Parent by Example: Make Fitness a Priority

I recently read an article in Yahoo News where a woman lost nearly 200 lbs.!  Jennifer Riveira a mother of two stated, “My marriage was at an all-time low”.  She didn’t love herself and thus could not really love her family. It really hit her when her 13-year-old son asked her to play outside and she couldn’t.  “I was overweight and tired”. In addition she states her family noted she seemed angry all the time and wasn’t present. While I realize many of you reading this may not have 200 lbs. to lose, how many of you are truly happy with your current health?  Currently over 60% of our population in the US is either overweight and/or obese. While you may feel this is not affecting you in a negative way, the fact is if you are in this percentage your are more susceptible to health issues, you will not have the same energy or strength as someone that is healthy.  Not everyone needs to or should strive to have abs of steel or muscles that “pop” out, but we should all work towards being in an optimal health and fitness level.  

As a father of three and a happily married man, I can tell you there is no greater feeling than being able to be active with my family.  I personally have struggled with my weight (body fat) in the past. At my heaviest I was 215-220 lbs. with a 38-inch waist. Not healthy at all. I was not happy, I was not confident and I was not the best version of me.  You need to ask yourself, do you want to sit on the couch while your children are growing up or do you want to be outside with them? I understand do to injuries, illnesses and/or limitations not everyone will be able to go for a run with their child, throw a ball, go for a hike, etc.. I do however feel we could all be healthier, happier and me more present.  

Here are 5 tips to get you feeling better about your health and get you to be a more active parent.

  •  Start slow!!!  If you have not worked out in awhile (6 months or more), start off with 10 minutes of walking or stretching daily.  Once you have this down (give yourself a week or two), try to bump up two or three of these days to 20 minutes of activity.  I’d suggest adding some resistance training.  Give yourself a month at this then try and bump up to 30 minutes x 3 a week and the other days work on 20 minutes instead of 10. 
  • Cut the sugar!  Do you find yourself reaching for the sweets and/or sodas?  Work on cutting this down 25-30%.  Stick with this for a couple weeks, and then take it down another 20-25% so you’re at 50%.  See how you’re feeling and this may be good enough.  You may need to cut down more, but give yourself a month at least.  It takes over 60 days to form a habit, so don’t rush it.
  • Drink more water!  You should be drinking .8-1 oz. per lb. you weigh.  This means, most of us should be drinking at least ¾ a gallon of water day.  If you have a hard time with H2O then add some lemon or fruit to get some flavor or add some natural electrolytes.
  • Enlist your family to help support you and you can support them.  We are more apt to achieve a goal if we have an accountability partner or partners.   Over 50% more likely to achieve or goal.  So, even if they don’t need to lose the weight, they most likely would benefit from either adding a little activity, decreasing sweets or fried foods or sleeping more, so have them come up with a goal and keep one another on track.
  • Limit your time on electronics.  Not only will cutting your time on electronics give you more time to exercise, it will help you with focus and decrease sitting and stress. 

Whether you want to have more energy, drop some lbs., lose body fat or be stronger I strongly encourage you to make fitness a priority.  In addition to you feeling better, you will be a great role model for your children and your loved ones. Start small, stay consistent and start living your best life.  

Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information head to or check him out on Instagram at @stsnation.

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