The school year has started. The frantic pace of summer with it’s figuring out who’s doing what and when has been constrained to shortened weekday evenings and weekends. Even those have some semblance of structure. This fall’s evenings are thus far inundated with gymnastics, soccer, Lego Robotics, Cub Scouts and piano lessons. It’s hard to find time and energy to get a workout in edgewise, but try I must.
One window of opportunity is during my daughter’s gymnastics class. It’s a 90 minute window of time at the recreation center where I am a member. It’s an evening my ex-wife typically has the kids so she’ll stay and watch while my son stays home. Recently, he has been expressing interest in exercising more. It has even resulted in procuring some free weights and a bench in my basement.
Knowing this, I called on my way home from work and asked if he’d like to come and workout with me. He was excited to have the opportunity and met me at the rec. center with a water bottle and ready to go. He however wasn’t too excited with following me through my routine which usually involves a 1/2 mile to 1 mile run to warm-up followed by a pretty well-cadenced routine on the bench. He did do a 1/4 mile warm-up run with me. My only rule was he had to finish with me. He could run ahead and walk or whatever while I held a deliberately slower pace than usual. After this, we did one leg of the indoor track doing some form running between concrete pillars. High knee walk, butt kicks, skipping, shuffling, backwards run and short hard run. With the protests building I promised the one leg was all and we headed down to the weight room.
We started on benches next to each other and was able to get a couple sets back and forth before his attention wandered. He is in 5th grade after all. At that point, as much as I wanted a training buddy I needed to let go. He was curious about the equipment so I told him the only rule was the weight room wasn’t a playground. He could try different things, but had to be careful and had to be respectful of other peoples space. He complied quite well and even enthusiastically.
When I was done with the bench I went over to do some assisted pull-ups. He caught up with me there and we actually had a pretty fun session doing those torturous lifts while exploring the counter-balance of the machine. He actually told me he was really just waiting for a guy to get off of the one stairmaster that was in the room. I told him that people usually do the cardio equipment for 30 to 60 minutes, but he hopped right on as soon as the gentleman was finished. The kid put over a mile in on that piece of equipement and got a good sweat going. After, he told me that he “wanted to be better at stairs” as they always tired him out. I held back on saying they tire everyone out and was happy to see him put in time on something he wanted to improve on. I also didn’t tell him that most people consider that piece of equipment a modern-day torture device.
We finished the workout with one of my favorites, triceps press downs. This version you alternate with your partner first doing one rep, then two, then three and so on up to ten repetitions. Obviously, he’s just learning and wasn’t the form junkie that I am so he finished rather easily and then proclaimed that he “kicked my butt” at that. I chuckled.
Walking back to deliver him to his mom in the gymnastics room he said we should do that everytime Norah has gymnastics, but then got concerned that that would end and how would we do it then. I just told him we’d find a way.
I’m glad to have helped in making working out a positive experience for him, even if he did “kick my butt”.