14 Oct How to get fit as a dad
It can be hard to stay fit when you become a dad. Being a husband is hard. Being a father and a husband is harder. Trying to be a fit father and husband can feel almost impossible. The following blog is written from one father to another, in an attempt to help inspire all dads to make time to get fitter and healthier.
The “dad bod”
Being fit and healthy requires time, and trying to fit that in amongst work, wife and kids can be puzzling. Prioritizing your fitness requires you to bump something down the list. It requires a little bit of selfishness with a touch of salt. So, first thing you need to do is join the mile high club.
Mile high club
Prior to take off, airline emergency rules clearly state that in the case of an emergency, a parent should attend to themselves before attending to their child. This is imperative as one cannot help another, if they do not help themselves first. Being a dad should be the same. It is hard to help your children if you do not take care of yourself on a mental and physical level. Maintain your fitness levels, in order keep up with your children at the park, to help carry them when they fall down, and above all else, to help inspire them to get fit by watching you – their biggest idol.
But how can you make more time in the day to exercise? I call it the barter system.
Barter your time
Remember the old work/life balance phrase? Does it really work? Rather than try to balance your time, you could think of bartering your time. For 24 hours write down how many hours of the day are devoted to the things you do. Then step back and take a look at the hours you devote to work and life. You will realise that you cannot extend the day, but you can exchange time, via a barter system.
If you want an hour to exercise? Then you need to barter with yourself to exchange that hour for another hour. In my case, I didn’t want to barter my family time and upset the wife, so instead I bartered my sleep. I exchanged one hour of sleep for one hour of exercise, and it did not affect my family or work time. Have a good look at the 24 hours you spend per day, and I’m sure you will find an hour that you are willing to give up for an hour of exercise.
Every sweat counts
Once you have found your hour, you need to learn to squeeze every bit of sweat out of it. Think of earning sweat like earning money – be efficient. Get the most out of the hour you have. Walking for one hour may burn 250 calories. However, 45 minutes of high intensity training may burn 500 calories. Plus, every little extra bit of physical activity counts. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Carry a kid when walking for some extra weight. Remember that something is always better than nothing!
Time-efficient work out for dads
As much as everyone would love an hour to exercise, life itself can be gruelling, and having time just to relax and unwind can be just as important for your mental and physical state as exercise. But even trying to barter 20 minutes of exercise is enough if you are efficient with each minute. The following workout is a simple 20 minute high intensity workout that you can do from the comfort of your home.
20 minutes: 1 minute high intensity rounds followed by 30 second’s rest.
Air Squats – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Alternating Lunges – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Push ups – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Leg raises – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
The above workout is designed to burn as many calories as possible during the 20 minutes. However, how many calories you burn comes down to you. The more reps you do during each minute, the more calories you will burn. It is a full body workout aimed at utilising whole body movements and maximal muscle activation to help strengthen the body and burn calories.
Get your family involved
They say behind every great man, is a great woman. If you can make it a family goal to get fit and get the whole family on board, it can be easier. Share home duties with your wife, so you can both have time to exercise; let your kids watch you, rather than having them stare at technology. Lead by example, as staying fit and healthy can motivate your family in ways words never will. Don’t strive just to be a fit dad, strive to be a fit family, and flourish together.
If you need help getting started, chat to an accredited exercise professional. You can find one near you my clicking here.
Written by Constantine Trantis. Constantine is a father of two and Accredited Exercise Scientist