A bodybuilder mother lets her three year-old son lift weights – and says pumping iron, clean-eating and protein shakes have given her other boys aged seven and 10 ‘insane abs.’
Fitness buff, Brandi Morrison, 33, lets her youngest son Ragnar, three lift dumbbells even though he is still a toddler. He can be seen confidently working with a dumbbell in a video Brandi shared with Metro.
She has also taught his older brother Preston, seven, and Cedrik, 10, how to bench press, dead lift and bicep curl during lockdown and says her young sons are thrilled with their newly-honed muscles.
The boys, from Peoria in Arizona, started pumping iron earlier this year to help them get bigger for football. They now workout with their bodybuilding parents at home almost every day. Stay-at-home mom Brandi also insists the children must eat a clean and healthy diet to help them get stronger and has admitted her four kids have never had a McDonald’s. She also lets the older boys drink protein shakes to boost their fitness progress.
Brandi, who is married to quality control officer, Rocky, 36, said: ‘I make sure (Ragnar) uses a low weight, like 3lbs or 5lbs dumbbells. He does squats, squat jumps, push ups, pull ups and he’ll lift with weights a couple of times a month.
‘It’s a lot more body weight stuff for him. He enjoys it and we show him the movements and correct him if it’s something that would hurt him, but typically he’s amazing at picking up the movements.
‘When we ask him to show us his muscles he flexes and we compliment how big and strong he’s getting. He’ll say things like ‘Yes I am’ with a big smile on his face.
‘I think his favorite part is when we use him as the weight. Like benching him, bicep curls, tricep extensions behind our head. It’s us being all together and to him it’s a sure way of playing and having fun.
‘I don’t anything wrong with it, we would never put our kids in harms way and if they didn’t want to lift weights anymore then that’s fine, but they want to and really enjoy it.
‘A lot of kids nowadays sit in front of the TV or on electronics and that does more harm than what weightlifting does for my kids. Nutrition is a big part of their lives too, they know that protein is good for their muscles and carbs are good for recovery, we’ve taught them you can’t outwork a bad diet.
‘I don’t think they’ve ever had a McDonald’s, we encourage healthy eating all the time. Sometimes after practice they will have protein shakes when I do, they are good for you.’
Brandi and Rocky are both competitive powerlifters who usually train in a gym, but when the coronavirus lockdown led to public gyms shutting up for months on end, the couple decided to start working out at home instead. The lockdown also meant Preston and Cedrik could no longer attend football training for the teams they had only just joined.
As a fitness substitute, the brothers asked their parents if they could join in to help them bulk up and get stronger for when they are allowed to re-join their teammates on the football field. Over the last few months, since March, they’ve become hooked on pumping iron and according to Brandi, have made some ‘impressive gains’.
They work out with their parents most days, and are even joined by their other brothers Rocky, eight and Ragnar, three, on the odd occasion, who also use low weights under supervision.
Brandi said: ‘We are watching our kids enjoy fitness and we are proud of them, it’s amazing to see them develop. I don’t force it on them at all, I just ask them if they want to join in when it’s time for me to work out.
‘I am being careful not to overwork them, but Preston and Cedrik have been doing it for so long now that they do all types of bodybuilding exercises. ‘Only they do the more serious weightlifting exercises with us, they want to get bigger for football so asked if they could join in.
‘I think it’s really good for them, I don’t think there is anything wrong with them wanting to lift weights and be healthy. I know some people don’t agree with it but everyone brings their kids up in their own way.
‘We don’t push them too hard and they do use low weights, but we have shown them how to do all of the main bodybuilding exercises. We do squats, dumbbell curls, lateral raises, bench press, shoulder press and deadlifts.
‘Preston can deadlift 65lbs now, it’s insane how well they are doing. Both of them are getting really strong and they have got insane ab muscles too.’
Whilst light strength training can be good for a child’s development, research by academic medial centre, Mayo Clinic, suggests that a high amount of bodybuilding or weightlifting can have a negative impact on a child’s growth.
The site advises against children trying to build muscle mass because doing so can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven’t yet turned to bone. Instead children should only take part in ‘light resistance and controlled movements’ and doing so can have positive impacts on endurance, bone health and injury prevention.
Alongside daily workouts, Brandi has said she ensures all six members of the family eat a healthy diet day in and day out, with fast food and sugary snacks banned.
She said: ‘We all eat super well, nutrition is such an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. We have taught them about what is good to eat and what is bad to eat and they know what foods help them get stronger.
‘We never buy cookies or chocolate treats and we never have fast food. Their grandma bought them doughnuts recently and they barely ate them because it’s not what they’re used to.
‘Childhood obesity is such a big problem and we don’t want that for our kids.
‘I don’t think anyone can say we’re doing anything wrong with the lifestyle our boys have, they are really healthy and are enjoying it, and as long as that’s the case then they will keep on working hard.’