FFF (Forced Family Fun) + Fitness

In my family we often use the term FFF. Force family fun. You know that feeling when you really don’t want to do something, but you are told you will do it and you will have fun? Board game, children’s movie, doing the dishes… all activities that commonly turn into FFF. Like why can’t I just lay in bed and watch 10 straight episodes of Grey’s Anatomy? Why do I have to do this FFF activity? I always lost the battle, but I gave it a good fight.

Our family spends the week of Thanksgiving at the beach and we have always split the fam into two groups: high energy and low energy. The high energy crew would play football, go for bike rides, and try to stay moving throughout the holiday week. The low energy crew would watch football, wait for us to get home from a bike ride to make snacks, and try to stay napping throughout the holiday week. These two groups have been pretty set for most of my life. I’m often in the high energy group and enjoy getting out and about while we are at the beach. There is something about the salt air that makes a bike ride more fun.

This year at Thanksgiving things changed. My aunt Cindy (check out here awesome story here!) has switched from low energy to high energy and that shifted things. The majority of people were now high energy! Instantly we went from FFF to FFF + Fitness. Every morning one of the first topics was what exercise we would be doing. It was so fun to get up and moving instead of just laying around on the couch all day (even though there were days I would have preferred hours of Grey’s Anatomy).

A couple days in, we had to start getting creative for workouts. Keep in mind we ranged from a 9 month old cousin to a 70-something year old grandma. We have allergy issues, asthma inhalers, and joint pain. We couldn’t exactly say lets all do a HIIT workout and call it a day. This ended up making us get creative throughout Thanksgiving, then later when we were all together again for Christmas! Here are some of our favorite FFF + Fitness activities that can easily work for everyone!


This one seems simple enough. GO. FOR. A. WALK. This is how my aunt has lost over 50 pounds! She just started walking! At Thanksgiving we walked on the beach or around the beach town streets. At Christmas we went to a local park and walked around the lake. This gets everyone up and out of the house, and you can explore areas in the community! Little ones in strollers, dogs, everyone can enjoy going for a walk!


This idea was created at the beach when we realized we didn’t have enough bikes for everyone. We split into two groups to complete a biathlon! The first group went on a bike ride and ended up at the coffee shop. The second group walked to the coffee shop. We all met up for some coffee, acai bowls, and green tea before switching! The first group then walked home when the second group went on their bike ride and ended up at home! Not having enough bikes didn’t stop us from going on an adventure! We also go to bring the babies in strollers and dogs, they just stayed with the walkers the whole time.

Deck of Cards

I have seen this activity going around Instagram and Pinterest, but I never thought of how easy it could be. So the basic idea…

  1. put a deck of cards on the ground
  2. decide on an activity for each suit (ex: hearts = squats, spades = jumping jacks, diamonds = pushups, clubs = sit ups)
  3. draw a card
  4. do that many reps of the activity (ex: 8 of hearts = 8 squats)
  5. keep drawing cards until you finish the deck

So easy! There is always a deck of cards laying around and you can easily switch up the activities. Want to do all lower body? Keep all exercises lower body focused! Have exercise equipment with you? Do some exercises with weights! Make it work for you… and your family!


You can only spend so much time watching football before you want to play football. Why not get some cardio in while playing a sport! Football and kickball are our family’s favorites. Plus a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. Find a ball, find a field/beach/backyard, find your fam, and get going! PS: It is really entertaining to see my brother try to play football while holding our 3 year old cousin, low picture quality but high entertainment value.

Circle Time

While our whole family was standing in the parking lot at a park we decided we needed to do a workout… but what are you supposed to do when you are literally standing in a parking lot? We decided to create our own circle time workout. (I was a teacher, my two aunts and uncle are both teachers, and my cousin works in youth ministry… circle time is totally a thing in our lives.) We all stood in a circle and went around picking an exercise and did 15 reps together. Some picked yoga poses, some picked stretches, some were cardio, and some were my grandma’s awesome exercises from her seniors exercise class at the community center. It was quite the combination, but definitely hit our whole body and kept us on our toes for what was coming next. This also allowed us to modify things as needed and everyone got to pick an exercise they were comfortable with!

Now that the holidays are over, I am hoping my whole family keeps up the FFF + Fitness tradition into the new year! These activities will only get better, and harder, and so much more fun in the warm weather!

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