Before I give the floor to Jennifer let me just say that her story is truly inspiring! We met Jennifer and her husband a few years ago while living in Houston. They had just had their first baby (we were still baby-less) but they were always inviting us out to do fun and active dates. They are an awesome and active couple and continue that now with two kids.
Jennifer just ran a half marathon in 1:45 and get this . . . she had never run more than a mile just 1 year ago!
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Okay take it away Jennifer:
Briefly introduce yourself? Name, age, athletic or workout history (have you always enjoyed working out)
I’m Jennifer. I am 27 today! (Happy BDay Jen!) I have typically been active my whole life. I never played any serious sports, but I did participate in Dance Company, Ballroom, and Cheer in High School. In college I focused on Cheer for a while and then mainly on competitive ballroom with my now husband, Christopher. I have always enjoyed working out or at least feeling semi- in shape but I’ve never been a crazy fanatic or motivated enough to wake up at 5 am. I also never ran more than 1 mile before April of 2013.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have 2 kids, a girl (age 3) and a boy (age 2)
What is your latest athletic achievement or latest race etc . . . ? What is your next goal or race that you would like to complete?
My latest race was the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon in Utah. I ran it in 1:45 which beat my goal of making it in under 2 hours. My next goal/race is the Spudman Triathlon in Burley ID in July.
Do you run or workout with your kids? If so, how do you keep them entertained while you workout? If not, what do you do with them during your workouts?
I definitely work out with my kids! In the winter, they are climbing on top of me while I do pushups and crawling under ‘the bridge’ while I’m in downward dog. In the winter I work- out indoors a lot. I bike on my stationary bike during naps and pass the time with some guilty pleasure Netflix shows. I also love P90X and Insanity.
Once summer hits though, I move outside. I pull my kids in a bike trailer, or push them for a run. If I need to do a workout without them I get up early and do it before my Husband has to leave, or we get a babysitter and do a workout together and call it a date.
I often run to a park/splash pad, let the kids play for a while and then run home after. It makes it easier to do a longer run pushing 2 heavy kids in a stroller, and they enjoy it more too.
Does your spouse workout with you as well? If so how do you plan workouts that you can do together?
He does. Maybe not as much as I do right now but he’s getting there. We try to work out together. We aren’t so much at the same pace in most physical activities but we make it work. We like to have date night workout sessions! Or morning family runs.
Do you generally workout alone or do you have a group of other families or parents that workout with you?
I try to find friends to work out with. I’ve found a few to run with and different friends to bike with.. still trying to find a swimming buddy. Working out is always better with friends! If not though, I just turn on some good tunes or my favorite is listening to podcasts.
Do you have a cute or inspiring story of your children noticing you working out or trying to emulate you working out?
Yes! My oldest, will periodically put on her work out clothes and insist she needs to ‘go for a run’ She loves to do yoga poses with me, or as displayed below, ‘turn on the work out video mom, I’m ready to work out.’
Both of them love to copy whatever I’m doing. Namely pushups. They try really hard to figure those out!
What has been the biggest challenge to getting or staying in shape with kids and a family?
I suffer from Hyperemisis Gravidarum (HG) during pregnancy. Its a pregnancy condition in which. if not for medical help and interventions ( home IV”s, Zofran Pumps, PICC lines etc) I would die. It sounds dramatic, but I’m serious. It’s horrible and I am basically on deaths door for 9 months. Then after a very long recovery and all while trying to nurse (which I typically do for at least a year), I don’t typically get back into the swing of things until about 10 months post partum. But after a year and a half of being basically inactive, it is like starting all over again. Its hard and takes time and a lot of motivation.
What tips do you have for other parents just starting out trying to workout with a family?
Keep at it! Like I said, I never ran more than 1 mile before I had both of my kids. It was SO hard to start running, especially when pushing them. They aren’t light! Every time it gets a little easier, and even a short 2 mile run with your kids is GREAT! Invest in a gym if you don’t want to have your kids around, and drop them off at the daycare! Or invest in good equipment, a jogging stoller/bike trailer etc and go exploring together!
Either way, just keep active. You might feel tired at first, but eventually you will feel energized and your body will crave it!
Lastly, do you have a favorite recipe, nutrition, or workout tip that you would like to share with others?
Most recently I read ‘It Starts With Food’ and I liked a lot of the points in it. My main efforts have been to increase my vegetable intake. I have always had a hard time with veggies and I really want to instill a love for them in my kids! Eat veggies for breakfast! It might feel weird at first but you will feel more energy and it will help in pointing your day toward better dietary choices.
Wanna give Jennifer some kudos? Share your thoughts below!