This Dad's At-Home Workout With His Young Sons Is 'Awww'-Inspiring

"When you're actually accomplishing something together ... there's just a different type of bond that goes on."

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For Brent and Katie Kruithof and their two young sons, Giorgio and Decker, family and fitness go hand in hand, and foot in foot, and, sometimes, even hand in foot ... depending on what exercise they're doing. They say the family that plays together stays together, and the Kruithofs are proof positive that the family that stays in shape stays together, too.

Of course, for Giorgio and Decker, whenever their dad did his at-home fitness, well, it looked like a lot of fun. "For us, a lot of times, working out ... all of that feels like a lot of work, but for a kid, it just feels like play," Kruithof told A Plus. 

In fact, as soon as Giorgio (now 3 years old) started to crawl, he became intrigued by Kruithof's daily workout routine and wanted to get involved. "The older he got, the more he wanted to participate," Kruithof said. "Little kids have a lot of energy ... and it became something where he really enjoyed just kind of following what he saw 'Dad' doing." Decker, now a year old, also wanted to join in the game he saw his older brother and dad playing. By putting him in a baby carrier and wearing him for certain safe exercises, Kruithof did what many parents can only dream of: got both his young children interested in the same activity, and even managed to add some extra intensity to his workout.

Encouraged by their sons' enthusiasm, the Kruithofs soon made these shared workouts a central part of their after-dinner routine — and into adorably viral videos. "It became a way for me to get in a workout, and it became a way for me to teach and model healthy fitness habits for him [Giorgio] from a young age," Kruithof explained. Katie also partakes in nearly every family fitness activity, though she prefers to stay off-camera. Since Kruithof posted the first video on Facebook, it's received nearly 24 million views.

Soon enough, their videos became so popular that Brent quit his job as an accountant to launch their homegrown fitness start-up, FlyUp Fitness. From working out to working hard, every Kruithof has a role in the family business of fitness from "chief persister" to "chief disrupter." 

Since founding their start-up, both Kruithofs work from home, and while they're "kind of on top of each other 24/7," they enjoy every moment together, especially the muscle-toning ones. "There seems to be some sort of change when you're just going about your business, making meals, running errands, and even coloring together ... [versus] when you're actually accomplishing something together," Kruithof explained. "There's just a different type of bond that goes on." 

While the Kruithofs has received tons of positive feedback from other families using his exercise videos and equipment to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle with their children, for Brent Kruithof, it's not about the physical benefits, but the emotional ones. "You're not gonna get the most efficient and effective workout that you've ever had in your life. That's not gonna happen," he said, as a disclaimer. Instead, he suggested parents make the most of their exercise time together simply by prioritizing fun. The Kruithofs play upbeat music, give each other high-fives, and dance in between sets to make sure their kids are having a good time. "That's what we want, them to really enjoy this time, and it's something that we really benefit from," he added.

Kruithof understands the "novelty" of his family's videos stems from his positive yet too often unexpected role as not just a loving, but involved father. "Unfortunately, we live in a time where we don't see as many dads getting 'hands on' with their kids," he explained. "I'm all for people exercising and being active," he said. "But really the message ... through this program is just seeing dads get creative ways to involve their kids in their hobby, whatever that is." Kruithof encouraged all parents, but especially other fathers, to try to involve their kids in their hobbies and interests, no matter what that may be, and then to figure out what activities their kids enjoy and become involved in that, as well.

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