It can be hard for parents to keep a fitness routine, and it can be hard to encourage kids to be active. These Long Island parents manage to do both, exercising and playing sports regularly along with their children.
We spoke to them about the best parts of working out with their kids, the challenges and how they keep themselves, and their children, motivated to stay active.
Soccer: Roberto Rivas
NAME Roberto Rivas
OCCUPATION Coach of the East Meadow Soccer Club and manager of Hurricane Grill and Wings in Levittown. (In his spare time, he plays for the Hempstead Stars, part of a local soccer league.)
FATHER OF Lesly, 16, Reina, 13, Alba, 8, and Roberto Jr., 4
EXERCISE REGIME He coaches Alba and practices with Roberto, who is just starting to play.
HOW HE INVOLVES THE KIDS “We have space at home, so we’re always kicking the ball around.”
WHY HE DOES IT “When I grew up, I always wanted to play. It’s more of a family thing because my dad would come home tired from construction — he was a day laborer — and we would walk to the nearest park and we would play for an hour. It’s a custom for me.”
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT “It’s less competitive. . . . You want them to love what they’re doing, so you don’t want to be too hard on them. I want to teach them the love of the sport first, before they start thinking about competing.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “My little one . . . he’ll sometimes trip on the ball, but says he wants to be just like me.
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “I want to keep that barrier between dad and coach. I want to be the dad that sits down and watches their kids play.”
Cycling (uni- and bi-): Jill Schubert
OCCUPATION Speech pathologist
MOTHER OF Colin, 12, and Brandon, 9
EXERCISE REGIMEN She bikes and Colin rides his unicycle.
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD “In the summer, we’ll throw our bikes in the car and head to the bike trail that runs to Bethpage State Park and ride.”
WHY SHE DOES IT “When you have young kids, they’re always involved in something, whether it’s basketball or soccer. This is something we can do together.”
BEST MOMENTS “Just being together.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “People do stop and ask about the unicycle because it’s so unusual. People are just amazed by it.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “Everyone has such busy schedules, sometimes it’s hard to make time to do it together.”
HOW MOM GOT HIM MOTIVATED “What kid doesn’t want to be outside?”
Martial arts: Katherine Onorato
TOWN North Babylon
OCCUPATION Social media management and fitness instructor
MOTHER OF Kaden, 1
EXERCISE REGIME She runs, trains in martial arts and does Fit4Mom workout classes with other moms.
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD “Kaden comes with me to all my workout classes. He loves watching the martial arts classes, and at my Fit4Mom classes we sing songs and make it fun for him.”
WHY SHE DOES IT “When I work out with Kaden, I get to do the things I love while spending time with my son.”
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT “Sometimes watching him laugh at me working out makes me forget how tough my workout is.”
BEST MOMENT “When he copied me and started to do little kicks. It reminds me that he is watching and learning.”
FUNNIEST MOMENT “When we do the tickle drills during . . . class. We are doing fast feet and giving tickles . . . He laughs hysterically.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “When Kaden is being fussy.”
Karate: Kim Schiano
OCCUPATION Teaching assistant and reiki practitioner
MOTHER OF Nick, 15, and Olivia, 13
EXERCISE REGIMEN Schiano and Nick both do karate.
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD Schiano and Nick aim to go three times a week each to Cutting Edge Kempo Karate of Holbrook.
WHY SHE DOES IT “When my son expressed interest in going back to karate, I jumped on it. . . . After a couple of weeks of driving him and sitting in the lobby and watching him, I thought, ‘These guys and gals get quite a workout.’ . . . I love to go with him because it takes us out of the everyday routine and puts us in a situation where the physical workout is amazing. Then, when it comes down to practicing and learning, we practice with each other.”
HOW IT IS DIFFERENT “There are other adults there, so it’s actually considered an adult class. What makes it different is I feel like it’s quality time that we just don’t get.
BEST MOMENTS “When we both earn a stripe. We’ve earned stripes at the same time, so it’s like winning together.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “Getting put on the ground by my 15-year-old son!”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “Some of the workouts are really tough. . . . The hardest part is seeing that he is an adult and he’s not this delicate little boy anymore.”
HOW TO MOTIVATE THE KIDS “I might once in a while get this ‘Ugh!’ because I’m disrupting the Xbox, but he gets his uniform on and we go. There really isn’t a struggle to get him out the door to go.”
Boxing: Jayson McLeod
OCCUPATION Network engineer for an IT firm and co-owner of a plant-based vegan hair and skin care line
FATHER OF Jaisen, 15, and Deklan, 12
EXERCISE REGIMEN They go Saturdays to the boxing gym at Kennedy Memorial Park in Hempstead.
HOW HE INVOLVES HIS CHILD “We have a trainer, and the trainer works with children of Deklan’s age. I stay and I watch and I give pointers. We don’t spar together, but he and I are together, and I watch him and cheer him on or reprimand him when he’s not doing something right.”
WHY HE DOES IT “He’s getting older and, with the regular nine-to-five, I don’t really see them. On the weekends . . . it was a good idea to devote at least one day to an environment when it’s just us.”
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT “There’s pride when you see he’s hitting the correct way, and his stance is right, and his combinations are crisp and clean.”
BEST MOMENTS “When we’re in the car driving to and from the gym and we’re discussing topics that are on his mind.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “There’s that little struggle we go through from time to time where he doesn’t really put in the work that I think he should.”
HOW DAD GOT HIM MOTIVATED “Once he sees that I’m there and engaged with him, it helps him staying on top of his game.”
Gym workout: Nicola McLeod
OCCUPATION Public school educator and co-owner of a plant-based vegan hair and skin care line
MOTHER OF Jaisen, 15, and Deklan, 12
EXERCISE REGIMEN Working out together at Blink Fitness in Baldwin
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD “The circuit workouts we do together, and then we do the exercise ball together, and the medicine ball.”
WHY SHE DOES IT “I gained a lot of weight and I changed my eating habits to try to lose the weight. My daughter is at the age now when she can come along.”
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT “She gives me motivation. When we’re doing things together there’s an extra push.”
BEST MOMENTS “When we watch each other and push each other and see if the other is really making progress.
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “My daughter was on the treadmill and she put it on (level) 10 and tried to run and it didn’t work out too well.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “When you’re out of shape and trying to get back to your old self — but she helps me with that.”
HOW MOM GOT HER MOTIVATED “She doesn’t need motivation. She says, ‘This is what we have to do and that’s it.’ ”
Yoga: Janine Terrono
HOMETOWN North Massapequa
OCCUPATION Stay-at-home mom
MOTHER OF T.J., 5, and Zoe, 2
EXERCISE REGIMEN Morning and nighttime yoga
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD They take a class at Emerge Yoga & Wellness in Massapequa and practice yoga at home following poses from books such as “The ABCs of Yoga.”
WHY SHE DOES IT “Our kids are carbon copies of us. The better lifestyle I lead, the best example I can set for him.”
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT “It’s almost like your biggest critic is your children, because they don’t have filters, so they can say, ‘You’re doing it wrong.’ So, he makes me better.”
BEST MOMENTS “When he accomplishes things and seeing how lit up he is and seeing the balance he has now — the physical balance, but also handling situations outside the yoga room. When some kids go to hit, he breathes and takes a step back.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “The first time he ever went upside down and let go in aerial yoga. He had so many emotions on his face. He was scared, excited and proud all at the same time.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “If I want to do floor yoga and he wants to do aerial, it’s easier to let him win than convince him to do what I want to do.”
HOW MOM GOT HIM MOTIVATED “In the beginning, he was very hesitant with it. But the biggest motivator is being challenged and seeing how far he can go.”
Running: Lisa Becker Powell
HOMETOWN East Northport
OCCUPATION Public relations professional
MOTHER OF Aidan, 8, and Christopher, 1
EXERCISE REGIMEN Running races
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD Aidan has run with her in the Cow Harbor Fun Run as well as parts of a New York State Parks Summer Run Series and a few other smaller, local races.
WHY SHE DOES IT “Including them allows me to spend time with them and get a workout in at the same time.”
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT “It is definitely more fun and motivational than running myself.”
BEST MOMENT “I have this vivid memory of us running one of the Summer Runs last year and Aidan was up ahead of me and he turned to give me a big smile and a thumbs up.”
FUNNIEST MOMENT “We did the Wounded Warrior four-mile Run/Walk in Northport last year. It was definitely a little too long for both of us, but we wanted to get out while the weather was still nice and it was in our town. We decided to just go out and have fun. We walked. We ran. We put layers on. We took layers off. He ran ‘like no one was watching’ for stretches. And, we were nearly the last ones done. The sweepers were definitely following us.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “Keeping pace with each other. He pushes me a bit, but I also have to pull him along. But, one day he will definitely be faster than me.”
HOW MOM GOT HIM MOTIVATED “Signing up for races motivates us. When we know we have something to train for, we go out running.”
Biking: Edwin Sanchez
OCCUPATION Computer teacher at a public middle school
FATHER OF Andrew, 11, and Tatiana, 9
EXERCISE REGIMEN They ride together twice a week.
HOW HE INVOLVES THE KIDS “We ride mostly in the woods on trails on Long Island. We also have bikes set up indoors in the winter. Once in a while, the kids will ride on the roads. They’ve both been riding their bikes since before they were 3 years old.”
WHY HE DOES IT “I’m a big proponent of staying fit and having a healthy lifestyle, so I try to promote that with my kids.”
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT “It’s just really fun to see them ride.”
BEST MOMENTS “Just talking. Sometimes it’s coming back from a trail, they’ll tell me something that they did differently that made them more successful.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “My son’s first ‘yard sale.’ People call it a yard sale when you crash or fall and things are all over the place. One time we were riding in Cathedral Pines and he fell and his bike went one way, he went another, and his water bottle went somewhere else in the woods. Luckily, he didn’t get hurt.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE “The different skill levels, because they’re 9 and 11.”
HOW DAD GOT THEM MOTIVATED “Usually you kind of bribe them with 7-Eleven Slurpees after the ride.”
Trapeze: Helen Chimos
OCCUPATION Stay-at-home mom
MOTHER OF Chrissy, 11, and Peter, 9
EXERCISE REGIMEN From April to October, they do trapeze twice a week at I.FLY Trapeze in Eisenhower Park. They also rock climb at the Gravity Vault in Melville.
HOW SHE INVOLVES HER CHILD Chrissy asked her mother to do trapeze after learning how to do it at summer camp.
WHY SHE DOES IT “Bonding.”
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT “It’s friendly competition because sometimes she does something better and sometimes I do something better.”
BEST MOMENTS “When she’s flown without a harness.”
FUNNIEST MOMENTS “If one of us does a trick really badly, it’s funny to watch.”
MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS “Finding the time.”
HOW MOM GOT HER MOTIVATED “She’s self-motivated . . . I just want to be as good as she is.”