One of the best parts of participating in Health is stumbling upon inspiring stories. Scroll through the photos, BodyBlogs, and tracked workouts, and you'll find some incredible people who have attained some amazing fitness feats. That's how we found the wonderfully fit Schulz family.
The Schulzes aren't your average American family. You won't see them at McDonald's or sitting in front of the television eating potato chips. From helping each other prep healthy meals to doing early morning family workout sessions, the Schulzes support and inspire each other. Together, they've committed to living a fit lifestyle.
Their positive influence on each other isn't confined to the boundaries of their garage gym, either. Members of the Schulz clan have a message they want to bring to the world: They want everyone to know that fitness can be a family affair.
Meet The Family
David Schulz, 46
Height: 6'0" Weight: 190 pounds
"Both Haven and Shay are great motivation to get my workouts in, even if it's late and I'm tired from work. My wife Leslie has been an awesome cook for our entire marriage, providing healthy meals for our family. At this time in life, it is an incredible thing to witness our family working in synergy together to support each other in all our fitness goals."
Leslie Schulz, 50
Height: 5'9" Weight: 145 pounds
"My family influences my fitness by encouragement and example. Their continued help with all of the household chores and food prep help keep me on track. My girls are fantastic and creative cooks! Their dedication and perseverance toward their goals amaze me every day and make me want to work harder."
Shay Schulz, 21
Height: 5'8" Weight: 117 pounds
"If it wasn't for my family, I wouldn't be the person I am today. My sister is one of the most inspirational people I know, and I have the honor of calling her my best friend. She was one main reason I began to get so dedicated to the gym. Both of my parents have always been extremely encouraging and have always stood behind my goals with pride."
Haven Schulz, 19
Health: havenallyn07 Height: 5'5" Weight: 119 pounds
"My mom, dad, and sister are my best friends. They are also my training partners, coaches, and motivators. Each and every day we work as a team to help one another. Whether someone needs to be spotted while lifting, helped with food prep, or needs a motivational pep talk, we are all there for each other."
The Schulz's Advice For Other Families
Here are four things the Schulzes say you can implement into your family's lifestyle right away. Follow these tips and use fitness to bring your family closer together!
1. Eat Together
As a young family, the Shulzes dealt with many health issues. To combat these, they decided to try the "eat right for your blood type" diet. They removed wheat, corn, and most dairy from their meals. Although it was difficult to get everyone on board, once they committed fully their allergies, eczema, and joint pain all but vanished.
Because of this family dedication to nutrition, the four do their best to help each other meet their daily nutritional needs. "We all team up to make certain that everyone gets a decent breakfast to start the day," says Haven. "We also help each other track macros and prep meals."
And while they each have their own busy schedules, the family always makes time to eat dinner together. "Unlike a lot of American families, we have a desire to take care of the bodies we have been given. We don't take our health for granted," says Haven.
"In our society, fast food, processed food, video games, and television are what hold families back from living healthy, active lives. Most American families are too focused on the 'now,' and don't think of the ramifications of their decisions regarding diet and lack of exercise."
2. Encourage Kids To Be Active
"When we were young, my parents constantly encouraged us to play outside and get moving," says Haven. "As we got older, Mom would do Denise Austin's exercise videos and always made sure to invite Shay and [me] to join. My dad put together a small gym in our garage and he, too, would encourage Shay and I to come out and lift with him.
"My dad made sure to never put down or hold my sister and I back in the gym because we are girls," Haven adds. "He has always encouraged us to push ourselves and try our best."
Leslie and David didn't fight with their daughters about what they did or how they ate. Instead, the two made positive choices for themselves and gave their children the opportunity to do the same. "In our family," says Haven, "the key to ensuring everyone was eating healthy and staying active was positive encouragement and invitation."
3. Team Up
The Schulz family functions as a team. Whether they're helping each other prep meals, spotting heavy lifts, or just being there for motivation, they are in it together. "Our schedules are very different. Many times we have to make each other's breakfast or throw someone's lunch together so they can leave on time," says Haven.
The Schulz family is lucky enough to have a well-equipped garage gym. There, the family does their conditioning, their lifting, and their flexing and posing practice. "We all need a spotter at times, and all we have to do is yell through the back door for help," says Haven.
Each individual's successes are valued not only for the betterment and advancement of that person, but also for that of the entire family. The family functions as a unit. They rely on each other to do their best.
"Fitness has taught us to care more for one another and value each and every day we spend together as fit and healthy individuals. Above all, our love and appreciation for one another has grown; we all want to see each other succeed," Haven adds.
4. Have A Sense Of Humor
Living as a fit family has its challenges. Fitting four people into a kitchen while everyone is trying to prep meals and weigh food can be a huge hassle. "There's constant clean-up," says Haven. "There's always dishwashing, we run out of protein and egg whites a lot, we do continuous loads of sweaty laundry, and we steal each other's food."
The family views these challenges with a sense of humor, though. "There are some funny and unique aspects of living in a fit household," says Haven. "We have to wait our turn to weigh food, we have garage photo shoots, flexing and posing practice, and weekly body fat measurements. It's also common to hear the blender disturb the early morning silence or the quiet during a movie."
Because the Schulz family has made these lifestyle decisions together, the small irritants of a fit family are just par for the course. They've made health and fitness a priority, and are thus immune to some of the petty everyday problems.
The Schulzes are a wonderful example of how fitness can be fun and family-friendly, and can bring a group of four very different people together to strive for a common goal. They all work together to build muscle, strength, and lifelong happiness.