Friday, February 1, 2008

Exercising with Kids

Pretty much every morning I get up before most of my kids and exercise. (I did Cathe's Upper Body Pyramid workout today -- loved it!) It used to be this magical part of the day when everyone else was still sleeping and I was doing something vital for myself. It's still vital for me to work out, but it's a little more complicated now than it was before.

My exercise history is vast and like stepping -- I've been good at it at times (used to run 5 miles a day in college) and have horrible at it others (couldn't get myself to do a thing for years). I was hit and miss with exercise with my first 3 children. I did have spurts of taking step classes, swimming laps, or just stepping up and down endlessly at home to music, but nothing was consistent. I didn't really love what I was doing.

After my 4th child was born, I knew that I had to do more. Gone were the days of just putting them in a bike trailer for a ride or going for a walk without a ton of interuptions. I did a trial week at a health club, but found that there was no "good" time to work out. It would take too much time to drive back and forth to be able to get my usual things done. I knew I had to do something at home. So I read a book by Bob Greene (Oprah's personal trainer) and he said it was best to exercise first thing in the morning in order to elevate and maximize the metabolism for the day. So I vowed to do that. I didn't want to do it, but I told myself I would.

For the next few weeks, I decided if I found an excuse not to exercise, I had to write it in my journal before I walked away. Each time I did this, I saw how lame my excuses were and exercised anyway. I started out with Beginner level exercise videos -- mainly Denise Austin and some Donna Richardson. I mainly did cardio with really light weights. It worked. I lost the baby weight, had enough energy to keep up with my 4 small children and found a new love in fitness.

Flash ahead 11 years later and I'm still going strong. I counted up all the exercise videos I've done about a year ago and came up just shy of 400. (I told this to a director of a Beachbody infomercial and he was stunned, but the producer wouldn't let me say that many. He said to saw "over 200" because no one would believe I'd done that many :)) -- Maybe if I come up with no ideas for a blog someday, I'll list all of those videos. I doubt I've hit 500 yet, but I'm probably getting up there.

I'll also get into more details on the wide variety of videos that I do. That's one question I get often from friends, "What yoga dvd do you like to do?" or "What do you do for exercise?" -- That's like asking "What food do you eat?" (actually, I do get that question too since I do eat so differently than most people I know) -- but anyway, it's a loaded question and takes me some time to answer. But it's worth the time because so many people do a video, don't like it, then just give up that they're all not for them.

Since I put Cathe's Upper Body Pyramid workout as the photo for the day, I will say a bit about her. Her website is over to the right and she has created advanced workouts for the home exerciser for over a decade. I thought I couldn't do her stuff when I first heard about her because her step choreography is complex and her weight workouts are tough. But I soon learned that I could start with low weights (I still usually lift lighter than she does) and a friend loaned me one of her older step videos that was a little more moderate that helped teach me that step lingo.

Cathe now has a few beginner workouts that teach basic step moves and that aren't as long as her more advanced ones, which is a great way for people to grow into her workouts. I could go on and on about her, but if you go to her website, you can see for yourself. She has video clips and a ton of information. She even has e-cards! :) I'm sure I'll talk about her more later on. I may even review workouts from time to time.

Back to the actual topic of exercising with kids, it isn't always easy, but I always manage to make it work. The toughest way to do it (which often happens on a Saturday morning if I sleep in) is when they are all awake and the phone has started ringing. But usually, my oldest daughters are downstairs getting ready for school, the rest of the kids are asleep, and I can go in our family room and have a good hour plus to sweat, work those muscles, or stretch. When I first started out, I had to really train the kids that "No, I'm not getting you apple juice" -- "Mommy needs to exercise."

So my kids have grown up knowing this is what I do and not to bug me. I still get interruptions from time to time (even from my oldest daughter (17), wanting to find some shirt that she just HAS to wear today). My youngest son (5) is so sporatic with his wake-up time that he tries to get me to stop when he wakes up. But if I'm doing yoga, he'll get excited and either grab a mat and join me (which only lasts a few minutes, but he loves it) or he'll wait on the couch until I get to the stretch portion and then will be my partner and help me get a greater stretch (which he learned from watching the partner stretches on Inhale Yoga w/Steve Ross). It's very sweet.

This morning was a little crazy though. My youngest son and daughter came in right at the end of my weight workout and weren't prepared for me wanting to do some Pilates too. Actually, my daughter was just fine, but my little guy kept using me as a gauntlet. If I was raising and lowering my legs, he'd try to run by and not get hit by my legs . This worked fine for some moves (rolling like a ball, double leg stretch), but was not possible for others (like scissors, criss cross). But we all make it through somehow. Hopefully they'll learn to love fitness like I do or at least appreciate my passion for it.

Thanks for listening on my big day two! -- Renee

1 comment:

  1. Hi Renee~~~happened to run onto your blog link at yaya's. Good Luck! Leslie (not quite BradyBunchMom lol )