The Hatch-Palucks, Week 21: 120 Minutes

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge


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Henry takes a rare break from his workout to watch the cupcakes bake. Credit: Amy Hatch

Psssssst.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a secret to share with you.

Looking to drop 15 pounds in the blink of an eye? Want to slim down without fad diets? Need more exercise in your life? Want to get in at least 120 minutes of activity every week?

Lean in close, so I can whisper in your ear.

You need a Henry.

Henry Paluck, age 2-and-a-half, is guaranteed to melt away those pounds. This child is an expert trainer. He will run you like a dog and he won't apologize.

Want to sit down? Forget it! He needs juice!

Taking a nap? No, sir! He's climbing the kitchen counter to grab a butcher knife to cut his Play-Doh with!

Henry has a fitness plan that will knock your socks -- and your belly fat -- right off. Seriously, when he was born, my mother warned me.

"Boys are different," she told me, a sly smile on her face.

Oh, pshaw! I thought to myself. Gender differences are a myth! Henry and I will cuddle on the sofa and watch What Not to Wear!

But, as so often is the case, my mother was right.

We don't need to enroll Henry in any formal exercise programs -- although I did cave in and sign him up for the aptly named "Beasts" class at our local branch of the Little Gym, after a colossal temper tantrum when we took his sister there recently. It's a group program for toddlers up to age 28 months, and parents participate, too.

For the most part, though, our Henry is his own best fitness coach.

So just how does my little man get his 120 minutes in every week, er, I mean, every day?

Like this:

Bed Jumping: Henry starts off his morning with a good 20 minutes of using our bed as a trampoline. True fact: He broke our box spring during an attempt to do a back-flip. Upside? We got a new mattress!

Stair Running: After jumping on the bed (and occasionally on a parent) Henry turns to the stairs for some cardio. He runs up and down the stairs about 30 times in an hour, sometimes adding weights to the mix, in the form of a giant storage case filled with die-cast metal cars. If he's feeling especially frisky, he'll attempt to mount the stairs by climbing over the banister. However, the Ref usually will step in at this point -- unauthorized mounts of the stairs are forbidden under house rules.

Eat-N-Run™: This is Henry's secret weapon in the battle of the bulge. In fact, we're thinking of selling this concept to The Biggest Loser. When served a meal, do not sit in your chair. Instead, stand next to the table, while bouncing from one foot to the other. After each bite, sprint to the opposite side of the house, up the stairs and down again, and then back to the table for another bite. Repeat until your meal is complete, usually about 30 minutes. Calories burned? Twice the number consumed, for the win!

Sister-Baiting: This is the cousin to the Eat-N-Run, but for two partners. First, sit on your big sister and wrestle whatever object she happens to be playing with from her hands. Then, run like a madman in a circle around the family-room sofa while your sister chases you, screaming, "GIVE THAT BACK!" If you can still laugh while you're running, you're not working out hard enough.

Bookcase Scaling: No climbing wall in your house? No sweat! If you have a bookcase, you can work those leg muscles at home. Locate the tallest bookcase in your house, preferably one not secured in any real way to the wall. Scale the shelves slowly, until you reach the highest one, which also happens to hold a crystal canister containing jelly beans. Scream loudly for a jelly bean until someone gets you down. This should take you about 25 minutes.

See? You've gotten in your 120 minutes of exercise, and it's only 9:30 a.m. on Monday. Imagine what you can do in a week!

Now, who else needs a nap?

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



How is the Hatch-Paluck family doing? Check in on their progress!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.