Fitness lessons from your toddler

Fitness lessons from your toddler

My two year old is an exceptional athlete. She’s not making any Olympic teams, but she an exceptional athlete in the way a Crossfitter is. All the way around. Yesterday my little peanut completed the 48 flights of stairs in the Climb for Clean Air. I didn’t think she would make it, but she did. Her 20 minute time might not have been the fastest of the day, but she, along with hundreds of other people, made it. It scares me that someone (barring the severely sick or disabled) wouldn’t. Yeah it might be hard, but it’s a serious red flag if it’s undoable for you. The latest ideas in fitness are all about looking back to look forward. So I am making a list of the things that I think all people can learn from their children.

1. Walk. Run. Jump. Ama, at 25 months, routinely jumps out of the stroller and walks for 2-3 hours. Just cause. And when she feels like running she runs (and makes me run too). She makes a game out of it and just enjoys moving her body. I wish we’d all do that. Movement is life… and life is to be enjoyed.

2. Squat to your heels people. It’s unnatural not to be able to sit in a deep squat. Ama squats down at every opportunity… and she had taught me that I should too.

3. Mobility before stability before strength. That’s how Ama did it. If you lack mobility, you cannot dynamically stabilize, and you’ll never be able to produce real world strength.

4. You are the sum of those around you. Ama is always copying my husband and me. For better or for worse. Darn did I really just say that to the dog again? People always ask me how I encourage such a young person to be so active. I don’t. It would be way more convenient to me if I could just stuff her in her stroller all day and go about my business. But I don’t sit in a stroller all day, so neither does Ama. It’s made me realize how much we all emulate our immediate circle. So choose wisely.

Crossfit Moms

Crossfit Moms

I tried the stroller class thing. The session was mostly walking or walking intensity effort with exercises woven in. I tried the stroller bootcamp thing. Better, but as Goldie Locks, I would have hit my second too small chair. As a runner, I am certainly not the epitome of well rounded fitness but do like to finish my workout feeling like I have really “worked out.” Not saying there is no a real need for low intensity postpartum exercise classes, but there is also a need for the high intensity type. To each their own I say.

I joined a friend at Crossfit Moms last year. I had reached the end of my doctor recommended personal trainer journey as my daughter was unable to go the gym with me and I could not afford babysitting on top of the training cost. Plus, I loved the idea of her coming along and engaging in the class. Which she loved too. Especially burpees. All kids love burpees.

It’s also great to have an awesome and supportive group of Crossfit Westside moms who also like to push their fitness, whatever that level might be. Some moms can rock the weights, some can out-kick in the runs, some have a broad base. It doesn’t matter though. We’re all there, after childbirth, as sleep deprived mothers, giving it what we got. Plus we can talk about engorgement and picky eaters and poop in class and get a warm reception. Our instructor, Tauyna, is also incredibly motivating. She herself is a rockstar Crossfit athlete, but transforms to a humble cheerleader coach, always pushing us encouragingly to where she knows we can go.

Over time I have really seen the progress. Functional movements marrying fitness and challenge is where I like to be.

As mentioned in previous blogs, I have a pretty severe set of physical restrictions that are hugely mitigated by fitness. Such as: two missing muscles (brachialis & anconeus) and radial nerve damage in one arm. This causes a comedic inability to control acceleration and deceleration in olympic lifting. I am sure I look like Mr Bean meets “my mom” lifting. I get over that though. Even though progress is too slow to see, you know it’s happening. And one of the best parts about Crossfit is that you can measure it. My elbow would at one point release on me every time I tried to do a chinup or pushup. Now I can crack out a few with no disengagement. Not bad.

It’s really not for every one though. Especially not the faint of heart or de-conditioned. DIzzy, red-faced ladies about to loose their breakfast decide this bowl of oatmeal is simply too hot for their tastes. Which is just why we need classes like Crossfit Moms. To each their own.