Plant Based Health Coach Shares Tips On Exercising With Kids

by | March 5, 2019

If you’re a parent looking to shed a few pounds or wondering what all innovative ways you can apply to include your kids in your fitness regime, here’s some insight. I got a chance to talk to a plant based health coach, Shelly Johnson and she opened up on her idea of exercising with kids.

Plant Based Health Coach Shares Tips On Exercising With Kids
Image by Shelly Johnson

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Plant Based Health Coach Shares Tips On Exercising With Kids

Shelly is a plant-based health coach, recipe inventor, vegan bikini competitor, triathlete, and a kind, beautiful soul. Fitness, exercise, and challenging the body have always been big cornerstones in her life. Here are the excerpts from the chat I had with her, on involving kids in parent’s daily fitness routine.

Hi Shelly, you look incredibly fit and healthy. Have you always been this fit?

No, not really. I have experienced health issues including eczema, gallbladder inflammation, allergies, asthma, sinus problems, digestive issues, IBS, fatigue, foggy brain, urinary tract infections and even mono in my teens and early 20s.  It is when I went from meat to bananas (turned vegan) overnight, I could see a lot of changes in my health and have never felt better.

You mean turning vegan proved beneficial for your overall health?

Yes. I am living a plant-powered lifestyle from both perspectives of health and compassion. I have never felt as better and fit than now.

Why do you advocate exercising with kids? Are you able to concentrate on your workouts when your kids are around?

I have three young home-schooled boys and a baby girl who are strong and very active kids. Initially, it was difficult for me to maintain my previous fitness level as I was home homeschooling them and building my vegan lifestyle. The difficulties I faced motivated me to start incorporating my kids in my fitness workouts. This ultimately set up a positive, healthy example for my kid’s future too. I won’t be exaggerating when I say, exercising with kids in fact made me concentrate better.

Plant Based Health Coach Shelly with her kids

Tell me more…

My quest to get my pre-pregnancy body back made me rethink the idea of working out with kids. Exercising became something that my kids and I did together daily. I started creating my own at-home workout routines. This allowed me to turn everyday activities into an opportunity to get fit and have fun together.

Do you recommend this? Is it healthy for them?

100%. I have noticed other families plopping their kids in front of a TV, iPad, or even strap them into a car seat, just so mom or dad could get in their fitness workout. This could not only set kids up for a sedentary life, but also affect their growth. Kids need to develop their motor skills right from a young age. A good way for kids to develop these skills, is to make it a lifestyle to be active with them. This habit will last them a lifetime.

Can you share some tips on including kids in daily workout routine? How do you manage this?

Exercising with kids is a lot more fun than people think it to be. If you’re wise, you can turn day-to-day activities into workouts. For instance, I lay a lot of stress on pre/ post breakfast or dinner walks/runs. If you have older kids, they can ride their bikes while you push younger kid(s) in the stroller. I would run, walk, hop, skip while they scrolled through trails and up and down hills. You’d be surprise how much of a sweat this can be pushing kids in a stroller.

Image by Shelly Johnson

I never realized pushing a stroller could be a great workout. Please share some more tips.

You can crank up the music in the garage or outside and boogie down (on weekends of course). Dance all night long to your favorite tunes while you and your kids move your body to fun dance moves. Each time you enter a certain room in your house, have an exercise you do. For example, I do 20 sit ups whenever I enter the bedroom. If I go into the kid’s rooms, I would do squats and lunges with kids. This becomes a habit you can do throughout the day by putting up signs in your house to remind you.

Image by Shelly Johnson

Wow that sounds innovative and fun. Share some more insights please.

Set up cones to have races. Set the cones up a hill for more strength workouts or on the flat to run back and forth with your kids. You can have each other slap each other’s hands as you go past one another. After the races, you can enjoy a plant-based, vegan treat as a fun encouragement to finish the races. Some health treats may be homemade vegan cookie dough balls or chocolate banana ice cream.

Any kid’s specific activity that they definitely would love?

Teaming up for gardening outside on a warm day. Kids really enjoy digging in the dirt and helping plant seeds. They even have fun pulling weeds and mushing their hands in the dirt. Gardening is really good for weight training as it helps develop strong biceps, backs, and abs.

You can grab a watermelon or coconut to use as weight resistance. It is fun in the warm months when the warm weather feels so good in the sunshine. Grab a large watermelon for you to use for squats, lunges, biceps, triceps, plank, and mountain climbers. Have your kid mimic what you are doing with their little melons or coconuts.

I can’t believe there were so many fun activities that you can do with kids and hit your fitness goals too. Which is your personal favorite?

I love setting up TRX bands in my home, garage, or park. Kids take turns
swinging and pulling up their own body weight while I take turns with them to do my own whole-body exercises that only take a minute or so to do per set.

Image by Shelly Johnson

Those were some really useful tips. How did you dabble into the plant based health coach stream?

My work and passion for education about a plant-based lifestyle didn’t start evolving until after reading The China Study. This book unified my beliefs about living a plant-powered lifestyle from both perspectives of health and compassion. With many years of recipe development and raising four strong kids, my love for sharing this lifestyle with others has become so rewarding just knowing how other generations will be changing as well. I am having fun and will continue to build beautiful, empowered choices as for me and my loved ones every single day.  

What is the best advice you’ll like to give to our readers?

My best advice to give is to take care of your body, each and every day. This
is the best thing you can do to stay fit, strong and healthy. Fall in love with doing fitness that makes you feel good from the inside out. Remember to always listen to your body and let it rest when you need rest. Our body is a vessel, which we have been given for this life. Make sure to refuel with lots of delicious plant-based, vegan fruits and veggies. Be happy with the body you have, even if it has changed a lot after giving birth. By giving it the BEST nourishment, you will develop a healthier, beautiful body, stronger mind, and a happier life.

It was indeed insightful to talk to Shelly. Which of her tips are you going to implement with your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Keeping up with the spirit of (fast approaching) International Women’s Day, Raise Vegan will be covering few “Vegan Girl Bossspotlights. Reach out to us at mayurii@raisevegan.com if you would like to get featured.


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