crossfit fitness parenting

On what it means to be sporty

Sunday, 24 May 2015
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I’ll get to this picture, bear with me…

Considering how obsessed about running / cycling / bouldering / Crossfit / swimming both MrB and I are, it might come as a surprise to you that we don’t have particularly sporty children.

The 6-year old has decent enough hand-eye coordination so he does ok with football and tennis at school, but he’s still so little that mostly he just wants to ride his bike, wrestle with his brother, swim (mostly jump into the pool) and boulder on Saturdays. And play Minecraft a lot. (or something called Goat Simulator, the point of which my brain hasn’t figured out yet)

The 10-year old does not have great hand-eye coordination so he’s not great at most ball games at school (they do football, rugby, cricket, tennis). He’s a pretty decent swimmer (pretty decent = nicely middle of the pack) and a pretty good rock climber, but only because he’s been doing the NICAS rock climbing courses for a few years by now. In his free time he’d rather play Minecraft, or with Lego, or wrestle with his brother and then play more Minecraft.

Neither of them ever want to join us for a run or pick up a dumbbell when we’re lifting outside. I have seen videos of little kids doing muscle-ups and double unders – that is not my kids.

At the moment the 10-year old is training for a triathlon, there’s a team from his school going to one in June and we signed him up :)  Oops. We just figured that somebody in this family has got to do a triathlon.  He didn’t put up his hand himself, he just considers himself to be non-sporty and lets the extracurricular sport activities usually pass him by.

Last Friday I cycled over to pick him up from his cycling and running practice, and afterwards we cycled home together. (If riding a bike in London is nerve wrecking at best of times, try doing it with a child in tow. Yikes.)

But anyway, when we got home, the kiddo said about his triathlon training (which he totally enjoys now, by the way):

“You know this whole experience is making me more sporty than anyone ever thought I was!”

I was so glad to hear that and we had a nice little talk about being naturally good at something vs. training and becoming good at something vs. participating in sport even if you are not the best at it but just because you have fun.

I always say to people (mostly from my past) who are surprised by my level of fitness these days – it’s not that you are either born sporty or born not-sporty and that’s how you’re always going to be. Just recently I got to stand on a podium for probably the first time in my life – I was never a sporty child / teenager / young adult. Now I know though that I don’t have to be the BEST, I just have to enjoy what I’m doing and only compare myself to myself, only worry about how I’m improving and not worry about how much somebody else is improving.

Of course I am inspired by a lot of people who are faster than me and lift more than me, but it’s inspiration, not envy. I do not beat myself up over the fact that I am not them.

Yesterday I actually took part of another Crossfit competition. This one was just in my own box with each class, based on the time of the day, competing for points.

I had so much fun, I pushed myself hard but at times also didn’t quite perform as well as I maybe wanted to (I didn’t know chest to bar pull ups were as hard as they are even when you do the JUMPING version of them! :).

I have come such a long way though since I started Crossfit 2 years ago, I am loving being this fit and I am loving being this competitive and doing well under pressure (for once in my life!).

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Those jumping chest to bar pull ups

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Not that it matters but I can lift more than that, it’s just for this workout there was no need to :)

I think I really am not a quiet nerd anymore. I think I am a strong, powerful woman. Hear me roar! :D

And I hope my kids learn to love a sport as well and learn sooner than I did that sport is not only for people with natural talent – it’s for anyone who’s willing to give it a go and who shows up day in a day out and works at it with good attitude and while having fun.

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My 7am team came third so I got to stand on the podium again (although not physically as there were 6 of us!)

I told my little triathlete that my experience with running/Crossfit/etc. is making ME too way more sporty than anyone (including myself) ever thought I was!

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  • Raina Monday, 1 June 2015 at 17:47

    I think you are already great role-models for your kids. They may not be too sporty now, but I think they see lots of positive things related to sports. Both me and my husband have parents who are not sporty at all. His are actually very overweight as well. But my husband just got back from Stockholm marathon (his first) with sub 3.15 time and I have done my own smaller races. We definitely did not get it from our parents. Our kids are not particularly sporty but we try not to push them either. Combined they have tried football, basketball, judo, swimming, jujutsu and our oldest sometimes even comes running with me. I think they have far better chance to be sporty when they are bigger than we did, everything comes in a right time.

  • Hannah Monday, 25 May 2015 at 19:06

    This struck such a chord. Like you, I was totally non-sporty at school and didn’t discover running till my mid-20s. Now my 12 year old’s inherited my coordination (none) and natural sportiness (none) and would far rather spend time on his XBox than outdoors. Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I think our enjoyment of sport does encourage them to try. Well done on getting your son so enthusiastic about triathlon.

  • Katie Monday, 25 May 2015 at 17:18

    Liked this – such a great example to set and discussion to have :) What is the point in doing something if you don’t get any enjoyment from it? I think it’s great from a young age to just try loads of things until you find the one you like – and parents can play a big part in this.

    (Also you are VERY brave to cycle with child on board!)

  • Tess @ FitBits Monday, 25 May 2015 at 07:01

    Ahh love this. I was totally not sporty at all as a kid, I played rugby (and got into the South East England squad as I was quite good) but preferred to drink and smoke and play computer games or ride my bmx over some jumps rather than go running or anything else. Now I love being active and fit and healthy and wouldn’t change it for the world. :) Good luck to your mini triathlete!