You're Doing Too Much!
When beginning a new workout program, the main problem is not getting started. There are plenty of good workout programs out there.
The challenge comes when it is time to actually implement the program: finding that 90 minutes every day to work out while balancing work and family is no small feat. For most fathers, committing that much time to exercise every week is unrealistic.
When starting a workout program, going all-in rarely works. Easing into it and developing healthy habits that are sustainable has far greater long-term results. Here are my 6 steps to kickstart your fit lifestyle:
- Set realistic long- and short-term goals: I find it beneficial to set tangible goals with checkpoints along the way. Losing 50 pounds or running a marathon can feel like a daunting task. Breaking it down into week- or month-long mini-goals makes it much less intimidating. Setting a timeline for both types of goals will help you maintain focus when motivation wavers (and trust me, motivation will waver).
- Get moving: Building physical activity into everyday life is a great way to get started down the road to health and fitness. As daily activity increases energy will follow. It will be far easier to incorporate a structured exercise routine after you’ve exerted the effort into developing healthy habits.
- Remember that something is always better than nothing: To start, make the goals small enough that they never feel overwhelming. Ten minutes of exercise 3 days every week is far more attainable than 90 minutes per day for a few weeks. More important than the 10 minutes of exercise is the habit you are developing. It is more manageable to graduate to a demanding workout program when that has been founded.
- Get used to winning: When choosing a structured workout program, be sure to plan for success. When I say success, I don’t mean every goal is accomplished in record time. I mean, make sure it is realistic to stick with. On a regular basis, I come across friends and family with the best of intentions who fail over and over again because they set goals that are unrealistic. This cultivates a negative mindset regarding fitness in general. Set easily attainable goals, build confidence, and get used to winning before getting more ambitious.
- Fit it in: A workout program will only work when you have control. Be careful not to choose a program that is too time-consuming or demanding. Keep control and do something that fits. I find the best time to work out is in the morning before my kids get up. It is the only time of day with no distractions (depending on how your kids sleep). Everyone is different; when you work out doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent.
- Stay accountable: The biggest problem for most busy dads is having no one to keep them accountable. A spouse is often part of the problem – either too forgiving, or their involvement just starts a fight. Find that friend that is kind of a jerk who will call you out when you fall off the wagon. Ask that person to be brutally honest and help keep you on track.