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6 Things to Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Autumn is right around the corner here in the metro area and, like you, many parents are looking for fun activities to enroll their kids in for the upcoming school year. If gymnastics is your child’s preferred sport for the upcoming school year, you’re in for a treat today. We have a guest post submitted by our friend at Champions Gymnastics Academy on six things you should expect to see and experience on your first day at gymnastics. Take a look…

 

Things To Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a fun, dynamic sport that lets kids feed their dreams to let their inner circus performer, daredevil or Olympian shine. Pro Tips highlights 6 key things to know when beginning gymnastics.

How do they do that? Watching gymnasts hurl their bodies through the air while twisting and spinning, all the while under complete control, is an awe-inspiring thing. Being able to do it is another. While spunky students may, indeed, try to launch themselves in the air during that first class, the goal of the coach or instructor is to teach kids the fundamentals and have fun, so they will fall in love with the sport and therefore further develop their skills.

Don’t expect any Yurchenkos or full-in back-outs on day one. Use this guide to prepare your child, find out what to expect and pick up a few tips on making this a rewarding experience for all of you. Let’s get tumbling!

#1 Sights, Sounds, & Smells!

When you first walk into a gymnastics facility, it can be overwhelming and exciting. Something you may notice right away is a lot more equipment than when you watch a gymnastics competition on TV.  Do not be surprised to see mats shaped like over-sized building blocks — wedges, cylinders, bridges, rectangles — or even a “pit” filled with foam blocks.

Sound

The overall murmur of a gym filled with multiple classes taking place, punctuated by athletes punching off of beatboards, may feel like chaos. However, there is order to the rotations of gymnasts moving from event to event, activity to activity. If your child is easily overwhelmed, it may be helpful to have them watch a class or two before signing up to ensure they are excited about the opportunity and are able to deal with the environment.

Smell

Another thing you may notice is the somewhat “locker room” smell. Gymnasts at all levels work hard and a facility training athlete will often remind you of this the moment you enter.  Kids usually are not fazed, and for former gymnasts, that smell is the smell of “home.” So, whether you personally thrive on that aroma or not, just don’t be taken aback.

Sight

If the classes you have decided to enroll in take place at a community center or school gym, you may encounter a slightly different set up. For example, folding mats might replace a full floor exercise.

Equipment may need to be set up and broke down for each class or might be a bit sparser due to sharing the space with other activities. Generally, fewer classes take place simultaneously at any given time, and your class may be the only one happening in that window. This does not mean the instruction you receive will be better or worse than that of a dedicated gymnastics facility. The coach’s style and philosophy, how many students are enrolled and what works best for your own child’s temperament are what should drive your choice when you are just starting out.

#2 Down to the Basics

Much of an introductory-level class session will focus on developing strength and flexibility, as well as good listening skills. It will also help youngsters become comfortable with the gym equipment — and the often-discombobulating sensation of being upside down!

The types of skills taught can vary based on the age of the children in the class. For example, older students are able to understand complex instruction better than 2-4-year old’s. An experienced coach will tailor the instruction to the age group.

Generally, the class will start with a warm-up that often includes stretches and other exercises. Gymnastics for both men and women requires flexibility, and this is something that even elite competitors work on constantly. Many programs will make warm-ups a set routine so that eventually students can take turns leading the warm-up. After, the class typically moves on to instruction and practice.

You can expect skills such as rolls, handstands, bridges, cartwheels, as well as leaps and jumps, to be covered. If your child desperately wants to learn how to “flip,” let them know that the skills they are learning now are the foundation to build up to that skill. Before you can land a back tuck, you need to learn a backwards tuck roll. Before you go for an aerial, you must master the cartwheel. Each skill is a building block towards a more advanced skill. They should not try advanced skills on their own until their coach lets them know they are ready

#3 Come Prepared

This sounds a bit like stating the obvious, however coaches will tell you it is worth repeating: it starts with arriving on time. Being late may mean the athlete will not have had the time to warm up properly, not to mention the disruption to the other students when someone joins in late.

Bring your child to class clean, dressed and ready to participate.  Wear fitted clothes. Kids will be going upside down. You do not want them trying to hold their shirt down when they should be focused on their form and the safe execution of the skill at hand. For girls, a leotard and compression shorts are recommended. Avoid tights as the footing can be slippery. Leggings and footless tights are generally fine. For boys, a compression shirt or t-shirt which can tuck in and athletic shorts or compression shorts should work. Gymnasts may wear socks; if they find them slippery, they can be easily removed. At the beginner stage, special accessories such as grips or beam shoes are not necessary unless specifically directed by your coach.

  • No Jewelry

    If ears are newly pierced and earrings cannot be taken out, they must be low-profile studs. Rings, necklaces, bracelets (excluding medical) and dangling earrings should be left at home.

  • Pull Hair Back

    Since kids will be rolling, they may find a bun to be an obstacle on their head. Some kids prefer a braid so that on twisting moves their hair does not whip them in the face. Your child will quickly find what styles work best for them, but most kids will be fine with a simple pony tail or pig tails. The key is to keep it out of the face so it is not a distraction or something they need to swipe aside when they finish a skill. Elastic headbands can be another help here, so long as they have enough grip to not fly off when practicing.

  • Eat Long Before Class

    As stated before, kids will be going upside down. Upset tummies lead to a mess for the instructor, so ensure your child has had proper time to digest their meal before class starts.

  • Bring Water

    Even if the class is only 30-45 minutes, it sets a good habit for your child on the importance of hydration as an athlete.

  • Bathroom Before Class

    Finally, have them use the bathroom before class. Especially with the youngest students, when one kid has to go during class, suddenly they all need to go!

#4 On Spotting

Gymnastics is a sport that requires a great deal of hands-on help from the coach. And this is a literal hands-on. Spotting can range from nudging the gymnast to completely carrying the gymnast through the motion. Most of the time, in order to best support a child and be there in case they bobble or fall, the coach will guide the athlete at their midsection — sides, stomach, back and shoulders. The arms and legs are also spotted to help move a gymnast through a new skill. This not only helps the athlete feel the proper form and technique, it also helps provide a safer experience as new skills are being developed.

#5 What Parents Can Expect 

Many gymnastics facilities will have an area set aside for parents to hang out while class is in session. It is important to stay within these designated areas.

For some little ones, an audience is a big distraction. If they are constantly looking over to see if mom or dad are watching, instead of focusing on what the instructor is saying or what skills they are doing, you may want to consider using class time to run an errand or two.

At any age, avoid gesturing to the child to pay attention, or stepping in when the child is nervous about a skill. Well-meaning parents can quickly become a distraction for the coach, as well as the kids. If the coach does need your assistance, they will reach out and ask.

Generally, programs without viewing areas will offer specific days in the session to observe, typically the first, middle and final class. This way, parents can see progress and gymnasts can show-off what they have learned.

The rules and philosophies vary by gym, so ask questions if you are unsure of proper protocols.

#6 Be Prepared for Fun

Gymnastics should be fun from the beginning, filled with new friends and new experiences. And while there may be challenging moments as the gymnast progresses and the skills become more difficult, it’s hard to top that feeling when you learn — then master — something new!

Fair warning: the fun usually does not end at the gym. Many a parent has been dismayed to find the arm of a couch being used as a vault, the bed a perfect crash pad and walls filled with feet marks from “spotting” handstands. The whirling dervish of arms and legs going every which way is just a tell-tale sign that your son or daughter has fallen for gymnastics!

For more information on Champions Gymnastics’ incredible programs, camps, and classes, visit them online at cgakc.com or call (816) 360-9879. 

 


Planning Fun Family Outings With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps

Is planning a fun family outing a chore in your household?  Today Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips on how you can eliminate the chaos and put the FUN back into planning those FUN family outings!  Take a look…

Family Outings

Planning An Outing With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps:

 

The splash pads of Kansas City are some of the easiest and fun places to take your kiddos this summer! Here are 7 tips I have found that help make this summer outing a success.

1- Avoid morning chaos by packing the night before. That seems so easy but that one extra step saves much time and frustration in the morning when everything is ready to go out the door.

2- Beat the heat! A great time To head out is around 9 am before the mid- summer sun hits its peak. Also, it’s not as crowded giving you the option to choose your bench or table in the shade. The same goes for the later in the afternoon when the sun starts to fade.

3- Timing is everything! Allow enough time to play & splash before you head home for lunch and the littles need their naps.

4- The best news, splash pads are free! Just in case things don’t go as planned you will not feel guilty spending any money.

5- Give a good pep talk. I have found with my toddler, getting her to jump up out of bed in the morning is easy when I tell her we are headed to the splash pad! She is so much more cooperative In the process of heading out the door.  She also enjoys knowing what’s going on ahead of time. I let her know where we are going, how long we will stay, what I’m bringing for snacks and what else she can expect from the morning there. In turn I let her know what I expect from her.

6- What to pack.  Snacks and more snacks. I swear my daughter is only hungry when she sees other little people around her eating.  In our bag is her swimsuit, water shoes, swim diapers, hat, towel, sunscreen, water, snacks or lunch in a small cooler & an extra change of clothes for the ride home. If you don’t want to carry an exhausted child to the car after the fun than make sure you bring the stroller.

7- What does mom wear? Be comfy, it’s hot out! You can find me in a tank, shorts and flip flops and often taking my turn to cool off in the water.  If you want to wear a suit and jump in with your kiddos, go for it mama!

There are a few great splash pads around the Kansas City area! Find one that’s convenient for your family, cool off and have fun!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


For the Love of the Game: One Mom’s Thoughts On Coaching

Summertime is in full swing here in the metro area and that means that many of you are also super busy with sports and family fun. Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her thoughts today on coaching her kids’ sports teams. Maybe her thoughts will encourage some of you to do the same next season. Take a look…

coaching

For the Love of the Game: One Mom’s Thoughts On Coaching

It’s that time of year when I feel like all of my evenings are spent at the ballpark.  My calendar is completely full of game times and fields.  While this can sometimes be overwhelming, and even a bit exhausting, I love it.  Let me say that one more time: I love the chaos and craziness that is coaching.

Last summer, I coached both my son and my daughter’s t-ball teams.  There’s just something about the little guys that I adore.  So, this summer, when my son moved up to machine pitch and I decided not to coach him any longer. I was looking forward to just being able to watch and enjoy and coach my one team.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I had so many kids I knew coming back, that I am now coaching two t-ball teams and helping run the dugout for my son’s machine pitch team.  This means coordinating three teams schedules, practicing with two teams, making sure my son gets to his practices and lugging around two teams worth of gear in my car all summer.  And I love it.

“There’s just something about the little guys that I adore.”

There are times when a practice gets a little crazy, or when a drill I am trying to run doesn’t go so well when I think “what in the world am I doing?” or “this is like herding cats!”  But then one of those cats comes running over and says “Coach! Did you see what I just did?” and I am sucked right back in.

As a coach of the youngest group of kids that play, I have to constantly remind myself, they are 4-7 year olds, they are not going to be able to make every play.  In fact, some of them may not make a play all season.  My job is to teach them the basics, and make sure they’re having fun.  What I didn’t count on when I started doing this again three summers ago, was how much fun I would have along with them.

“My job is to teach them…and make sure they’re having fun.”

Before I was married and had kids, I coached my step-niece in t-ball for three summers.  It was all girls and it was in my hometown.  We had so much fun.  I taught them to get their gloves in the dirt and keep their elbows up when they swung the bat, and they taught me how to laugh at mistakes and enjoy the chaos.  I was invited to one of those sweet girls 13th birthday party this summer and was so touched that she thought of me and even remembered me.  There was no way I was missing that party.

“…they taught me how to laugh at mistakes and enjoy the chaos.”

Just this past week one of my smallest kids on one of my teams came up to bat and said to me “Coach, I’m going to hit the ball really hard tonight.”  He always has been a very consistent hitter, making good solid contact, but being one of the smaller kids on the team, always got a single. After I checked his stance to make sure he was ready to hit, he swung through and just nailed the ball.  It went past all of the infielders and through the legs of the outfielder.

I was so excited I started jumping up and down and yelling for him to “take two!”  He made it safely to second base and I started dancing at home plate.  I had tears in my eyes and I was still wound up about it at 10:30 that evening.  There is just something magical about seeing a kid succeed and enjoy the game.

Coaching is sometimes totally frustrating.  Kids get tired, and bored and sometimes don’t want to listen.  Some drills don’t work the way I thought they would in my head.  And sometimes I am just tired.  But it is all so worth it.  It’s so worth it to see a kids face light up when they get a good hit or make a good stop.  Its so worth it to hear a kid say “Thanks Coach!”  I am not sure how long I will continue to coach my daughter.  Sometimes I wonder if I don’t just love coaching because I love the little ones.  We will find out eventually, but for the time being, I am going to enjoy every second I get to spend with my crazy t-ball players.

From iFamily to Yours,

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Gearing Up For Working Out: Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Whether you’re working out daily or a few times a week, most of us struggle with stocking up on clothes and accessories for the gym that are comfortable and functional. Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, tackles the issue in this week’s Work It Wednesdays. Take a look…

Work It Wednesdays working out

Gearing Up For Working Out

Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Alright all, I am a gym rat and I am proud of it.  But when I workout two and three times a day, that also means I change clothes at least that many times a day.  Since laundry is not my favorite chore, I needed to find some good workout gear that didn’t break my budget.  Here are some of my favorite options:

Scheels 

Scheels in Overland Park truly is a one stop shop for just about everything you could need for working out, spending time outdoors, or playing sports. And they have fudge (it’s all about balance, right?!). One of the best things, as a mom, about shopping there is that they’ve got activities (Ferris Wheel, mini bowling, indoor playground) for the kids so I can take my time picking out the right items to fit my workout needs.

Walmart

Believe it or not, they have some great workout clothes!  And they are super budget friendly!  I’m talking workout leggings for $13 a pair and tanks for as little as $5.  I like their Danskin brand leggings, as well as the Avia leggings.  There are tons of fun prints and different fabrics to choose from.  They have recently started carrying workout tanks and shirts from Athletic Gear.  At just $4.96, and with tons of colors and fun sayings, you can’t go wrong.

Target

Their C9 line of workout clothes are reasonably priced (more expensive than Walmart, but not insanely high) and the styles are constantly changing.  They offer sports bras in several different impact levels, along with leggings, shorts, capris and tops.  Their sports bras are some of my favorites.  They are comfortable while providing enough support for even my high impact workouts during the week.  Watch their ads for special sales or check the Cartwheel app.

Fitness Tee Co

This is my favorite find yet!  It’s a little company based out of Colorado and they make a ton of cute and fun workout tops.  They have two styles of tank tops, plus t shirts, all with fun sayings.  There are tons of colors to choose from.  They usually run weekly specials with tanks as low as $6.99.  They do make the shirts to order, so make sure to allow a couple weeks for your order to show up.  I usually order from these guys once a month or so.

Old Navy

I get texts from Old Navy, guys.  It’s a problem.  They have a great line of athletic gear as well.  I love the variety of fits and fabrics they offer in their leggings and capris.  They are always getting new prints and colors as well.  They have high waisted workout capris for those of us who feel the need to have more coverage, as well as some compression crops that make sure everything stays in place while you workout.  Make sure you try things on just to see what style you like best.  And again, Old Navy usually runs pretty frequent sales, so watch for those and stock up when they come around.

Academy Sports

I can almost always find a pair of shoes for $50 or under, depending on what brand I want, and I love their BCG line of clothing.  Prices are comparable to that of Target, and again, there is a ton of variety in the prints and colors they come out with.  They have tops, bras and capris that won’t break the budget.

I probably own more workout gear than one person should ever have, but I always make sure I keep it in my budget and that I find gear that will last.  In general, I never dry any of my workout tanks, just because they do tend to pill after being in the dryer. Oh, and I use a ton of the Downy Unstoppables and several other brands of laundry scent bead, just to help keep my workout gear fresh.

From iFamily to Yours,

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Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City!

We are so excited to share today’s Work It Wednesdays post with you because, like many of you, we each struggle with finding the motivation to get to the gym (or out for a neighborhood walk, or downstairs to hop on the treadmill) on a regular basis. Connie, from our Mom Squad team, is sharing the ugly truth about fitness and heading to the gym with you this morning on the blog because, guess what?! You’re not alone. Take a look…

 

work it wednesdays

Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

I go on and on about how much I love working out, how great I feel after I get a good sweat on, and how centered and calm I feel when I’m ready to face the day.  But let’s be real.  The gym, my fitness journey, working out, all of it is not always sunshine and rainbows.  Some days are just plain hard.  There are times when I feel defeated.  Some mornings it’s the last thing I want to do.  Now, while these days are few and far between for me now, they are definitely still there and should be addressed and talked about.

Sometimes I’m tired.

I get up between 5:00 and 5:30 every morning to get a workout in before my family wakes up and needs me to Mommy.  And most mornings I wake up before the alarm even goes off.  I am ready to get my day started and get my sweat on. And then there are those mornings every 3 weeks or so when I audibly groan when my alarm goes off.  I hit snooze three times and it’s not enough because I am tired and don’t want to leave the warm comfort of my bed and my pillow.  My head feels cloudy and I don’t want to get up.

Sometimes my body is tired.

I work out twice a day 5 days a week.  Some days I work out three times in a day between my own workouts and teaching classes.  And then I teach on a 6th day during the week.  Which leaves Sunday as my rest day.  And I love it. But I’m not 20 anymore.  My 35 year old body desperately wants to be 20 again, but it’s just not.  So sometimes my body is done.

Sometimes I just want to be lazy.

I feel fine physically, I got enough sleep the night before, but I just want to be lazy.  Lay in bed all morning (and by all morning I mean until 7 or so when my kids get up) and then lounge around with them on the couch all day watching cartoons.  I want to be a human slug.

Sometimes, I just need a change.

I get annoyed with someone or something at the gym and I just need a change.  I need to not see that person or do that thing that is annoying me for just a bit.  Just long enough to get over the irritation.

Sometimes the weather makes me want to curl up in a ball and stay under the blankets all day.  I hate cold, so winter is especially hard for me, but I am also not a huge fan of rain.  Dreary days seem to dampen my energy and often times my mood, which can make it hard to get motivated to get done what I need to do.

The Solution

What’s the solution (and the point of this post), you ask?  Well, the answer varies.  Sometimes I give in to whatever excuse I have that day.  If I am exhausted and need sleep, I take the day and I sleep in.  I can always hit up the gym later in the day when I am feeling more rested.

If my body is really tired and telling me it needs a break, I listen then too.  I can’t afford to injure myself, not to mention, I am a horrible patient and just basically loathe being sidelined.  If it is just a lazy day, I try to make myself go anyway.  Once I get there I always feel better and shake off the urge to be a slug.  Or I can go home and slug it up after I’ve burned some calories at the gym.  When I need a change, I find a new workout or try some new machines, or a new class.

Luckily I have a membership to multiple gyms just because I am on the staff, so I can move around if I need to.  And the weather issue, that one is tough.  We live in the Midwest, so winter and rain are inevitable.  I try to prepare myself with fun winter workout gear, and remote start on my car for those cold winter mornings.  And I remind myself that the rain doesn’t have to drain me.  In fact, a couple of friends and I finished our outside run the other morning in the rain.  It was fun.

Sometimes I just have to get out of my own head.

Working out is something I love and yet I still sometimes struggle to stay motivated.  What I will not allow to happen again is my lack of motivation for a day or two to turn into a week or two and then into quitting.  I take my rest days, I listen to my body, but I don’t quit.

I’ve quit too many times before and starting all over is the hardest part.  I can’t go there again, so I keep going.  And I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect and get every workout in to be fit.  I can give myself a little grace and a little space to get my head right on the days it doesn’t feel like what I want to do.  I don’t ever want to let a day of feeling defeated completely throw me off track.  So in your own routines, when you find yourself feeling like giving up, or being tired or sore or just plain over it, embrace that feeling, take that day, make whatever change you need to and then get back at it.  You’ll be glad you did.

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Fun & Easy Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Be Active Year Round

Are you looking for fun and easy ways to encourage your kids to be active this summer and beyond?! Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad, shares some simple ideas you can use at home (and on the go) to get the kids moving this year. Take a look..

encourage your kids to be active all year round

Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Be Active Year Round

As a parent, you always wonder about your kids. Are they sleeping enough? Eating enough? Playing or laughing enough? It’s a constant cycle of questions that circulate your head space everyday.

When I look at my kids, I see them living a life that I always wanted. Not like a stage mom kinda life, but one full of friends, happiness and healthy habits. I have blogged about my life growing up and how it wasn’t the healthiest and how I wish someone would have guided me down a healthier path as a child instead of an adult. So I strive to make sure that my kids are eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise so ensure that they will live happier and healthier lives as they grow. Try to remember, while you’re encouraging your kids to be active, that they’re not adults and they’re not in boot camp. Making sure that they’re having fun is always the key to keeping them active.

Here are some easy ways to get them moving:

#1 Sports

Obviously this is a no-brainer but sports is not only limited to soccer or basketball – There are many, many other things that your little ones can do. Try putting your kiddo in dance or gymnastics. These activities also require a lot of muscle movement and, of course, they are fun!

#2 Hiking

A simple family outing is my favorite! Enjoying nature and each other’s company not only gets you moving but it also builds that family bond!

#3 Exercise

As a family, my kiddos and I go on jogs in the morning and occasionally they participate in a few fun circuits with me. My kids love going to the gym as well but it can be a little difficult for two of them since the equipment they want to use is so big.

#4 School Yard Games

Games like tag, kickball and all those fun activities are great! They are running, laughing and of course, throwing in a little friendly competition.

#5 Swimming

Swimming is a great way to keep your kids active. For one, they just think they are having fun in the pool (which they are) but they are actually doing forms of resistance training. The pool was my favorite way to exercise during the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

#6 Stairs

Simply taking the stairs when you are at places like the mall or library is an easy way to add a little extra cardio. We live on the 7th floor so we rarely take the stairs at home. But when we visit the library we almost ALWAYS take the stairs. The kids love to see who can get to the top first!

#7 Biking

Riding bikes always seems to be one of the kids favorites! They can ride for hours and not think a thing about it. Again, it is great for muscles and balance as well.

#8 Parks

This is what they are made for! Running, climbing, swinging and all that jazz. Find a great park that “grows with your kid”, meaning they have different levels for different ages is a great way to keep them busy. Don’t forget to bring water and band-aids. There are usually a few scrapes that come  along!

#9 Skating

Ice in the winter and roller all year round! Ice skating takes a lot of muscles to balance yourself. Not to mention you are having fun listening to music too!

I hope these were some easy tips on how  you can keep your kiddos active all year round!

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Work It Wednesdays: How to Cultivate Self-Love in Your Every Day Life

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! We’re starting a fun, new series to bring on a healthy Spring – Work It Wednesdays. Our Mom Squad Ambassador (and fitness guru), Connie, kicks it off this week with the center of it all — self-love. It can be tough to find balance and to get healthy out of love. Check out her post for some tips on how to cultivate it into your everyday life.

Work It Wednesdays: How to Cultivate Self-Love in Your Every Day Life

How to Cultivate Self-Love in Your Every Day Life

 

I want to let you guys in on a little secret. One that no one really likes to talk about. One that is really hard for a lot of people to admit to. You ready for it?

We are all a little insecure. We all have something that makes us feel less than stellar. We all have at least one thing that makes us scrunch up our noses a bit. We all sometimes struggle with self-love.

Don’t you feel better now that it’s out there? Now let’s have an honest discussion about it.

Self-love is an awkward topic. Love yourself too much, you’re considered arrogant. Don’t love yourself enough, you’re considered depressed, negative, a downer. Guess what? Loving yourself and being a positive voice for yourself is healthy. It’s a huge part of leading a healthy lifestyle. I talk a lot about fitness and health, but no matter how much you workout and how many abs you have visible, if you don’t love yourself, its never going to be good enough.

We are our own worst critics. We see flaws in ourselves that no one else sees. We criticize fine lines that no one notices. Our one toe that’s a little longer than the others. That funny cowlick in our hair that makes it impossible to part it straight. Guess what? No one else notices those things!

The same principle can be used for fitness and overall health. We look in the mirror and see fat where others see strong. We see the flabby underarm (chicken wing as I like to call it) while others see strong rounded shoulders. We see thighs like tree trunks where others see muscle. We are always harder on ourselves than anyone else is. Some of the fittest people I know can still list off a list of their flaws easier than they can list off a list of things they like about their bodies. So don’t ever go into fitness thinking that once you reach a certain goal all of your self-love problems will be solved. Instead, go in with the thinking that you are amazing just the way you are, but you want to be a stronger, healthier, more fit version of yourself. Remember that fitness and health look different on everyone.

Its not easy. Embracing yourself as you are and loving yourself is never easy. But life is too short to be constantly criticizing yourself. Challenge yourself to focus on your strengths. If there is something that really bothers you, decide if you can change it. If you can’t change it, learn to embrace it. Learn to see what other people see when they look at you. No one is looking at your wrinkles or your flat butt. No one sees those gray hairs or that freckle on your nose that bothers you so much. They are looking at your smiling face. They see their friend that makes them laugh and is there for them, no matter what. Instead of cataloging your faults, try embracing them. Those laugh lines? Those babies are physical evidence of a full life! Those stretch marks? You earned those bad boys building a tiny human.

Don’t be afraid of being confident and happy with who you are. It tends to be contagious. Be that positive person who lifts others up, who encourages others to be kind to themselves. Be the most uplifting person in the room. Own it. Own who you are and what you’re made of, whether that be sugar and spice or nerves and anxiety. We all need to see what self-love and a positive mind set looks like.

We are all our own unique combination of flaws that make us our fantastic selves. There is nothing wrong with loving that.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 


Five Great Options to Help You Choose the Right Gym

Hello, Kansas City! We’re slowing making our way into spring, which means many of us are trying to get a fitness routine going. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie, breaks down the different types of gyms around the metro & hopefully, helps you figure out which fits you best. Check it out…

Five Great Options to Help You Choose the Right Gym

Five Great Options to Help You Choose the Right Gym

 

With so many different options for gyms out there, its easy to get overwhelmed. And sadly, choosing the wrong gym can mean you end up giving up on your fitness goals. No one wants to go somewhere they hate to be. So here are a few different types of gyms and their benefits, to help make the decision process easier. I would always recommend a tour of any facility you are thinking about joining. Sometimes a simple walk through can tell you all you need to know about the atmosphere and energy of the facility.

#1 Planet Fitness (and other smaller, 24 hour gyms)

The big appeal of places like Planet Fitness is their low montly rate. They advertise gym memberships for as low as $10 per month. Places like these boast 24 hour entry, no judgements, and pizza and bagel days for their members. They are still fairly new in our area, so you can expect equipment to be in new or excellent used condition. They offer all the basic cardio equipment along with some smaller free weights and weight machines. A gym like this one is great for people who are just starting out, or who feel pressured by big gyms with trainers and lots of heavy lifters. It is also great for anyone who is very self-motivated who just needs a place to work out, but doesn’t need a trainer or a group setting to motivate them. These types of gyms are also ideal for anyone who works shift work and might want to work out at 3am while the rest of the world is sleeping. Some of these facilities also offer tanning packages and other amenities for an extra fee.

 

#2 Community Centers/YMCA/Lifetime Fitness

These facilities boast amenities such as group fitness classes, personal training, and kids classes. Many of them have pools and are able to offer water classes as well. They usually are not open 24 hours, but are open early morning until well into the evening. These facilities tend to attract a wide variety of clientele, from seniors to stay at home moms, to single 20 somethings, simply because they offer such a variety of services. They do tend to cost more than a Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness facility, but that is due to the large numbers of classes that are going on and the added amenities such as the pools, spin bikes, TRX rooms, etc. These facilities usually also have a gym area with basketball courts for open play. Some facilities include saunas, smoothie bars and coffee shops as well.

 

#3 24 Hour Fitness

These facilities boast the best of both worlds. With 24 hour access to the gym, they can cater to the odd hours work out crowd, and they offer a daycare facility as well. Depending on which 24 Hour Fitness you go to, some have pools as well. They offer group fitness classes during the daytime and evening hours and on weekends. They also have a floor full of cardio equipment, free weights and weight machines. They have personal trainers on staff who services can be purchased by members at an additional fee.

 

#4 Boxing gyms (Title Boxing, Fight Camps, etc)

These gyms offer hard hitting classes that focus mainly on boxing and kick boxing instruction. They tend to be intense workouts designed to build endurance and skills quickly. These classes can be a great stress reliever. (Who doesn’t want to just punch something every once in a while?!?!) Just because these gyms specialize in boxing, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a variety of classes and instructors, to ensure that the workout is never the same, and never boring.

 

#5 Crossfit

These gyms have been popping up all over the metro area lately and building memberships quickly. These facilities focus on lifting, and lifting a lot. They concentrate on muscle strength and proper technique when you are lifting, etc. They have trainers working there the entire time they are open, and they walk you through the Workout of the Day or WOD as they call it. There is also cardio during these workouts as well, it is just not your typical run or stair stepper style cardio. These facilities tend to be higher in price, but anyone who is a member will tell you CrossFit is totally worth it.

There are pros and cons to every gym and there are going to always be people who say their gym is better. The main thing is to know what is important to you when you are looking for a gym to join. Tour some gyms. Talk to the front desk about a weekly trial pass or a day pass to check out what is happening and what they offer. Some gyms allow members to bring friends in on a day pass occasionally. Whatever gym you decide to go to, just make sure it is one where you can feel comfortable and get the work out you need. The beauty of fitness is that there are so many different types and styles and classes out there. Something is bound to fit your lifestyle and goals.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 


10 Ways to Amp Up Your Fitness Game as a Busy Parent

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! We are happy to introduce you to our newest Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie! She is a fitness instructor, with several classes around the metro, and has some great tips to tackling your fitness regimen as a busy parent. Give her a big ol’ Kansas City hello and check out her tips below!

 

10 Ways to Amp Up Your Fitness Game as a Busy Parent

 

Fitness. To a lot of busy moms, that is a dirty word. A word no one has time for. That annoying thing that your annoying Facebook friend is always posting about. That thing that you miss so much from when you used to have time to spend on it. That thing you have always been afraid to try, or that you tried once, but hated. However you feel about fitness and working out, I think we can all agree that it’s an important part of a healthy life. Luckily there are lots of options and tricks and tips to make time for (and gasp—even enjoy!) fitness and working out.
Here are some tips to get you motivated or to help keep you motivated to get in a workout.

#1 There are a million different ways to workout.

You have to find what you enjoy. If you hate what you are doing, eventually, you won’t do it anymore. So if you hate running, don’t run. Maybe you like to dance, check out a Zumba class or dance fitness class. If you’re intimidated by the thought of a gym, there are tons of Zumba routines and workouts on YouTube. Search for a song you like the beat of with the word Zumba behind it (i.e. 24K Magic by Bruno Mars Zumba) and get yourself moving. If you love the water, find a gym with a pool and take an Aqua class. They’re not just for old people! If you don’t want to take a class, you can just swim laps in a lap pool or walk in a more shallow pool to get in your workout. If you are motivated by group settings, find a gym that offers lots of classes and try them all until you find something that you like. If you are more self-motivated, find workouts online and take them with you to the gym. There are tons of apps that have workout routines that you can put yourself through.

#2 You are your own worst critic.

No one knows your story but you. Fitness and exercise take time. Don’t be discouraged if the person next to you is able to run further or faster than you or lift heavier. The only person you are trying to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Everyone you compare yourself to had to start somewhere. Remember that.

#3 Drink water like it’s your job.

It is so important for muscle recovery for you to stay hydrated. If you hate plain water, add some fresh fruit for a bit of flavor. Drink water even when you don’t think you are thirsty. This one thing will help boost your metabolism, aid in muscle recovery and growth, and help flush toxins out of your system.

#4 Find an accountability buddy.

This can be a person you actually workout with, it can be a Facebook group, it can be a journal that you write your workouts down in. It just needs to be someone or something that helps hold you accountable. Become that annoying person on Facebook who posts about their workouts everyday if that helps you. There will be less people annoyed than you think, and you will be surprised how many other people you may help motivate.

#5 It does not have to be a huge time commitment.

When I was dieting and trying to lose weight before my wedding, my husband and I spent 40 minutes a day at the gym, 5 days a week. That’s it. And it made a huge difference for us. Any time you spend moving and breaking a sweat counts. If you wake up late one day and only have 20 minutes, use it. Pick up the intensity a bit since it’s a shorter amount of time, and get that workout in.

#6 Make it a family affair.

Take a walk with your kids, or a family bike ride. Play a game of soccer or catch in the back yard. Find a gym that offers kids classes as well as classes for you. Have a 30 minute dance party in your living room. No one is allowed to stop dancing until the time is up.

#7: Try everything.

(Anyone else singing the Shakira song from Zootopia in their head right now, or is that just me?) I was the queen of cardio for years at the gym. 40 minutes on the elliptical every day and that was it. I never ventured away from that machine. It was my jam, and I wasn’t changing it. But your body needs to be challenged and surprised. It needs change. So try everything. Try lifting some weights. Try using the weight machines at the gym. Get on the stair stepper one morning. Get in the pool. Changing it up will keep you and your body from getting bored.

#8: Stick with it.

There will be times, especially if you are just beginning, where you don’t want to do it anymore. You’re sore, and you’re tired, and you had a long day at work or a rough day with the kids. Stick with it. That workout is going to help so much with the stress of everyday life. The endorphins released will make you calmer, more patient, more able to cope with the stress of the day. Eventually, when you find what you like to do, working out becomes something you look forward to, something that you need in your day.

#9 It does not have to be about the scale.

So many times we make working out about losing weight and not about being healthy and feeling better. Scales can make you crazy. Base your fitness goals around how you feel or how your clothes fit, rather than solely on what the scale says and you will be more successful. Scales are a great tool for weight loss and motivation, but they can also hinder your progress. They are only part of the package. Take before pictures, pay attention to how your clothes fit, and more importantly, how working out makes you feel. Then use the scale to keep track of your progress. I haven’t weighed myself regularly in over a year because it was making me crazy. If it went up I was frustrated and mad, and if it went down I would obsess over what I did and try to duplicate it again. Find the healthy balance and stick to it. I workout 6 days a week because I feel sluggish and tired if I don’t. I get up before my kids do so that I can get it in, even if they don’t feel like going to the gym with me that day. I do not workout so that the scale will get to a certain number. I want to feel healthy and be fit, and that looks different on everyone.

#10 Fitness looks different on everyone.

Body types, genetics, bone structure, etc, all play a part in how we are built and how our bodies look. Not everyone was meant to be a size 2, and that’s okay. Working out and being healthy are a personal journey and one that you have to do for you, regardless of how it looks to other people. So do your thing, and remember that everyone is built differently. Everyone has different lifestyles and different tastes and approaches to fitness. Find what works for you and what makes you feel the best, and stick with it. You’ve got this!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

Connie

 


Get Active this Fall with the World War I Museum Runs!

My favorite season in Kansas City is easily fall. Great weather, lots of activities around the metro, and beautiful scenery makes for a great, active season. The World War I Museum is adding to the plethora of events with two upcoming runs. On September 11, they’ll be hosting the Patriot’s Run and in October, they’ll be hosting the Do the Double 8k. Both are family friendly and great ways to enjoy the fall weather. Take a look!

Get Active this Fall with the World War I Museum Runs!

Get Active this Fall with the World War I Museum Runs!

Introducing two great fall events offering FUN for the whole family! 
The Kansas City Double Run & The Patriot’s Run
Get Active this Fall with the World War I Museum Runs!
Get out and get active on Sunday, October 9th for a truly one of a kind family activity. The Kansas City Double Run 8K features both an adult race as well as a fun Kid’s Cup race – Hurry, there are only a limited number of spots available! Don’t miss out on your chance to experience this one of a kind event benefiting the National World War I Museum and Memorial!
How It Works:
Participants will run a 5K before heading into the Recovery Zone featuring stationary bikes, massage tables, water, sports drinks, and snacks. They will then finish with a 3K.  The race will start and finish on the north lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. and participants will receive a commemorative Double Road Race Kansas City finisher engraved dog tag, long sleeve t-shirt (adult runners only), and a fantastic festival with plenty of post race snacks and beverages!
Kids Cup Double:
Bring your kids for our Kids Cup Double! The Kids Double will start at the completion of the 8K Double (approximately 10:15 AM). The Kids will first run 2/3 of a mile. After their recovery period, they will run 1/3 of a mile. All kids will receive an engraved dog tag!
Questions about this event? Call BJ Taylor at (816) 353-3149
Race registration can be completed online
Get Active this Fall with the World War I Museum Runs!
Commemorate 9/11 and honor those who serve our country with the2016 Patriot’s Run! There is no other event like this in world – runners, walkers, and teams are welcome for this fun, family-friendly day at MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Registration includes access to the event, music, and a t-shirt. Learn more and register online today!

From iFamily to Yours,

Your iFamilyKC Team


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