I added strength training to my exercise routine this year. That is to say, I’ve added strength training when my schedule permits working out. Being a stay-at-home dad and influencer/blogger eats up a lot of my time. There isn’t a lot of room for consistent “me time.”
Other than my long run on Saturdays, everything else fits in when it can. While I would love to be a gym rat, I can be a “home gym rat.” My teenage son has been acquiring weights and workout equipment over the past couple of years. As a result, my fitness routine has been a beneficiary of his growing collection.
Having my “dad life” and my new desired “fitness life” has made me realize the similarities between the two.
Balance is key to working out, good parenting
When working out, your legs need to be set right and balanced. If one thing is off, it could be a disaster. No matter what I do when I lift weights, I keep my feet shoulder width apart, my knees slightly bent, and my weight equally distributed. If I were to shift too much one way or the other, I’d fall or get hurt. When I’m set, not only will I keep myself from getting hurt, I can also carry a lot more.
The same goes for fatherhood. When I’m firm in my foundation, I can carry a lot more. Balance is important for parenting. A well-balanced dad can carry the weight his family needs him to. If unbalanced, the family can fall apart.
Know when to lessen the load
Some days when I work out, I can pile on the weights. Rep after rep adds to a great day of lifting weights. Then, there are days I struggle. Those days require extra attention. If the body is telling you “no” then something has to go. Pushing through could result in an injury and that can keep you from being your best for a long time. The saying “No Pain, No Gain” isn’t always true.
Dads try to put as much as we can on our plate . We believe we can shoulder all the responsibility and still be at our best. And sometimes, that can work out. Then there are days when you can’t. Those days require an adjustment. Carrying a little less those days can stop a permanent pain.
Stretching is as good as exercise
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the importance of stretching. There was a time when I could jump right into a workout or run and have it not be a big deal. Now, my body has to be limbered up before I work out or run. Stretching helps keeps muscles healthy and flexible. If someone doesn’t stretch, the muscles can tighten and become sore.
Stretching is also good for dads. Often, we come into fatherhood with a set of ideas and beliefs. In the early years, we stick to them. Then, as the years pass, we’re stretched to new ways of thinking, believing and acting. If we don’t stretch, we can’t grow. Our lives seize up and tighten everyone around us. We must move beyond our believed norms for the benefit of everyone around us.
Routine is key workout, parenting success
Working out here or there is fine to start, but to get the transformation you desire, you need a routine. I devote one day to one muscle group, another day to a different group. It’s best to come up with a calendar of exercises for what you need to do on that day and for how long.
A good routine also helps you have a successful day of parenting. If there is a routine in place, everyone knows what is expected at a certain time. For example, my family’s lives are crazy during soccer season, but I still need a routine to guide us through. my kids must do their homework by a certain time before soccer practice or they’ll be too tired once we get home. If we wait, I get upset that they’re not prioritizing their day right.
You need a rest day
If you’re working out regularly, you need some time off to rest the muscles and relax. That doesn’t mean sitting on the couch all day and eating junk food. You go through the day and get done what you need to, but give those overused muscles a break.
A rest day for a dad is the same. You don’t need to sit on the couch all day, although it is nice on a Sunday afternoon during football season. Giving space to your kids while resting provides dads with a lift to get back at it the next day.
Working out your priorities
The one thing that doesn’t fit equally into the worlds of working out and fatherhood is self-sacrifice. When working out, you are the priority. Being a dad, you’re the last priority. Sometimes, I have to sacrifice my hopes and dreams of the lifestyle I want for the overall benefit of my family. It’s a sad moment, but as a father to four, it’s worth it. All that being said, when the time comes around again, put yourself back in action.