Fit Family Challenge: Fitness Tips

Staying Fit During Summer Break

Summer break is usually a more relaxed schedule for families. However, sometimes summer leads to unhealthy breaks – a break from the gym and from healthy meals.

Instead of taking a “break,” mix it up this summer. There are amazing opportunities for fitness during the summer and ways to include your children.


It doesn’t have to be an organized class, just get in the water! Your kids are dying for you to swim with them, so say yes. Get in the deep end and tread water, jog in place or try your Zumba moves in the pool.


Do you live near your work?  Consider riding your bike as you head to work each day. Are you at home with little ones during the day? Buy a bike trailer and pack up bikes for everyone as you explore and enjoy trails around town.


Leave the dishes in the sink and head out to enjoy the cooler temperatures as you partake of one of the easiest and cheapest ways to exercise – taking a walk. You can do this alone to unwind after a long day at work or ask your spouse, kids or a neighbor to join you.

With minimal planning and cost, you can incorporate movement into your life each day. You do not have to be a gym rat to be healthy.

Check out the Flourish Facebook page ( for our Move It Monday. We’ll be sharing photos of local families exercising creatively and meeting up with our families at a park or playground throughout the summer.


The Boyd Family

Jennie Boyd familyMEMBERS: Jennie, 42, Doug 46 / CHILDREN: Charlotte, 12, Kathleen, 10, Eleanor, 8
HOMETOWN: Lexington / SCHOOL: Charlotte (Edythe J. Hayes Middle), Kathleen and Eleanor (Athens-Chilesburg Elementary)

Before the Fit Family Challenge, Jennie Boyd would walk into a gym and feel overwhelmed by all the equipment.

After eight weeks with a personal trainer, she has tackled routines that once seemed out of her reach.

“We’ve all definitely got a lot of gym experience out of this,” Jennie said.

“I haven’t completely overcome my gym intimidation, but I’ve definitely upped my comfort level.”

Jennie, her husband, Doug, and their three daughters all have more muscle tone and more endurance than they had in the early spring.

Along with physical changes, Jennie has noticed changes in attitude toward physical fitness as well.

“The girls are more conscious of activity levels now, like to walk somewhere or ride bikes, or if they are standing around waiting on something to do squats and lunges while they wait,” she said.

“They seem more aware, and they remind each other to make those choices.”

The Boyds transitioned to a mostly plant-based diet and still have a whole list of new recipes they are excited to try.

Jennie and Doug aren’t viewing the end of the Fit Family Challenge as the end of their own fitness journey.

“We want to see this experience as a jump start,” Jennie said. “We want to keep going and stay really active. This is the new reality.”

One way these busy parents will accomplish that is to plan individual gym time into their own schedules.

They plan to sit down and map out their timeline each week so they can tag team who is with the kids so the other parent can exercise.

In addition to her husband and daughters, Jennie said the expert panel of trainers and nutritionists had a major impact on their success.

“Having outside help has helped us stay on track,” she said. “If you’re having trouble making the changes you want to make in your life, seek outside help.

“It makes a difference to have that encouragement and knowledge and accountability.”

The Jackson Family

Rhonda Jackson familyMembers: Rhonda, 30 / Children: Victoria, 14, Larae, 12
Hometown: Lexington / School: Both girls attend Bryan Station Middle

Rhonda Jackson knew she wanted to put her family on a healthier path. But with an overwhelming work, school and social schedule it seemed unattainable.

That was before the Fit Family Challenge. After eight weeks as a Spotlight Family, Rhonda said, she and her two daughters now view physical activity as a priority instead of an afterthought.

“The Fit Family Challenge really motivated us to kick start things I had wanted to do anyway, like exercise, get out in nature, eat better and not over schedule,” Rhonda said. “This pushed us into action.”

After realizing the extent of the Fit Family Challenge, Rhonda said, her daughters initially met her with disbelief.

“They were like, ‘You mean we’re going to work out every single day?’” she said. “But we do it and we have a good time.”

Sticking together as a family unit for their workouts made things fun and allowed them to bond in a new way.

One goal was to cut out junk food for snacks and choose healthier alternatives. So far, mission accomplished.

“I’ve lost some weight and I find it easier to eat more healthy snacks instead of the junk,” Rhonda said. “It’s not as much of a struggle as it used to be.”

The summer months opened up the family’s schedule, and they made sure to fill the time with healthy activities.

When school rolls around in August, Rhonda is ready to incorporate these healthy changes into the demands of being a working mother with two children who love their extracurricular activities.

“It’s much easier to be more active and eat healthier in the summer when we have more time to plan, but we’re making a habit of it so come fall it’s just part of our lives,” Rhonda said.

“We have to plan going into the fall so we have time allotted for exercise and meal planning, and we don’t get overbooked.”