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Child’s Play – When does fitness become a chore!?!

So I’ve been asked to design a “fitness” obstacle course for this family event in June. Most of the kids doing the course will be between the ages of like 5 and 10 years old.

I was told it needs to be something FUN but at the same time active and fitness-related.

When she said, “FUN and FITNESS-RELATED” she almost said it as if the two together weren’t completely possible…Most adults don’t consider something fitness-related fun…they call it working out.

But what we call working out, kids call PLAY.

Seriously, when did it change?

When did accomplishing something physical NOT become something super exciting but instead something we avoid?

I mean I see all the children come into the gym and get so excited to swing and lift up heavy things. The kids get SO EXCITED when they can pick up something heavy or climb the rope.

They get so excited because they see it as expanding their boundaries and accomplishing something they either couldn’t do or hadn’t done before.

Their parents on the other hand, sometimes roll their eyes and groan when they have to climb the rope…Or they grab a lighter weight then they really should be doing.

Kids see the exercises as proving that they CAN DO something. Parents see exercises as something they have to do.

Which honestly makes me kind of sad.

Working out is something I GET TO DO. Something I look forward to. Something I love.

And I want to instill that same love in everyone I meet.

So I’ve now been considering, what obstacles/exercises should I include in the course at the event in June? What will make kids fall in love with exercising so that it always remains PLAY!?!

When I started doing some research, I stumbled across a ton of activities I LOVED when I was little. Like double-dutch, four square, kickball, hopscotch, climbing trees, Red Rover…and Skip It…Dude I want to do it right now…

And to think most adults think of “jumping rope” or “hopping” as exercise. Skip It was basically jumping rope, except you NEVER wanted to stop!

AHHH! I WANT ONE! A couple of years ago, I stumbled across one but the loop wouldn’t fit over my foot…So bummed!

What were your favorite outdoor games and activities?

Active Rest

So I finished my latest workout progression last Wednesday with 20 minutes on the battling ropes.

I then took four days off while I traveled to visit the Man Bicep Mom and my sister (which by the way was SO much fun!).

Since coming back, I’ve been working out with no clear direction. I figured my body could use the break from intense training and it is nice every once in a while to take a week to just play!

I’m just experimenting, trying new things and working on strengthening areas for my next progression. I’ll probably just “goof around” until Monday when I start a two-week powerlifting progression before getting back to training for the OKC Kettlebell competition we will be holding in February.

The other day I tried this glute bridge exercise that I’ve seen one of the owners, Corey, doing on a regular basis. It was killer and a great way to improve my deadlift. I’ve also tested out a few core exercises I’d found online and worked on my kettlebell swing.

Then today I jumped in on one of Aaron’s workouts and got my first chance to work with the atlas stones.

While I wasn’t lifting them like this guy, I did get to do a core exercise with the “little” 125lbs one. Aside from smashing my elbow underneath it so that I now have a second elbow off of my first elbow, I really really liked using those stones.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the exercise we were doing today, but it did make you look like a turtle stuck on your back. It was a great core exercise because it not only worked all of the muscles of your trunk, but it also worked your triple extension, meaning it also worked all the way down your legs.

Anyway, the point of this short rambling post is that while I’ve been harping on progression and setting a goal and tailoring your program to move you closer to that goal, it is also very important to remember to take ACTIVE REST weeks. Every month or two months, you should take a week where you just PLAY.

You don’t necessarily have any clear-cut goals. You are allowing yourself to just relax while not being completely inactive.

You are just experimenting and readying your mind and body for another round of intense, hard work.

So while setting out a clear progression toward your goals is important, remember it is also important to every once in a while give your mind and body and chance to play with no stress or pressure to accomplish a goal.

Spending time with family

In Boston, all too often Ryan and I would spend time together by watching TV or a movie. We would do active things together, but not near as frequently as we should have.

Since moving to Cali, we’ve spent so much more time together doing active things – even just activities such as walking around a farmers market together.

Ryan holding our purchases from the market.

There is something about being ACTIVE together that brings you even closer together. There is a bonding that goes on when you DO things together.

Yoga outside together…Ryan didn’t want to pose… haha

Like yesterday…We did a quick workout together then got some coffee and walked about 4 miles on the beach, watching the waves. We later put together some furniture. All active things. All times to bond.

There is just something about the bonding that happens during physical activity that is so different from the bonding that happens at any other time.

That is why I encourage all of my clients, friends and family to DO things together. Go paddleboarding. Go rock climbing. Go for a hike or jog or even do a workout together!

Team IR paddleboarding.

Yea there may be some competition when you do a workout with your spouse, friend or family member, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The fact that you are overcoming a challenge together will bring you closer. The fact that you are both talking and playing together while getting endorphins from the exercise will bring you closer.

Playing together will help you develop a stronger bond. A healthier relationship. And a healthier you.

So today…go play with your family and friends!

Go do headstands on a paddleboard even if you do flip over and fall in! (which by the way I did…numerous times…)

So I got some weird looks…

So currently I don’t have a gym to train at consistently.

But that is no excuse not to workout intensely!

Sunday I went and ran Stadiums, or as Ryan calls them “Serpentines.”

On Monday, Ryan and I borrowed any random workout equipment we could and did a workout in the backyard.

And then yesterday, I went to the park and busted out a very nice workout.

Yep….the park…er…playground

So what if a couple of people gave me a very strange look?! So what if I was crawling through the grass?!

Monkey bars are a great place to do pull ups and knees to elbows. Heck if you even just go back and forth across the monkey bars it is a great workout.

Ok so this wasn’t from yesterday…it was from Boston when I spent the afternoon playing with preschoolers!

A park bench or picnic table is perfect for box jumps.

There is just so many great exercises that you can do on a playground!

And hey, at least a kid said, “Mommy, I want to do what she is doing on the monkey bars!” (At this point I was doing knees to elbows.)

Who cares if you look “weird” bear-crawling on the ground?!?!

You are running and “playing” just like a kid! Shoot! Get your kids to do the workout with you on the playground! They will think it is so much fun!

It’s better than being one of those people just sitting around WATCHING their kids play, right!?! 🙂

So no excuses! Go out and play in the sun (and get in a great workout while you are at it!)

You can even try this workout!

Workout of the Week:

Bear crawls (forward then back) 25 steps forward and 25 steps back
Pull ups 25
Picnic bench jumps 50
Leg lowers 50
“Walking” Lunges (jumping up and slightly forward each time switching legs) 25 each side
Knees to elbows 50
1 leg skater squats 25 each side
Monkey bars 50 (go back and forth across the monkey bars until you hit 50 reps)
Mountain climbers 50 each side
Pull ups 25
Bear crawls (forward then back) 25 steps forward and 25 steps back

Top 10 ways to have more fun while working out!

I love lifting heavy weights and workouts that nearly kill me. For me that is fun…as sick as that may sound.

But I do realize that my idea of fun doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone.

And if you want to find the perfect workout routine for you, you have to find a form of exercise that you enjoy!

While I don’t think any workout routine is complete without at least two days of heavy lifting, I do think there are lots of things you can do to make your workout routine fun in general.

Here are 10 ways to make your workout routine more enjoyable:

  1. Workout with a friend. I find that working out with someone not only pushes me harder but makes any workout, no matter how torturous, more tolerable.
  2. Do activities that you enjoy! Do a Zumba class if you enjoy it. While lifting is important, you don’t have to lift every day, which leaves plenty of time to do the activities you love! Combine an activity that you love with a couple of essential, but maybe not as fun lifting days, and your overall program will be something you enjoy.
  3. Add music to your workouts. Create a playlist for your workouts. Matching up music to exercises can be motivating and make the workouts more fun. A playlist can both help you take the appropriate amount of rest and help you not take extra breaks during an intense circuit!
  4. Challenge yourself. There is no better feeling than pushing through a hard workout. When you complete a challenging workout, you feel successful and that feeling of success makes the hard work worthwhile!
  5. Mix it up! Vary what you do. If you do the same thing week in and week out, you are going to get bored. And if you are bored with your workout, you probably aren’t having fun. Keep it interesting and mix things up at least every 4-6 weeks!
  6. Try something new. Every time you experiment and try something new, you give yourself the chance to find something new that you enjoy. Trying something new also adds variety to your workouts, which keeps you interested!
  7. Take the workouts outside the gym. Try taking your workouts outside. Go for a run or hike. I always find that I workout for way longer when I’m actually GOING somewhere. Even just moving your workouts from the gym to home can make it easier to squeeze one in on a day when you aren’t motivated.
  8. Play. When kids play, they are exercising. What’s to say a workout has to feel like a workout? Go stand-up paddle boarding, roller skating or biking! Or even just go play on the playground with your kids!
  9. See results. When you see results, you are motivated to keep working hard. Find some great ways to measure your progress and do check ups every 4-6 weeks. Success is a great motivator!
  10. Don’t think that every workout has to be a marathon. Don’t pressure yourself into making every workout the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Also, not every workout needs to go on for an hour. Sometimes the best workouts are the ones where you go all out and are exhausted in 10 minutes. Vary the length and intensity of your workouts. Something is better than nothing. And not having to stress over the length of your workout can make working out more fun in general!

How do you make working out fun!?!

Being Primal – Easier in Warm Weather?

So Mark Sisson in his Primal Blueprint recommends that you “play” a certain amount each day. And he defines play as something active aka not watching TV. He wants you to get outside and do something that is defined as “active leisure.”

Which in theory is great.

BUT that isn’t easy in a place that doesn’t stay warm for more than two months especially if you aren’t that fond of the cold. At least I haven’t found it that easy to be extra active during the winter time, which means active play (especially outdoors) is usually restricted to the warm weather (which in Boston is about two months out of the year).

You can go skiing and try to do some indoor sports, but these things aren’t necessarily readily available in Boston nor are they necessarily easily affordable for everyone. They aren’t near as accessible as say outdoor activities are in California all year around.

Which makes me want to move to California because it is sooooo freaking easy to live an active, primal lifestyle. You can go bike riding and swimming and paddle boarding (which I’m obsessed with). You can play basketball or baseball or Ultimate (which Mark is obsessed with). Or you can simply go for a stroll outside all year around!

So I ask myself…if I love the Primal lifestyle, “Do I need to move some place that is warm all year around?” How can I be more active during the cold winters here other than just working out a ton, which I already do?

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