Coffee – Habit or Necessity

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Coffee, Cuppa, Java, Joe, Liquid Gold, Sip of Heaven, Life Saver, Jet Fuel, Mocha, Wakey Juice, Warmer Upper, Battery Acid, Morning Thunder – No matter what you call it, everyone knows what you are referring to. That steaming hot cup of roasted beans mixed with boiling water and a little bit of milk – or some variation of that.

A lot of us partake of it in some form at least once a day, sometimes more. We drink it to wake up, we drink it to warm up, sometimes to relax. That poses a question, do we drink it daily out of habit? or do we drink it out of necessity.

While I am aware that not everyone drinks coffee (crazy I know), whether you drink it or not you know about it and how big a part it plays in some peoples lives.

How I begin my Day

Being a Parent life changes every day. No Day is ever the exact same as one before it. Does this bode well for our sanity? maybe, maybe not. In an effort to maintain some routine I feel it necessary to have some constants in life. However small they are, just a few predictable things we can rely on to happen every day. One of those would be my morning Coffee.

Everyday as part of our breakfast routine, the kettle is boiled and I make myself a cup of coffee. While the kettle is boiling Ill make the little guy his breakfast along with mine. As soon as his is ready he will go sit at the table and start eating, knowing that Ill be over in a minute with my breakfast (has to be the same thing he is eating or all hell will break loose), along with my Coffee.  Anyone who has raised a toddler knows that getting them to eat can be tricky, but breakfast is always, without fail, eaten in its entirety. Maybe its the routine?

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Necessary as a Parent?

You tell me!

Personally I was drinking coffee to start my day long before I became a Dad. I drank it because I enjoyed the taste, I drank it for a quick energy boost, I drank it to relax, and I drank it because I didn’t give myself enough sleep last night.

Now as a parent, I drink Coffee because I enjoy the taste, I drink it for a quick energy boost, I drink it to relax, and I drink it because I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Yes my almost 2 year old still isn’t sleeping properly Toddler Sleep Regressions

I wouldn’t say its necessary as a parent to drink coffee, Mrs Down Under can’t stand the stuff. Does having some routine that I can count on help maintain my sanity as a parent? Absolutely

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How do you take yours?

Black / White ? Long  / Short ? Sugar  / No Sugar ? Mocha / Caramel ? Chai / Pumpkin Spice?

If its first thing in the morning? Plain old instant coffee with milk, no sugar for me. Other times of day at home see me use a modern ‘capsule’ coffee machine for more of a sophisticated style (its the little things in life). Working in a large workplace means back to the cheap and easy stuff again. One thing about coffee is that it always tastes better when someone else makes it, for that I do occasionally enjoy a ‘fancy’ coffee made by someone else who actually takes pride in their coffee, given I treat it as a special occasion, it just adds to the taste.

So many varieties exist these days its impossible to have tried them all (unless you are really obsessed). So what’s your secret? Whats your regular order that you get without fail that really hits the spot.

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Location Location

As mentioned earlier, one thing that makes a coffee great is having someone else make it for you. I have tried many places, few I would return to. One that delivers consistently without fail is Benchmark – https://www.facebook.com/benchmarknewcastle2300/

With a great owner who knows everyone and their coffee by name and is always open for a chat. Benchmark is one I will always return to.

Got a favorite place? What makes it so special? the people who work there? the setting? the coffee? I’d love to hear it, share it down below.

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Having the Time

A friend recently asked me how I have time as a Dad to: Be a Parent, Work Full time, visit the Gym a couple of days a week, and still have the time to Blog. While there is no simple answer, my only advice is that if you commit to it you find a way to make it happen.

If you stop for a minute and break it down honestly, you will see you have more time then you would have thought. The below list was taken from my crossfit coach (slightly adapted),

There are 168 Hours in the Week

56 Hours of that should be sleep (8×7)

40 Hours of Work (8×5, average working week)

5 Hours commuting (1 hour a day)

10 hours Eating (just under 1.5 hours a day)

10 Hours Preparing (Cooking, Toilet/Shower, etc)

3 Hours Shopping (groceries and adhoc)

14 hours being Active (2 hours a day)

30 hours a week for Family time – on top of the above (5 hours a day)

But that doesn’t work for me?

While the Above is just a guide, it will look a little different for everyone. Work a longer week then that? that’s OK, have a longer commute? that’s OK too.  The amount of time you need to allocate to weekly tasks may vary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the time to do the things you are passionate about.

Having the Time

Make a Plan

Every day is different and we need to prioritise each day to make the most of it. You just need to make your list of priorities and make the time to get them done rather then sitting on the lounge.

Depending on whether or not you have all your ducks in a row, making a plan for the week might work, otherwise make a plan for each day. As a parent I know that even the best made plans can go haywire depending on (A) how well your child slept last night and (B) what side of the bed they woke up on. If you need to, adjust your plan on the run.

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Do I spend 2 hours being active every day of the week? No. Do I work on my Blog every day of the week, I Try. Do I get 8 hours sleep every night? I don’t think I’ve had that since becoming a parent.

So when do I Blog?

Whenever I have free time! I’m not saying I write posts start to finish in one session each time. While that would be nice, it would also mean I get very little free time which if you look at the above isn’t true. Technology these days means I can blog just about anywhere from my smartphone. I record ideas as soon as I have them, I write when the creativity strikes, and I put the finishing touches on when I can sit and spend the time doing so.

The only way you can make time to do everything you want is to stop making excuses about why you didn’t do them.

It’s not always about having the time to do everything you want, Its about making the time. Don’t tell me “I don’t have the time”.

 

 

Choose your workout buddy

Sometimes its not about what you do to keep active its about who its with. We all have something that motivates us to workout and keep Active (see ‘Why be an Active Dad‘), but sometimes that’s not enough.

We need someone to keep us accountable, not just to be active every day, but to give it 100% each time. That’s where its important to choose your workout partners carefully.

Today’s Experience

Being a day off from work, my son was down for a nap and my wife was at home, it was a perfect time to get my daily dose of sweat. While it wasn’t planned, when I got to the gym there was two other guys there I know, who both happen to be Dads. We were all there for the same reason so we worked out together.

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It was a hour of High Intensity training, pushing each other to lift heavier weights and get more out of the workout.

What I Learnt from it

One thing I’ve learnt about working out is it is a great stress reliever. Whether its stress from Work, Home, or anything else. Pushing yourself hard will take your mind off it.

Working out with other Dads gave us the opportunity to talk about being a dad and the different challenges we were going through. Hearing their challenges and realising that they were still able to find an hour most days to get away puts it all in perspective. If they can do it, anyone can.

Choosing your Workout Partner

Everyone has their own routine when it comes to being active and working out. Some will only go it Solo, Some need motivation that you can only get from a personal trainer, others prefer to do it as a group. Find what works for you.

As a Dad I suggest finding other Dad’s to workout with. There are a number of benefits in doing so. Firstly you will have someone to push you harder and really get 100% from every workout. Secondly there lives are going to be somewhat similar to yours, they will understand when you pull out at the last minute due to your family, they will understand if finding free time is challenging. Finally it will give you an opportunity to talk Dad Stuff to other Dads.

Why be an Active Dad

Why do I workout? Why spend some of your free time at the gym? Why spend your hand earned money on a membership? Why get up early everyday instead of sleeping in? Why push your body so it’s sore the next day? Why Workout?

These are all questions everyone has asked themselves in some form or another. Whether you don’t workout at all or whether you go for a run everyday, you have asked yourself these questions. So Why do we do it? that answer is different for everyone, everyone has their own ‘Why?’. It’s what drives them to allocate a part of their day to pushing themselves to the limit.

My Why has definitely evolved over the years, but since becoming a Dad I feel like its stronger then ever. I’m not saying I don’t go through ‘off’ stages

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So Why do I Workout?

Simply put, So I can keep up with my kids. My kid is very active and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As he gets older chasing him around is going to require more effort on my behalf. I Don’t want to be exhausted every time he wants to play backyard footy. Not only that I want to actually be able to do these kinds of activities with him. I Don’t want to be stuck on the lounge because I’m too tired, I want to continue to live my life without needing support in day to day activities because I can’t lift objects I used to be able to.

So What Works for Me?

The best part of my why is that its not so much about me but about my family. Its a life-long challenge that will require ongoing commitment, which sounds scary but 1 or 2 weeks missed here and there isn’t going to impact it overall. In fact its good to give your body a break every so often.

I try to participate in some form of High Intensity activity multiple times a week along with strength work on all muscle groups. Push myself to the point I’m huffing and puffing and sweat is rolling off me to build and maintain healthy lung capacity. Utilise Whole Body strength movements which we use in day to day activity such as squats and deadlifts to work all muscles in my body

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Benefits of Being an Active Dad

All you have to do is a quick google search to find a wealth of information about the benefits of working out regularly. Do these all apply to being a Dad, probably not but there are still plenty of good reasons to stay active such as

  • Less Likely to be worn out chasing your kids. This starts from as soon as they can walk. As they grow older they will become more active and wouldn’t you rather be the Dad that can keep up with them rather then being worn out on the sideline?
  • More chance of living a longer and healthier life. Its not just about living to old age anymore. Don’t you want to see your kids grow up, live their lives, maybe have grandchildren one day? I know when I get older I don’t want to be someone who becomes a burden on their family because they can’t look after themselves.
  • Being proud of your Dad Bod. Everyone has a different idea of what the ideal ‘DadBod’ looks like. The fact is if your a Dad and you have a body, you have a DadBod. Wouldn’t you rather be comfortable and happy in your body then ashamed?

Whether your a parent or not, living an active lifestyle will do wonders for your health and well-being, its just up to you to commit to it. Find out what works for you and maintain it. Most Importantly find your Why

 

Eating Healthy or rather trying to. . .

Eating Healthy comes in many different forms. What works for some doesn’t work for others. What you can’t argue with is the benefits. As a working Dad it can be hard to stick to any sort of meal plan.

Everyone you ask will give you a different description of what healthy eating is. Here’s a few that come to mind

  • Eating from the 5 food groups
  • Getting all your serves of fruit and vegetables.
  • Apple a day keeps the doctor away

When you think about what people say there are a lot of common themes and some not so common.

I don’t have any grand plans about loosing weight or getting a 6 pack, I just want to live a long and healthy life so I can keep up with my kids. So what do I do? I focus on trying to eat as healthy as possible when I can so it outweighs the times I can’t. Not as easy as it sounds.

Planning is a key part of this. You can’t eat healthy if your pantry is full of junk. So next time your doing a grocery shop. Take a bit more time and think before you buy. Once you have the food. Set aside the time to prepare it. I am by no means a chef but i’ve found healthier meals take longer to prepare (if you know of any shortcuts definately let me know). If you can tick those two boxes the hard work is done, you just need to make it habit.

What do I do while working? Again plan ahead. Every day I make a smoothie with a combination of blueberries, strawberries, banana apple, kiwi, spinach, and honey. Doesn’t sound that appetising but tastes alright and I know its good for me. Bonus it helps keep me full and stops me snacking on junk food.

Now I’m no dietician and will never claim to be. There is a wealth of information available if you look for it. I know what works for me. That’s the most important part, find what works for you, and maintain it as best you can.

Better then yesterday or Better then nothing.

Getting Fit isn’t so much about the destination but the journey you take getting there. Living an active lifestyle isn’t something that just happens. It requires doing what you can, when you can.

A coach once told me not just to define progress as getting stronger or running faster, but as being better then yesterday. If you did nothing yesterday, then doing something today makes it better then yesterday. You don’t have to be the strongest or the fittest out there, just try to be better then yesterday.

When you push yourself to get out of the house and either go for a run, play sport, or do a workout. You should see that as a win. While you may be exhausted by the end of it, out of breath, or a little sore. You have done more then anyone who stayed at home on the couch. While it may seem like progress it slow. You are also looking after your mental and physical health. Something is always better then nothing.

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Keeping Fit or Staying Active

Keeping Fit and Staying Active are very similar, but also very different. Keeping Fit requires a certain level of discipline to maintain and is often done by choice rather then necessity. Staying Active is something anyone can do everyday, and looks a little different to everyone. Both have health benefits, but only one is easy to stick to as a Dad.

Everything changes when you become a Parent

I’d like to think that before parenthood I kept fairly fit. I visited the gym more often then not, I could run a fair distance, and I kept in shape. This is what I call Keeping Fit. Consistently pushing the boundaries of what my body could do. While this took up a lot of my spare time, and required commitment, I enjoyed it.

When I first became a Dad I thought I could keep it up, that didn’t last long. But what kind of example would I set for my kids if I fell into that classic ‘dadbod’. I want to raise healthy and active kids, but how can I do that if I can’t commit to it myself. This is where my mindset changed. I realised living an active life doesn’t mean I need to spend every day at the gym.

Ideas for keeping Active

Now my goals are a lot simpler, to be active everyday. How can I maintain this? by looking at day to day activities and how they contribute to being active:

  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Chasing my kid around the backyard
  • Walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • Getting up and walking across the office rather then sending an email

The list can go on forever, the trick is to find what works for you. Do as much as you can, but just remember, doing anything is better then nothing. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get a chance to take the dog for a walk, but try something else instead.

Now I know there are some Super Dads out there that can go to the gym everyday while raising multiple kids, and I tilt my hat to them. Well Done!, Keep up the good Work!. But for me, that lifestyle doesn’t fit being a Dad at the moment, so in the meantime I’m going to focus on being a little bit more Active, Every Day.

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