I have to give it up to my family since so much of my crazy body-building lifestyle is in full force in the month of May. I decided to compete in the Vulcan Classic again this year since it is a national qualifying contest and if I decide to compete in Nationals this would allow me to do so if I place or win. Wish me luck, but this month’s newsletter is more about those guys up there in the picture, my family! Well, that is most of them, Cooper, Cameron and Cari. Candace and my wife are not pictured but they train as well. It truly is a family affair for us.
That begs the question, are individuals more successful at health and fitness if the entire family is engaged? Lab studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000). I call this the fox hole syndrome. If you do something really challenging with someone, you create or enhance a great bond with that individual. Studies also show that just having a training buddy increases your likelihood of maintaining your program by as much as 63%.
In an article written by Psychology Today, it states that when you work out with your spouse or significant other you create a context in which you can coordinate your actions. For example, you might lift weights in rhythm with your partner, match your own walking or running pace with his or hers, or toss medicine balls back and forth. Such behavior creates nonverbal matching, or mimicry, which benefits you both (Stel & Vonk, 2010). Nonverbal mimicry helps people feel emotionally attuned with one another, and those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of having “bonded” with their partner. Exercising together provides an opportunity to create such a connection, benefiting both your health and your relationship.
I will tell you that coaching baseball and training with my two boys has been something that has created memories that I can never replace and in the meantime, I taught them a valuable lesson about health and fitness, but obviously not about haircuts! What I am saying is that the best way to get health and fitness to really settle into your life is to make it part of your family life!
The part about working out with my family that I did not expect was the fact that communication increases 10-fold. While this promotes better communication in the family, it also bridges the generation gap quite well with the kids. As kids work out with parents, they communicate freely with them, sharing things and seeking their suggestions. It especially helps teenagers to feel more comfortable while sharing things with their parents. I remember at one point looking at Cooper and saying, “you might have wanted to keep that one to yourself!” It really was amazing how quickly working up a sweat tends to open the dialogue and allow for some really great opportunities to teach, coach and guide your kids through an issue or a difficult time.
I can’t end this article without mentioning my incredibly supportive wife, who is a bit “health and fitness” crazy too. She trains daily and puts a lot of attention on health and wellness. She supports my bodybuilding career even though at times she admits it doesn’t make much sense. Why would I spend so much time working on being healthy, and then actively participate in a sport that guarantees that for about 4 weeks out of the year, I am totally NOT healthy. That being said, she supports me, loves me and puts up with some really strange behavior from me from time-to-time as I prep for my show.
In summary; health and wellness is much easier to do when your family and friends are on board. The cool thing is, you can enjoy being healthy and being with your family all at the same time and we have proven that it might just improve your health and your relationship.
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