I reached out to my friend, Jen, to write a guest blog on fitness. We used to be roommates in college. She is now married with two kids and is crushing it at fitness and motherhood. I’ve witnessed her adventures over the years and am so impressed by all that she does. I thought she could bestow some wisdom and inspiration to keep us all active and healthy. She has a great message and I love that she tells it like it is. Jen separated from the Air Force as a captain to be a stay-at-home mom, is a fitness instructor at South Ogden Cross Roads Fitness, dog lover, and beer aficionado. Her husband, Jason, is a Lt. Col. with the Air Force. They currently live in Utah with their two kids.
Jessica: What motivates you to stay active?
Jen: Over the years I’ve had a lot of people ask me what motivates me to stay fit. There are a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is for my kids. It’s so I can keep up with them, motivate them, play actively with them, teach them to be fit and healthy, and most importantly, be around for them as long as I possibly can.
Jessica: That's what we tell clients. Health and fitness shouldn't be so much about how we look, but about what we can DO when we feel our best. When we feel our best the looks will follow and we glow from within. What is the best way to get moving?
Jen: In my opinion, there is no magic move-at least not for me. I do a little bit of everything and love to try new things. I always start my day with a weight based HIIT workout at home. When the kids are in school I get in a much more intense cardio workout-running, big hikes, swimming, hot yoga, etc. But when they are home for the summer I do what I can in an hour or so at the gym. My summer is dedicated to my kids by taking them EVERYWHERE. We swim, hike, paddle board, tear up the playgrounds, walk museums, and zoos, and basically never sit down. It gets them moving and wears them out. In the winter you can find our whole family on the ski mountain every weekend. It’s a sport we all share and love.
Jessica: It sounds like a fun summer and we are so close to ski season. Skiing is a great work-out! So, what do you guys eat to maintain energy for all this activity?
Jen: I’m going to be totally real with you when it comes to fueling my family. I try. My husband and I have done a pretty good job at teaching the kids the importance of eating right – not overindulging, eating fruits and veggies, and limiting sweets. However, they are 4 and 7 and one thing I’m not going to do is say no to ice cream on a hot day, or cake on a birthday, or French fries at a restaurant. Let’s be honest. They are kids. It’s a lifetime process to ingrain good eating habits and they have plenty of time to build that knowledge. For now, I let them be kids. And who I am kidding? While they eat their ice cream…we drink our beer.
Jessica: I love this message. It sounds like you are doing really great and need to give yourself more credit. You gotta live life and find some balance. Food fuels our body but can also be a source of joy and community. I think by not being too restrictive you make better decisions overall. I wish more people preached this message. :)
Jessica: So, what are your favorite things to cook at home?
Jen: I will share with you 2 of my secret weapons. First, my Green Meatloaf Muffins. It has been a hit with my kids since they were old enough to eat real food. Simply ground turkey combined with a puree mixture of whatever veggies are on hand (my favs are spinach, zucchini, broccoli and carrots). Toss in some oatmeal and/or Panko breadcrumbs, an egg, Worcestershire, and Dijon mustard and these muffins go fast. My second weapon is also a muffin-a chocolate veggie muffin. I make a batch a week and send them to school with my kids as a sneaky way of getting in their veggies. I use the same veggies I use for my meatloaf, but I puree a banana, apple, and applesauce in with them. I combine the mixture with a blend of coconut, almond, and gluten free flour, dark cocoa powder, just a bit of coconut sugar, and a few dark chocolate chips. They are amazing.
Jessica: YES! Not all kids will eat straight-up veggies all the time, so you gotta do what you gotta do. These sound flavorful, portable, and full of nutrients. Making things like this at home means you get to control the ingredients which helps reduce sugar and preservatives. I bet you can freeze these recipes well, too.
Jessica: Can you give our amazing mom followers some motivational advice or fitspiration?
Jen: So, my advice to all you moms out there who are looking for motivation-you don’t have to look beyond your kids. Use them, teach them, and involve them. You don’t have to have “alone” time to be able to work out and you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to be able to cook nutritious meals. You can do it. You’re a Mom. You have super powers.
Jessica: This advice is pure gold! I couldn’t agree more. Although, some alone time is nice too. Thanks so much for your time Jen. Your support and advice are helpful to many. Big Hugs!