Olympic athlete Alysia Montaño shares her own story of how she weaves exercise into the rhythm of her life and her family’s life by inviting her kids along for the run…while they ride.
Words by Alysia Montaño
Photos and video by Louis Montaño
With my children, I realize there is a lot of pressure on the example I set for them. After all, I am human. My mistakes are abundant, but I like to think they will see me make a mistake, watch me correct it, and persevere.
It’s a lot like riding a bike. Sometimes, you have trouble balancing or making the right turn, but once you get the balance right or double back to get on the right path, it’s smooth sailing… until the next time. It’s about the ride and what a wonderful ride it can be.
Getting the kiddos out with me on their woom bikes enhances our family’s journey in loving and growing together, and so we incorporate it into our weekly lives. When I think of the best examples in my life that have helped me grow and become the person I was always meant to become, it is when I was moving or reflecting on what I learned while moving.
My earliest childhood memories were of me learning to ride my bike, falling, getting back up, and trying again until I got it. Eventually, I’d find myself going further than I’d ever gone before. I remember growing in independence and feeling all the feels.
To this day, every day, I get up excited to move my body, challenge myself, explore, and see the world. All those lessons that I learned and took with me from those early lessons on the bike took me all the way to the Olympics! I wake up and am excited about moving my body, and my kids are, too — well, about moving their body, but trust me, they are happy when I move mine, too!
I’ve found that as the days grow, our family has the amazing opportunity to bond and feed ourselves and each other with endorphins, love, and laughter when we are being active together! We have opportunities to encourage each other and build each other up, and those are my favorite moments.
I am so grateful for motherhood, and I believe the best investment I can make in my life is time with my family. To us, that doesn’t mean all day every day; it just means carving out time daily for just a little bit of quality time. And if we can hack it, going on family trips, bringing our bikes with us!
As a mother who is also a creative being and athlete, I hone in on my child-like being when I incorporate movement as play with the kiddos. We are all so much happier.
"I’ve found that as the days grow, our family has the amazing opportunity to bond and feed ourselves and each other with endorphins, love, and laughter when we are being active together! We have opportunities to encourage each other and build each other up, and those are my favorite moments."
The greatest way we have leveled up in this is with woom bikes because my kids ride while I run! I always love getting out for a run, and I know that running does so much for me, it not only boosts my immune system and strengthens my body and mind, but it gives me clarity of thought, plus that magical endorphin boost!
Getting my kids on their bikes to ride with me while I run with them gives them space to be free and happy and join their mommy in some amazing family time. I get a front-row seat to their freedom, to them testing boundaries, to them exploring!
And don’t get me wrong, it can be tough to weave exercise and movement into the schedule. Our weeks are packed with athletic training, projects, my and my husband's work schedules, pick-ups and drop-offs, grocery shopping, and the other never-ending lists of household chores and day-to-day tasks.
I like to think of movement as a source of life, and it helps me re-frame the importance of creating a way to get the whole family moving when our time seems to merge into the next few days. Kids love to play, and the crazy thing is, so do adults! I see moving with the kids as an opportunity to let my inner child out and a window into their existing childhood. I want them to make the best memories, and I want them to have those memories with their parents.
Parenthood is blissful in thought, exciting in nature, but also chaotic in reality. I love motherhood so much; it has drawn me back to my childhood and continually shapes me as it challenges and teaches me. My ideals of the perfect family routine and dynamic involve a lot of creativity and are a bit of an experiment on a season-by-season basis as the kids grow up. There are always ways to think through different combinations of what works and have it in your back pocket as needed with the different variables that life has in store.
Take, for instance, your average Saturday — Ah, a break from the hustle and bustle of the work/school life.
And then, just as your eyes open (sometimes before), you hear “Mama!” And so it all begins — I’m hungry. He hit me! What are we doing today? Can you get me a snack? Can I have this? Oops, this broke. Can you fix it? This, all in the first 20 minutes of the day! I like to think that parenting can enhance your sense of humor if you let it… and so, I let it.
And then I think, “okay, time to move!” Let the endorphins flow and the good times begin, and don’t forget to look for magic in those moments.