My training partner, Jimmy, is a physical education teacher at a high school here in West Palm Beach. For the past few months we’ve been working out with five of his seniors — 17-year-old kids loaded with energy and overflowing with testosterone. Sounds like a lot of people, but with our respective backgrounds, we keep things moving at a brisk pace. My morning workouts have been totally fun. We work out hard, we push those kids and test their limits, and we love every moment of it. Even our own workouts have been reaching new levels. Those kids get a lot of energy from us, and we get a lot from them.
There’s something magical about working out with kids. You feel the sense of newness, the eagerness to learn, the wide-eyed bewilderment in strength and muscle gain, and you remember what it’s like just to be a kid again and have fun.
The workouts are tough — sweat-filled, excruciatingly difficult at times, and we expect a lot from those kids. Jimmy and I have very different styles. He’s like a marine drill sergeant and will break you down and then build you back up. He tests what you’re made of, even at 17 years old. My motivation style changes, based on who I’m working with. I like to read non-verbal cues and find the triggers that will make someone explode with new energy. These two styles of teaching and motivating tend to blend quite well. Good cop, bad cop.
Kid energy. I’ve been paying more attention to that energy in people and noting where I see it. I heard it from my sister recently. She used to love to dance as a kid and now she’s in love with Zumba. I asked why she liked it, and she said, “Because it makes me happy. I can go into my little bubble and just have fun.”
Go get your kid back. I’m not asking you to turn it into a regimented exercise plan that you have to do three times a week. All I’m asking is that you remember what it was like to be a kid and what you most enjoyed. Skating, basketball, baseball, handball, dancing – you remember. Go do it again. Kid energy – nothin’ like it. – Raphael
March 24, 2011 at 8:38 am -
Great blog! My own two kids are very different. My daughter is in love with the fact that I’m coaching her running team at school and is super proud, at 9, wanting to go for runs with me, publicly. I am going to enjoy this age and that she wants to be seen with her fit mom.
My son isn’t super active, and he’s 12. He goes to swimming lessons once a week, but enjoys his video games and reading. He just has started becoming interested in exercise for the sake of becoming stronger, because I am doing it. He sat on my bed yesterday, while I was finishing my pushup sets, and said, “Mom, I’ll be your counter.” Which I thanked him for, because anyone who does 4 sets of max pushups like Raphael asks of you, will tell you, it’s hard to count for yourself! LOL. So, he counted my 3rd set. Then on my 4th, I asked him to join me. I expected him to turn me down flat. On the contrary, this non-active kid got down and gave me 16 pretty good pushups, with a straight back! He was excited about us doing the set together, at the same pace, counting each “rep”. I high-fived him. He asked, “What’s Raphael got for you next?”
So he completed my entire Ab Cycle, knocking out Oblique V-Ups like they were rootbeer-flavored candy (yep, his faves). He couldn’t do as many regular V-ups as me at my pace, but didn’t give up and we laughed that he’s better at some, and I’m better at others.
He wants to do it again! And my daughter is excited about the running team and mom’s coaching. She even dressed in her running clothes for school and remembered her shoes. All without my hounding her.
That’s what working out with kids will do for you. 🙂 I loved your blog, Raphael, because you “get” what makes people tick. WTG!!!
March 24, 2011 at 8:48 am -
Paula! Thank you so much. You are such an incredible role model. Just fantastic! And your kids sound awesome. Keep up the great work!
Karen J says:
March 26, 2011 at 7:34 am -
Great post, Raphael. I lived on my bicycle when I was a kid and even when I went away to college my bike had to go with me. I rode it everywhere and purposefully took the long way home from classes to get a little extra riding in. Every spring when it warms up enough for me to get back on my bike I thrill in the feeling of gliding through the air. I feel like I am flying. That’s what makes me happy, that must be the kid in me busting loose!!!
March 26, 2011 at 11:28 am -
Karen – Thank you! Great post and thanks so much for reading.