REAL Woman Wednesday: Fitness for the Poor, Single Mom

I saw this meme on Facebook the other day and it struck a real cord with me.


As the forever busy and broke single mother of an autistic ten year-old (and once upon a time the other now adult ones too), I understand all too well this woman’s dilemma.

While I may not always MAKE it a priority to walk the walk, with a BS in Health Education and two and a half years experience as a personal trainer with one of the largest fitness chains in America, I do have a few things to say on this matter…


  1. Walk! Instead of hopping into your car to drive half a mile to the store for a loaf of bread…take the time to walk there and back…one mile of exercise accomplished…and the environment saved.
  2. Crunches/sit ups/leg lifts/other core exercises. Five minutes in the morning and another five at night right before bed can make a world of difference in a matter of weeks.
  3. Cans of soup/bottles of water…make excellent weights to use at home. No expensive gym memberships or equipment to buy.
  4. Freecycle. But if you have the space and motivation, this online resource OFTEN has that equipment…for FREE. Just pick it up from people who spent the time but never made the time.
  5. Internet. As for what to do…a quick Google search of the words…at home workouts revealed “About 35,500,000 results (0.58 seconds).” Yoga, pilates, calesthenics, weights…just about anything and everything you could hope for.


  1. Junk is EXPENSIVE! Whether it is your cigarettes, soda, chips, ice cream or cookies…that shit ain’t cheap. Just as bad…ready meals. So before you complain about the cost of eating healthy look at how much your unhealthy costs you.
  2. Batch cook. If you find yourself eating out too often just because at the end of a long day you are too tired to cook, then spend a couple of hours on the weekend making meals (and those 5 minute lunches) for the whole week. Stick them in the fridge for cooking/reheating later or the freezer.
  3. Grow your own. Herbs and lettuces at the minimum can be grown in days on the window sill. And if you have more space, well, your imagination is your limit.
  4. Buy in bulk or at farmer’s markets. If your family is not large enough to warrant it, then consider co-oping with friends in similar position to purchase and prepare food.
  5. Leftovers. That tiny piece of chicken can be chopped and with some of the lettuce from the window makes a wonderful five minute lunch for work. Or throw it in a pot with some veg and seasoning for a warm and nutritious soup.

There you go. Ten small things you can do to help your body. From a former health educator and personal trainer.

Of course, the one thing that I cannot provide is the motivation to do any of them. Hell, for the longest time I could not find that one for myself. But you know what? That has nothing to do with money or time. I cant tell you the number of clients that bought and paid for personal training sessions that they NEVER used. Even calling to remind them that they had unused sessions could not motivate them back into the gym.

Afraid that like me you will have to find that one for yourself.

5 thoughts on “REAL Woman Wednesday: Fitness for the Poor, Single Mom

  1. Some great tips there. My favorite is the leftovers for lunch . I almost never buy lunch out or eat junk food in the day. Leftovers are plentiful at my house. As I put food away after dinner at night I just go ahead and package it up in small lunch containers ready to grab and go. 👍🏽

  2. Since living on my own as a single woman w/o dependents, learning to cook has been one of the best things. I was actually shocked at the number of people who I was with in grad school who couldn’t even whip up a basic pasta dish. The internet is full of recipes, people! I completely agree about not stocking junk at home: that worked for me (except on exam days when all goes to hell). One thing that definitely helps is being consistent. I buy fruits and veggies and force myself to finish it before it goes bad, and meal prep/ plan on a weekly basis (usually when doing laundry). I take my lunch with me, and make sure it’s healthy.

    Additionally regarding exercise, the routine helps here too. My gym offers some free classes, and I picked 3 varied ones that I like and attend them regularly. I’m by no means athletic, but neither are the majority of people in the classes. Otherwise, if you have a friend who’s really into fitness, ask them for advice on routines (HIIT is something to look into if you’re interested in efficiency) and form, then schedule in 3-4x/week. I’m the type that if I pay for something, I definitely make the most use out of it, so doing it this way helped me out a lot.

    If you really can’t make the gym work, then I do know people who do have kids meet regularly as a small group at each others’ houses/ local parks, and exercise together, which seems to be motivational and social, and others who do it with their partners. Bodyweight exercises are fantastic and effective, no fancy equipment needed, as you mentioned, Tara.

    Also good to note is to look into free regular classes hosted by sports shops in your area. I’m not in the UK, but my local Nike, Lululemon etc… offer free evening classes. I know SweatyBetty does so as well in certain locations. Great options to look into.

    Imposing consistency till it doesn’t become so much of a shock to your system, and more of just something mundane you do like brushing your teeth, or answering work emails etc… is the key. Not particularly enjoyable, but you do it nonetheless. Hope this helped 🙂

  3. YouTube has a BeFit channel with tons of free workouts. My personal favorite is Jillian Michaels: 30 day shred. It takes 20 minutes to do and you will see results after 30 days. She is very motivating. I also use the the MyFitnessPal App to log my meals. Logging them makes me more accountable to what I eat and less likely to eat junk. Thanks for the post!

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