody cold.

I’ve got two options; I can sink further into my warm, cosy bed – or I can lace up my trainers and get moving.

Six months ago, the bed would have won, hands-down. I was tired, I needed sleep, I had to work, I had a one-year-old, three-year-old and five-year-old to deal with, a house to maintain… in short, I had plenty of excuses for getting back under my covers. But once I got up from having had my extra sleep? Well, I felt flat and flabby and, to be honest, I consequently probably wasn’t a whole heap of fun to be around. Then one night, on a whim (wine might have been involved), I decided to sign up for boot camp. I went along to the outrageously early morning session and, to my surprise, found that I loved it. So much so, I sent my trainer a text as soon as I got home. “This might be the endorphins talking,” I wrote, “but I think I want to join a second class.”

I’d found my thing. After that, on top of my two weekly boot camps, I started running in the mornings as well – first one day, then two, then three. A little further. A little faster. And now? I’ve never felt better. I’ve lost some weight, I’ve gained muscle tone and my skin is better. And my ABSOLUTE favourite part? I have more energy! Turns out, the more energy you burn, the more you have. And that makes for a less shouty mum. Everyone wins.

So it can be done. You really can get back into exercising when you’re a busy mum. But don’t take my word for it.

Creative Fitness Australia’s Master Trainer and Director Aleisha Cossettini, a mum of 4 herself, shares some words of wisdom with Mum Central.


Setting yourself a six-week training schedule when you’re just starting out is basically impossible to maintain, and will set you up to fail. “Start with two or three EASY-to-achieve goals at a time,” says Aleisha. “People feel motivated when they feel they have a good chance of success.”



“Your physical surroundings have a big impact on how you feel,” Aleisha explains. “If your house is a mess, you are likely to feel even more overwhelmed. Clean your house and organise your physical surroundings and you will naturally feel motivated to be more productive and active in all areas of life.” (And think of all those calories feeling the burn while you do it!)


“Spend more time with motivating people and this will start to influence your thinking and mood,” says Aleisha. “Have a positive outlook on life and let the negative thoughts go.”


By locking in your exercise days, you’re more likely to stick to them. “Treat them like a job,” Aleisha recommends. “You must turn up; it must come first – over coffee dates, movie dates, kids’ play dates etc.” So no excuses, ladies!


“Find a time of day and activity that works for your own personal lifestyle, and if once you start and find this doesn’t work, reassess and try again,” Aleisha says. “DON’T GIVE UP.”

HOT TIP: If you choose an early-morning workout slot, lay out your exercise clothes the night before so you try to track down a damn sports bra in the dark!



Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. For starters, incidental exercise is fantastic. “Use the stairs always, no lifts. Get off the bus two stops early and walk the rest of the way. Leave the car at home and walk to the park or work,” suggests Aleisha. “Get the whole family bikes and enjoy going on weekend rides together.”

And when you do choose to train, you don’t have to do a daily hardcore workout for 60 minutes. “Break it up through the day,” says Aleisha. “Or better still, just try 20-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts – where you work solid and hard for a straight 20 minutes – and that’s it a few times a week.”

And guess what – you don’t even have to give up Netflix time! “Work out in front of the TV if you like,” she says. “Lunges, squats, push-ups and planks can all be done while you’re in front of the box.”

So there you have it – not only will you feel so much better about yourself (and probably also totally justify a new wardrobe because you’ll be looking so very fine), but you’ll be setting a fabulous example for your kids. No excuses, mums – you got this!

Avatar of Amanda Nicholls

Amanda is a mum of two beautiful girls who comes from the Blue Mountains. Previously a magazine editor and a published children's book author, Amanda loves writing and sharing her parenting tips with other mums (and dads!).

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