by Sarah Rossini
Ever had a really bad day at the gym? Feel like you just didn’t give it your all? Didn’t hit that lift? Miss a PR by a smidge? Get frustrated with a movement? We’ve all been there. Every single one of us has been there; the Coaches, your gym buddies, the new guy, the 7 year veteran; we’ve all been there.
Do you know who doesn’t care about any of the things above? Do you know who sees you working out every day? Do you know who probably tells their friends at least once “my mom is super strong” or “my dad does handstands!”…your kids. And you’re teaching them SO much just by showing up.
Next time you are at the gym and there seems to be 12 kids over in the kids area running crazy, take 10 seconds to just watch what they are doing. Box jumps? Burpees? Foam rolling? Broad jumps? Obstacle courses? Yeah, they are doing CrossFit. They are doing it because they see you doing it, and those little people are impressionable. This is when they learn good habits. Their tiny brains are taking in life long fitness goals.
After Coaching one night this week, my 17 month old walked over to a rower, saddled up and reached for the handles like he knew exactly what he was doing. I never taught him to row. I never even showed him how to get on it; but he knew. He was watching, just like all of the kids out there. My 3 year old asked to do “Flower” the other day. I had no idea what he was talking about until he started singing “Bring Sally UUUUUP” and doing squats. Yep, he saw that at the gym and somehow retained it. They are watching, really watching, and listening, and paying attention to your actions.
I have heard lots of you say to your kids “after the workout you can play on the rings”, or “we can work on your pull ups”, or “you can use a rower for 5 minutes”, or whatever may tickle their fancy. WHAT?! Fitness as a reward? How amazing is that. Let that sink in for a minute. Fitness is the reward.
Best part? They don’t even realize they’re working out because it’s fun. Oh cool I get to jump around with dad – sign me up! And trust me guys, those teens…they are watching you too. Your reactions, your commitment to fitness, your dedication to be strong, to be healthy.
Think about if you started CrossFit at 7, or 12, or 16. How many years would you have been at it by now? What would it have done for your high school or collegiate sport career? Maybe you would have been faster, or stronger, or made varsity a year earlier. Or maybe, just maybe you would have been more confident, learned that it’s not all about the number on the scale, but know it’s about functional fitness and life. It’s about being able to get down and get back up again. It’s about being the grandparent who can still run around with those grandbabies and play soccer all afternoon and not be gassed.
I have NEVER in my career walked into a gym and not seen kids mimicking what their parents do. This goes in all facets of life. Tell them until your blue in the face and they don’t listen (how many times yesterday did you repeat yourself?), show them what to do and they follow. Include them in your fitness both inside and outside the gym. Take them for that long walk (what a great time to drop the technology and talk), go hiking (they are never to small or too big), hit the ski slopes, go swimming, run, jump, and play at the beach, get those pull ups at the playground. Show them your fitness both inside and outside the gym. This is where habits are made.
And most importantly guys remember, you are their role model.