Want To Train like an Olympic Athlete? Take a Road Trip with Kids.

I recently drove my kids home from a fun week on the California coast, sore from the physicality beach trips with littles entail. My mind wandered to the symphonic medley of “road trip:” rustling of chip bags and coloring books, high pitched sounds from simultaneous iPad games, the occasional humming or whine, the repeated aggressive finger pokes on the Kindle screen when it gets too sticky…and one suddenly car sick child.

I found myself in some middle of nowhere gas station parking lot in 115 degree desert heat, stretching to wipe down every casualty of carsickness. I kept my car running and was at the mercy of our air conditioning for both cooling and fumigation purposes, and the Olympic news inadvertently played. And, YOU KNOW WHAT, Usain Bolt? That’s cool you run fast and stuff, but you know who is getting a real workout? Parents on road trips.

Michael Phelps, vouch for me with this workout plan now that you have kids.

You want to train like an Olympic athlete?

It doesn’t involve much gym time, but I can promise this: you will be sore, and you will be tired.

It is called “family vacation road trip.”

Total body workout includes:

1. Great cardio. Your cardio routine will begin as soon as your car is put in reverse backing out of the driveway. Run back into the house at least five times for forgotten items. Did you adjust the thermostat? Did you remember the iPad charger? Are you sure you locked the front door? Really sure? Way to go the extra mile and hurdle over the garage door sensor on your way back out the third time. I am convinced that traveling with a large family kept (former?) Bruce Jenner in decathlon shape, back when his family was young…and back when he was Bruce.

2. When you’ve got ninos in the backseat, upper body is what your car’s co-pilot seat is all about. You’ll have the opportunity to stretch unused muscles and contort yourself while fishing for dropped items. It would be unfathomable to wait another 10 minutes until you stop at Jack in the Box to rescue that Paw Patrol figurine wedged in the seat crack between stale fries. It’s just like having Jillian Michaels yelling at you…for free!

You may have a seat belt rash on your neck from being nearly decapitated, but did I not promise you soreness?

3. Lower body. Unloading the car will provide you with ample squatting/ bending/lifting opportunities. If you’ve got a great workout support team like I do, they’ll hide necessities all over the car and keep you running back to get them, individually. Oh, wait. The Pull Ups. Oh, and where’s his other shoe? Oh…the Chik-Fil-A trash. Did we leave that in the trunk? Why are my AirPods in it? Good looking out, team. At least when you arrive up the elevator for the third time, your kids will be waiting for you with a cold Fiji bottle.

Just kidding, they won’t care, but they will point out that you dropped the iPhone charger in the parking lot, and they’re wondering when it’s time to eat.

4. Upper body, again. If there is a pool, and you have little kids, it will be assumed that you are a shot-put Olympian. You will launch all of your posterity, one at a time, “one mo’ time,” over and over. And one more time for a picture. It was blurry, though, so one more. Not that close the the edge of the pool, so swim back to the center with three kids holding onto your neck. Your arms may be on fire, but when it comes down to it, you’ll toss your kids a million times over for those laughs.

You get on that medal stand just for participation. Everyone returns with no injuries sustained? Gold.