#AD: HOW TO KEEP ACTIVE ON A FAMILY HOLIDAY
MumHood and Frame founders Pip Black and Joan Murphy offer their tips on keeping fit while chilling with the fam. With Airbnb
Hi there, we’re Pip and Joan, founders of maternity exercise programme MumHood and Frame gyms, and both mums of two. Exercise is an essential part of our lives, which is why, back in 2009 we opened our first Frame in Shoreditch – for us it was always about spreading the message ‘Getting fit shouldn’t be a chore.’
Right now we’re in a crazy-busy period with two new studio openings coming in January and, with really young families (Joan has Zayden, 3, and Jayla, 9 months, and Pip has Phin, 3, and Romilly, 11 weeks), we were definitely in need of some time out.
Our trip to the Veneto, Italy, to stay in a beautiful Airbnb villa (which we picked because not only did it look gorgeous and have all the modern kitchen facilities we needed, but it had a huge pool and lawn, perfect for little ones) saved our sanity and allowed us to SLOW DOWN for a moment to remember that time with family is the most important time of all.
But slowing down is not something we do well, and we do genuinely love exercise, so we used the trip to put together a little guide of how to keep active while away on holiday with a young family.
Top Tip – take your best mate and their family with you on holiday, it makes everything so much easier and more fun!
1. TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM
We often think that, on holiday, everything should be done as a family. Precious time together and all. But, to be honest, with a young family we’re still all about ‘taking one for the team’ because, when you do, the rewards are so sweet! For example, Alex (Joan’s husband and Phin’s godfather) took one for the team by taking not just 2, but 3 kids out to the fun fair which just so happened to be on near our Airbnb that weekend #win. The boys got to ride on the dodgems, jump on the bouncy castle and hang out on the merry-go-round, using up every last bit of energy they had (and they have a lot!) and Alex got an hour’s afternoon nap AND a 30-minute run by himself in return. So though we got 90 minutes to ourselves to sneak in a mini-workout and do a quick bit of work while they were out, Alex felt like he was the one who had won.
2. TURN EVERYTHING INTO A RACE
Kids aren’t always that into the idea of exercise or joining in the fun activities you have planned for them (sometimes Ninjago and Paw Patrol are way more interesting). From our experience, the best way around this is to turn everything into a race. When you’re 3, you always want to be the winner. We picked a ridiculously sweet Airbnb which had endless grounds for running around, which meant that everything could become a race: Races in the pool on the pool toys, races towards the camera, running races for no reason. Basically, if it was a race, the boys were game, and we could all join in too to get some exercise. NB: We have no solution for dealing with a very unhappy loser.
3. 10 MINUTES IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
You really thought you were getting in an hour’s yoga? Even if you set your alarm for 5am, this just isn’t going to happen (the kids will wake up at 5.30. FACT) This is not the time to be worrying about keeping to a specific regime or even working out to your true potential. After all, you’re on holiday, and only a few years ago, this was a sure-fire reason to lie on a sun lounger and do sweet FA for an entire 12 hours.
What we’re about is squeezing in 10 minutes here, and 5 minutes there. Just enough moving your body to keep you feeling sane and helping you feel like eating an entire pizza AND a plate of pasta in one sitting wasn’t total gluttony!
At one point Joan (with her beautiful assistant Jayla) spent fewer than 5 minutes doing one-legged hip bridges. But you try doing single-legged hip bridges for 5 whole minutes and tell us that your butt doesn’t feel it the next day. 5 minutes is enough! As you see below, Pip had to call time on this planned workout to rescue Romy who just woke up, but it was ok because Romy came and joined in for a bit, and Pip felt awesome that she’d at least done something, getting her endorphins flowing, ready for a fun-filled day.
4. TAKE YOUR WORKOUT TO THE POOL
To be honest, when you’re on holiday in the sunshine with a pool as amazing as the one at our Airbnb (honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pool surrounded by more grass anywhere in the world) the idea of dragging yourself away from it, is never going to be high on your to-do list. So, rather than getting anxious by the thought of having to forego either the pool, or the workout, we decided to scheme up workouts which could be done in the pool.
Firstly, there’s SWIMMING. Yep, plain old swimming. But this is a great workout, especially if you’re pregnant or have recently had a baby, as there’s no pressure on your joints and you feel weightless, even if you are double your usual size. Throughout our four days away, you will have found all the adults swimming up and down (we specifically chose a house that had a pool long enough to do actual lengths, none of this push-off-and-reach-the-other-end nonsense). Peter (Pip’s partner) was most likely to be found showing off his butterfly (he’s an ex-champion swimmer… all the interesting facts come out on holidays) whereas Pip burnt many a calorie attempting the perfect tumble turn. Sadly still not achieved.
One of the wonderful moments of the holiday was when Zayden decided that at 3 and ¾ it was high time that he learnt to swim, and pulled out a few widths, before powering on to dive to the bottom of the pool to pick up weighted sharks. Yep, you heard it, we’ve found the next Michael Phelps. And his feet are almost as big too.
Secondly, you’ll be surprised at how hard a tricep dip on the side of the pool is.
Thirdly, using only your legs to push your child along on an inflatable is harder than you would ever imagine. HIIT training at its peak.
5. TAKE TIME TO CHILL TOO
Your body needs to rest too, and holidays are a good chance to sleep, nap and enjoy a change of scenery. Our villa was so peaceful that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, but it was only 10 minutes from Verona airport. Not having to drive far was very relaxing. And our Airbnb hosts were so helpful, they even helped us find a great babysitter which meant all the adults could go for a long lunch on two days of the holiday, meaning we could shore up our energy for when we were running around with the kids.
6. IF IT GOES TITS UP, DON’T FRET… YOU’RE ON HOLIDAY.
Although we managed to fit in a fair bit of keeping active on our four days away in glorious, sunny Sommacampagna, there were times when our planned workouts just didn’t go to plan. But you know what? That’s ok. Being on holiday with the family is about slowing down and enjoying your time together, without the distractions of work, what others are doing, and ‘just one more’ Paw Patrol on the TV. There were moments when the boys didn’t want to join in, there were times when the babies started crying minutes into a workout, and there were times when an early morning swim got cancelled for a ‘four in the bed’ family cuddle-a-thon. And you know what? Allow yourself to just be in the moment, making the most of whatever the situation is (or just wallowing in cuddles) then it really doesn’t matter. There will always be a chance to squeeze in some squats later!
:: Read about Pip and Joan's maternity exercise programme MumHood here. See the #TripsXYZ hashtag on Instagram for more family travel ideas and inspiration, or see the articles and videos listed below.