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