If you have a job, a family, and fitness goals, balancing "time is money" with "health is the new wealth" can seem daunting. Squeezing any extra time out of your 168-hour week to go to the gym can be really difficult to schedule, and frankly, just plain annoying. Trust me: I know all about it.
I'm a new dad, run a business in central London, and am also heavily involved in the fitness industry as a model, WBFF pro, and spokesperson. Although it may seem that because my livelihood is so entwined in fitness, it should be easy for me to make my own training a priority. But, honestly, there never seems to be enough hours in the day!
Just like you, I get overwhelmed and stressed out when I have to balance all the aspects of my life. We all have the same amount of time in the week. The differences between us are based on the value we place on the activities we choose to fill that time with.
If you want to make fitness a bigger priority in your life, but need a little help figuring out the best way to do it, read these five tips from a fellow busy dad!
Fit in Fitness When You Can
Sometimes, getting to the gym for an hour or so is impossible. And, you know what? That's OK. You're just going to have to get a little creative with your time and your fitness.
If you live fairly close to where you work, then kill two birds with one stone and combine your commute with some exercise. Jump on a bike rather than in the car, or bring workout clothes to work and take a leisurely jog home a couple of times per week. Commuting via body power is a great way to get from A to B, but will also provide your heart and lungs a solid workout at the same time.
It's also a great idea to invest in some dumbbells or kettlebells, and a jump rope so you can squeeze in a quick workout when your kiddo is asleep or when he's doing his homework. You can also involve your kids in your workout by allowing them to copy some of your movements or provide extra weight for your sit-ups or pull-ups.
I also suggest signing up to coach your kids on a youth-sports team. Help them learn the game you love while you play along. Playing with your kids is not only a great bonding experience, but is a fantastic way for you to increase your fitness without having to worry about going anywhere.
Prep Your Meals
Whether you aim to compete or not, if you want to see the best return for the time you do spend exercising, you need to fuel your body right! Nutrition is often the most difficult part of any fitness plan. However, it's also the most important. You can train your butt off, but if you're eating pizza and burgers every night, you won't see results.
I always ask my clients to use a night or two per week to prepare meals. If you've already got your food planned out for the next couple of days, you'll be much less likely to eat something that won't help you reach your goals.
I know, I know—preparing your food can be a time-consuming and boring process. If you have the extra dollars, outsource that stress and save yourself some time by buying premade meals like B-Elite Fuel. These meals are usually pre-measured and cooked without excess oils and sauces, leaving only the calories you know you need. When I only have 15 minutes to eat before my next client, these meals can be a lifesaver.
However you choose to make nutrition work, it's essential that you help your children develop healthy eating habits. If you eat healthy food as a family all the time, everyone will be on the same page, and those fast-food stops will occur far less often.
Have a Plan
If you manage to get to a gym, make sure you make it count. I don't know how to stress this enough. You're making a sacrifice by spending time away from your family or other responsibilities. That means you don't want to waste any time. If you go to the gym and wander around without a plan, you're never going to see results, and you'll just end up getting frustrated.
There many amazing free programs out there that can help you figure out a goal and the best training and nutrition advice to help you reach that goal. When you know exactly what you're doing when you walk into the gym, you'll be efficient, intense, and get the most out of your time.
If you really need to get in and out of the gym fast, plenty of workouts cram a lot of work in a short period of time! Circuit workouts, high-intensity interval (HIIT) workouts, German volume training workouts, or even some CrossFit workouts provide incredible workouts in under 30 minutes. If you train with the right intensity, you don't have to be in the gym for hours to see amazing results.
The point is, don't waste your time going to the gym if you have no goal and no idea how to reach it. If you have to take time out of your life and away from your family, make sure you're doing it for a good reason!
Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how well prepared you are, your plans are bound to break down. If you're a busy dad, you're going to have to learn how to make adjustments on the fly. If your kid gets sick, your partner has a crisis at work, or your car breaks down, the gym will fall further and further down your priority list.
When that happens, it's not the end of the world. Have some at-home workout plans in your back pocket and use them when you need to. And, depending on your goals, maybe forgo that second helping of dinner.
It's also important to remember that if you happen to miss a workout, your goals aren't going to take a leap off a cliff. If you continue to eat smart and get right back in the gym the following day, that missed gym session won't be anything more than an extra recovery day. And who knows? Maybe that extra day of rest will help you do great things in your next workout!
Keep a good attitude and remember that, no matter what happens, it is your consistent effort toward health and fitness that will make changes in your body.
Supps Can Help
Although I do my best to stay relatively lean all year long, I have to admit that my diet isn't always 100 percent on track. But even when you're not downing chicken breast and brown rice for that lean physique, it's really important that you remember your health should always be your primary goal.
No matter how "on point" your diet is, supplements can really benefit your overall health and wellbeing. I like to incorporate a greens drink every morning for those fantastic vitamins and minerals. To that drink, I blend in multivitamins and fish oil. And because we don't see much of the sun here in England, where I'm based, I also add in some much-needed vitamin D!
This health drink won't help me get shredded or bulk up, but it will help me maintain my body's proper functions. Although my supp combination might not be right for your personal needs, my advice would be to start researching what options are available to you and start making your health the primary reason you eat well, train hard, and supplement smart.