(Pictured above: Mia Asher has fun being active during the Music City Sports Festival.) Most experts strongly suggest you work a fitness program with a buddy. Before kids, Courtney and I would do everything together. We worked at the same firm, we played together, we ate together and we worked out together when on a fitness kick. After kids, we tried to keep those habits the same, but we weren’t able to make it work anymore. Instead, we just gave up. After reaching a fitness and health low last year, we decided if our old methods didn’t work, we had to try something new. Even though we aren’t going to the gym together at night like we used to, we are still getting fit and figuring it out together. Not only us, but together with the kids too. It has become a fun, central discussion point for us during the Fit Family Challenge. We bond over what our YMCA personal trainer does with us individually, and relay delayed follow-up questions through each other. Courtney is listening to various fitness podcasts on the way to work, and we talk about the application of tips when they apply. For example, she promptly informed me what she had learned the other day about why not to foam-roll IT bands, which she had seen me do that morning. She’s even gotten me to track my food in my fitness pal – something I used to mercilessly make fun of her for doing. I caught myself asking her where her good carbohydrates came from this weekend, because I was so far below my goal. Perhaps that’s the accountants in both of us. The partnership is vital when you need that motivation. I was internally resistant to working out on vacation, but she delicately influenced me to do so. It was something we had never done, and I really enjoyed how it added to the trip and memories. I even worked out an additional time than her on the trip, but who’s counting? Her motivation really came into play when we came back. The day we returned from our trip, I became ill for a week. Had it been two weeks without working out, my fitness streak would be over, but my strength actually increased after only one week of rest. That is all due to her positive influence encouraging us to work out on the trip. It is not just the two of us either. The kids are right there in it. It’s amazing how much they pick up just being around us. This weekend, both kids asked for scrambled eggs for breakfast. They usually ask for sugary cereal, so I was very happy to stuff them full of protein to keep them full for a day out. Mia recently asked her grandparents to make Brussels sprouts as a side for dinner. They were so thrilled, they went to the store and prepared them for dinner. Mia was ecstatic to have the little green balls to play with during the meal, but didn’t eat a single one. Our pediatrician says touching the vegetables and keeping them on the plate is a big step toward actually eating them. As opposed to insisting they be removed from her sight at once, she actually wanted them there. She’s also making statements like, “I love green beans” or “We like Brussels sprouts." Today, she choked down five lima beans since she’s turning 5 this month. We will count it as a start. I also heard the kids playing together and saying, “Hurry up, Honey, we don’t want to be late for kickboxing."  All you have to say to Asher is that the food contains protein. He will respond almost as pre-programmed with the statement, “Protein makes muscle." Being a vain mini-man, he is a lot less resistant to food. Our post-kid weekends are different, too. We went to the Music City Sports Festival this past weekend. Mia said it was like trick-or-treating with sports. The kids were so happy skipping out of the convention center after it ended, covered from head to toe in various swag. We had so much fun, we went back Sunday. Both kids did martial arts, fishing, golf and archery. Mia did the Vanderbilt cheerleading clinic, soccer and tennis. Asher loved the basketball and baseball options. Some of the clinics were a first exposure to the sport for them. They liked it so much, my mind was racing trying to decide what and how much I could sign them up to play next year. Again, the fitness experts were right. Having a fitness buddy is key, and I’m glad that I’m married to mine and that we have our little Mini-Mes with us on this fitness journey. — Daniel Rose