Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with some awesome people. A common thread that they all share is the desire to improve their health or performance.
Interestingly, that desire burned brightest with those who involved their loved ones in that effort. With family invested in the process, each person had more impetus to individually achieve their goals. Furthermore, there is greater accountability to consistently execute behaviors that aligned with those goals. Maintaining the discipline to complete a workout or prepare a healthy meal is much easier when everyone was on board.
When regular exercise or nutrition habits become a part of the family routine, three powerful things happen for all involved:
Bright and early, every Monday and Thursday a husband and wife of almost 45 years make their way downstairs to their condo complex gym to work out with me. At each workout they needle each other and playfully bicker about what the other is doing. They laugh. They complain. They work hard. Whatever the plan for the session is, they do it together. Despite being in their 70’s, they show no signs of slowing down. For them, working out is as much about connection as it is about staying fit or healthy.
Conversely, relationships can break down if one member of the family encounters resistance as they try to adopt healthier habits. Years ago, I witnessed this first hand as a gym goer shared his frustration with his wife who did not embrace his efforts. According to him, she was annoyed that he would spend time working out or prefer healthier food choices than what she was used to sharing with him.
With better communication (about his goals and reasons for wanting to be healthier and her fear that she was being left behind) they were able to bridge the gap. Relationships are important – take the time up front to discuss your goals and concerns and aim from buy-in from those closest to you.
This year, I organized training sessions for a Savage Race team with one of our corporate clients. The core of the group was a husband and wife, along with their daughter and her fiancée. In the weeks leading up to the race they attended every session. Each member of the family has been, in some way, responsible for pushing the others outside of their comfort zone.
I had to laugh one day when the following conversation took place after the workout:
Dad: “How’s the burger place around the corner?”
Mom: “No burgers.”
Dad: “We just worked out.”
Mom: “I know. We’re not having burgers.”
When we’re on our own it’s easy to stray off the path. Our minds can trick us into thinking that skipping a workout or giving into a craving isn’t a big deal. Provided we’re executing our healthy behaviors with 80% success, it’s probably not. However, what do we do when we slip outside of that 80%? Will we reestablish those behaviors or will we stray even further? Having your family onboard helps to ensure it’s the former rather than the latter.
One of my favorite parts of the day is when my wife drops by Excellence in Exercise, the studio where I coach out of, with our 15 month old son for a workout. Where my wife previously did mostly low intensity cardio or Pilates, she’s adopted strength training as a regular part of her routine. As a result, she’s gotten quite strong and confident around the gym. On deadlift day, she loads up the Trap Bar and gets right to it. There’s a reason why I call her La Jefa…
It’s also fun to watch the little guy crawl around on top of a BOSU ball or push one of the physio balls around the studio. He’s also not above critiquing my deadlift technique. Even though we’re doing different things we’re still together. And we’re introducing our son into a life-long healthy habit that he can eventually teach to his family.
At home, my wife and I love to eat a variety of things and we try to introduce the little guy to most of it. From salmon and veggies to our world-famous ground turkey mix he’s tried just about everything. We want him to enjoy food and learn that healthy meals can be quite tasty too.
Working out as a family doesn’t have to be complicated. You can go for a run, a hike or a bike ride. If all else fails you can download the ANYWHERE Workout, open up the garage door, crank the music and get to it. Whatever you choose, make it a part of your family time!
Improving your overall health can seem like long, complicated endeavor, but bringing family along for the ride can make it that much easier. At Vitalifit, we believe that having a partner who’s vested in your health and well-being is important to creating lasting change. If you’re looking for a trusted partner to help guide you or your family through the process, contact us today to join the Vitalifit Coaching Program that is right for you.