“How can I consistently exercise as a busy mom with limited time and resources?” || Coaching Call with AlyciaJan 14, 2024
The most common New Year’s habit people want to work on is exercise, and for so many good reasons. Yes, there can definitely be some external 'shoulds' on that list, but exercise also helps us with our bodies, our minds, our mood, and our spirit. Alycia is a busy mom of four, so we work on finding a realistic starting point, then discuss a manageable goal with a plan for small steps to get there and gradually increase. If this is a goal of yours, but you're struggling to implement supportive habits, this coaching call can help you.
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Monica: Alycia. Thank you so much for doing this coaching call with me.
Alycia: Yeah, I'm really excited. Thank you.
Monica: Let's start with a little introduction. Tell us about you.
Alycia: Okay. My name is Alycia and I am mom of four and I live in the Northern California Bay Area in my past life as a speech therapist, I still have my license, but I'm home right now with my four little kids. My oldest is 10, my youngest is two, and I really enjoy dance and the arts, but most of my days right now are just spent trying to hold it all together with my little ones.
And I'm reaching out to you for help with trying to figure out more balance in Having exercise in my life and being able to fit that in somewhere.
Monica: Now, knowing you, I know you've done some deep work with this too, like typically with exercise being such an emotionally charged habit, there's a lot underneath the surface about the shoulds that are coming into play with that. Like why I should exercise, how much I should exercise, what type of exercise I should be doing.
Um, have you explored that or is that something you would like assistance with, or is it more of just the how to, how do I get this done? Yeah.
Alycia: I think it's probably a little bit of both. I, I definitely feel like I have had seasons in my life where I've been able to fit it in and then seasons where I haven't. Um, I think I'm at a place where I don't, like, shame myself into exercise, it's more that I just am realizing I need it and I'm done having kids and I really, really, really just want to focus on getting, like, health back and getting back to a place where I feel comfortable in my body.
Monica: Okay. Yeah. That sounds like the deep work there is, is pretty solid in terms of why you want to do it, which is really important. So don't worry. We're going to circle back to some other deeper lingering shoulds that might be playing into this problem. Let's start though, by talking about what are your current obstacles to fitting exercise in just list them all off.
Alycia: yeah, I've been thinking a lot about this because I feel like there's so many and it differs from day to day, but, um, you know, I have the sleep issue of my youngest is just finally now kind of sleeping through the night, but he still has pretty wonky hours because, you know, he's the youngest of four and things are all over the place.
So I have that issue of like, I'm just just really tired and, um. Yeah. Yeah. So, mornings are really challenging too, because, I don't know when my baby's going to wake up and it's not like an easy thing when he wakes up, so I can't just like, throw him to my husband because he might just scream for an hour.
And then, you know, that throws the whole morning off. Right? So I feel like early mornings are out and then by the evening, I'm just way too tired. So there's that issue. The child care piece is a main issue too, if I, in an ideal world, I could just have a nanny or somebody, but it's even hard to just find someone to pay to watch your child to go to child care.
So you can go to the gym during the day. So. There's those time constraints and then there's also the constraint of like, okay, just do something at home, but then You know There's nothing more frustrating than starting to work out and then you get derailed because your kid wants to jump on you And you're a horse or something so There's that aspect.
And then I feel like, you know, you do have some downtime or like, you're like, okay, put on a show for your kid, but then you feel so guilty because it's like, well, I have 8, 000 other things I need to be doing too. So that whole like prioritizing and not feeling guilty that you're working out when you should be doing the dishes or something.
Alycia: I feel like there's lots of factors that get in the way.
Monica: I mean, so many, and I relate to all of these and I know everyone listening does too. So you're not alone in that. Uh, so just to kind of recap in general, we've got some exhaustion issues as well as unpredictability within your schedule, both with your child and his sleep. Including interruptions for yourself, like when you are trying to work out at home and also just the, the mind interruptions that you're getting, like when you feel derailed because another priority pops up that might not even be a kid, but like something else urgent, um, prioritizing you mentioned, and then also money like childcare or gym and, and childcare is there childcare at the gym, potentially.
Alycia: Yes, there is. And then another aspect of that, which I know as a mom you think about, is like, okay, then we start going to the gym at the child care, or the child care at the gym, but then they start getting sick all the time, and here comes winter, and then it's just going to be a wash. Because maybe we're not even going to be able to go.
So, you know, they think about that, and then, okay, then they get sick, then everybody's sick, and it's like, oh, do I want to do that all winter long? I really want to work out, but I also don't want to deal with that. So,
Monica: And sometimes you finally, you know, go forward with the gym and the childcare there and then you have a kid or more who just don't do it like they will not
Alycia: Oh, yeah, who won't leave and go. That's a thing too.
Monica: this is why I had primarily worked well, I've only worked out from home for, for over five years. So I understand a lot of this.
Okay. Well, and, and, but that not to say like, Oh, I figured it out. It's more of a seasonal thing too. And right now we are still going to honor your season because we can't dismiss any of these, right? Like we can't just say, Oh, that. Doesn't matter. Or that's just in your head. Like these are all really real and really valid.
And so our goal is to help you get into consistent exercise again, for the reasons you deeply want it, but in a way that is still honoring the limitations of your season. Does that feel good to you?
Alycia: Perfect. I follow a lot of, of health people and this one lady was saying that she's like, I look back now as a mom of three when I was a mom of one or even didn't have kids, I would tell people like, you're just not prioritizing this enough. You're just not making this, um, habit or something that you care about enough and then she's like, and then I became a mom of three and that exhaustion and that just overwhelm of life was so real and I kind of ate my words and realized, yeah, this actually is really hard.
Monica: Man, I admire her courage to be honest about that because it's really easy to just blame yourself when really these are just your circumstances and yeah, there might be some internal ways that we can work on that. And I think we'll touch on that, but we got to start, start by first honoring. These are real.
These circumstances are not just you not having enough willpower.
Alycia: thank you.
Monica: Okay. So let's do something. Okay. That I haven't done for a bit, and it's, it's called repotentializing. And what that means is you reinsert potential back into this problem, because when we have a problem like this, it's really easy, understandably to think at the level of the problem. So we're just seeing more and more of the obstacles, which we honestly have to do in order to work around them, but it's really hard to find solutions.
So instead to think at the level of the solution. We are going to insert possibility back into this, and this is where I'm going to ask you to kind of push yourself a little bit, but not in a way that's about toxic positivity or ignoring your circumstances, but let's still just throw out any way possible.
We can come up with solutions for this. And this is just a brainstorming session just like your English teacher used to do where there's like no wrong answer. And in fact, many of these answers might not be realistic or possible in any way. But we're still going to list them. Are you open to that?
Alycia: Yeah, I love that idea.
Monica: Okay. So we talked about some obstacles. Now tell me what are some possible solutions?
Alycia: Okay. So, possible solution number 1, of course, is just join the gym with child care, right? And just deal with what comes. Another possible solution would be trying to work out some sort of schedule with my husband where I could, No, he's going to be home on X days at this time. So I can go in the evening.
anOther possible solution would be to try to better maybe sleep train my son so that I could maybe go at like 6 30 a. m.
Monica: Okay. I'm just writing these all down. Keep going.
Alycia: okay. Um, another possible solution would just be to find something like an Instagram app that I could do for YouTube. Um, some short class that I could do in the middle of the day somewhere and just fit it in.
mAybe let my son, you know, watch a show or something and prioritize that. Oh, another solution might be to find some sort of way to maybe just do lunges while he's at the park.
Alycia: That's been an obstacle for me is that he will not sit in the stroller anymore either. So it's like, I just want to go on a walk for an hour,
Monica: even do a walk.
Alycia: You won't stay in the stroller for the lifetime. So, um, let's see, um, another process. Oh, maybe look into, like, my mother in law doing childcare so I can go to the gym in the middle of the day, maybe once or twice a week, maybe find another friend that wants to swap childcare during the day to do something. I don't know that I have anymore or Saturdays. Yeah. The other idea of just trying to block out time, like, on the weekend, maybe to get some quality exercise time in
Then just trying to include my son a little bit more, trying to. Include him in the exercise in some sort of way that feels a little more productive.
Monica: Okay. So right now we have a big long list and I wrote these down so we can reference them. If you're like, what was that one? I said, we can, I can let you know what they are. Sitting in this possibility. What's coming up for you.
Alycia: I'm feeling a little more hopeful. I feel like, of course, I've run all these ideas through my head on my own, but I think that I automatically start setting up the barriers, too, as I think of them. So, I think just me talking it through with you, I'm feeling a little bit like, okay, I could make this work. I could do a combination of these things, you know?
Monica: And I'm wondering if the reason why you stop before you start in pursuing any of these options, because they did come up so readily for you, which was really cool to see, but maybe the reason you stop before you start is because of the energy, you know, it's going to require. And also the possibility of being disappointed when it doesn't work right away or easily or not at all.
And you have to try something different.
Alycia: Mm hmm. Yeah, I definitely think that. In fact, I, I went through a period of my life when I had three little ones where I just took exercise off the table altogether because I found that it was just causing me to be in such a bad mood when I didn't get to. That I was just like, you know what, Alycia, you need to just wake up in the morning and put your clothes on for the day because it was so horrible for my mental health when I was like putting on exercise clothes.
And then inevitably, like five hours later, I never exercised and I was so frustrated at my kids. And I was like, this isn't right. So then when I took it off the table, I was like, wow, I'm so much happier. Um, but I'm like, overall,
Monica: now to switch
Alycia: exercise. So, you know, I'm like now I need to get back in.
Monica: And I actually shared, I, spotlighted you for that a couple, I think a couple months ago when you shared that, when we talked about limitations on Instagram and just how you shared just embracing that season, that really helped you move through it better.
But now I can see like the three older ones are in school. The youngest one is, I mean, still really posing some difficulties, but it's still at least easier than three little ones at home at the same time. So it's time. So here's how I want to do this. We're going to explore the options that you proposed, but we're going to first do this with a shift in two ways.
And one is to have the persistence behind this about why this matters to you. That being the drive to you being willing to try and try within one option or try many options until something works because of why it matters to you right now in this season. Can you name that for yourself? Why does it matter?
Alycia: I want to just be able to show up in my life You know in the way that it's important to me and I feel like sometimes when we're not in the place We want to be health wise. It's harder to show up just even like physically like not feeling like I get tired as easily I think in that way just wanting to be able to show up for my life I'm not like so out of shape, but I do feel a difference in my body and I also just turned 40 I didn't just turn 40.
I'm gonna be 41 in a few weeks But you know, I do feel like a major difference in my energy and in my life and just kind of like, okay Let's stop surviving and let's start thriving So yeah, I just think it is important to me and I also have had that realization of like, okay, I'm 40 Let's be honest. Okay.
There are people in their 50s and 60s that look amazing and have a ton of energy But I feel like 40 is my last decade of feeling maybe kind of young ish um, and so i'm like this is my decade i've gotta i've got to get things moving now because If not health wise things I think take a big downturn for people So, I mean it's never too late, but I just am kind of like, you know, what it's it's time.
I need to just Really make this happen. I want to be my best self for myself and for my family and just enjoying life and not feeling like I have limitations and things holding me back.
Monica: And speaking of those limitations, a lot of what you brought up with your obstacles were honestly energy related. You know, the sleep schedule, the not being able to get up early, not be able to do it at night, that the, just the exhaustion that can come up mentally. And also physically with having to be in an urgent, reactive season of responding to children or interruptions or responsibilities, that's all energy.
So that's a big one right there. So I'm going to repeat back what you said, this is kind of the summary, right? You want this so that you can have the energy you need to show up as yourself, because when you don't have the energy, it's really hard to feel like yourself, also for longevity and to feel like you're thriving.
Alycia: Yes, exactly.
Monica: I want that to be something you're holding inside. Because you probably will have to pivot even after we come up with the way we want you to begin. You will expect to pivot plan to pivot. I should have said that first because that's cuter
Alycia: Plan to pivot. I love it.
Monica: plan to pivot. Okay. The second thing I wanted you to consider a shift is to considering your season and these limitations.
How can you set yourself up for more success by also making your goal here more realistic to your season? Does that make sense? actually what exercise can look like for you.
Alycia: Yeah. I started doing just like on the fitness plus thing on my phone. They have 10 minute workouts and I was like, okay, 10 minutes. Like I can do a 10 minute, even 15 sometimes feels like, Oh man, that's daunting.
I'm not going to be able to get 15, but 10, you know, and trying to not have the all or nothing thinking of just like, okay, well I could fit two 10 minute workouts in somewhere. Right.
Monica: Okay. That's awesome. Um, and, and so tell me overall, like if you're looking at a week and you're considering your season and where you want to, more realistically start out with your goal, it won't be the end goal. Like that will rise better with time. Right. Um, and as things get better with your circumstances, what would you like to, to do exercise wise?
Alycia: So this is the small step goal, right? This is the baby step goal. I mean, realistically, I would love to get in. Like 20 solid minutes a day and reach 10, 000 steps, like 20 minutes of some sort of, strength training, pull body something, and then meeting my 10, 000 steps that would be ideal for, like, I think a realistic goal.
Monica: And well, to get your 10, 000 steps, do you find that's kind of easy to do around the house or would that be a stretch? That means you need to go for a walk as well.
Alycia: I definitely feel like I get like 8, 000 typically. So it is a little bit more. I definitely need to fit some more walking in to get to 10, 000.
Monica: Okay, great. So of that 20 minutes a day of strength training of some sort and then 10, 000 steps. Now let's think about where you're at right now, and there's no shame here, but what happened to that is, is happening for you now.
Alycia: rEalistically, I usually I try to get to my Zumba class once a week, but it's hit and miss because it's kind of early and my husband commutes. So he can't always be there. So I'm just at the mercy of that. So, some weeks I get the one hour Zumba in and then
Monica: And is that the gym?
Alycia: like, Yes, I do have a team membership, but that one doesn't have childcare.
So I need to join with childcare. So, um, and then, I typically get like 8000 steps a day and, , I'm right now, maybe lucky if I'm doing the 10 minute workout 3 times a week. So, we're definitely starting low
Monica: No, no, honestly, you're not though. I mean, I didn't want to honor just how great it
Alycia: I feel like it's a doable step up, but.
Monica: No, I, I get, I get where you're coming from when you, when you've been in a place where that, that would have been like, what, like, that's nothing, but it's not nothing. And I'm sure there's a lot of people listening who would be like, wow, that would be my ideal and not to downplay how that feels for you to not be where you're want to be.
But I just want to honor, like, that's, that's not nothing there. That's something to build off of for sure. Okay. So we have a more realistic ideal of 20 minutes a day of strength training and 10, 000 steps a week a day, not a week, sorry. And then 10, 000 steps a week would be cool, but no, we're
Alycia: yeah, that'd be great. If we're just relaxing on vacation, maybe,
Monica: Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's right. Now, you know, before we do the baseline version, actually, let's look at the possibility list that you had before and let's figure out where, what feels good and more possible for you to start with of those things you shared.
And let me know if you want me to repeat them or if you know, top of mind already, like, okay, this one, I know realistically, this is what will help me get to that point more easily. Okay.
Alycia: mean, the one that pops out is, I mean, it's not easy, but it is, it's just like, just go straight to the extensive child care at the gym and just know that you can maybe get the hour in, um. But that also does have other things tied with it that are holding me back a little bit.
So I guess what I could do tomorrow, you know, would just be to try and fit it in during the day, when the older kids are at home or at school and my younger one. Also, I didn't mention nap time. Naptime sometimes, though, overlaps with, right after my daughter gets home. So, you know, anyway, but maybe just prioritize doing it during nap time and just say, you know what, all the other stuff will get done when it gets done, and I need to just carve out this time every day to do 20 minutes during naptime.
Monica: Okay. So of those two, so try the expensive gym childcare route, but honestly, maybe lower some mental hurdles because you don't have to manage the little guy. It's, it's one of those things, like if you're paying for it, you're willing to get there a little bit better, but have, but have the trade offs of him potentially getting sick more easily, or maybe not liking childcare and the money, or
Alycia: Mm hmm.
Monica: just prioritizing.
Nap time I'm exercising, even when my other kid was home or they watch a show or do cosmic kids yoga while I'm doing,
Alycia: exactly. Mm hmm.
Monica: two year old would be up for that yet. Maybe so. Um, so of those two, what's like, okay, I'm trying to lower the hurdle here, even though ultimately I want it to be something, this is going to be the most likely way I can move forward more consistently.
Alycia: Yeah, I'm thinking I should just start with the naptime and see what my frustration level is of when other things interrupt and get in the way, you know, because that's something that I can just do and I don't, obviously, there's hurdles of like I gotta call the gym and I gotta get signed up and there's like ten things that are involved with that.
So if what I'm going to do right now, I probably just need to focus on the naptime exercise.
Monica: Okay. I think that sounds great. And there I, I kind of feel like that's what your strength training time, right? Cause you can't necessarily, unless you've got to walk up and down your street with the baby monitor attached to you, you probably can't do a walk at that time. Unless you maybe could do that. I mean, maybe that works with the baby monitor
Alycia: Yeah. That's a good idea. Hadn't thought of it.
Monica: desperate times. Um, okay. So
Alycia: know. I mean, I have no problem with that. Some people listening are probably like, how could you? But yeah,
Monica: yeah, I, I, I don't know. I think if you're right in front of your house and walking back and
Alycia: or walking around my house 50 times. Sometimes my other kids like to do that.
Monica: Yeah. Okay. So during nap time, you could either walk or do your strength training or maybe both, but let's come up with on your worst of day. What's that worst of day version that will just help you be consistent. So you're in the momentum of doing this.
Alycia: probably on my worst day, I need to just, either do two 10 minute workouts wherever I can, or maybe just, shoot for the 10, 000 steps, and five minute strength training or something. Just do something, right?
Monica: So I, when you say two to 10 minutes, are you talking in the same nap time or are you talking about throughout the week?
Alycia: Or like, yeah, like, throughout the day. Like, maybe just be like, okay, jump rope for five minutes in the morning, and then do it again, you know, like, try and just space it out.
Monica: Yeah. And I think you could try that. And I honestly think why not like say I can exercise where and how I can, but at bare minimum, I know at nap time. This is my baseline. I always do this during that time. So that way you have something like a touchstone of sorts that either in the moment you're in a momentum and you can, you can do more than you thought, or it creates more energy for later in the day.
Alycia: so good.
Monica: So what could that be? A nap time baseline way of exercising on your worst of day.
Alycia: Yeah, I think the nap time baseline is I need to get 10 minutes in during, you know, that's the baseline.
Monica: And, and that can happen even if let's say another kid is home.
Alycia: Yeah. And even if he wakes up,
Monica: And I was just going to
Alycia: some reason, it's like, I can, I can finish it up, you know.
Monica: So during that time, so now let's come up with the quick W T like a, when then pairing here. So what always happens at the beginning of that time that you can then attach this 10 minutes to, or maybe it's even, I mean, cause if you're getting dressed earlier in the day, maybe, you know, when I put my baby down, then I'll put on my workout clothes. When I put on my workout clothes, then all. Do my 10 minutes, that may be.
Alycia: Yeah. I might not even put on my workout clothes for
Monica: It's just going to say that a lot of people say that's a big obstacle in a
Alycia: Yeah, it really honestly is.
Alycia: I mean, if I'm wearing jeans, I'll change up jeans, but I'm not gonna, I'm just gonna do it because let's be honest in 10 minutes, I'm not gonna get that sweaty,
Monica: Okay. Let's do that. When I put my baby down then, and where do you go to exercise? I'm just trying to get really specific. So in your head, you know, you go right to this spot and you press play.
Alycia: um, to our office.
Monica: All right. So this is our clear plan. When I put my baby down for his nap, then I'll go to the office and do my 10 minute workout. How does that feel to
Alycia: Love it. It feels manageable. It feels doable. It doesn't feel overwhelming.
Monica: Okay. And here's the thing. I want you to challenge that may come up because you're going to have. Like even the first day where that 10 minutes may seem like too much. And if that happens. Too often. Then, you know, you've got to have a lower baseline, maybe five minutes. And the other resistance that may come up is that you're going to think that's nothing.
So why even try? Why bother? And I really want you to prove yourself wrong by doing the baseline anyway, because the more you do that, even the baseline, like we've talked about, the more energy you're going to have in general, but also more momentum. And you might find you're able to do more than you thought in the moment.
Or later on in the day. So challenge yourself to push against that resistance. Like that doesn't count because it does.
Alycia: Yeah, and I definitely, I probably should have said this in the beginning. I feel like I have ADHD, so that doesn't help. So, you know, you start and then you're like, you see the dishes and you're like, oh, I gotta do those though. And you think you should do 4 things at once. And then you end up doing nothing.
Monica: Well, I don't get it personally because I don't have ADHD myself, but I do
Monica: Children three with ADHD. So I understand that. Yeah. So that's why I am going to do my darndest to help you have that very clear plan. When I put them down, then I walk right to the office. If you want to jumpstart this, I want you to practice that like three to five times in a row after we get off the call.
And you're going to feel dumb because you're like going to go in your baby's room and pretend you're putting him down for a nap. And then walk to the office and you're going to do that three to five times. But the reason I'm going to encourage you to do that is because you're creating the brain body connection so that in real time, you're more likely to remember because it's more clear in your head.
When I put the baby down, then I walked to the office and I do. And if, again, if it feels like too much, say five minutes, how's that all feeling
Alycia: I think I can do 10. I think I can do
Monica: I think you can too.
Alycia: super manageable. He'll take at least a 10 minute nap.
Monica: Yes. That's the clear WTA a WT. Um, the a part is just when you do it, you affirm it in yourself. You say I did it. Good job.
Even if it was the baseline, you always say yes. They did it. Okay. So Alycia, we have a starting place for you. I am looking forward to seeing what progress is made for you and how this consistency can help you create momentum towards your bigger goal there of 20 minutes a day and 10, 000 steps. And, and that's something, the walk part, maybe we can talk about that separately, or you can think about that yourself as like, maybe, you know, when your husband gets home, you get to go for a 20 minute walk each day.
And that's just set in stone, but that can be. And another thing you're thinking about and repotentializing, um, what do you want to take away from this call?
Alycia: I think I just need to take away from this that, sometimes you just got to stop putting the barriers up and just do it. You know, it's really hard and we can have a million excuses, but, sometimes you just got to push forward and try something like you just say, the do something list. You just got to do something and you just got to start the momentum will come.
And I know it will. It's just kind of prioritizing all these thoughts and putting myself 1st, right.
Monica: Yeah. And I would even say you're just putting yourself on the list,
Alycia: Yes, yes, it's not.
Monica: Well, and you can, you can do that too. In other ways, if you need to, but literally can just be like the first thing you do each day is give yourself like a minute to breathe before you go out about your duties. And I do just want to validate that there.
Like you mentioned there, there is a difference between honoring your circumstances and luxuriating in them. Like it's possible to accept you have limitations, but also not let them stand in your way to completely, you know?
Alycia: And also just realizing like that people aren't being lazy. It's just often, sometimes you just don't even have the brain space to go through this alone. You know what I'm saying? Like, it's not like, um, someone's so lazy. They're just sitting on the couch with bonbons, which okay, maybe sometimes you do do that because You just need that mental break,
Monica: I love doing that.
Alycia: the reality is it's really hard, um, when you have so many things on the plate to even go there with, you know, any feeling luxuries of life, even though it's not a luxury, because we need our health and to move our bodies to survive.
But, um, sometimes it feels like. That has to come off the plate because there's just so many other pressing things, but just realizing, that I need to just make the mental space to make it happen and find a way. So I'm so grateful for you for working through this with me and just renewing my, why
Monica: Mm hmm.
Alycia: helping me see clearly a past.
Monica: Well, you did it. I mean, I didn't give you the answers, which I hope you can see when you listen back to this call. Like you, you did it and we all need a mirror. We all need a mirror to help us know what we already know. So, um, I'm glad that's where we were able to get to, today for you and I would love to hear from you.
Like, let me know how it goes. And if you have any pivots that you need help working through, I'm happy to help you with them.
Well, thank you so much. I really enjoyed
Alycia: much, Monica.
Monica: Okay. That was so great. I'm going to press.
Alycia: Having exercise in my life and being able to fit that in somewhere
Monica: Great. And is this specifically about summer or is it in general?
Alycia: I'm sorry. No,
Monica: I thought you said summer. So you said that you said fitting exercise in, in summer. No, this is me and my hearing impairment. So that's why I had to clarify. Okay. We'll just keep going then. Cause that's, that's why I asked