As a father, if you had to list all of the reasons why you missed your workout, it might read something similar to this:
“Long day at work…I’m too tired to hit the gym”
“I have to drop the kids off at school, no time for a workout before work”
“My wife told me to grab dinner on the way home – there goes my window of opportunity for a gym session”
Most of the time, these reasons are family related with some other priorities mixed in such as work or maintaining other important relationships. While the struggle of having a productive work day, spending time with your family, and still making forward strides in the gym can sometimes feel like too much, the truth is, when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you need to find a balance that works best for you. It’s a LIFESTYLE, not a short journey. That’s what many people need to realize. It’s not a 9-week plan of eating healthy and working out while mildly neglecting your family duties for those weeks. It’s not “dieting” for a month just to bounce right back to where you started. With a healthy lifestyle balance, you can achieve ample family time, still fit your workouts in, and tend to your day-to-day responsibilities. Here are some different things you can do with your family to start building that balance:
Take things outdoors:
Take the family for a long walk to lunch instead of driving there. Grab the kids and a ball and start up a sunset game of soccer. There are endless ways to incorporate your family into active, outdoor activities that will still get your heart rate up. Even doing a mini bodyweight workout at home might entice your kids to join in. Challenge them to a push-up contest or a plank contest. In essence, make fitness look FUN. If you enjoy working out, it will rub off on your children. Introducing them to fitness while they’re young will leave a positive impression on them and will hopefully inspire them to be active for life. This is a win-win. You still get your workout (or cardio) in and the kids are right alongside you.
Meal prep together:
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be a lonely chore. Get the kids involved! Have them scramble the eggs or season the chicken. This is also a great opportunity to talk to them about why certain foods are better for you than others. A consistently nutritious and well rounded diet will instill better eating habits in your kids. If your kids see you trying to better yourself by choosing whole, nutrient rich foods over fast food and grease, they will be likely to follow in your footsteps.
Re-manage your time:
Not every workout needs to be over an hour long in length. It’s also unnecessary to workout every single day of the week. Narrow down your time in the gym, but make your workouts as effective as possible. Using compound exercises and lots of supersets, you can shorten down your time in the gym tenfold. Plus, as an added bonus, performing supersets helps keep your heart rate up for more effective fat burning. 3-4 days in the gym with 40-45 minute high intensity workouts (and eating well) is enough to get you the results you are after while still having plenty of time with your family.
Slowly but surely incorporating these concepts into your life and making healthy choices to set a positive example in front of your kids will lead to a well-balanced and less stressful lifestyle.