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
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
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 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.
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.
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.