Parenting is an endurance sport. Fortunately, there are ways to train that don't actually involve listening to elaborate parenting techniques that are as exhausting as they are controversial. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class can actually prepare you for parenthood, and there are so many things you learn in HIIT class that make you a stronger mom.
Whether it's CrossFit, Tabata, Boot Camp, or HIIT Cycling; HIIT classes can be brutal. However, for as difficult as they can be, they're (or can be) a lot of fun. They also allow busy moms (or soon-to-be moms) get stronger and see results in shorter periods of time than other forms of training. They can include combinations of strength and cardio exercises that are new, challenging, and sometimes super weird. If you can learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, trying new things, letting go of inhibitions, and laughing at yourself; HIIT class can be super fun and can teach you a lot. Not only will you learn about your body and what it can do, you'll end up learning about yourself, too.
I enjoyed taking HIIT classes so much that I became an instructor. It has taught me to be OK with my limits and feel strong in an often male-dominated space. There's nothing like the confidence boost of holding a plank longer than the rest of the class at 25 weeks pregnant, to remind you that, yes, you are going to dominate this whole parenting gig like the absolute badass you are. Most of all, HIIT class has challenged my ideas about what I can do and what I think I can do, which is super important when it comes to handling motherhood (and, you know, life in general).
You Are Stronger Than You Know
HIIT class works. It is challenging and can sometimes seem impossible, but if you stick with it you'll get stronger (both physically and mentally).
You may not be excel at the specific exercises (or combination of exercises) right away, but you'll learn to overcome challenges and adapt your routine to meet your needs. Motherhood means being strong, even when faced with intimidating hurdles. From birthing, feeding, and caring for a newborn to helping with homework, teaching them to drive, and holding your child after they've experienced their first substantial heartbreak; every day is a new challenge. Strong moms grow, learn, and adapt to meet their child's needs. Remember, you can do it. You are strong, mama.
Sometimes There Will Be Bodily Fluids
HIIT class isn't always (read: rarely) pretty.
There will be sweat. There may also be blood, vomit, tears, and occasionally pee (pro tip: wear black pants). You learn to towel yourself off, clean yourself up, wipe away tears, and jump back in. Strong moms know they have to cope with diaper blow outs, tearful toddlers, scraped knees, projectile vomit, and potty training with the calm and grace that rivals that of, well, anyone freakin' else. Trust me when I say, HIIT helps.
You Can Do Anything For 10 Seconds
The beauty of HIIT class is that you use bursts of energy to work, and then allow your body to recover with a period of rest.
Now, I am not suggesting that moms always get a break when they need one, or that anything at some ungodly hour in the morning involves bursts of energy. However, it's important to remember that nothing in HIIT class or motherhood is permanent. Can you do burpees for 20 seconds? Yep. Can you make it through a night with an inconsolable baby who only wants to breastfeed? Yep. Will it suck (sometimes literally)? Yep.
Strong moms know they can do anything for 10 seconds, and then they start on the next 10 seconds. One foot in front of the other, mom. You got this.
Learning New Things Is Hard
No matter how many books celebrities try to sell you, there's no foolproof guidebook or instruction manual for motherhood. More often than not, you won't get it right the first time, and especially when "it" is a strange, new, or seemingly impossible task.
Learning exercises in HIIT class has often involved me silently asking, "You want me to do what with what?" or, "How am I supposed to do that? Have you seen me?" Fortunately, good HIIT classes come with an instructor to show you the ropes. In motherhood, there are experienced people you can count on for parenting advice (even when we don't ask for it).
It's OK To Make Mistakes
Speaking of not getting things right the first time, it's normal and expected to make mistakes in HIIT class, especially when you are new to a class or exercise.
Strong moms know that it's OK to make mistakes when it comes to motherhood, too. That's how we learn and grow, and also how we teach our kids to learn about and accept themselves. Nobody is perfect. Not even Beyoncé. (OK, maybe Beyoncé.)
If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Again. Simultaneously, Accept Yourself.
HIIT class is meant to be challenging. I have learned to meet each challenge with enthusiasm, sometimes achieving new heights and sometimes failing miserably. Sometimes I surprise myself when I realize what I can do when I work hard, and sometimes I have to ask for a new exercise or a modification that works for my body and ability level.
Strong mom knows that if things don't work out the first time, they have choices: try again, try harder, try something new, adapt, ask for help, or admit that it's not going to work (at least not right now). Two words: potty training.
Doing Something Impossible Makes You Feel Awesome
When you do achieve something new? Take time to celebrate.
In my HIIT class, we recognize small successes, give out high fives, and take time to smile. Strong moms take time to celebrate success, and know that part of teaching their kids to love themselves is telling them we are proud of them when they do awesome things.
It's OK To Cry
Sometimes HIIT class hurts when you literally fall and scrape your knee or get so frustrated when you can't get things right. It's OK to cry.
Of course, strong moms know that it's OK to feel sad or frustrated when life is, well, sad and frustrating. Showing emotion is a great thing to model for our kids.
How To Laugh At Yourself
HIIT class can be weird, unusual,and downright hilarious. I have had to learn how to not take myself so seriously and laugh at the weird things I do, as well as chuckle at my epic fails. (Like the time I farted audibly when going down into a deep squat, or the time I ripped my pants when I attempted a star jump.)
Life is funny. Learn to laugh. Strong moms know that parenting is hilarious, so they've learned to laugh at themselves and at the funny moments parenthood provides. In the end, a good laugh helps parents relax and get through the tough sh*t (and literal sh*t) of parenting.
Take Care Of Yourself
Taking time for HIIT class is not only a great way to get stronger and healthier, it's a great way to take time for you.
Strong moms practice good self care. They know that they need to "put on their own oxygen mask, before helping others," and that moms that take care of their own needs are better moms. Take care of yourself.