It’s 5:00 PM on Monday and I am on my way to the YMCA to teach my weekly circuits class. I get a phone call from my dad telling me that he isn’t going to be able to make it to class and I could barely hide my disappointment. I spent extra time finding new workout moves, and I made it extra difficult. When we are all at class, it’s fun to see how hard I can make it. By we, I mean my entire family. My sisters, brother, dad, and "family" that that isn’t blood at all come to class every week to not only support me, but have a really good time. We all have our “spots”, we hassle each other, we push each other, we take selfies, and we are all making our lives better, together.
Someone in class asked me the other day how long I had been working out. I honestly answered her with the response, “forever”. For as long as I can remember, I have been training. The discipline of whatever I am training for has always been a constant. I ran varsity track in sixth grade. I was the weird high school athlete that did their summer training programs. I was the even weirder college undergrad who never missed a workout to go party. You get the point. I’m not saying that every day is easy or that every workout is magical, but this is something I love with all my heart. I understand that others don’t find this love, and even though I barely understand it, I then think about all of the things that I don’t love. Such as, playing golf, or doing puzzles.
When I was 20, I ran my first half-marathon. I did it by myself. I trained by myself, and did most of my long runs on the treadmill watching movies. On race day, my whole family came and supported me, and my little sister cried watching people cross the finish line (I also do this). Then, about six months later, did the Tough Mudder. I was on a team the day of the race, but again I trained alone for the entire race. Again, my whole family came to watch. After the race, my little sister was so inspired. We were talking, and were both so pumped up that we decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Full marathon that day. That is 26.2 miles of hills. We signed up in October and the race wasn’t until May. I wish you all could have seen how excited we were, we got everything planned out and knew that we would have to start training after Christmas, and wanted to make sure that we ran our long runs together on the weekends. The only problem was Boo went to school in Western Kentucky, a mere 4 hours from our house. We did our 18 week training plan, and we met every single weekend in Georgetown to do our longs runs. Those are some of the best memories of my life. I think I should write a whole blog about the “Long Run”. Anyway, we finished the marathon and we crossed the finish line holding hands. During those weeks, I realized how much of a blessing it is to be able to train with people you love. She was the first one in my family. Oh yeah, and she lost 20 pounds, and started learning how to cook and eat healthy.
The marathon was the weekend before my college graduation, and I asked for the Insanity DVDs as a gift from my grams. My sister and I challenged my dad to the 60-day challenge. He accepted, because if you didn’t already know this, we (my dad and I) are the most competitive people on the planet. To make a long story short: 1. Insanity is really hard. 2. My dad, sister and I finished the 60 days. 3. My dad did 80 days. 4. He lost 35 pounds 5. Spoiler Alert: He has kept it off for almost two years, and hasn’t missed a workout unless there is a really big deer on the loose. He even helps me teach my bootcamp classes on occasion.
Fast-forward over two years and my other little sister has lost over 20 pounds and isn’t anywhere near finished. My little brother has been losing weight, cleaning up his diet, and deadlifting well over 400 pounds. My beautiful momma has recently lost almost 40 pounds and is chipping away slowly towards her health goals. I look at my beautiful family from the prospective of a health professional and a loved one and I am so thankful and proud. Making your health a priority is in my opinion the best way to show your loved ones you care about them. You are proving that you are willing to shed blood sweat and tears to be here for them as long as you can be. It is not only a way to show them you love them, but a way to spend time with people you love even on the busiest days.
I encourage you to exercise with your family. Every single day I look forward to the time I get to spend with them. Just this week for example, I am swimming every morning at 6:00AM with my two sisters, teaching classes with my whole family in tow, doing deadlift and squat sessions to scream-o music with my little brother, and filling the weight room with laughter with my sisters when I attempt to bench press. You see? I truly have a #fitfam. I didn’t force anyone to enjoy exercise with me, it just happened naturally. We all enjoy this, and we have all made a common ground in our life. Love the life you live, everyone! Go be with your family!
With so much love,
P.S. I was blessed to grow up on a farm or have a big yard most of my life. My siblings and I were always outside playing. Whether we were swimming all day, or playing kickball. We were very active and I am thankful I grew up in a time before technology took that away from children. So, I encourage parents with young children to go outside and play with your kids! Their imagination, creativity, and healthy body will be very thankful to you one day!