Dads... when you stroll up to your kid's T-Ball game or soccer practice, what do you do? That's right... you immediately size up the other dads.
It is a badge of honor to be considered the "fit dad" at any activity.
I am all for inclusion and realize everyone is not motivated to become incredibly fit. However, when you are deconditioned, lethargic, and lacking confidence, I don't see a lot of good coming from that.
I also believe that as fathers (moms too) it is our responsibility to teach our kids that fitness is a lifestyle and to set the example for them.
Why not see what your body is capable of and push the envelope a bit?
On the most recent episode of my podcast, I was interviewing my brother-in-law, Kyler Harris. We discussed how there is this idea that you get through all of the "hard stuff" in life and eventually get to "coast."
You make enough money and then retire on the beach and do nothing.
You do the "30 day challenge," get a six pack, and then quit exercising.
That's just not the way it works and it is definitely not fulfilling.
Men need something to strive for and goals to chase. When you don't have something to chase you lose that fire in your belly.
Don't lie down and think you're past your prime. I was training a man this morning who is in his 60s. He let his last trainer go because he wasn't pushing him enough. He told me that the trainer was training him "like an old person."
He is 60 and still pushing it daily!
Let me give you 5 ways to become that superhuman dad:
1: Be a supple leopard
Getting stiff from inactivity and just doing bench press and leg press is not the ticket. Technically, I think lifting weights is the best way to become the "fit dad" at t-ball practice but I also believe we should be able to move comfortably through a full range of motion.
Increasing our range of motion will help us stay in the game longer by avoiding injuries and running like a well-oiled machine.
I will say this, I am not one of those guys who believes in full-blown 30-minute mobility workouts. Ain't nobody got time for that. Prior to your workout knock out 5-7 minutes of focused mobility work, move through a full range of motion in your workout, and then move on with your life.
My top 3 go-to mobility exercises (I do these prior to each workout and then also on rest days). Try 10-20 reps of each:
2: Thoracic Twist (5th stretch in this video)
2: Lift Weights
Dads should be strong. You should be able to throw your kids in the air, carry your wife over the threshold, and lift heavy objects without blowing out your back.
Muscle mass is the fountain of youth and is indicative of longevity. If you want more energy, more confidence, and increased testosterone... get to lifting!
You don't have to spend endless hours in the gym. 45-60 minutes of lifting 3-4 days per week is an absolute game changer for most.
Think about hitting 3-4 sets of 5 reps on the big lifts: squats, bench press, Romanian deadlift, bent rows, and shoulder press. You can get fancy later on but initially, just start with the basics.
You will see quicker results in the gym if you have a plan. Grab a free 7-day trial of my daily workout subscription and let's crush some goals.
3: Run Sprints
Humans were made to run. Don't be that guy who pulls a hammy playing catch with your kids. If you have been out of the game for a while EASE into this. If you go full tilt on day one, it is a great way to get hurt.
Sprints do it all. They build muscle and in turn, will burn fat. Jogging does not do that.
And let's just be honest, sprinting looks cool and it keeps you athletic. It also gets you out in nature and provides vitamin D, which is paramount for testosterone production.
Find a hill if you can. Grass is preferred to pavement because it provides a little more cushion and the hill puts less impact on your joints.
March off 40 long paces up the hill. Start with a solid dynamic warm-up (like this one) then jog up the hill and walk back down 3-4 times progressively getting a bit faster each rep.
Now you're ready to rock and roll. Do 10 sprints up the hill, walking back to the start as rest. Following my sprints, I will typically knock out some split jumps, squat jumps, and sled pulls. Get creative and make it fun!
Do this once per week and watch your fitness skyrocket.
4: Dial in Your Nutrition
Let's address the elephant in the room. You can't eat like a child and drink like a fish and then wonder why you're not seeing results.
I'm not big on restrictive, hardcore diets. Just make sure that your eating reflects your goals.
Let me give you 5 simple tips to get you started with a solid nutrition approach:
1: eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day
2: calculate and consume how many calories you need each day to reach your goal weight
3: drink 3+ liters of water per day
4: eat 2 servings of veggies and 2 servings of high-fiber fruits per day
5: eat 2 (literally 2) Brazil nuts each day
5: Include Your Family
This is the beauty of having a garage gym. Let your kids see you striving for something. We have all heard the saying "monkey see, monkey do."
Your kids will benefit more from a Saturday morning in the garage gym more than they will from watching cartoons while you play on your phone.
Maybe the garage gym isn't an option right now but make weekend walks a priority with your family. Don't crush workouts all week and then do nothing the entire weekend. A walk is a great way to stay active, get sunlight, and get quality time with your family.
We have found that we have some of our best conversations when we put phones away, get out in nature, and just spend time together on a walk.
The same principles apply to mobility, sprints, and nutrition. Teach your kids why each is important. They should know what carbs, fat, and protein are. Make sprint day a family workout. Do some stretches with the kids each night before bed (sitting at a desk at school all day will wreck them).
The standards have been set incredibly low to be considered the "fit dad." Increase your fitness for yourself and for your family. I guarantee it will pay off!
Fit Dad Summer '23... Who's with me?!
It's summertime! Grab an Alpha Dad tank in my shop: https://www.benbarkerfitness.com/shop
Check out last week's article: 4 Metrics to Track for Fitness