As a busy CEO, one of your most important leadership roles is the one you play at home for your kids. The harsh truth is that at home, just like at work, authority alone ultimately proves meaningless; it's your example that means everything.
Your kids will be what they see. If he sees you sitting on the couch every day, guess where he's going to sit? If she sees you sitting, working nonstop, neglecting your health, guess what she's going to do. That's right, you're raising your child to neglect her health.
On the other hand, when your children see you investing in your health and fitness, they'll follow your lead and reap the benefits in their own life.
Now, it's one thing to go to the gym, or workout with your trainer. That's good... for you. But it's entirely more valuable and important to directly engage with your kids to show your commitment to healthy living. The quality time and connectivity you experience when you workout WITH your children will pay dividends for years to come.
Too often, when we think of getting in shape, workout out, or losing weight, we default to thinking have to go kill ourselves at the gym for an hour. And while there's definitely a time and place for that intensity, you have a more valuable tool at your disposal: the 5-minute Daily Kickstarter. But before you learn the workout, you should know why it makes a difference for you and your kids.
It floods your body with feel-good biochemistry
When you move, you feel BETTER because you activate your body's natural production of a variety of biochemicals. These include serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and endorphins, among many others. You get a boost in your mood from the serotonin. You feel motivated by the dopamine. The endorphins even provide pain relief. And the norepinephrine and epinephrine make you alert and focused, and increase blood flow to the rest of your body.
It works the most important muscle of all: the consistency muscle
There's not a workout, nutrition plan, or mediation plan in the world that will work for you if you're not consistent. You'll see lots of workout programs, coaches, and trainers saying you need to blast your muscles with all sorts of variety and insane exercises. But variation without consistency equals injury.
You will actually do it and it'll make you want to do more
The best workout in the world is the one you'll actually do (and not get hurt doing it). The Daily Kickstarter can be done anytime, anywhere and requires no equipment. It's simple, fast, and perfect for getting the kids involved at any age. That means the barrier to doing it is very low, and thus, you'll do it, regularly. The fact that it is so simple and easy actually serves to motivate you. Because it's so short, it reminds you that you actually need to do more than one set of this to make serious progress. You'll feel good when you're done with the workout, and you'll think to yourself,
"I feel like doing another set of this."
You'll know you're making progress, for you and your kids, when they start asking if you did your workout yet. They'll even start asking to do the workout with you, and then you'll know you're really making a dent in their universe.
Okay. Now that you know why this workout works, let's go ahead and get you started.
Here's the workout (Full video at the end of the article)
50 Jumping Jacks
5 Squats (back or shoulder option)
5 Toe Touches
5 Flying Good-mornings
5 Lying Leg Lifts (Push-ups)
('Added' leg weight option)
Yep, that's it.
As you can see, the actual exercises are very simple; the magic is in... how you do them.
For each movement, except the Jumping Jacks, you're going to go slow and follow a specific breathing pattern. 'Slow' means you count 5 seconds in one direction and then 5 seconds back in the other direction. The breathing pattern involves inhaling deeply through your nose, before holding your breath through the first 5 seconds of motion. Next, you exhale slowly through your nose throughout the second 5 seconds of motion until you return your original starting position.
Remember to maintain good posture, with a neutral spine throughout all of the movements. While this can be especially challenging when your little and not-so-little ones are climbing and jumping on you, that just gives you a little better workout.
Tips for doing this workout with your kids
4 and under:
For children four and under, you will want to take extra care to make sure they're safe and not too wild. When they're tiny you can hold them in your arms, lay them on the floor in front of you, or lay them on your chest. As they get more mobile and start pushing 3 and 4 years old, beware of flying knees when you're laying on the ground.
5 to 10:
At this intermediate stage, they'll probably really enjoy jumping on you, which pretty quickly turns into a pseudo-wrestling workout. Go with the flow, and let your heart rate rise. You'll probably find that they'll like jumping on your back for the squats, pushups, and good- mornings, and then will try to ride your legs in one form or another for the leg lifts. They'll probably enjoy being bench pressed will you do your leg lifts. Try to encourage them to do the exercises with you and with proper form.
10 and older:
Once your kids reach 10 or so years old, you might find some of the exercises extra challenging with them on your back. They'll probably be less wild and more interested in proving they can do more pushups and squats than you. Accept the challenge, and start getting them really working out with you.
Finally, here's the most important part: commit to doing this every day. Really. Do it. Every. Single. Day. Make it non-negotiable and soon it'll be your automatic happiness habit.
And when you think for a minute you're going to miss a day? Don't worry, your kids will make sure to keep you on track.
About Soren Harrison
Soren Harrison is the Founding Father of FitDaddy365, where he helps dads get lean, strong, and happy. After getting his Ph.D. in nuclear fusion, he worked in energy research, high-tech and energy startups, and software. His experience as a father and step-father to 5 wonderful kids inspired his mission to inspire, motivate, and train dads to get in the best shape of their lives and be amazing dads.