Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I have to confess that my taking a few weeks off of nagging . . . I mean encouraging . . . my kids to exercise while they got used to the school year has turned into four months.  That's horrible.  I could add that I received a promotion at work which required more of my time and energy.  And my daughter has been swamped with homework (I have to point out my immense pride in her academics!) literally spending hours each night sitting at her desk.  Oh yeah - and then there were the holidays.

No.  None of those are good excuses.  But it happened and now we will move on.

That is much easier said than done when you are talking about my fourteen year-old.  I just know that she is going to end up being a hostage negotiator or a defense attorney.  She has the ability to debate and negotiate until I am ready to rip my hair out.  These past few weeks I have started strong with my quest to get her to join me at that gym, but have ended up throwing my hands in the air and heading out the door with my son in tow eager to continue training for the upcoming tennis season, leaving my daughter at home to lay in bed or sit at her desk.

Not tonight.  I came prepared for the battle with something I knew (ok - hoped) would be easy, quick and fun enough to make her want to give it a try.

I presented her with an ABC Workout.  I took the alphabet and assigned each letter an activity (I made this one easy enough that I knew she could complete it without too much trouble taking into consideration that she hadn't seriously exercised in several months.).  All we had to do was spell our names, middle names included.  Easy???  Absolutely!

After putting our dinner in the oven, the three of us put on an extra layer and headed out to our backyard on this 40 degree January evening.  I grabbed the equipment we have in the house - a set of five and eight pound weights, our 10 pound kettlebell and a jumprope - for us to use, but we could have easily done this with no equipment at all.

And . . . .

We had a great time!  It only took us 20 minutes to each spell our name.  I broke a bit of a sweat, but not much.  The important thing to me was that my daughter completed it and enjoyed it.  We all laughed as we realized that my son ended up doing a TON of jumping jacks and that running up to the top of the driveway in the dark is kind of scary.
ABC Workout!
When we were done, my daughter commented that I should leave her the sheet with the exercises and she could do it on her own.  She then rattled off the names of her favorite musicians and bands whom she could do the workout to spell their names.  YES!!!

The great thing about this workout is that you can adapt it to fit the fitness level and age of your kids (or you!) making it as hard or easy as you want.  And you can easily change it up by assigning the exercises to different letters or spelling out different words or sentences.  In the future, I'll suggest that my kids and I spell out more than just one thing or use this workout in conjunction with something else like running.

Here is the list that we used tonight (but I can't stress enough that you can use whatever exercises YOU want!):

A = 15 kettlebell swings               N = 20 jumping jacks
B = 10 squats                                O = 10 squats
C = 10 lunges (5 per leg)              P = 20 high knees (10 per knee)
D = 20 high knees (10 per knee)  Q = 15 kettlebell swings
E = 12 bicep curls                         R = 12 bicep curls
F = 12 shoulder presses                S = 12 shoulder presses
G = 12 tricep presses                    T = 12 tricep presses
H = 10 mountain climbers            U = 10 mountain climbers
I = 20 weighted ab twists              V = 20 weighted ab twists
J = Run up & down the driveway W = 20 jumping jacks
K = 20 jumping jacks                   X = 20 jumping jacks
L = 20 jump ropes                        Y = 30 second wall sit
M = 30 second plank                    Z = 10 squats

Hopefully this is the first night of getting my daughter moving again.  I always say that the hard part about exercising isn't starting - it's starting again (and sometimes again and again).  This time I plan to make getting back on track as easy as ABC!

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