by Danielle Fitzpatrick Clark
Fitness and exercise are essential parts of your everyday health, but with the following stories, you’ll see that fitness has turned into a family affair! These five amazing families take the WORK out of workouts, making it fun, engaging, and motivating for each other.
The Makasiar Men
Edwin Makasiar started working out with his two boys, Brian (16) and Samuel (15), when they were very young. “I ran outside for years and I got bored running by myself,” Ed says. “I ran with my wife and when the kids were big enough they joined me, and soon after that, we started going to the gym.”
Ed and his wife, Clea, are both registered nurses. Brian and Samuel both attend Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn and the family lives in Lombard. The family works out on a regular basis at HealthTrack Sports & Wellness in Glen Ellyn.
As for what type of training they do at the gym, that all depends on the day. “The boys have a specific program they follow depending on their current sport,” Ed explains. “When they played hockey it was strength and conditioning and now they are playing football, so their gym program is more about developing strength and speed.”
School of course comes first for the boys, but they are both dedicated athletes. As for the best part of working out together,”It’s having the time to talk and laugh about anything,” Ed shares.
The Mullen Family
Patrick first starting coaching his daughter’s soccer teams, and this love of fitness eventually turned into a father- three-daughter bonding activity.
Patrick Mullen and his three daughters, Cara (22), Dana (18) and Katie (18), live in Naperville, and while all three girls are currently in college, when they’re home they train together once or twice a week.
“We started by going to the gym together and doing cross-fit training, then transitioned to short races like the Naperville Turkey Trot,” Patrick explains. “This year Katie and I ran our first marathon together, and Dana and I ran our first 15K race together.” This upcoming year the family plans on participating in Tough Mudder competitions together.
For Patrick the best part of exercising together as a family is “the encouragement we give each other while getting through the workouts.” For Dana, “I always loved sharing my passion for fitness with my dad and sister.” Katie shares that “It’s incredibly motivating to have your family running alongside you when racing.”
The Mullens have learned that exercising together as a family is essential in helping each other break through obstacles. “Exercising together as a family is a fun and healthy way to grow and bond together,” Patrick adds.
The Tobiason Family
Mary Tobiason and her two kids, Jake and Taylor, have always been active. “When the kids were little they did push-ups if they misbehaved!” Mary says. “Even before they were old enough for organized sports, we would go on a nightly family walk.”
The family lives in Naperville. Jake, now 19, started out playing football and baseball at age 6. Taylor, now age 17, started swimming competitively at age 7. Mary, a personal trainer since age 18, still works out with both children. Mary and Jake will lift weights together on occasion, and run. Mary and Taylor will bike and run together.
To motivate each other, the family will set new goals and shower each other with positive feedback. “We also motivate each other by supporting one another at any and all competitions and events the other is participating in,” Mary explains. “We all understand that it’s the FIT mindset that matters, not the way we choose to get there.”
As for other families who want to start exercising together, the Tobiason family have some simple tips. “You don’t all have to be doing the same thing to enjoy fitness together,” they explain. “Join a gym then divide and conquer!”
The Coia Family
One family member’s discovery at CrossFit Sugar Grove (CFSG) turned into an entire family experience for John, Dee, Jess, and Jenna Coia. Jess, freshman soccer player at Carroll University in Wisconsin, started at CFSG to prepare for her soccer season, while her father John worked out at another club.
Out of sheer curiosity, John went to watch her training at CFSG and was so amazed he quit his health club that afternoon and joined CFSG. Soon after, wife Dee and Jenna, a junior at Kaneland High School, were hooked on CrossFit as well. While Jess started college this past fall, the rest of the Coia family still exercises together four times per week at CFSG. “We participate in whatever the training of the day calls for at CFSG,” John says.
The family has seen stunning physical results just this year with CrossFit. The Coia family has found that exercising as a family in a supportive group helps to keep them all accountable and engaged. “Some people can do it on their own, but many cannot,” John shares. “When we cheer each other on at CFSG, it carries over into our lives.”
The Martin Family
What started out as love at first sight at the gym for fitness fanatics Keith and Lisa Martin came full circle, and they passed their love of exercise to their twins, Jack and Ruthie (7). “We like to joke that we are raising a family of gym rats,” Lisa conveys.
The family lives in Naperville and the couple started exercising with their kids when they were very young. Keith would jog with them in the double stroller regularly and the couple even began swimming with them when they were infants. The family exercises every day, whether it’s at-home stretches and exercises or a gym workout. “Our motto is ‘The body is meant to move,’ ” explains Lisa.
Fitness and exercise are an integral part of the Martin family’s lives. Keith and Lisa believe in the importance of setting exercise as a habit at a very young age and for kids it definitely needs to be fun and engaging.
As for the best part of working out as a family, Lisa and Keith both believe it’s the example they are setting for their kids. “You can’t just ‘talk the talk,’” Lisa says. “You must ‘walk the walk.’ ”