Play based workouts: Get fit, have fun!

When is the last time you hung from monkey bars or climbed a tree?
What about the last time you chased after friends at full speed or laughed till it hurt?
Play is one of the first and most natural things we do and learn when we come into this world, so why is it that it is so easily forsaken?

This all came about the other day when I was trying to show my son Wyatt how to do a handstand.   I couldn’t do it!!! I was scared to commit to the movement and when I finally got up the guts to try I felt as stiff as an 80 year old.
I am 32 years old for heaven’s sake, and I am pretty sure that my body is not supposed to feel like this yet.

Sure, as adults we may consider ourselves “fit” since we lift weights or run or hike but it isn’t the same as the free moving, uninhibited motion you need to climb a jungle gym or pivot around opponents in a game of tag.

Boys playing online games on digital tablets while relaxing on sofa at home

These kids should be outside playing!

It’s not just adults that need to play more, kids today are experiencing a serious “play deficit”.   With the word “play” now synonymous to a video game or ipad app it is no wonder childhood obesity rates are at epidemic proportions.
Play is an important part of development for kids and youth.  It helps them to develop social skills, problem solving capabilities and gain confidence.  Active play stimulates the release of natural endorphins and provides a positive outlet for kids to release energy and stress.   And, if you really think about it, us adults could use a good dose of these “developmental benefits” too.It is time to unleash that inner child and learn how to play again (while getting a great workout in the process)!
Below is a play based workout that you can do with your kids:

DSC05228Warm-up:

Be an animal!   Take turns choosing animals to mimic and move like that animal for 25 meters down and back.  Here are some examples to get you started, be creative!
Snake:  army crawl
Bear crawl
Duck walk:  walk in a low squat keeping forearms flush to thighs
Crab walk

1.  Have a handstand contest!

When is the last time you tried doing a cartwheel or even a handstand for that matter?  Believe me, when you try it again it will not be easy.
If you are nervous about going right into a handstand, start with donkey kicks.

IMG_07132.  Play tag!  

Tag is a timeless game that will give you a killer workout while allowing the kids to expend some of their endless energy.
Here are some fun variations on tag:
Freeze tag:  Once tagged you are “frozen” and someone must crawl between your legs to “un-freeze” you.  You could also do this where you have to hold plank once tagged and your kids/friends have to army crawl underneath you.
Pacman tag:  The person that is “it” is a “ghost” and everyone can only run on the lines.  You can play where if you get tagged you are “it” or where everyone that gets tagged becomes a ghost and the last “pacman” standing wins!
Creative tag:  No running!  Choose a different type of movement like side slides, bear crawl, hopping, crab walk, etc and if you get tagged hold a deep squat, do squat jumps or hold a plank until last person is tagged, they are the new “it” person for that round.

3.  Climb a tree! sombands_14

Every child should experience the joy and wonder of learning to climb a tree and sit in its branches, seeing nature around them and the world below.  Start off by teaching your kids to just hang while supporting them to build up their confidence while you do pull-ups, pop-ups and knee ups from the branches.

4.  Follow the Leader or Simon Says:

You can easily make either of these fun fitness drills, exercise in disguise we call it!  For “Follow the Leader”, lead the kids on a fitness adventure:  do walking lunges or leap across a field.  Go across the monkey bars and balance across narrow beams.
For “Simon Says” make every order “Simon says” a fun exercise.  Tell them to try to jump and touch the sky for 1 minute or do jumping jacks or cartwheels.

5.  Play on the playground: 

Let’s show the world that playgrounds are not just for kids anymore!  Get up there and play with your kids.  Play “swamp-monster” or teach them how to get across the monkey bars.  You will get your heart rate up and you will both make memories together that will last a lifetime.

Resources:

—–>  We have TONS more fun active workouts on our Playground/Parks page, check it out HERE!
—–> Kaboom is a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all kids get a childhood filled with the active play needed to thrive.
Mom to 2 playful boys and still a child at heart.

7 tips to start trail running, with a jogging stroller!

Before I had kids I was trail running almost daily.  I live in Colorado where I am surrounded by steep and rocky trails, and after my 2nd son was born I was wondering how I would keep up my favorite past-time with a double jogging stroller.

Well, I am here to tell you that trail running with kids is easier than you think!  Here are 7 tips to help you get back out on the trails:

#1.  Get a good stroller.

The word “good” is relative in this sentence.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a stroller; sometimes a second hand stroller might be better for trail running; the trail is going to beat it up.

Ensure the stroller has knobby tires, front shocks and good suspension; it is important for the snow and ice.

Stroller Hack: If you can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a new stroller, but want to ensure your stroller is ready for stroller trail running regardless of the climate. Switch your wheels out. Purchase knobby tires from your local bike shop for the back tires and purchase a BOB front wheel. It is significantly cheaper than buying a new stroller.

#2:  Strap em’ in and lock it up.

You may be thinking “of course”, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t strap in their kids.  On a trail that is rocky or with any kind of incline/decline make sure that they are in tight!   If you have a front tire that has a swivel option, make sure that it is locked.  This will ensure that when you hit bumps or rocks the front tire goes straight over them, giving you and your kids a smoother ride.

 

DSC01269

You can even trail run with kids in the snow!

#3:  Find a trail.

To discover stroller-friendly trails near you, go to Trails.com or Localhikes.com, or go to the map feature on your phone and pinpoint your current location. Then search for any large green patch close by, which usually indicates a park. Find the name of the park and go to the parks official website, you can usually find trail maps, trail information, etc.

You may also need to change your mind set about what is “stroller-friendly”.  There could be a rocky trail near you that you wouldn’t have considered pushing a stroller up but you will never know if you can do it until you try.

#4:  Got Brakes?

If possible, ensure you get a stroller with a hand brake. Note, if you are purchasing an older model jogging stroller second hand, they might not have a hand brake. Therefore, ensure you wear the safety strap tightly around your wrist when running on the trails to help stop the stroller easier.

#5:  It’s all about that form, bout’ the form, no walking.

When going up steep hills, lean into the stroller and straighten your arms so all the weight isn’t in your biceps and keep moving.  You need forward momentum to keep that stroller from rolling backwards so don’t stop until you get to the top!

caitlin run 2

If RWK contributor Caitlin can trail run pushing 3 kids, so can you!

When running on steep downhill’s with a jogging stroller, lean back slightly and take short, quick steps.  Let your quads do the work to slow you down.

#6:  Learn how to do high rocks and stairs.

You can push a jogging stroller, especially a single jogger on most hiking trails- it just depends on how adventurous you are.  If you come up on some rocky sections, don’t turn back.  Here are a couple tips that will help you conquer those rocks and keep on trekking!

  • Lift the front tire up the rock and once it is on top or over the rock lift the back tires up and over, repeat this motion until you are over the rocks or up the stairs.  This isn’t fast but it works.  If you look like you are inch-worming the stroller up the rocks then you are doing it right.  Just think about how much of a great upper body workout you are getting!
  • On steep, rocky downhill’s it is also easier and safer to lift the front tire and slowly let the back tires drop down from rock to rock
  • If it gets too hairy, get the kiddos out.  Push the stroller through the difficult section and then go back for the kids (or if they are old enough have them hike that part on their own)

#7:  No headphones.

The point of trail running is to access places deep in nature.  Take this time to immerse yourself in the beauty and sounds of wildlife all around you.  This is also the perfect opportunity to connect with your kids on a more fundamental level.  I Spy is a great one to play when on trails.  Help to expand their world by expanding yours!

IMG_2606Now it is time to get out and rock those trails.  We’d love to hear about your favorite local stroller friendly hiking or jogging trail.

–  Lauren Jones
RWK founder, competitive trail runner and mom to 2 trail loving boys!

Snow day workout ideas

I had a good friend coming into town I hadn’t seen for 3 years.   We had met on a study abroad program in college where we spent 8 weeks backpacking Australia and New Zealand together.   Since we last got together, I had my 2nd son and she her first child, a little girl now 18 months old.

I was so excited to show her our amazing state of Colorado, do some hiking, head out to the desert for a mountain bike ride and spend some quality time together in the outdoors.  But alas, if Colorado is known for one thing it should be its unpredictable weather.
The weeks leading up to her visit were very mild for a Colorado spring.  Above 70 degrees most days and even a couple of 80 degree days here and there.  Yet a couple days before her arrival the news reported that the “polar vortex” was going to be dipping down into Colorado to bring us frigid temperatures and at least a foot of snow (we ended up getting over 2 feet)

IMG_2995

The snow was over Wyatt’s head!

Now, I am all for getting outside and being active with my kiddos: just bundle them up, throw them on a sled or in a pack and keep going.  But this was a major storm, I mean it was the polar vortex people!

We are all very active people and so after a day of catching up, playing board games and hanging out with the little ones we were all feeling a bit stir crazy.
So we came up with some workout ideas that can be done with your kids (or more like using them for weights) to help us (and the kids) get some energy out:

Strength workout: 

4 stations:

1= Pushups
2= squats
3= Situps
4= dips

Goal= 15-20 reps with a kid on you the entire time X 3 rounds!

Want to make it more challenging?

If you have 2 kids hold both of them while doing squats, do push-ups on your hands with both kids on your back and raise the kids in the air when you are doing sit-ups.  Tough but so much fun!!

squats with boys

Put one child in a backpack and hold the other during squats for a great strength workout!


Cardio and plyometrics: 

Kids love music and dancing so why not incorporate both of these into a cardio routine that will leave you out of breath and get a little of that cooped up energy out of the kids!

We found a couple songs that we made games out of.   One example is“Jump Around”  by House of Pain.  Pretty obvious but every time they say “jump around” everyone, well, jumps around!

Another is Guns N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle”.  Every time you hear “Welcome to the Jungle” do a burpee, dance during the other lyrics and do high knees during instrumentals. 

——>  Choose 5 of your favorite songs and come up with creative cardio routines for each!

See our in-home workouts section for more fun ideas HERE

After the storm…..

The day after the storm passed, Colorado showed it’s true colors and gave us a beautiful sunny and warm day.   Time to head outside to play (and fit in a fun workout)!

After you build a snowman with the kids, create an extra large “snowball” for yourself to do some exercises with.

–  Deep squats (15-20 reps holding snowball, touching it to the ground each time)
–  Deep snow broad jumps (15-20)
–  Snowball step-ups (15-20 each leg)
–  Sled pull:  50 meters
–  Sled push:  50 meters

Repeat 5 times and then grab some hot chocolate!

Check out all of our snow-day workouts on HERE.  

IMG_2602 (1)– Lauren Jones
RWK founder and mom to 2 silly little boys

 

7 tips to stay fit during your family vacation

Spring break is here and for many families that means a short (and much needed) vacation!   Last fall we drove 1500 miles across the country to visit my in-laws and took our time getting there.   If you’ve ever done a long road trip with 2 young kids, you know that it is hard going a couple hours without having to stop for some reason:  potty breaks, dirty diapers, hunger and most of all boredom!

Road trips can also rec havoc on your ability to eat healthy and stay active; yet my husband and I were determined to not let our fitness suffer on this trip.   We had both signed up for the GORUCK challenge which entails 18-20 miles of carrying a 30lb pack (or ruck) while making stops to do military style drills and exercises (tons of pushups, situps, etc) and carrying more heavy objects (like other participants or huge logs).   The event was only a couple weeks after we were set to return from the trip so this was key training time!

IMG_0626

Training for the GO Ruck challenge with kids!

 

So we set out to get creative.  To find every way possible to maintain our fitness and health and come out of this trip stronger and fitter as a family!

Here are some of the main takeaways from our little adventure:

#1:  Have a plan:

I don’t mean “I am going on vacation but I plan on working out everyday” type plan.  I mean a plan that is written down (or added into your smartphone calendar) of exactly when you are going to workout everyday, for how long and exactly what you will be doing.

Before you leave, find out if where you are staying has a fitness center. Does it have cardio equipment?  Weight equipment?  What kind?  This will help you plan the types of workouts you will do ahead of time to set yourself up for success.

No fitness center?  That’s okay!  There are plenty of ways you can get a great workout in your hotel room, no equipment needed.  Check out some fun ideas HERE.

#2.  Bring the jogging stroller

Bringing your jogging stroller with you on vacation is easier than you think.  Just imagine all the amazing places you will be able to run with your kids.
If you are driving, most strollers flatten down and will fit nicely in your trunk.  Flying?  No problem!
Having a stroller can actually help you to get through security lines more quickly and it gives you more places to put bags as you navigate through the airport.   Read this guide on how to fly with a stroller.

 

IMG_0252

#3.  Get outside of your comfort zone!

Sometimes when you need to fit in a workout a safe place to run or gym equipment is no where to be found.  These are the times when you need to get creative with what you have.

Baby Icons
Throw the kids in a wheelbarrow and give them a “ride”.  This is fun for them and a great full body workout for you!

DSC03158

Baby Icons
Stuck in the airport during a layover or delayed flight?  Ruck it out!  Add as many heavy things as possible to your backpack and see how many steps or miles you can get in before your flight.

Baby Icons
“Train” on the tracks!   You can find train tracks almost anywhere, here is a fun workout to try:

railway workout


#4.  Make the most of the “rest” stops:  

Road trips are a pain in the butt, literally.  Now add 2 whining kids to a cross country road trip and you are in for a ride (a long, long ride).
We decided to turn these “rest stops” into fitness stops.  Anytime the kids were getting antsy or needed a potty break, we searched for the nearest rest area or park/playground to stop at.

You can design a full body workout with just a picnic table and a grassy field.
Here is a workout we came up with on our last road trip, this was split between 3 rest stops and the kids had a blast running around with us!

IMG_0446

 

#5:  Commit to an event:

Use Run Stroller Run or Running in the USA to search and sign up for a local fun run.  It is a blast to run or walk in an event somewhere new.
Can’t find an event or not ready to race?  Check out our active challenges.   Learn more/sign up HERE!

#6:  Don’t live on fast food

IMG_0731

Almond or peanut butter and apples also make a great snack!

We all dread the road trip diet.  Temptations like soda and sweets at the gas station and no other options but fast food for meals (how many McDonalds salads can you eat in a day?).
We decided to take charge of our nutrition and before leaving we packed our cooler with:
– Squeezable yogurts
– Mini guacamole and hummus packs
– Tortilla chips and whole wheat/rice crackers
– Lots of pre-cut fruit
– Mixed nuts and almonds
– Lots of pre-cut veggies
– KIND Bars
– Bread and lunch meat for sandwiches
– Tons of bottled water

When we started getting low on supplies we would find the nearest grocery store and stock up!  These snacks were nutritious and easy for the kids to eat while driving too.

IMG_0686

What about a run down the Vegas strip? The kids will love the “scenery”!

#7:  Explore!

The best part of traveling to new places?  Seeing new scenery and exploring the unique terrain.  Do a little research and find local or state parks on route or in the place you are staying.  This can be as simple as a google search (trails/parks near “_____”) or using the maps app on your smart phone to seek parks close to your location.  You never know what kind of gems you might discover!
My grandma lives in a little town in southern Illinois and until this past trip, I never knew she lived just miles from a beautiful state park.  We found the park on the map and ended up doing a 9 mile run on a hilly road through dense forests.

 

IMG_0458

We even found some grapevines to swing from!

IMG_0454

Hills: nature’s interval training

 

 

 

 

 


–  Lauren Jones

RWK founder and mom to 2 amazing travel buddies

Sprint through the finish: 3 fun track workouts you can do with your kids

When is the last time you sprinted?  Or ran as fast as you could?  (chasing after your kids doesn’t count)

Doing laps around the track may seem like torture to most people however, speed work is an important part of any training regime and is the key to getting fitter, faster.

Here are 3 fun track workouts you can do WITH your kids that will help you get through that finish line a little bit faster: 

DSC052011.  400 meter repeats:

Okay, we lied.  This one isn’t fun, in fact, it kind of sucks.  But once it is over with you will have this amazing feeling of accomplishment that you haven’t felt since you finished ALL the laundry in one day.
In order to see results, you first need to know where you stand.   So let’s start off with a little fitness test:

  • 12 minute warm-up: Do each of the following for 1 minute and then repeat 1 more time through- walking, jogging, walking lunges, leg swings, arm circles, planks.  THEN…
  • Time yourself as you run 1 lap around the track as fast as you can (pushing your jogging stroller if you have one).
  • Take a 90 second recovery and then repeat 4 more times.  Ideally, each lap should be faster than the previous.  *Make sure to take a 90 second break between each set.

Congratulations- you just ran over a mile!

DSC05276

This is the backwards drag

2.  Pull, drag and carry:

 Okay, so now that you are “warmed up” it is time for the fun stuff.   Before you head out the door, grab a sled.  Yes, a sled, like the one you use in the snow.  Make sure it has 2 handles.  You will also need a rope that is about 10 feet long.

PULL:  When you get to the field, tie the rope through both handles and tell your kids you are going to give them a “ride”.   After they are seated, hold either end of the rope behind you and run as far/fast as you can!  Do 10 sets.

DRAG:   This time face your kids and walk/run backwards, dragging them along as far as you can.  Repeat 10 times

CARRY:  Have your child climb onto your back and give them a “piggy-back” ride for 100 meters.  Try to run as fast as you can, don’t lean forward too much!  Walk back to the start line and repeat 10 times.

track workout image3.  Strength, core and animals:

Improving your speed isn’t all about running. You need strong muscles to run faster and to help prevent common running injuries.
Go through each exercise in order and then repeat 2 more times:

1.  Weighted squats and walking lunges:
Place your child on your shoulders and do 15 deep squats followed by 20 walking lunges.

2.  Bear crawl: 
Crawl 15 feet down and back with your kids!

3.  Hold a plank:
Have your kids crawl under and climb over your body 15 times.

DSC05318

Piggy-back sprint

 

 

– Lauren Jones
RWK founder and mom of 2 quick boys!

 

10 ways to keep your kids entertained on a stroller run

game workout#1:  Play I-spy

#2:  Pick out shapes in the clouds

#3:  Play a game!
Print this card and bring it along on your next run.  Your kids spot the objects, you do the exercises!

#4:  Do a nature scavenger hunt:
How many birds, yellow flowers, squirrels, etc can you find?  Bring a pair of binoculars and a nature book and have them search for certain birds, animals or tree species.  You will learn a ton too!

#5:  Do music intervals!
Have your kid(s) sing their favorite songs (most kids know the entire “Let it Go” Frozen theme song) or invest in a small Blue tooth speaker and take requests.  Every-time they hit the chorus you sprint!

#6:  Nature math lessons:
Grab a handful of rocks, leaves, sticks, etc.  Come up with all kids of math problems (*inspired by LA Running Mama)
– How many total/each type
– Adding groups together/subtracting
– What shapes can they make

#7:  Stop for a play break! Stroller intervals
Choose a route that goes by a playground, field or park.  While the kids get out to play you can fit in a workout.  See our Playground workouts page for ideas.

#8:  Bring some food: 
This is short lived but it keeps the kids happy and quiet for awhile.   Make sure to pack plenty of beverages and snacks!


#9:  Collect bugs!
Bring a magnifying glass and a jar in case you see any cool bugs to examine


#10:  Counting intervals:
Help your kids learn how to count while you get a great cardio workout!

 

 

6 tips to get that Booty back!

Admit it, butt’s are in these days.  Big, round, muscular butts.

It has taken me almost a year and a half to get within striking distance of my pre-baby #2 weight and I was thrilled when I tried on my favorite pair of workout pants the other day and they fit!  Wait, no, they don’t fit.  They are too big!

How can this be?   I weigh more, yet the pants are completely baggy in the thigh and backside areas.

I look down at my legs are realize that they look like chicken legs, no muscle to be found.  And my butt!  Those gluteal muscles I used to be so proud of are now as flat as a piece of paper.

We moms have to sacrifice a lot of things when having children but the right to a nice rear-end doesn’t have to be one of them.   It’s time to hit the weights!

Babysitter, check.  Gym pass, Check.  Now what??

You were finally able to unload the kids on some poor innocent soul for some much needed ME time.  And what are you going to do with your time?  Head to the gym of course.

Those dumbbells have been calling your name and you have been dreaming about the gentle purr of the treadmill, (or maybe that was just your cat sleeping on your head again).  Either way, it is about time you got back into the gym, got in shape again and got that booty back.  I mean its been what, wait, its been a year since you had your baby?

Sport shoes and water on grey background

If this scenario even sounds vaguely familiar read on.  It can be very challenging getting back into the gym for the first time post kiddos.  From the feelings of guilt and separate anxiety for leaving your little ones to just not knowing where to start that first visit back to the gym can be quite overwhelming.

I compiled a list of 6 tips and a sample workout that will help you on the path to get your booty back!

1. Start easy and be easy on yourself:
This may seem obvious but can be very hard to do.  First of all, it is common to think you have the same strength and stamina you did pre-baby.  However, realize that you probably have some extra weight you are carrying which will make exercises and especially running feel harder and you may have some joint laxity (due to a pregnancy hormone) depending on if you are still breastfeeding or how long ago your little one was born which will make you more prone to injury.  These hormones can stay in your system up to a year from when you stop nursing so don’t be fooled.
You also have restrictions on how much weight you can lift and how high you can get your heart rate when you are pregnant so most women lose a lot of their muscle mass and also many of the cardiovascular adaptations gained when on a regular training plan.  So when you jump on that treadmill, don’t be disappointed if you can’t run for more than a couple minutes at a time or you can’t lift even a fraction of the weight you did pre-baby.    There is such thing as muscle memory and because you’ve been trained in the past your body still has those neural adaptations so when you start training again it will come back again very quickly. 

young woman on a weightlifting session - crossfit workout.

This can be you!

2. Test yourself:
One of the best ways to find out where you need to start is to do a little weight test on the machines at your gym. For most beginners and endurance athletes, 12-15 repetitions of each exercise is recommended.  The goal is to start with more reps and less weight so your body can make the neurological and adaptations to your tendons first with little to no risk of injury.
You need to find a weight that you can barely lift, push or pull 12 times with good form.  If you are unsure of where to start below is a standard machine circuit workout I start all my beginner female clients on.   Remember though that the weight is not standardized from machine to machine.

Leg press: 90-100 lbs

Chest press:  40-50lbs

Plank:  30 seconds on your knees

Seated row:  50-60lbs

Hip abductors/adductors:  30-40lbs

Roman chair:  10 reps with knees bent

Lat pulldown:  40-50lbs

Bicep curl: 20-30lbs

Tricep extension:  30-40lbs

Seated Medicine ball toss:  6lb ball

Shoulder lateral/front raise combo:  5lbs

——>  If you can easily get to 14-15 reps or more of any of these exercises than it is too light.

3. Set a goal:
Goal setting is a crucial part of ensuring success in any area of life.  Break your goals down into baby-steps.  One big goal, then many smaller goals that you can aim to conquer weekly and even daily until you create habits that lead to small successes that build on each other.

If you want the complete workout plan above and a goal setting worksheet I created I know you will love for FREE, click here to have it sent to your inbox.   

4. Be consistent:
If you know you can’t make it into the gym at least once a week than you probably need to check out some of our in-home workouts and videos instead.  In order to build muscle, get stronger and increase your metabolism you need to be able to commit to weight training about 2 times a week.

5. Make it worthwhile:
If you can only get to the gym once a week make every minute count!  Only use machines and do exercises you can’t replicate at home.  Just imagine I secretly followed you to your gym to watch your workout (I know, creepy huh?), don’t let me down!

6. Don’t be boring!
Yes, the treadmill or spin bike can be boring but it doesn’t have to be!   There are literally hundreds of ways to make workouts on these machines fun and really, really tough!   See some of my treadmill workouts and videos HERE.

And that’s it.  Now it’s time to kick some ass!

– Lauren Jones
Proud mom of 2 stapping boys and founder of RWK

IMG_0211

 

 

4 no excuse ways to fit in workout

Reaching your fitness goals can be a daunting task when work, kids and running errands always seem to get in the way of your training.
Well, it’s time to throw all of your excuses out the window!  Below we have outlined 4 ways you can fit in those much needed workouts:

1.  Run your errands: 

RWK contributor Caitlin Jacobsen is a pro at this one.  With 3 kids at home under 5, sometimes the only way she can fit in a run is to run with her kids, pushing them in her triple jogging stroller.

caitlin run 2

If she can push 3 kids up a dirt hill, you can get out there and run too!

She makes a point of running her kids everywhere within reason:  To preschool, to the grocery store, post office, etc. As she is a competitive runner, she she can often get in a good 10-20 miles a day just running her kids around town. Some runs are planned to align with nap-time and other times the kids get out and run alongside.

2.  Imagine you only have one car:

Last year, one of our cars had unexpecated engine issues that unfortnately were not worth the cost to fix, so we found oursleves in this exact perdiciment.   We decided to see if we could live with just one vehicle for a while and at first it was very difficult.  Arguments ensued.  Our schedules had to change.   Simple drives to the grocery store became us loading the kids in the bike carrier and hauling whatever groceries we could fit in the small compartment in the back.

But you know what?   After the dust settled things got easier.   We were more active than we had ever been AND we saved a ton of money in gas and food expenses.

We also began to realize how completely ridiculous we had been, so dependent on the convenience of jumping in our car and getting to the closest Starbucks, Noodles & Company or wherever else on a whim.

When you only have one vehicle your world looks a little different.   You have to make choices of how you want to spend your time and money.  I could make a coffee or pot of noodles at home in the time it took to run there ONE WAY.

IMG_2156

Getting ready to bike to the grocery store…..

Scott worked just a mile from our house, the grocery store was also just a mile away.  So was a playground that I was frequently driving to so the boys could play.  All these places were easily within running distance and here we were complaining that we didn’t have any time to fit in a workout.

Now that we are back to two vehicles we still try to walk, run or bike as much as possible.  Even in the winter.  Sure, we’ve backslided a little bit but until something is taken away you can’t really realize what you are missing.

Work with your spouse to come up with a schedule that allows both of you to run, bike, or hike to work or elsewhere.

3.   Plan an adventure!

My husband Scott and I met on a chairlift and our entire relationship was built hours of trail runs, hikes, camping trips and bike rides.  So you can guess what happened after the birth of our 2nd son.  That’s right, nothing.   The adjustment for new parents is hard but especially hard for those dependent on those daily thrills and kick of endorphins an active lifestyle brings.

Scott has a podcast called Athlete on Fire in which he interviews amazing athletes from all over the world.  Part of me thinks this business came into fruition due to our lack of adventure, if we couldn’t experience it ourselves than at least we could live it through hearing other’s stories.

IMG_2390

Backpack with snacks and supplies, hat, sunglasses, music, and fitbit.  I’m ready for a fitness adventure!

Well, my favorite episode to date is his interview with Dean Karnases.  He is a world renowned ultra runner (his claim to fame is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days).  What resonated in this interview was one of his training methods:  He would go on these long “adventures” for hours and even days at a time.  Pack a backpack, hit the road with no agenda in mind and run.

So how does this apply to you?  
Plan a running adventure for your spouse.  Pack a bag with some food, money, extra clothes and send him or her off.  You know what would make it even more fun is if it were completely unexpected.   Drop them off in the middle of nowhere at night, tell them they have 8 hours to get home and by the way honey, have fun!

I promise you, they will love it and appreciate you even more after they get this little adventure fix.

4.  Be flexible and be tough:

Sometimes fitting in a run or workout just doesn’t seem like its going to work.   I know the feeling.  We have several small businesses we are trying to get off the ground while taking care of 2 young boys at home almost full time.  It is a juggling act and we are slaves to our schedules.
Here’s the thing.  If you really want something to happen, it all just comes down to one question:  what are you willing to sacrifice to make it happen?

My friend, Dr. Kelly Shockely inspired this one.  She is a chirpractic doctor who takes 8 patient hours a day in addition to growing an online business.  Oh yeah, did I also mention that she is a single mom and training for two ultra marathons in 2016?  Yeah, she is one bad ass mama!  (pardon my language, I am just really impressed by this lady!)

kelly complete

Kelly with her son (go Broncos!) and Kelly racing

How does Kelly fit in her training?  On a good morning a 10 mile run at 4am, on a bad one the alarm goes off at exactly 2:30am.  Some may call this a little extreme but she is dedicated to reaching her goals.  She eats healthy, takes care of her body and goes to bed when her son does, by 8:30pm.

She is willing to sacrifice a little sleep for something that suits her much better:  a morning run that clears her mind, battles her stress and makes her feel strong and powerful.

So what are you willing to sacrifice to make your goals and dreams happen?

It may take getting up an hour earlier or working out late at night after the kids go to sleep.  Maybe you do a workout in the living room when they are napping or you bundle up in the worst of weather and get outdoors.
You and your spouse might have to trade off watching the kids on weekend mornings for your long runs.
This sacrifice might mean missing your favorite tv show, sports team play or even canceling your cable and spending that money on a gym membership.

Sometimes you just have to be willing to be flexible and realize that it is within your power to make your goals and dreams happen.

family silly– Lauren Jones
RWK founder and mama to 2 amazing little boys!

 

 

 

Chronicles of the ultra mama!

“Just do something”  is the voice that resounds in my head.  My aching, pounding head.   This is day #6 of the feverish migraine-like headaches and throbbing joint pain that has kept me up at night.   People have often asked me what an automimmune disease “flare-up” feels like.   Well, this is it: Imagine the worst hang-over of your life combined with the fatigue, aches and pains of the flu and the nausea and stomach cramping of a stomach virus.

me tornado post

Do you like this picture I drew? That’s right, this is my artwork, not my 4 year old’s.

Yup.  It sucks.  The thing is, since I work for myself from home, most people don’t see me during a flare up.  And for the most part I portray the image of perfect health.  I’ve been compared to the Energizer bunny or as my husband so lovingly calls me, The Human Tornado.  But what people don’t realize is that sometimes the ONLY time I do feel good is when I am moving.

It’s hard to remember this during a flare up.  I just want to curl up in bed and do nothing.  All day long.  And maybe I give in for a day or two but I just feel worse.   So I remember the best piece of advice given to me after I was diagnosed with these stupid thyroid and celiac diseases from a friend who recovered from Thyriod cancer, still lives with thyroid autoimmune disease and competes in a ridiculous amount of ultra marathons and grueling obstacle course races:  “No matter how bad you feel, just get out the door and do something.  Take it minute by minute and mile by mile; you will start to feel better and if you don’t turn around and try again tomorrow”.

20151229_152105

So I took his advice today.  I was sick of sitting at home, sick of feeling sick to my stomach.  I met a friend at one of my favorite places in the world to run, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and made the goal of running/hiking 6 miles.   I figured the beautiful scenery would distract me and the intensity of the hills and stairs would take my mind off the pain of the flare up.

Well, it worked!   Today I ran/hiked over 7 miles.  The most I have done since I was diagnosed almost a year ago and so much closer to my goals of completing an ultra marathon and racing in the Obstacle race World Championships in 2016.

So tomorrow, no matter how I feel, I will lace up my shoes, step outside and do something.

– Lauren Jones, RWK founder and mama to 2 amazing boys!

20151229_145529

Join me on the journey to complete my first Ultra marathon distance run, the Rim to Rim to Rim run in the Grand Canyon (46 miles, 12,000 feet elevation gain) and to compete (and hopefully earn a top 10 finish) in the obstacle course world championships in 2016!

I will be posting regular updates on my progress and how I plan to train with my kids in tow on the Becoming Ultra website if you’d like to follow along!

5 Hacks for Winter Hiking with Kids

You love the snow and you want your kids to love winter activities as much as you do.   However, many parents are hesitant to bring their kids outdoors during colder weather.  We are here to show you that hiking in the wintertime with kids can be easy and fun.

Check out these 5 tips, bundle up and get out there!  

DSC00990

1. Bring poles: 

When you are carrying a young child, your center of gravity is off.  The last thing you want to do is slip and both of you face plant into the snow.  Hiking poles will help you to stay balanced and stable on all types of surfaces, even ice!

2. Layer up!

Make sure that you and your kids are properly dressed for your winter adventure.  Start with a thin base layer (good old fashioned long underwear work great!) and then add additional layers depending on the temperature and wind chill outside.  I always recommend parents dress their children in snow pants and high boots while hiking in the snow.  That way if they want to stomp around in deep snow or play they don’t get wet, which eventually leads to cold. Layering is especially important for younger kids that will be carried the entire hike.  They need extra layers as they won’t be moving as much.  Also don’t forget goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from the snow glare!

winter hiking 2

This baby is ready to hike!

3. Make it fun!  

Stop for an impromptu snowball fight or jump into deep snow drifts.

4. Be prepared!  

Make sure to pack extra layers (socks, hats, gloves, scarf, shirts, pants, etc), snacks, drinks, diapers, wipes, and of course your cell phone for emergencies and for pictures!  You never know what you may need out there and a dry, warm kid is a happy kid.

winter hiking

You can even cut down a Christmas Tree with your kids in tow!

5. Reward:

Make the experience complete with a stop for some hot chocolate (and maybe a latte for the tired parents) after the hike.   This may be the only thing the kids remember and you want them walking away with warm, fuzzy memories.

DSC01228Lauren Jones, founder of RWK, is mom to 2 winter lovin’ boys, and loves trail running in the snow.