This mama’s got her mama-work balance down to a science. Kate Brennan of The Chic Series is a certified trainer and lifestyle blogger (with one covetable wardrobe, we have to say) who discovered the healing powers of exercise early on in her motherhood journey. Upon the arrival of her second daughter, Brennan found herself overwhelmed by how to be the best businesswoman and person amidst the many demands that come with being a mama. Soon thereafter, she discovered that she desperately needed some quality time with herself so she could give her all to both her family and her work. For Brennan, the solution has been squeezing in a 4:30am workout every morning before sunrise — a routine that has made all the difference. Here, the disciplined mama chats with us about the all-too necessary part exercise plays in her life, and how she keeps herself motivated with her favorite gear from Old Navy Active. Read on…

When our second daughter Summer arrived last July, the saying, “being a parent is the hardest job in the world” became a reality for me. Caring for two little girls tested my patience and my sanity everyday. Pile on owning your own business on top of the rigors of parenthood and life often seemed like it was spiraling out of my control. It was evident very early on that I would need to find a way to deal with the daily stress of being a working parent. Being that my preferred form of therapy has always been workout classes, this is naturally where I turned.  Exercise has always helped me find mental clarity in overwhelming situations and has allowed me to re-establish balance in my life. So the solution to my problem was simple: fitness needed to become part of my daily routine.

Kate Brennan Old Navy Active

At first, I would try and squeeze in classes during the day, but I was never consistent with my routine. Unanswered emails or the girls schedules would take precedence over my pilates classes. The only way I could keep fitness as a grounding force in my life was if I woke up at 4:30 am and started my day with a workout. At first it was torture setting my alarm for 4 am, but once I established my routine I began to love it. Then, slowly, with the implementation of this routine, I became a more patient mother, a more loving wife, a more focused entrepreneur and an overall happier person. Fitness helped me re-establish the balance in my life that I so badly needed.

Some of you are reading this right now and are thinking 4 am – yikes – I can’t.  But actually, yes you can! Figure out what will motivate you to get out of bed when it’s still dark outside and make it happen. For me, it is a cup of coffee that I can enjoy uninterrupted, or a new workout outfit. Recently I have been turning to Old Navy Active for new gear. Their assortment is every mom’s dream, as it is the perfect balance between being stylish and functional — all at an affordable price.

These high waisted compression leggings have become my most recent obsession, as they hold everything in place during long runs. The best part about them is: they still look chic! Athletic tanks and sports bras are my preferred tops of choice these days and Old Navy has such a great selection. Whether graphic tanks are your thing, or if you prefer the classic white tank, Old Navy has you covered. Furthermore, to some, athleisure is a trend, but to me its a way of life. When shopping I look for comfort, practicality and versatility in the items I buy and Old Navy Active meets all of these requirements. Old Navy offers a well-edited selection of athleisure wear, like this tee with an exposed back — perfect to throw on post workout or for daily errand runs.

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Another added bonus of daily workouts? I don’t feel guilty indulging in the occasional ice cream dates with the girls. As a mom and a fitness enthusiast, establishing healthy eating habits in our home is something that is extremely important to me. However, I also want them to see that there should be a balance and that life should not be lived in extremes. I want to teach them that by leading a healthy and active lifestyle, it’s okay to enjoy treats every so often.

Kate Brennan Old Navy Active

Finally, if you can’t already tell, “work hard, play hard” is our motto in the Brennan household. We try and lead by example to set this tone on a daily basis. I want to teach the girls that by waking up early in the morning and putting in the hard work, I can then truly enjoy quality play time with my family. My daily exercise routine helps me achieve the mom-work life balance that so many of us are desperately seeking. By taking that hour out of my day, I am a better mom and an overall better person. If you still need more convincing, I have put together a list below of all of the benefits of adding fitness into your life. My best piece of advice to kickstart your morning routine is to incentivize yourself with a cute new workout outfit. Happy running friends, and I hope you too can find the balance and happiness in your life!

Kate Brennan Old Navy Active

The Mom Benefits of Exercising Regularly

  1. Helps you to establish a schedule and stick to a routine. With the chaos of motherhood, this is essential for survival.
  2. Get in some uninterrupted “me” time. Think of yourself as a battery; if you aren’t charged, you will have nothing to give.
  3. Release endorphins, the feel good hormone produced from getting your sweat on. You will feel more confident in yourself and your decisions.
  4. Connect with a community. I have connected with my best friends in workout classes.
  5. Lead by example. Showing your kids the importance of physical fitness at an early age will help instill this healthy habit in their life.

What’s your go-to post-workout snack?

A Daily Harvest Smoothie and a coffee (I know it should be water!).

What’s your favorite song to work out to?

Any type of hip-hop music.

What motivates you to stay fit?

Being a role model for my girls. Exercise is also so important for physical and mental health. I’m a more positive, patient person when I workout, and as a result, a better mom!

Kate Brennan Old Navy Active

If you could only do one workout for one month, what would that be?

Barry’s Bootcamp.

What’s your favorite way to stay active with the kids?

I love running with our Thule double jogging stroller to the park. We pack a picnic and enjoy being outdoors altogether. 

Do you have any fitness style secrets you can share for looking good while we break a sweat?

Athleisure is trending in such a big way, and it’s really a mom’s dream come true! You can be comfortable and still look chic!

Kate Brennan Old Navy Active

What’s been the most challenging part of motherhood for you?

Finding the balance. Everyday I struggle with how much time I devote to the blog and to my family. When you work for yourself, it can be hard to “turn it off”.

What has been the most surprising part of motherhood for you?

The tantrums…I thought those only existed in movies!

3 pearls of wisdom

1.

My mother always told me: when it seems like everything is melting down, just head outside into the fresh air. It has been my solution for everything these days.

2.

Someone also told me just add water and that has worked just as well. Fill up a bath tub or the sink and kids will be amused for hours.

3.

Finally, take time for yourself everyday. Yep...I said everyday. My hour of working out is my time to recharge so I can be a more attentive mom to my kids and a better wife to my husband.

xx Kate Brennan

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