Self-Care Challenge - Day 3: Move Your Body!

Many of you have decided to focus on fitness as your goal for our seven-day, self-care challenge. We all know that exercise is crucial for keeping your body fit, but what do you do when you're in an exercise rut, or just not feeling motivated? Guest poster Michelle Bailen--personal trainer, health coach, and healthy hot mama--has some great advice on finding the fun in exercise. 

Happiest Mama on the Block!
How are you doing with your self-care challenge? I was so excited when the Full Belly Sisters announced this challenge. I believe we can all use some support in adding more self-care into our daily lives. As a participant in the challenge, my goal is to wake up at 6:30 and spend some quality time with myself. What will I be doing? Sun salutations and meditating before the morning craziness begins. My need for this challenge was reinforced a few days ago when I overslept and woke up to my two boys playing “Warlock Karate.” Not a fun way to start my day.

I know everyone has their own special goals for this challenge. Today I want to share with you some thoughts on adding more movement to your day. As a Health Coach and Personal Trainer, I strongly believe exercise dramatically improves our mood and health. We all know we need to move more, but that does not mean we enjoy it or make time for it. The passion for exercise comes naturally to some of us while others hate it.
My love for exercise started with the boom of the aerobics classes. I was a Jane Fonda addict. As a teenager, I became a gym rat and spent hours on the treadmill, stair climber and rowing machine. I continued to hit the gym regularly through my 20s and became a fitness instructor and personal trainer in my 30s.

Last year I noticed something changing. My love for the gym was fading. The snooze button consistently beat out my sneakers. I slept through my 6 am weight training workouts and most recently gave up teaching one of my spinning classes. What was going on and how could I turn it around? I was scared to let people know because it was my job to motivate people to exercise. Something that seemed so natural and fun was becoming monotonous. My routine was too routine.

Instead of beating myself up for skipping workouts, I have used this time to gain insight into what many of my clients feel. My love for the gym had faded, so what could I do to keep my body moving?

Over the past year I have explored many forms of movement on my quest to rekindle my love for exercise; I am happy to say it has been a wonderful adventure. I found the joy that was missing in my old routine. For all of those out there who feel like exercise is a four-letter word...start looking for movement that brings you joy.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:
  • Allow yourself to be a beginner. When I first stepped into Zumba class I felt a bit embarrassed because everyone else knew what they were doing and I was tripping over my feet. I wanted to hide out in the back, which is really a bad choice when you are only 5'1". I reminded myself of what I always tell new people in my spinning class. "Be patient, it takes time, enjoy yourself."
  • Have a sense of humor. Exercise is supposed to be fun! If you are criticizing yourself the whole time you will be miserable and more likely to quit.
  • Keep trying. If you are tired of the treadmill try walking outside, get in the pool, dance, create an obstacle course for you and your kids, go for a hike, try wall climbing, or belly dancing. The choices are endless.
  • Lose the “All or Nothing” Attitude. The standard protocol in the fitness world is to be fit we must do cardiovascular activity 3-5 times a week, strength train 2-3 times a week and stretch everyday. It is very easy to feel like you cannot keep up with the standard. As a Health Coach, I know that small changes add up to big results. If you try to overhaul your whole diet to live up to strict guidelines, it is easy to feel like a failure if you eat a cookie. However, if you add in more greens and crowd out the refined sugars, you are on the road to better health. The same thing goes for fitness. The more you move your body the better you will feel and the more your fitness level will improve.
  • Change your perspective. Instead of looking at exercise as running off your body fat or pummeling off the pounds, enjoy the way your body feels as it moves. Exercise is an expression of self–care, not self-torture. Find something that brings you joy. The more you enjoy it, the more you will do it.
Michelle workin' the pole!
So, what did I try this year? Zumba, lots of yoga, pole dancing, belly dancing, jumping on the trampoline, kick boxing, working with a personal trainer (yes, even trainers need trainers), lots of dancing with my kids, and my new favorite joyful movement...HOOPDANCE! Yes: hula-hooping and dancing. 

Is there a class you've been dying to take but are too intimidated? How can you work joyful movement into your daily life?

New to the Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge? Check out our previous posts:
Self-Care Challenge - Make Yourself a Top Priority
Day One - 50+ Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself

Day Two - A Restorative Yoga Pose for Everyone
Day Four - 101 Ways to Cut Yourself Some Slack
Day Five - Take a Deep Breath
Day Six - Bottoms Up!
Day Seven - 10 Tips for New, Breastfeeding Mamas

Michelle Bailen is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, and busy mom of two young boys. She is the founder of Healthy Hot Mama Wellness where she empowers moms to cultivate the healthy hot mama within by falling in love with true nourishment and self care. You can learn more at


  1. I love to walk and hike; luckily, the weather's been cooperating the last few days so I've been getting out a lot! As for my own goals for the challenge, the one that's had the biggest impact is my rule to not go online after 9pm. I'm going to bed earlier and getting much more sleep. Yay!

  2. A friend asked to do a Couch to 5K and having given up on myself this last spring I thought it would be a good idea to give it another shot and this time with a friend. So once a week we'll do one run together and the other runs independently. Today As part of my 7 day challenge I mapped my run! Actually my walk. But it felt really good to see my route and distance. I look forward tomorrow to picking a new route!

  3. That's great in so many ways :-)


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