Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kids Are NOT Dumbells! (But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as such…)

It’s tough to maintain any level of fitness when you have kidlets at home. They (rightly) take (and deserve) all your time, energy, and focus so that your life pretty much becomes a cycle of sleep (when you can), work, kids, sleep, work, kids; repeat – day in, day out. There is little time left for most of your own pursuits, including working out.

So, you cut back. If you used to run 10 miles every day, maybe you now sprint three miles every other day. Used to pump iron four days a week for two hours at a time? Now it’s three times a week for 40 minutes at a time. Triathlon training, fencing, ice dancing, competitive yo-yo whatever your thing was, it generally changes quite drastically when you add kids to the equation.

But to supplement your now meager, ‘catch as catch can’ workouts, you get creative. After all, you’re around your kiddos so many hours a day – why not USE them for your fitness?

Thus I humbly present to you a comprehensive workout for moms and dads, ones that hit nearly every major muscle group (at least broadly) and will help a dad or mom from becoming that total pudge-ball slouch that they so readily fear.

[But first, a disclaimer: before starting any workout regime, consult your physician. And before starting this workout regime, also consult your partner, your parents, your pediatrician, and your psychologist – at minimum. Maybe post some stuff online too, just to cover all your bases. Also, while this is all in fun and it goes without saying; just don’t drop your kids. Ever. (So, it can be said that this workout also helps focus your concentration and also develops grip strength.) And if you don’t realize that this is actually all tongue-in-cheek, then don’t even try it – unless there’s a soft, comfy drop zone of mattresses, pillows, etc., in which case I even MORE highly recommend it.]

Chest – Lie down flat on a steady surface, grab a kid, hold them up above your chest with arms extended, lower to chest, and push back up. Works the pectoral muscles and has added benefit of evoking a torrent of giggles.

Shoulders – While standing, grab a kidlet with both hands wrapped around the chest. From a waist-level position extend the kid straight out with elbows locked. Focuses on the deltoids – and also provides a great opportunity for an improvised game of ‘peek-a-boo’ and/or ‘where’s baby’.

Triceps – This one takes a little more focus and care to get into proper position. From a standing position, you grab the kiddo by the hips, swing them up behind your head (they are upside down), then extend the arms so that the kiddo is raised up and down. Keep your shoulders locked and only utilize your elbows to workout your triceps. Generally also works out your kid’s laughter muscles too.

Legs – Grab a kid (or better yet, two – one in each arm) and walk up and down the hall, driveway, airport terminal, Target electronics aisle, or amusement park line in a lunging motion. This one is great for the quads (thighs) and glutes (butt) and even better for small funny bones. I do this one so much that it’s on the girls list of regular requests; “Daddy, do lunges! Do lunges daddy!”

Biceps – From a standing position, lay a kid across your extended arms, sort of cradling them with your hands (hands only). Now swing them up, bending only your elbows, in a classic curling motion. Results in buff biceps and peals of laughter, especially if you ‘zerbert’ at the top of the motion.

Back – Actually, I’ve got nothing here. I haven’t figured out something for the back that isn’t just too elaborate or ridiculous to even attempt with a child. But, whenever you’re at the playground and spy the jungle gym or a low-hanging swing crossbar, crank out a couple of pull-ups.

Some of the benefits of this workout:

  • Family bonding time
  • Increased focus and grip strength as you just don’t drop your kid, especially after reading some faux workout on some guy’s blog
  • As far as an actual workout goes; Hey, something is better than nothing, right?
  • And, the best part, the kids absolutely love it and have a ball… which is really is the point here

Workouts to NOT mimic with your kids:

  • Medicine ball throws
  • Step aerobics (kids just don’t make good step stools, and doing this will generally result in Child Protective Services kicking in your door)
  • Spinning
  • Zoomba
  • Tybo
  • Anything that would normally require some sort of Pilates machine

So, with this strenuous workout now in hand, go forth parents and get your workout on!

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