The East County resident uses her kids to help her get a good work out in Greenbrook Adventure Park.
Most people who work out lug around dumbbells to lift or heavy backpacks to wear while running, but East County’s Susannah “Zana” Carbajal has a simpler solution: her kids.
Multiple times a week, Carbajal can be found at Greenbrook Adventure Park racing one of her four children up a hill or using one of her toddlers as a weight while she squats.
Carbajal has been a part of the Bayside Community Church F5 workout group for about a year and a half, after figuring out how to plan workouts into her life. After all, working as a technology sales manager and raising an 8-year-old, a 4-year-old and twin 18-month-olds can be time-consuming.
“After I had my two boys, I kind of got into a rhythm where I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I think I just lost myself a little bit,” Carbajal said. “When I found out I was pregnant with twins, it was a wake-up call for me. I needed to get my life together.”
However, after deciding to focus on satisfying her health needs: mind, body, spirit and health — and enlisting the help of her Panda Planner, a scientifically designed agenda based in positive psychology — Carbajal said she can’t get enough of working out.
She brings her children to the workout group and modifies the workouts, so she can still keep an eye on her kids.
When they kids were younger, Carbajal said they’d often sleep in the stroller throughout her workout, but now they want to play.
Frequently, she does squats in the sandbox or pushups with a kid sitting on her back.
Her solution for when her children misbehave: Laugh it off … or challenge them to a race.
“My old mindset, when I had a fixed mindset, would have been: ‘Well, they don’t let me go. I can’t. It’s too hard,’” Carbajal said. “Now I just don’t make any excuses. There’s going to be obstacles, but your babies need to see that you persevere.”
Although she is keeping herself healthy, Carbajal is also teaching her children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s cool because they mimic some of the moves, even the little ones,” Carbajal said. “We do pushups and situps and race up the hill, so it’s helping them learn the importance of health and taking care of their bodies.”
But for Carbajal, the workout group gives her more than a chance to satiate her need for bodily health. It offers her a community that she said gives her good social, mental and spiritual health, too.
At the end of each session, group members go around the circle and share positive things that have happened throughout the week or things that have been bothering them. Then group members pray for one another throughout the week.
“Life happens; it isn’t always rosy,” Carbajal said. “They’re all praying for you, and you feel that. They help you through your problems; they reach out and make sure that you’re OK. It’s truly a community where we take care of one another.”