The group-text notifications ding, chime, or buzz anywhere between 4 and 5 a.m., sometimes even as late as 6, if they’re lucky.

All depends on Dad’s time zone when his job takes him out of town, but the message generally remains the same:

While you’re sleeping, I’m working. What time are you working out today?

“I text from the gym,” says Darryl McPherson, a sinister smirk slowly forming.

Sharing a table with his three children on a recent Saturday morning inside the Vaughan Athletic Center, Darryl chats about his family’s commitment to incorporating fitness into the daily routine and rattles off the benefits, both physical and mental. He and his wife Nicole (an excused absence this morning, while she assists youth volleyball club players in preseason conditioning) have been Fox Fitness members for 13 years. The kids – Brandon, 21, and twins Olivia and Kiara, 19 – joined mom and dad at “The VAC” when they were in eighth grade.

Dedicated athletes, all five of them.

“Everybody wants to win on game day, but very few want to put in the work that it takes to get there,” Darryl says. “You start wanting to win when you show up here at 9 at night or 6 in the morning.”

Darryl and Nicole each were multi-sport athletes through high school, while Darryl (baseball) and Nicole (volleyball) also played collegiately in Alabama and Illinois, respectively.

The apples sure didn’t fall far from this family tree. A Marmion Academy graduate, Brandon is a junior pitcher on Northern Illinois University’s baseball team, while Olivia and Kiara (West Aurora) star in volleyball and soccer at Waubonsee Community College, where the two sports run concurrently in the fall (think about that).

“We’ve always said that working out doesn’t guarantee them success, but it puts them in a position to be competitive in their respective sports,” Darryl says. “It’s very rewarding for us as parents, and it’s not something you even have to say. You just sit back and watch the results of hard work paying off.”

“We look at it as a safe space; you can get done what you want and leave with a feeling of accomplishment,” Olivia says of the Vaughan Center. “Being with the whole family, the gym is a different environment to hang around, versus just chilling at home. You get to know your family on a different level.”

The McPhersons work out six to seven times per week “and concentrate on doing much of the same stuff, pushing each other the whole time,” says Kiara. Sure, schedules get jumbled a bit while school’s in session and sports are in-season, but the long-established routine – a pillar of the family bond – remains firmly intact.

“I’ll hear their voices in my head, especially his,” says Brandon, his head nodding sideways toward Dad. “We hold each other accountable when we’re apart – and that way we’re all in sync when we’re together.”

For more information about Fox Fitness, visit We’re happy to provide tours at any of our four fitness facilities and answer any questions you may have.