Toddler Boot Camp

10.08.07: Truman comes with built-in cardio and plyometric benefits


The past week hasn't been a great one for me, gym-wise. I've had yet another cycle of headaches, necessitating some medication changes and resulting in some more unplanned and wholly unrestful time on the couch (and, sadly, in the bed).

That sucks, and feels like another setback--which it is, headache-wise. But I'm looking on the bright side. I don't really think my exercise plan has been derailed at all--in fact, it's been continuing apace. It's true that I haven't been doing anything that has much form to it, and that I haven't kept up with my beloved and lengthy strength routine at all. But Truman has proven an apt personal trainer who's been quite able to inspire round after round of cardio sprints no matter what my condition (another lap around the yard, mommy!).

His motto, though always unspoken, is something like: Keep going! Keep going! Keep going! No mercy!

On top of the standard calorie burn of constant movement, he's developed something of a specialty in plyometric training. Plyometric exercises are, in short, sudden explosive movements that demand speed, strength, and coordination in equal measures. Fancy-schmancy fitness experts will sit around and philosophize about the value of plyometrics--they'll talk about how efficiently these leaping, hopping, and bounding movements can improve conditioning, strength, and agility simultaneously, a rare workout world trifecta. No wonder plyometrics is a buzzword.

Countless magazine articles, ACE seminars, and billable personal trainer hours been given to developing the perfect plyometric workout. But I get one every day--for free. Truman is constantly demanding from me startling, sudden leaps I would have thought impossible only a couple of years ago. Quick, stop me before I run out into the road! Look, I'm about to fall in the pool! Hey, I'm going to pull everyone's dinner off the table! Watch me grab the strange doggy's tail! Jump, mommy, jump!

I'm constantly running around behind Truman, leaping and bounding around to put myself between him and harm's way. Like every other mommy, I've gone to great lengths to childproof his environment so that he can be safe in it. But it's hardly a childproof world out there. And toddlers just don't have very safe ideas about the ways they should act and react in it. So for now, he acts and I react. It's plyometrics left and right.

So I figure even on my very worst days I almost always get some exercise. Being a mom and being a couch potato are mutually exclusive states of existence, at least when your kid is 18 months old and hyper-curious about the world around him.

Perhaps when my head feels better, I can pick up the video camera and cash in on all of Truman's energy--maybe he can be the new Billy Blanks. If you see us on late-night TV, perhaps you'll order for the low, low price of only $19.95 our three-DVD Truman's Toddler Training Plyometric Super Burn workout kit. (Or maybe you'll just have your own kid and get the workout for free.)