During the summer months it’s easy for workout routines at the gym to get derailed because as parents our priorities and the structure of our day changes when the kids are off from school.
“I’m a mom too and when the kids are home in the summer they are your No. 1 priority and we put ourselves on the back burner,” said Penny Sorensen, a mother of two who is also a regional group fitness director of Crunch, overseeing many clubs in Pennsylvania including their Pottstown location.
When it comes to making up the class schedule at Crunch, which changes every six months, she keeps moms in mind. The update happens to coincide with back-to-school time when parents might be looking to get back into their workout groove.
“I try to put something new on the schedule to mix things up that rejuvenate,” she said. “Something new can sometimes motivate you to get back to the gym and adding more classes in the fall gets folk excited about exercising again.”
Beginning Sept. 11 some new classes you can find are “Tough HIIT Out,” “Chisel” and “It’s a Wrap.”
“I love this class,” she said, referring to ‘It’s a Wrap’. “It’s a full body class that’s a combination of stretching, some Pilates and a lot of balance. You use fabric in this class and the silks are the fitness tool instead of weights.”
Fitness routine back on track
Sorensen said it’s typical for stay-at-home moms to get to the gym as soon as they get their kids on the bus. As soon as you can recommit to doing this, the faster you can get your fitness routine back on track.
“Getting the workout finished before the kids get home from school is really important,” she said. “Then you have all day to do other things and you don’t have to worry about it.”
For working moms, Sorensen offers a creative solution that she has used herself.
“Instead of going home after work, use your kids’ sports practice time to get in a workout,” she said. “Take advantage of the track if there’s one, or a walking path and maybe go for a walk to use the nice fall days.”
Another option, if you’re a morning person, is to fit a workout in at the crack of dawn.
“We have 5:45 a.m. classes, so you could have your workout done before your kids even get up,” she said. “We have 15 to 20 people every morning taking those classes.”
For those in need of more structure, a personal trainer is a good way to be held accountable. At Crunch, you have an option to work with a trainer just once or twice a week and then they would give you fitness homework to do for the rest of the week.
“If you have trouble staying focused on your workout, maybe hiring someone to help you come up with a schedule can be your answer,” she said. “Our personal trainers love to create that journey — they are like a tour guide leading you down the path to your final destination — that goal.”
A goal might be to run a 5K in a better time or a desire to eat better.
“Whether you’re a mom or dad, our trainers get to know you and learn about your goals and make a game plan,” Sorensen said.
When her children were younger, Sorensen did parent-child ice hockey and had a treadmill she’d use often at home, but stressed the benefits of doing group fitness classes.
“There is nothing better than doing a live class at the gym,” she said. “I met my best friend through a group fitness class.”
As Sorensen’s children began getting old enough to have their own workout routines, she would find ways to use that as bonding time with them.
“My daughter loves yoga and we would always go to yoga together,” she said, referring to her daughter who is now in her 30s and works internationally as a professional photographer who also loves hiking and free diving. “We would constantly try out every new class there was.”
Her son, who recently headed back to college after spending the summer at home, kept up his serious soccer practice regimen all summer long as a semi-pro soccer player and an NCAA Division 2 goalkeeper at Lock Haven University.
“I like to think that I have something to do with instilling some of those fitness values in him,” Sorensen said.
While connecting the family with fitness is for some, Sorensen stressed it’s important not to feel bad if you prefer working out solo.
“Don’t feel guilty for alone time, but there is the option to involve your family,” she said.
Keep a positive momentum
Sorensen said that through her own fitness journey, she has also learned that sometimes moms and dads can be too hard on themselves if they miss a day of working out or get off track with eating well.
“It’s OK to skip a day and tomorrow is another day and just keep moving forward and keep a positive momentum,” she said. “Don’t let that one day stop you from tomorrow’s success.”
It’s less about what you do and more about getting your body moving to get your steps in.
“We need to be healthy for our kids to be there for them,” she said.
She reminds people of the importance of taking advantage of easy opportunities to move, such as parking far away from the grocery store or mall or taking the dog for a walk.
“Also taking the steps instead of an elevator,” she said. “As long as you’re moving, that is the goal.”
On Sept. 26 at 6 p.m., you will have the chance to move with Sorensen who will be offering a pop-up sampler POUND class at Rivet: Canteen and Assembly on High Street in Pottstown for “POUND and Pour.” The entry fee is $5 and participants are asked to bring their own yoga mat. The last time she held a pop-up POUND class, which is a cardio drumming class, she had 45 in attendance.
“You can rock out and then chill out,” she said, adding the $5 fee for the class includes a non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage afterward.
Crunch Fitness is located at 223 Shoemaker Road, Pottstown. Call 610-427-4531 or visit www.crunch.com/locations/pottstown for more information.