Fitmark Ambassador, Jennifer Adams, finds balance between family and fitness.
The question I probably get asked most frequently is how I successfully balance fitness and family. First and most importantly in my opinion are priorities. It has always been a top priority for me to stay in shape, so regardless of my situation I carved out the time. Period. There are no reasons not to be healthy and fit, only excuses. Achieving balance, however, means that by staying fit and healthy, I didn’t compromise other aspects of my life – most importantly my family. There are a multitude of outside forces begging for attention and it’s my job as a parent to determine not just what to take on but what to turn down. It’s considered “obsessive” to work out 5 days a week without regard to the volume of hours people spend watching TV, playing video games or being on the computer. Redirecting some of that volume of time to being fit has kept me in shape for 42 years now.
Thirteen children call me “Mom” which, as you can imagine, is a story in and of itself. In the end, the children I am Mommy to consist of 4 biological, 2 step children (don’t tell them that though!), 4 adopted, two foster children that, lucky for me never left my home and one foreign exchange student from Germany who has never stopped being my daughter. This is my panel of experts. From age 24 down to almost 10, they are the little people who have potentially sacrificed so that I could remain fit over the years.
Finding balance has changed as the kids have grown up. I remained motivated for myself but also to be a positive role model of fitness for them. Staying active during and in between pregnancies allowed me to keep up, keep sane and never get discouraged. Eating healthy and staying fit ensured I never gained a lot of weight during 7 pregnancies. Having exercise equipment in my home when the kids were small was a huge help as were using videos during naps, and a gym that would accommodate my volume of children while I got in some work outs. Fitness competitions motivated me for a few years as well as access to amazing trainers, but one thing that was always a part of my life to some extent or another was running. Running is inexpensive, portable and done in nearly any weather at any time of the day, which is paramount with a hectic family schedule. Running not only keeps me in good physical shape, it gives me a chance for my head to clear. It’s a time for me to think, problem solve and plan but mostly it’s time for me to decompress. This escape allows me to regroup and hit the reset button if you will, so that I’m better in all aspects of my life, most especially as a Mom. My physical release not only maintains my physique, it gives such a large family a balanced Mom. I can offer tips on finding balance, but to really know if I was successful, I asked the experts. My kids.
I posed these questions to 9 of the kids to rate how I’ve balanced fitness and family over the years: “Did it ever make you unhappy that I went running or worked out? Did you feel less important?” and, “What’s it like to have a Mom that’s fit?” They got together and deliberated and this was the group response written out by my 14 year old son: “Hey it is awesome to have a fit mom and then we can stay fit too. It actually has a say on the humor through the house – because we are all fit we are comfortable with ourselves and making jokes with each other – like ‘your mom’ jokes, or ‘blonde jokes’ about each other. We are never sad when you leave to go running because we have each other until you get back. We are glad you can represent cool companies and we know you’ll do a good job.” Perfect! On that note, I’m going out for a run!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013