I say it all the time: I am motivated toward fitness for the sake of my children. I’ve always liked exercise and healthy foods–lucky me–but my primary, no shit, this is serious, motivation for all the days and times that JUST SUCK is to be energetic, mobile and strong so that I can participate meaningfully in my children’s lives. That’s no short order–I’m an older parent. But while I’m pursuing this lifestyle–this consistent focus on nutrition and function and strength–I wonder, are my kids benefiting? Will their lives be that much more improved than mine because they are establishing good habits early on? Am I helping them avoid the dreaded process of breaking forever the bad habits of convenience eating that we’re all struggling to overcome? Are they paying attention? Am I actually role modeling? Or am I merely convincing them that limited treats, lots of different activities, and a good night’s sleep are just those things Mom nags about too often? I’ve been asking myself these questions for nine years, the age of my oldest, my son, and think I got some answers, finally, during and after our beach vacation last week.
During our vacation, my son caught me having a SECOND ice cream bar–the first time he has ever seen such indulgence from me–to which he responded: “Mom, you will get unhealthy. I like fit mom. No more ice cream tonight”.
WOW. I had no idea he appreciated all my usual effort, or that he counts on my physical strength as well as my emotional endurance. Feeling, in that moment, accountable to one another–not just him to me–was an AWESOME revelation.
After our vacation, that same son spent two miserable nights with an ear infection. The time to get him to an urgent care coincided, as it always does for parents, with time I had carved out for myself: Oly lifting class. It was the last class of a six week session and I did not want to miss it. But, as good parents do, I reviewed my priorities and remembered that I come third and sometimes fourth to my two children and husband. This is my dream. My choice. And I love it. So the discussion began that I would skip my last Oly class to be with my son who does not suffer pain or doctor’s offices well. Just as I had decided and began to put away my feelings of disappointment in favor of love and support for my baby, he said, “No Mom. I don’t want you to have to miss your Oly lifting class. I’ll be okay. Dad can take me.”
I’ve had to make many sacrifices and changes that have taken years to accomplish and that have been challenging and painful. I’ve actually mourned the less fit person I used to be (she was REALLY fun). HE seems to already know–in his bones and very being–that exercise and conscious nutrition need to be as constant as sleep and water. His earnest consideration and support of my current fitness commitments was surprising and delightful.
I AM making a difference. I AM positive role modeling. And SO. ARE. YOU. Be sure of that. At work, at home, among family and friends–you are the inspiration and motivation others sometimes need to improve their habits and therefore their lives.
So I know now, after nine years of wondering, that even on my worst days in the gym, when I feel like an absolute failure, what I have given my children by being there anyway cannot be measured. It’s quality of life through hard work and commitment that they are learning. Nothing–besides love–is more important than that.
A1. Press @20X1; 10,10,10; rest 30 sec
A2. Single arm DB row @21X2; 8-10 x 3; rest 90 sec
5 rounds for time:
3 Power snatch (moderate load, good mechanics)
5 Strict chin up
7 Wtd. sit up
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