Michael Klim’s 5 top tips for getting fit with the family

He’s a former Olympic champion swimmer, but Michael Klim says his three kids are his best asset when it comes to fitness.

The gold medallist swimmer says even if he wanted to, he’d have no chance of succumbing to a “dad bod” with children Stella, 12, Rocco, 10, and seven-year-old Frankie around.

“Keeping up with them means there’s lots of unplanned exercise,” he grins.

The one-time world record holder shares equal care of his kids, who are based in Bali, on a week-about basis (meaning they alternate weeks between Klim and their mother, Lindy Rama-Ellis).

As well as running his own skincare company, Milk & Co, Michael is a motivational speaker and part-time model and knows only too well what busy looks like.

He says he and his partner, fashion designer Desiree Devari, love their “on weeks” with the kids, which he says are action packed from start to finish.

Klim shares his tips for making family fitness fun:

1. Don’t let ‘being busy’ get in the way

“It’s a constant juggle and pretty hectic, particularly as Desi and I fly back and forth to Melbourne where we also have a home, but the kids come first,” Michael says of his busy life.

“Everyone has their own work and family pressures but it’s about looking at your schedule and carving out family time. It’s not always easy, but the rewards are big and every minute counts.”

2. Remember the fun factor

“The key with kids is to choose activities where you are all up and moving but also having fun, such as swimming at the beach, paddle boarding and wake boarding,” the Aussie swimming legend says.

“It won’t feel like exercise at the time but you’ll feel the burn when you get home, trust me.

“The great thing about exercise is the more you mix it up, the better the results. Don’t be afraid of muscle soreness – it usually means you’re getting stronger.”

3. Encourage sport

While it’s no surprise that all the Klim kids swim, Michael, now 41, says they also have other interests.

“My eldest daughter loves to surf and to horse-ride,” he says.

“My son is into tennis and skateboarding and my youngest daughter loves gymnastics.

“I encourage my kids to get into a competitive environment not necessarily because I want them to win but because I think most of life’s lessons are learnt through adversity.

“Sports a great way to teach kids discipline and perseverance.”

michael klim

4. Incidental exercise counts

Michael says Bali’s relaxed environment means Sunday mornings are often spent at the beach followed by pool time at home in the afternoon.

While not all of us live by the coast, the swim star says walking the dog, heading to the park or getting out on the bikes with the family means you’re up off the couch and doing something.

“Don’t discount incidental exercise,” he says.

“It’s all about being present in the moment with your kids and enjoying time with them.”

5. Cook healthy meals together

Encouraging kids to get involved in preparing meals is another great way to encourage a healthy lifestyle says a still super-fit Michael.

“Desi loves to bake with Stella and Frankie on the weekends and I like making breakfast with the kids,” he says.

“We all love to eat el fresco by the pool whenever we can.

“I know I’m a more present and attentive dad and I feel more energetic when we’re all eating healthily and spending time outdoors.

“There’s usually got to be some water activity in there somewhere along the line though, too!”

Written by Liz McGrath.