Because I work from home, most weeks I can pretty easily stick to a routine workout plan with a lot of flexibility in the time of day I workout based on what fits my schedule. I use an app for strength workouts 3 times a week, and swim for cardio 4 times a week. Strength is M/W/F, swims are M-F usually taking Tuesday or Wednesday off. Weekends, I reluctantly rest. I typically don’t have a lot of distractions or excuses to miss, save for the occasional doctor appointment or school event.

But – there’s always a but…

I don’t live close to family, so I have a lot of visitors (and visit family a few times a year out of town). And it’s not the weekend visit or the occasional Sunday dinner, it’s come and stay for a week – 24/7 company. So during these visits I often struggle with keeping my routine vs. entertaining my guests. I feel guilty if I neglect either one. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to manage this, and I’ve come up with a few ideas, or maybe, realizations that have helped. What I’ve found as I’ve talked to friends and other moms is that a lot of moms are in similar situations with different circumstances. Maybe they live close to family, but are stay at home moms or dads that feel guilty dropping their kids off so they can have an hour to themselves. Point is, there are lots of excuses to miss your workout, but if you’re like me you always feel better when you find a way to get it in. Here are my strategies to stay on track when your house becomes the local Inn:

  • Stop feeling guilty. Your family, whether they be out of town visitors or your demanding 2 year old, will be just fine if you disappear for an hour. Chances are, they need a break from you too. Just go! I used to say, “Would you all mind if I went and worked out for an hour?” Now I just say, I’m going to the gym at noon, i’ll be back in an hour. Statements not questions people – just go!
  • Build the plan around your schedule. Inevitably when I have visitors, or am visiting somewhere else I wake up in the morning and get, “So what should we do today?” Be ready. I’ve started saying, well I’m getting my swim in at XX time, but otherwise we have the whole day. Here are some suggestions…
  • Do you research. If you’re the one traveling, don’t expect to show up and instantly find a place to swim, pools can be hard to come by. I recently went home to the town where I grew up to visit family, and it is SMALL TOWN Pennsylvania. There are not many options for swimming. Luckily, I called a bunch of places ahead of time (local high schools, the local college, and a nearby YMCA) and had a plan by the time I got there to get it done.
  • Get up earlier (you lazy bum). I’ll admit, I hate this one and it often doesn’t pan out for me, even if I set an alarm. 16 years as a competitive swimmer and I never got used to morning practice. But on the occasional day that I can drag my butt out of bed, getting up before everyone else and going to swim while the sun is still trying to come up allows me to workout before anyone else is awake, and the subject never even comes up. Plus, it’s a good excuse to take a nap later in the day.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little wiser about this. I want to spend time with family if they came all the way to visit, but I also work hard to keep in shape and taking an entire week off when you have visitors as often as I do just won’t work. These tips are based on about 10 years of being the kid who moved away from home, and I’m sure there are more of you out there. Would love to hear how everyone else deals!

Swim comic by my daughter