How Working Out with My Kids Makes my Weight Loss Journey Fun

Father’s Day is just days away, and this week a few Houston dads have graciously contributed their thoughts on parenting. Today, Oscar C., husband of Houston Moms Blog’s own contributor Angelicashares how incorporating fun play for kids into workouts makes a weight loss journey fun and promotes bonding within a family too.

The Dads Take Over | Houston Moms Blog

About a year ago, I began a journey to lose weight and get in shape. When I began this journey, I weighed 225 lbs. Today, I weigh 175 lbs. I never intended to lose that much weight, but with each pound lost my confidence grew and I stuck with the regimen that garnished my success. My reasons for starting this journey are less conventional than most. At 225 lbs, I was healthy {relatively speaking}; no high cholesterol, no high blood pressure, I could still move relatively quick, and an active member of a local self-defense school. Truth be told, I just didn’t like what I was seeing in the mirror and wanted to change what looked like a fun house mirror reflection!

Mentally, at 35 years old, I had just accepted that I would never be in the same shape that I was when I was 21, and that is absolutely true! However, that kind of thinking is wrong and very unhealthy. Oscar at 36 years old will not be as fast, strong, and athletic as Oscar at 21 years of age. BUT, the same is true of Oscar at 50 compared to Oscar at 36. The reality of aging is that I will get slower, weaker, less able to do back flips…. but you know what, that’s OK.

The shift mentally happened when I realized that the goal of a weight loss journey is to affect change now, not to dwell on the past. The question is not “how can I get back what I lost?” It is “how can I be the best version of myself NOW?” That shift in thinking was powerful and freeing. Now I could stop comparing myself to the old version and start molding a new version of the current Oscar. My goal now is to be the best version of myself today, and not to worry about what I could {or couldn’t} do in the past, nor dwell on the ‘what ifs’ of the future, but focusing on today, on the present.

Dad with two children

I have to take responsibility for how I eat, sleep, and workout. However, credit needs to be given to my wife for allowing me the time to sweat; my trainers at the self-defense school for pushing me beyond my limits and giving me a blueprint for my mental and physical journey; and the internet for its never-ending resources of ‘expert personal trainers.’

As a father of four children ranging in ages from 3-7 years old, I have struggled with a fun and exciting way to incorporate my kids in this journey. It got me thinking… is there a way that I can include my kids in the workout, like another weight or workout apparatus, and make them a more integral part {literally} of my continued weight loss journey. 

I think there is.

Here are some safe, easy, and unconventional ideas to start incorporating your children into a fun, but challenging, exercise regimen that builds strength, conditioning, and creates fun memories with your kids.

  • Playful Wresting. We are bipeds, not quadrupeds. We are not meant to be on our bellies or backs. However, because of this, workouts that have us moving in such a way that goes against our natural design can be very beneficial for strength and conditioning. 10-15 minutes of four kids jumping on your back, trying to hold you down, spinning, sitting, rotating…. and you WILL work up a good sweat. Carpets works best, but if you live in a tiled house, go outside on the grass or buy some workout mats. Trust me, you won’t regret it. If you have any ground fighting experience, what is referred to as ‘rolling’ in some martial arts, is a good way to introduce your kids to self-defense. Most importantly, have fun and let your kids win every now and then.
  • Tag or Chase. I did this a few week ago in lieu of my regular conditioning workout with my two youngest kids. It was like Rocky chasing a chicken! My heart rate went up; I was sweating; and the constant stopping and going resembled a HIIT {high intensity interval training} workout. We even set up a mini obstacle course in the house, jumping over the couch, dodging chairs, jumping over toy trucks. 20-30 minutes of that and you have worked yourself up into a nice sweat. My wife and I are minimalist, so we don’t have a lot of antiques and decor in our home. But if you don’t have the space, take the chase outside in the backyard and have fun! 
  • Strength Training. Use your kids as weights or resistance. This isn’t unconventional as it would seem. The internet is FULL of exercise videos with parents using their kids as weights. I am not here to judge, but safety in training is always a priority. Use common sense and understand your own limitations and capabilities when using your kids. In the videos below, you will see me use my kids in the following exercises. NOTE:: this was during a family night where I skipped my regular workout and the kids had a little bit too much energy.

Front Squats: Keeping my elbows up, chest and chin high, back straight; I perform two squats with my oldest {and heaviest} child. I squat to a 90 degree position. Shoulders do not come over my knees and I am driving up through my hips. The weight should be in my heels, not my toes. Make sure your kids are not wiggling. 3 sets of 6-7 reps ought to do the trick.


Push-Ups: Palms are underneath my shoulders, elbows at my side, abs and glutes right, kid on my back holding tight. I can do anywhere between 7-10 pushups with my youngest child. Again, no wiggles, let the kids enjoy the ride.


Turkish Get-Up: This one is tough. I’ve just started incorporating this into my overall kettle bell {KB} full body routine. I just wanted to see if I could do this with our youngest son, who weighs about 40 lbs. I would not recommend this for beginners. I suggest being comfortable with the movement before getting your kids involved. Although I will say, the kids had a big smile on their face and didn’t seem to mind being that high up in the air.


These videos were spur of the moment, but honestly that is a lot of what life is about {at least for us}. Spur of the moment, capturing little things here and there to make great memories. As a father, it is going to get tougher and tougher to find those connections to my kids as they grow, develop new interests, find new friends, etc, and quite frankly, put on some weight. They won’t always be this little; I won’t always be able to engage with them like I can now… but that’s not the point.

Like I said in the beginning, my weight loss journey cannot focus on the past, nor can I be overly concerned about the future. It’s about the present; what I can do today; how can I be the best version of myself TODAY. It’s the same with parenting. Being present in the moment with our kids, connecting now, not focusing on the time lost or the ‘what ifs’ of the future, but doing the best we can today, now, in the present.

So, take a few days off from the gym, incorporate some of these ideas into your own exercise routine and weight loss journey at home. Get your kids involved and, most importantly, stay safe and have fun!

Dad with four children


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Angelica, also lovingly referred to as Angel, is a wife to her high school sweetheart, Oscar, and the young couple finally tied the knot in June of 2004. After struggling with infertility for seven years, they welcomed their first child, Gideon {January 2012}, and in three short years they welcomed Annabelle {2013}, Deacon {2014} and Jubilee {2015}. In the summer of 2016, Angel’s oldest child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which she continues to educate herself about by reading books, listening to podcasts and attending local classes and training events. When Angel isn’t busy tackling home duties and juggling her children’s activities, she enjoys taking self-defense classes at Krav Maga Houston, which she has been attending since moving to Houston in November 2016. She also loves coffee, reading, and meeting new people. Angel strives to live out 1 John 3:16 daily and loves talking and teaching others about what that means.


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