Ask a Cultivator: Robin Long

Ask a Cultivator: Robin Long

We've loved hearing from fellow Cultivators in our new Ask a Cultivator blog series over the past few months! (You can read the first two posts here and here!)

I'm especially excited about today's guest: Robin Long! We consistently hear about health and wellness-related PowerSheets goals from our community, and I'm confident Robin's approach to fitness and well-being will be a breath of fresh air to many of you looking to take care of your body! Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself: I live in sunny Santa Barbara, California with my husband Matt. We have a 5-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, and are currently adjusting to life with newborn twins! I'm also a Pilates instructor and creator of The Balanced Life–a website and online community dedicated to helping women sneak in Pilates workouts from home while also cultivating a balanced approach to health and fitness. I'm passionate about helping women to love and appreciate their bodies, improve their mental health and practice self-compassion as they strive to become the best version of themselves. I love what I do. Life is wild and crazy at the moment, but I'm striving to practice what I preach and extend grace to myself in this season.

How do you balance what's MOST important when there's a lot on your plate? When my plate feels too full, I take a look at ALL of the things taking up my time and energy and determine what I can let go of. Sometimes it's saying no to certain work opportunities or social commitments. Sometimes it's finding a way to delegate or systematize something at home (like grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc.) It's not always easy to say no to opportunities or things that I really would love to do, but I try to remind myself that life is lived in seasons and just because I'm saying "no" to something in this season, doesn't mean it's a "no" forever.

How do you eat healthy when busy with kids? We keep it simple! These days I rarely try new recipes. We have healthy staples we rotate throughout the month and repeat meals often. Keeping it simple makes it easier for me to meal plan and get healthy food on the table throughout the week. I'm also a big fan of meal prep. Sometimes meal prep is as simple as washing fruits and veggies so they are ready to grab-and-go during the week and sometimes it looks like making a crockpot meal to have on hand for lunches. I've found that I HAVE to plan ahead if I want to eat well during the week. If I don't, it's takeout and potato chips all week long. :)

What is the most effective way to work out when you are a busy mom? For me, and so many women, it's hard to carve out an entire hour (or more) to get to the gym for a class or 60-minute workout. That's why I'm so thankful for technology and such a huge fan of at-home workouts. Finding high-quality fitness instruction you can utilize at home saves time and money. By working out at home, you eliminate the commute and need for childcare and can even work out in your pajamas! I've found that eliminating these hurdles greatly increases your chances for actually getting a workout in and staying consistent for the long haul.

In addition, I'm a huge fan of sneaking in quick and effective workouts throughout the week. Instead of striving for 30 minutes or more each day, I sneak in 10-15 minute sessions whenever I can. Your little by little adds up over time, and it's much easier to motivate yourself to exercise for 10 minutes than it is a full 60-minute session! These strategies are what we keep in mind for our online community—The Balanced Life Sisterhood. It's perfect for busy mamas!

How do you stay motivated when it feels like you aren't making progress? This is such a good question! If I feel like I'm not making progress, it's a good time to pause and consider what metrics I am using to measure success. For example, I may feel like I'm not making progress because the scale isn't budging (currently true for me in this postpartum season), but there is likely progress being made in other ways. For example, my stress levels may be lower, I may feel stronger, I may be sleeping better. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and look at progress in a different way. Inside The Sisterhood, we call these NSV's (non-scale victories). So many of us a trained to measure our progress by the number on the scale or our pant size, but improving our health is SO much bigger than that. Keeping that in mind motivates me to continue with my wellness habits.

Suggestions for how to use PowerSheets for healthy living? PowerSheets are a fantastic tool to support a healthy lifestyle. When I write my goals each year, I make sure a few of them are health and wellness related. I love the way they help me to set long-term goals and check in on them on a monthly basis throughout the year. In addition, I love the blank pages that provide space for me to write what's on my mind. I don't have as much time to journal as I once did, so PowerSheets provide an opportunity for me to write what's on my heart, which is so important to my mental and emotional well being. I also LOVE filling out the progress tracker throughout the month and putting x's in my little boxes as I complete workouts, drink water, and express gratitude each day.

Without losing sleep, how do you find time to exercise? How do you engage your kids while working out? Oh, mercy. With 7 week old twins, my (limited) sleep is so precious right now! So again, this is where short, at-home workouts come in. I do Pilates at home any chance I get. Sometimes, I put on a show for the kids so I can spend a little time on my mat. Other times I'll do lunges and barre exercises in the cul-de-sac as they ride their scooters. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll often see me doing Pilates in my bathroom during the kids' bath time. Sometimes I lay on the floor with the babies and chat with them while I do my exercises. On rare occasions, I can get my bigger kids to join me, but they usually lose interest and start climbing on me after a few minutes. :) Exercising with kids requires a lot of flexibility and lot of grace. I just do the best I can and keep trying.

Can you share any wisdom on fighting the "all or nothing" mindset when it comes to working out? I used to believe that I had to work out for an hour for it to be "worth it." But finding the time (or motivation) for an hour-long workout can be really hard. I found that when I didn't have the time or the motivation I ended up skipping the workout altogether. This approach made it REALLY hard to stay consistent with my workouts. I missed more workouts than I completed and ultimately felt guilty, bad and frustrated as a result. Exercise became an annoying thing that I could never quite find the time for.

When I was working long hours in a studio, the last thing I wanted to do was stay an hour later to complete my own workout; I just wanted to go home! So I started sneaking in 10 minutes here and there between clients during the day. And you know what? I got in the best shape of my life! I found that by committing to just 10-15 minutes per day I was able to stay consistent.

It's much easier to say "yes" to 10 minutes than it is to say "yes" to 60 minutes when you're tired or feeling unmotivated. Therefore, I found myself getting on my mat more often, remembering how good it made me feel and see better results!

Letting go of the "all or nothing" mentality is the secret to staying consistent with your workouts for the long haul. Embrace short workouts. Remember that even though it's short, it still counts and short workouts add up over time. I encourage everyone to embrace this approach and watch what happens. You will love the results!

Don't you love Robin's perspective on embracing little by little progress! Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Our Wellness Goal Guide is a simple and impactful mini-workbook for fitness, nutrition, and cultivated self-care. If you're ready for some workout inspiration, keep reading for a FREE challenge from Robin and her team!

The Balanced Life is hosting a FREE seven-day Pilates challenge starting October 15th. For seven days, Robin and her team will send you a 15-minute workout video you can do from the comfort of your home (no equipment needed).

It's a great way to embrace progress, not perfection in your wellness goals this month, so sign up today and add it to your October PowerSheets Tending List!

How are you incorporating wellness goals into your daily life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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