Families who train together, stay together. At least that’s how the Freemans and Fit Now Fitness owner Shar Courtney look at it.
For the past four years, the Weatherford family has used working out as not only a way to stay fit but as a means to be together in an otherwise hectic world.
"I know it’s hard these days…families eating dinner together, it’s something that’s faded out," Steve Freeman, 42, said. "I never thought it was all that unusual but I guess it really is and this helps us fill that connection void."
Joining Steve is wife, Robyn, 43, daughter Chelsea, 18, and son, Chance, 23, when he is home from Texas A&M.
Originally, Steve was the only member of Fit Now Fitness and Robyn worked out somewhere else. Realizing that he wouldn’t change his gym, Robyn said she decided to join her husband.
"When he started coming here and I was going [to another place] I was working out in the morning and he was working out in the evenings; I would get home and he was here working out and we never saw each other," she said. "So I decided since he wasn’t going to change, I was going to have to. I started working out in the evenings to see him and them we met all these people here and it just turned into the social part of it too."
Steve said it was he and Chance who started going together at first. Chance was a football player for Weatherford High School when he started working out with his dad and said it was a way for him to stay fit and it kept him motivated to stick to it.
"We’ve always worked out; we worked out in the house and had a little bit of stuff and then my parents became friends with [Courtney]," Chance said. "We’re not into hunting or fishing. Most of the things we do are pretty active. I wouldn’t be OK to just go home, knowing that they’re up here working out."
Chelsea, a senior at Weatherford High School, just finished volleyball and said she knew if she didn’t go to the gym, there was a chance she wouldn’t see her family some nights.
"Knowing that your parents are [at the gym] and knowing that you’re not going to see your family unless you do too, it’s convenient," she said. "I love to spend time with my parents."
Courtney said it’s encouraging for her as a gym owner to see the Freemans – and another family that trains at Fit Now Fitness – teaching health and wellness to their children and each other.
"I think it’s awesome when parents encourage their kids to be healthy because they sure encourage them to eat," she quipped. "It just shows that they care and encourage them to be the best they can be.
“Families that train together stay together. The more time they spend together, the more of a bond they form."
Both Robyn and Steve admit that getting together to workout isn’t always easy. Robyn is a hairdresser and Steve owns a metal roofing company. But they stress that it’s a lifestyle change and a commitment.
“A person has to want to do it; I just try to lead by example and that’s worked for us,” Steve said. “As far as my wife and I, once you get into your 40s;.I mean we’ve been blessed with good health but I often feel like being proactive about it has enabled us to ward off illness.
“We’re not on medications or anything like that so we like leading an active lifestyle. We’re getting ready to go on vacation snowboarding and there’s a lot of people my age who don’t do that anymore.”
Robyn agreed, saying that she didn’t grow up working out and that without Steve, she wouldn’t be nearly as stringent.
“Don’t look at it like something dreaded. It’s like getting up and brushing your teeth; you don’t question whether to do that or not,” she said. “You just do it and it’s part of your day. It has to be a lifestyle change and can’t just be ‘I gotta go to the gym today.’
“My parents...I can’t get them to understand. They think it’s too late so I definitely try today to teach my kids that it’s OK to grow up like us.”
Chance added that he can’t wait to be able to pass fitness on to his children when the time comes.
“To me, part of the motivation is quality of life,” Steve said. “We’re able to enjoy things that only a lot of younger people get to so that enables us to be active and for [our children] to be active, which I know they appreciate. [Chance has] said many times he can’t wait until he has kids and here’s grandpa snowboarding with the kids.”
The family works out five days a week, taking the weekends off to allow their bodies to regenerate and prepare for the week ahead. When Chance is home from college, which he said is mostly on weekends, he tries to get a workout in since his school schedule is academically challenging as an engineering major.
“Honestly, at school, it takes all I’ve got to get to a gym everyday,” he admitted. “Part of it is that when I come here I want to be able to spend time working out here.”
As parents, Steve and Robyn feel good knowing that they are giving their children the tools to lead a healthier life and not making it seem like a chore.
“You pass on habits whether you want to or not,” Steve said. “To us, [working out] is like brushing your teeth, it’s part of maintenance. I didn’t have to encourage [Chance]. He sees movies with The Rock and he’s ready. The other two just caught on.”