Parenting Blog

Raising Rats, Gym Rats

Surely there are worse things in the world; pink slime, Bratz dolls, and the thought of yet another Ice Age movie quickly come to mind.

The Bear and Mouse both have become enamored with hotel fitness centers. Being inspired by an up-too-early, breathing-too-heavy dad is a curious thing.  Yet they’ve been.  In Binghamton, NY last week, the Bear walked .88 miles in 28 minutes with a max speed of 2.7 mpg. The Mouse did the stepper for 8 minutes and the treadmill for 5. Both worked up a sweat, had a starchy white towel draped over a shoulder, and were smiling, super proud of themselves.

We are going away together again, tonight in fact, just them and I, on a spur of the moment road trip to Virginia for the Brandi Carlile / Josh Ritter / Lumineers concert at Wolf Trap, and before the standard “is there a pool?” question was posed came a “can we go to the gym with you, Daddy?” request.  Inquiries into the existence of a pool weren’t far behind, mind you. We’ll be doing both.

It’s impossible for me to say no.  And I won’t even go as far as to quote some statistic about just how god-awful-fat and sloth-like American children are.

I can read the posted signs, minors aren’t to be in there. I know, I get it, it’s a liability thing for the hotel. But I’m in there too, guiding them, making sure they don’t crank up the speed, sail off the belt, and out through the back window of the place.  Plus, I’m a big personal responsibility guy.  If something happens to them, it is on me not the hotel.  But I simply will not discourage my daughters’ desire to exercise, sweat, get their adrenaline going, spend time with their papa, and feel the kind of good that only comes from such physical exertion and from pushing yourself harder than you think your body can go. That sounds extreme in this case, they are only little kids — healthy ones with good early eating habits — but the foundation for it is being laid, in every Residence Inn and Homewood Suites we visit.

I didn’t develop that brand of burning desire and work(out) ethic until I was 33.  Maybe if I had it at 8 and 5 I wouldn’t be the obese mess I am today, struggling to reverse years of stupidity.  So should you see us three sweating away together in some random hotel gym, shoot us a smile for being active not a frown for breaking the rules.

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