I’ve only been a dad for 4 years now (with three kids ages 6mo, 2, and 4)… I still have a lot to learn! But allow me to share some reflections, observations, and tips based on that experience.
As fathers, exercise is not just an investment in ourselves, but in our families’ wellness.
It can ENHANCE our energy, mental health, daily function, and confidence, so that we are at the top of our game for the ones who count on us most.
It helps us AVOID the preventable conditions that shorten, as well as diminish the quality and independence, of too many men’s lives.
Exercise – especially at home – sets a powerful EXAMPLE to our children, who are always watching, absorbing, and imitating our behavior.
Who wouldn’t want these things, right? But life gets crazy. We are juggling multiple important priorities. And there just never seem to be enough hours in the day…
So, whether you are still waiting to get started on your fitness journey, or just in need of a little encouragement, I hope you find these principles helpful (hint: they aren’t JUST for dads!).
– “Something is better than nothing.” (Repeat after me… make it your mantra!). Start with small, sustainable changes to your current lifestyle, and build from there – these investments will build up over time!
– Consistency wins. Frequent 10-20 minutes home sessions will take you farther than infrequent, lengthy commutes to a fancy gym.
– Pick a time (e.g. right after the kids are down), place (e.g. the living room), and type of exercise (e.g. dumbbell circuit) that realistically work for you, and that you will enjoy. Enjoyment and sustainability lead to consistency, which leads to success.
– When in doubt, go with full-body workouts, and use compound movements (e.g. big multi-joint exercises like squats, pushups, inverted rows). It’s easy to get off track with a complicated plan. When you train full-body, you can ALWAYS jump right back into things!
– Use circuits and supersets to maximize the efficiency of your strength training, while also improving your cardiovascular fitness. (Don’t waste time sitting around!)
– Focus on working “movements” rather than body-parts. Push, pull, squat, hinge, rotate, sprint, etc. – train fundamental patterns in a balanced fashion, and the muscles will develop as well!
– Invest in SOME form of home workout equipment – a pair of dumbbells, a kettlebell, a jump-rope, and/or some equalizer bars. If you have a gym membership, AWESOME – but this will keep on track for those days when you just can’t make it there.
One more time: Something is better than nothing – consistency wins!
Happy Father’s Day!
– Todd VanKerkhoff