Paralegal By Day, Powerlifter At Night, Mom 24/7: How To Juggle Life & Gym Life

By: Lisa Guggisberg

“There’s no way I could do that”

“You’re so dedicated”

“I’m too lazy”

“How do you find the time?”

I hear these statements all the time from co-workers and strangers when they find out I am a competitive powerlifter with a full time job and two kids under the age of eight. Then comes the explanation of why they could never do what I do, let alone make it to the gym. My first thought when I hear this is “why not?” I am not special and I am not Superwoman. I know plenty of women that are competitive athletes and moms; Crystal McCullough and Beth Thomas are two examples. There are even some busy dads that get it done like Danny Vega and Jason Pegg.

Lately I’ve started to ponder how do I make it work? I mean I’ve always just done it, I work, I have two kids and I powerlift. I agree my life would probably be a lot easier if I wasn’t a competitive powerlifter. I’m pretty sure I am probably shoving a square peg in a round hole trying to make it all work. I work 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. five days a week. The kids have school and school activities, along with sports practice and travel ball trips. I run kids to tutoring and keep up household duties. I don’t have a maid, I am the maid. I try to be the amazing put together domestic goddess my husband married. I attempt to be that mom that does all the cool Pinterest projects for my kids. I do all this while trying to keep myself from looking like a dirty homeless lady. I can’t even poop without one of the kids coming in, so private bathroom breaks take priority over the time it takes to put together cute outfits. Oh, and did I mention that my husband works 24 hour shifts that puts me on single mom status when he works.

Finding time for me seems pretty hard when I step back and look at all the balls I juggle; I can understand the women who say they don’t have time to get in the gym. So how do I make it work? Here are some tips to help.

1. Hit the gym when you’re motivated.

Go to the gym in the morning if you want to get it out of the way or go straight after work. Don’t go home and lose yourself in all the household work that needs to be done. Trust me, it will still be there waiting for you when you get home.

2. Block out time

You probably schedule work meetings or meetings with your kid’s teacher right? So schedule your gym time. Make a standing daily appointment.

3. Have a plan.

I always have a list of goals I want to accomplish each training session. I have the movement, reps and goals written down before I go in this way I can get in and attack with a plan.

4. Don’t eat lunch.

I use my lunch hour to go to the gym around the corner from my office and hit some accessory work or cardio. I eat my lunch driving back to the office or at my desk.

5. Involve your kids.

If you’ve seen my training videos, you’ve seen my kids. They are around when I train. Let them workout with you. Go running with them. Burn their energy off so they won’t drive you to a padded cell.

6. Get your workout in when you can.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run sprints, did walking lunges, pushups, etc. on an empty field while my son had baseball practice.

7. Make it a priority.

You can spend 20 minutes on social media then you have time to get a workout in. Get your priorities straight.

8. Go easy on yourself.

This is a biggie I am still learning. It’s ok if your house is a little messy. It’s ok if your outfit doesn’t match or you go grocery shopping in your Pj’s. I used to take a lot of time and dress really nice for work. Now I am lucky if I walk out with clean pants on. Somewhere along the line these things became less important.

9. Make a home gym.

You would be amazed at what you can do with a kettlebell and some bands. Get a few pieces of equipment and do some workouts at home if you can’t make it to the gym. If I can’t make it to the gym during my lunch hour or my regular scheduled gym time I hit the garage gym after I put the kids down for bed.

10. Have a support system.

This is huge. I could not do any of this without my husband. He watches the kids when I go to the gym; he preps meals for me and does so many little things that add up and most importantly he encourages me to pursue doing what I love.

The point is, you can make it work if you’re creative enough and prioritize things. For me, powerlifting and staying healthy are high up on my list of priorities therefore I make it work, even if I have to sacrifice some things.


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A self-proclaimed former high school band nerd turned meathead nerd, Lisa has been coached and mentored by Brian Carroll using 10/20/Life principals for 3 years. She started CrossFiting in 2006 but gave that up after realizing all she wanted to do was squat, bench and deadlift heavy. She now competes as a raw and multi-ply powerlifter in the 114 and 123 weight classes. Lisa has All-Time top 10 totals in both raw and multi-ply in her respective weight classes with a raw pro total of 936 lbs at 114 and a pro 1118 lb multi-ply pro total at 123 and 1090 lb multi-ply total at 114. She is currently ranked the #1 female multi-ply lifter at 123, #2 at 114 multi-ply female and #3 raw with wraps. Lisa has a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration, but hates politics and political debates. She is a mom of two, a firefighter wife and has worked as a full time litigation paralegal for almost 20 years.
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