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To Gym Membership, or not To Gym Membership? That is the question.

August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

How many of you parents (or non-parents for that matter) have a gym membership? For those of you who do, how frequently do you hit the gym? Prior to having kids, Jerrick and I were regular gym goers, averaging 4 to 5 times per week. We also managed to fit in some outdoor activity (eg. running, hiking, biking, ultimate frisbee) on some of our non-gym days. Working out was easy as 1-2-3 and we loved it. That seemed to change quickly, after Malaya, our eldest, was born 3 years ago.

Our hiatus from the gym after Malaya’s birth was not a result of injury or any other physical barriers.  Rather, it was due to the mental barriers that we faced as we made countless excuses not to workout there. We weren’t as motivated to spend any of our spare time at the gym. The whole process of driving to the gym, parking, dealing with crowds at the gym, and then driving home wasn’t appealing to either of us.  Although laziness played a critical role in our non-attendance at the gym, our changing priorities and interest to workout there were also significant factors.

So how did we stay active without going to the gym? We threw on our runners and started running. Although we typically had little energy left at the end of the day to exert at the gym, we often had some energy to run and enjoy some fresh  air in our neighbourhood. Jerrick and I would take turns watching Malaya, while the other went for a quick 20 to 30 minute run. We did this about 1 to 2 times a week, in addition to playing ultimate frisbee once weekly during the summer months. We also occasionally did 10 to 20 minute blasts of high intensity calisthenics (eg. lunges, push-ups, etc) and plyometrics outdoors or in our living room.  Although we weren’t as active as we used to be, we always felt great whenever we were active outdoors. I even continued to do some light running during my 2nd pregnancy and I felt great.

There were days when Jerrick or I would spontaneously make it out  to the gym for a quick workout, but that occurred infrequently. Nonetheless, it gave us enough of an excuse to continue to hang on to our monthly memberships. What were we thinking?

Jerrick finally gave up his gym membership over a year ago and I finally relinquished mine about half a year ago, not long after Mahal was born. In hindsight, both Jerrick and I should have given up our memberships long before we actually did. Why did we (especially I) hang on to our gym memberships for so long? Well, I kept on telling myself:

  • “I ate too much. Better go to the gym tomorrow.”
  • “The monthly membership doesn’t cost that much anyway, I might as well keep it, because I don’t want to pay the registration/activation fee again when I start working out again.”
  • “I won’t be able to go running outdoors once the rainy/snowy winter months come around, so I better keep my gym membership”.

I’m sure there were other reasons, but once I accepted that hundreds of dollars were being wasted yearly towards a gym membership that was rarely used and was not going to be used regularly anytime soon, I was able to let go.  Furthermore, a close friend of ours lent us some of his gym equipment that he had in storage, which provided us with further incentive to discontinue our gym memberships. Jerrick and I set up a mini home gym in our garage and are in the midst of scheduling ourselves in for quick workouts 2 to 3 times weekly. We’ll get you up to speed on how that is going in future posts 🙂

Kudos to the parents who continue to work out regularly at the gym, and for those of you who no longer do and/or are looking for ways to get more active, perhaps try one or more of the following:

  • Set-up a home gym
  • Invest in a good pair of runners and hit the streets/trails in your area. Kintec offers complimentary consultations with Fitting Experts to ensure you have the right shoe for your feet and activity.
  • Join a running club through the Running Room, Forerunners, or Peninsula Runners to prepare for a local race.
  • Join a recreational sports team/league through Urban Rec or if you’re into ultimate frisbee, check out the Vancouver Ultimate League.
  • Take drop-in dance classes.  iDance has 3 locations and offer drop-in one hour classes of various dance genres. Childminding is available too.
  • Turn on the TV and pop in a workout DVD such as P90X or Insanity.
  • Buy a punch pass to a local community centre and go for a workout in the fitness facility or swimming pool at your convenience, or take a group fitness class, such as Yoga, Zumba, kickboxing or spinning.
  • Hike a local trail.
  • Play tag with your kids.

Jerrick and I are planning to run the Granville Island Turkey Trot on October 10, 2011. Hopefully, that will give us some incentive to keep running up until then. We’ll keep you posted. Till next time, “Keep fit and have fun“!

 

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A Family Affair

July 26, 2011 in Running

This past weekend was an exciting weekend for 14 reasons. 14 family members (including myself) completed the Peninsula Runners 5km run in Fort Langley, B.C.  For most of them, this was their first race. In our group, fitness levels ranged from mostly walkers, as well as a combination of walkers/runners.  For some of them, they had never even walked a distance of 5km continuously, until they started training for this event.

Details in preparation for the event:

Who: Me, 2 nephews, 3 nieces, 4 sister-in-laws, 2 brother -in-laws, one cousin and my sister-in-law’s niece. Ages ranged from 11 years to 55 years. Jerrick babysat during the training sessions, and Malaya was the water girl. My 78 year-old mom-in-law joined us for training and was able to walk the distances in a reasonable pace! She’s our hero!

What: I volunteered to train our family as a group in preparation for race day. In no particular order, training consisted of walking, walk/run intervals, stretching, strengthening exercises, and proper warm-ups and cool-downs.

When and where: We met every Tuesday for approximately 12 weeks. We started training at a local high school track and once we got some mileage and conditioning under our belts, we hit the pavement to better simulate race conditions. As it was challenging for everyone to commit to training as a group for more than 1 day a week, it was agreed that everyone would train independently 2 times weekly, in addition to our Tuesday training.

Why: It was a great way to see each other more often and support each other in achieving our personal goals. It was also a great excuse to spend more time outdoors during the summer months.

The greatest challenge during the 12 weeks of training was getting everyone (including myself) to commit to training independently during the week, outside of our group session on Tuesdays. But really, I understand the challenges of committing to an independent training schedule, when you have other priorities and when you don’t have that somebody to hold you accountable. I can only count on one hand, the number of times I trained independently during the 12 weeks for the run. My reasons for not training were weak. Laziness prevailed, but at least I had the Tuesday sessions to fall back on, as well as a 2 year old and a crawling 9 month old to run around after most of my days. That counts as training, right? Yeah, right. Despite my lack of training, I felt great during the run. Seeing family cheer me on along the route was hugely motivating. The weather was awesome and the race was well-organized. For race results, see: http://www.winningtime.ca/11/11ftlangley/oall5.txt.

What would I do differently next time?  I would continue to have the group meet once weekly to train, but then break the group up into groups of 3 to 4 people, who have similar schedules to train together as a smaller group during the week. That way, everyone will be held accountable to train more regularly during the week.

The greatest feeling was seeing everyone cross the finish line. It was a great day for a run and it was a great day to be with family. We did it!