Fit Mom, Fit Kids -- with Michael Sena, CFS

By Michael Sena, CFS
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Live Events Transcript

How can today's busy mom meet her own health and fitness goals while helping her children develop good lifestyle habits of their own? If your busy schedule makes daily exercise and planning and preparing healthy meals seem impossible, Michael Sena, author of Lean Mom, Fit Family: The 6-Week Plan for a Slimmer You and a Healthier Family, will show you how to help everyone in the family look and feel better than ever while gaining healthy habits that will last a lifetime. He joined us Sept. 21, 2005.

If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR: Welcome to WebMD Live. Today our guest is fitness expert Michael Sena, author of Lean Mom, Fit Family.

Welcome, Michael. Where did you get the idea to focus on Mom as the leader of family fitness?

SENA: Most studies and research show that mom is the caretaker of the home. She's the quarterback, and we need a leader, and so mom becomes the point person because we know she is handling the grocery shopping, filling the cupboards and preparing the food.

MODERATOR: So you also target her to lead everyone in movement?

SENA: Right. My goal is first to improve mom's health and wellness as I coach her as if she were my client right in front of me. Then once mom is feeling great and looking great, she will be prepared, again with my coaching, to enable her family to take on the same process and look great and feel great as well.

MODERATOR: What are the first steps she takes to start the process?

SENA: The first step mom should take once she has the book in hand is to have an initial kickoff meeting. That's where the family comes together for 20-30 minutes, and mom let's them in on what she's going to be taking on, and where she tells them she wants them to be part of the support team and get involved themselves to improve their own health and fitness.

Because once again, so much research shows us that when more than two people in any household are living a healthy lifestyle, not only will they encourage each other's efforts to be healthy, subsequently making everyone healthier in the family, but we also see an increase in the closeness and the unity of that same family.

MODERATOR: Does modeling healthy behavior have a significant impact on the rest of the family?

SENA: One hundred percent absolutely. Again, we're finding out you can teach children to eat healthy, which in turn leads them to making healthier food choices and healthy habits on their own later in life.

MODERATOR: Once Mom has met with the family and they're committed to improving health, you have seven basic principles of family fitness. Can you please explain them?

SENA: Principle No. 1: get moving.

As we know, the heart, lungs, and circulatory system are absolutely the most important systems for a healthy body. So once we take care of our heart -- which is the engine of our car, our human body being the car itself -- then we know we can live a healthy life.

I encourage people, both parents and children, to not think of my expression "get moving" as just laboring with exercise and/or going to a gym. Quite the contrary, you never have to step foot in a gym, and yet can still be very healthy. Any activity that you enjoy doing -- and I stress "enjoy doing" -- as long as it raises your heart rate and feels invigorating, that constitutes movement and activity.

MODERATOR: You include some exercises in the book. The photos of exercises are clear and very helpful.

SENA: We purposely put start and finish photos with the same types of verbal cues that I would give to any individual who was working out with me, and put them in the book so you can actually experience what a personal trainer and/or instructor would be offering to you for safe and effective movements.

MEMBER QUESTION: What time of day is best for exercising?

SENA: That's a great question, often misinterpreted. Everyone's body has its own time clock, in addition to having its own hectic schedule.