Growing up, I used to watch my mother turn on the TV as early as 5:00am to tune into Billy Blanks, the master of Taebo, and she would spend an hour kicking and punching her way through the morning. On the other side of the house, I knew my father was getting his early morning grind in- he’d be in the garage lifting weights on his bench press and finishing up cardio on his stationary bike and rowing machine.
Physical activity wasn’t a “luxury” my parents engaged in: it was something they did dutifully everyday, and it was something I knew that you needed to do in order to be healthy and fit.
My parents never belonged to a commercial gym when I was a child. They couldn’t afford the babysitting, and the gym memberships were simply too expensive (my mom now happily belongs to a gym and loooooves her tone-and-sculpt classes).
However, at the time, exercise was done outside (in its natural form) or in the house (in the home gym).
What did it teach me when I was younger?
It taught me that exercise doesn’t need to cost much money. It doesn’t need to take much time (yes, I would watch my mother squeeze in a 10-minute workout and then have to make us breakfast, pausing Billy Blanks as he was punching in mid-air).
It also taught me that exercise- in its purest form- sometimes came down to absolute discipline and willingness. Doing it before the sun comes up. Before the 8-hour workday. Before the traffic and the complaints and the excuses that you will inevitably make (don’t we all suddenly have a million excuses why not to go to the gym at 5:00pm?).
I believe that watching your parents exercise is positive role modeling at its finest. I grew up punching the air next to my mother. My dad put me on the stationary bike as soon as my little feet could reach the pedals because I wanted to “ride” like him.
And in turn? I’m in the gym nearly everyday. If I’m not doing that, I’m hiking, swimming, rock climbing, or walking somewhere. I’m always moving- and I plan on recreating this fitness lifestyle for generations to come.