Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fitness for Families

I'm thinking about families today. In particular, sedentary families that need to lose fat and get in shape. This was triggered by my visit to the gym Monday night and I've been thinking about it ever since.

For the first time ever I saw a child in the commercial gym where I do most of my workouts. My initial reaction was like a safety alert as our gym offers child care and so it really got my attention seeing a little person so close to the free weight area. I'm immediately thinking "child on the loose!" Probably a combination of my nursing background, being a mother and now a grandmother. I'm basically the safety officer of my family, along with my son-in-law the fearless firefighter.

But turns out she was with a woman I assume was her mother, and both were working with a trainer I've not seen too many times until recently. I'm guessing she's about 8 years old. She was a cute girl with pretty brown hair wearing an Under Armour heat tech shirt that was way too small, only emphasizing her weight problem. The trainer had her mother on the back extension machine (hope he didn't put the child on it!) as I was just finishing up some hanging leg raises for some final ab work. My husband confirmed he saw the trainer working with both of them but we left a few minutes later and I did not get to observe anything further.

I cannot get this little girl out of my mind. Or her mother. Or the trainer for that matter. What is he teaching them? What kind of program will he put them on? What was the trigger point that prompted the mother to seek some help? (The mother was out of shape and overweight, but not obese). On one hand it's exciting to see a mother and very young daughter working together to try to dig out of this problem, and on the other hand it really saddens me that it comes to this. There is so much they need to know and I hope that trainer is equipped and motivated to help them.

I never had a weight problem as a kid. I went through glasses and had braces on my teeth for a period of time. I was not a cute kid and was somewhat nerdy, but I never had to add the literal physical and mental burden of fat to the list. I was a skinny tomboy. I spent my time riding my bike, walking the dog, climbing trees, digging the dirt, doing cartwheels, playing kickball and running just because I liked the wind in my face. I did not grow up with athletic parents and never played an organized sport. I was of the generation that gained weight after a few years of marriage. My husband and kids are very athletic and have not had to battle the weight issue.

What is it like for kids now? Can we imagine how cruel it might feel as a child to be teased for being fat ? It's not a new problem, but somehow this quick event triggered some serious emotion for me about it.

Where do fitness and balanced nutrition fit in the priorities of families, especially those with small children? I'm afraid it's not only low on the list, it's not even on the radar for many. We've heard the issues of TV, video games, lack of recess, schools that suffer lack of adequate resources for appropriate programs, sedentary parents, etc. But what are we going to do about it? When are we going to realize that we're not just destroying our own bodies, but we're setting the example for and contributing to a life of physical destruction for our very own children?

Kudos to the woman for getting herself and the child to the gym and making the effort to seek some real help. I hope so bad I see them again!

14 comments:

SmoketheBlowfish said...

Kelley, I could post an entire blog entry based soley on this. Arrrgggghhhh!

If the child doesn't have a medical problem, then the mother is the physical problem.

But......

The solution for the child's weight/excessive fat is not in hiring a trainer. WTF? (sorry 'bout the expletive..could not help it). Mom's overweight, daughter's overweight, and I be the dog is too, where's Fido? Exercise is great, but when you resort to using a trainer for a child, you have got to be an idiot.

Consulting with a nutrition expert? Big time.

Shutting off the TV and going for walks? Huge

Removing every piece of food in the house containing processed sugar? You bet

How about removing any and all junk foods?

An 8 year old does not need a personal trainer, they need to play outside with their friends, go ride a bike, and run around the park.

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH


ps. excellent post again

pss. are your legs sore from the HCFL?

psss. How did the Interval 'B' go for you?

later, MikeZ

Kelley Moore said...

Hey there! You made some excellent points and I totally agree with them. This child will be on a very frustrating cycle if they don't get the nutrition under control first and foremost (that includes Mom) and I cringe at the thought of a child "dieting", which is what will happen if they don't get the right help. Not to mention that if I see this child walking slowly on the treadmill with a headset on I'm going to start screaming and rip the cord right out of the wall!

My hams are taking all this a little better (by week 3!) but my quads are barking. I'm loving and getting much better at the bodyweight circuits and I'm on for kettlebell swings for my interval tonight (at home)!

Fred said...

Terrific post Kelley, as usual!...Something every parent who reads this should think about...

(I have to agree with Smoke on this one)

Here's my 4 cents: childhood obesity is a problem in this country, that's a known, documented fact. Blame it on whatever you like: propensity of taking kids to fast food joints (yuck), letting kids eat junk food and drink endless amount of soda, poor nutrition in general, no gym class in schools, not getting outside to play, Xbox, PS2, Nintendo, PC/Mac video games, endless TV, etc, etc, etc.

Regardless of the reason, hiring a personal trainer for an 8 year old is not the answer, IMHO. Bikes rides, hikes, walks, playing some kind of sport (soccer, shooting hoops, even throwing a Frisbee)any kind of outside activity to get kids moving and maybe even enjoying being with their parent(s) is better than doing the gym route, again IMHO. For Mom, it's a different story: join a gym or workout at home, use a trainer if necessary, get yourself moving in the right direction and be a positive example to her kid(s). That's all of our responsibility as parents. Comes with the territory, whether we like it or not. That means setting limits no matter how 'difficult' it is...

[I'm sure the Mom's intentions were good and for that, kudos to her for as you say " making the effort to seek some real help"...Easy for me to be critical, since I don't know her situation...and if I'm off base, "mea culpa".]

-Fred

PS: Even though 'Coach Mike' has been bustin' my chops (among other parts) about wimping out on a certain bodyweight exercise, let me say for record once again: I HATE BARFEES!"

;)

Kelley Moore said...

Very well said and I agree! You named some great things that can be done instead of being inside a gym with a trainer! The adult generation right now is in such bad shape with exercise and eating habits I really fear for this next generation. We have to get with it if we want these kids to have a chance!

I hate BARFEES too!!!

SmoketheBlowfish said...

Embrace the Barfee, hold the barfee, make it your friend! The more you hate the Barfee, the more the Barfee will hate you. As your love for the Barfee grows and the two of your relationship blooms, the barfee will be your ally.


its gettin late

after my workout tomorrow, I'm going to do a set of barfees just to foster its' love.

Kelley Moore said...

You're cracking me up. Maybe I'll try yelling "the barfee is my friend!" while I'm doing them to see if that helps. It should at least alert the entire gym (they already think I'm crazy), that I am doing them just in case they need to call 911!

Fred said...

You guys need more sleep...
(got me laughing out loud)

Okay...I give up. In honor of both of you (K & Mz), next week's Day 2 barfees will be done by yours truly as 6 count bodybuilders (with 2 push-ups instead of 1)...at least the first round...and I will 'embrace the Barfee' as I mutter mild expletives under my breath...

SmoketheBlowfish said...

I don't consider myself having a successful workout session unless my workout partners have sworn at me once or twice.

Kelley Moore said...

Whoa, I'll have to graduate to those bodybuilders! Impressive!

Will be posting a barfee report next week, I'm sure I'll be swearing by then too!

Roundballnz said...

you guys have me cracking up here - WTF is a "barfee" ??

as for overweight kids don't get me on that rant ./...

Kelley Moore said...

Hey! Fred and I have affectionately coined a new name for burpees - we're now calling them barfees because they make us want to barf while we're doing them (or maybe even at the thought of them!). My husband remembers doing them in school, they've been around a while but I don't remember them being called burpees. It's the thing where you squat down, hands on the floor, kick your legs back into push-up position, jump back to squat and then jump up in the air! UGH!

Roundballnz said...

You are both going to hate me then ... I actually like them, most of the time I do knuckle ones .....

Kelley Moore said...

Whoa, that's impressive! There is one little thing about them that I like (besides when I'm finished with them) and it's that I really feel them in my abs! Woo hoo!

Kelley Moore said...

Just for the record, I have not seen this woman or the child again!