I grew up in what most would call an unconventional situation. I had a working mom and a stay at home dad. My brother and sister were out of the house before we moved to Florida so it was just the 3 of us. Since my mom had an extremely sporadic schedule, my dad was usually the one shuttling me around between school, Hebrew school, dance lessons, and band practice. My dad was the one who cooked and my mom did the cleaning (I would do it when I was forced to.) Every day was the same, we were creatures of habit. My parents would take turns screaming at me to get out of bed in the morning (I was not and am still not a morning person). I would end up missing the bus (intentionally), so my mom would take me to school since it was down the street from where she worked, while my dad got ready for the gym.
My dad is like clock work. Every day he gets up, eats breakfast, and works out. It has been like that since I can remember. Working out was a regimented part of his day. You may not find this extraordinary, but I left out one major detail, my father had a stroke when he was 41 and was left with limited use of his right side and limited speech. Despite this obstacle (understatement), my dad still manages to get up every day and work out to the best of his capabilities. I think his drive, determination, and dedication to fitness is what made me want to share the joy of exercise with the world. Hence, my current profession. I saw what exercise did for my dad over the years and I saw that, despite his limitations, he made no excuses.
Both of my parents are active, in fact, my mom is currently working on her yoga certification (go mom!), so they both encouraged my love of activity, but people are always saying how they are impressed by mothers who are able to stay home, take care of the kids, and still work out. Well, what about the dads?! My dad took care of household chores, cooking, our 2 greyhounds, getting me to all of my extracurriculars, and still managed to get his butt to the gym. I’m still impressed by this because at 77 years of age, he still gets up every morning, eats breakfast, and then works out. Beast! I am not belittling mothers by any means, but since I grew up in an equal parenting household, it upsets me that dads don’t get more recognition, so I thought it would be nice to celebrate active dads!
Since my parents don’t have to schedule their activities around me anymore, I asked one of my active father friends, Jarian, how he manages work and family, and still finds the time and energy to remain physically active. I met Jarian at the RunningNerds 5K in Atlanta. My instincts told me immediately, “This dude is awesome.” He was decked from head to toe as a nerd, and if you know me at all, you know I like to dress up too. Come to find out Jarian was more than just a running nerd, Jarian was an exercise fanatic. And his passion for fitness is a passion shared with his family! I told you he’s awesome! I have great instincts.
Here’s a little bit about Jarian and how he balances work, fitness, and most importantly family!
What is your job? New Home Warranty Management. When you buy a new house you get a warranty. If anything goes wrong or if you have a question about your home you call me.
How many hours a week do you work? 50 hours
How long have you been married? 6 years
How many children do you have? Jani Gwen -7 Jarian Andru -4 and Jackson Wayne-2
Do you try to have family meals? No ‘trying’ when you do it! So yes we do.
How do you manage to workout between working and being a father? I have to fit workouts in whenever possible, and have enough time to spend with the kids. For a long while I was able to exercise at lunch while at work, but now it is after work. It’s about to change to 5 AM, so the little time I have in the day can be better spent with the kids. I will have forever to workout, but the kids won’t be this age forever.
What is your favorite exercise to do with the family? We love to do family runs at running events. They also love to run with me on my cool downs. They do pull ups and push ups me, and even climb on my back for a little resistance. We also chase each other and wrestle A LOT! (drives momma crazy most of the time). So there is not just one favorite, we love to do it all.
Any tips for first time fathers getting back into shape?
- Make sure you are doing it for you and your family. They need you alive and healthy, and to see the example you set on many levels such as: healthy living; being fit; being active; as well as seeing you being dedicated to a goal and purpose. What a great way to do something “selfish” that also benefits your family. Dad’s need support too, so you want to make sure your family is behind you and giving you that support!
- Get your diet right. It will have the greatest impact on how you perform, and help you get the results you want...and keep them. What you eat is what fuels your body. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, and feel the power and energy. Eat an unhealthy, unbalanced diet, and feel tired and rundown.
- Keep it simple with basic moves and routines, unless you are trying to bulk up. Start small and build on that. Think of it this way, if you give your girlfriend a diamond ring on your one month anniversary, imagine what you are going to have to do on your one year anniversary. Start small to achieve big and long-lasting results!
So remember boys and girls, don't forget to celebrate your dad! On average, men live about 5 years less than women, so show dads some love and support and help better their stats!
If anyone has any fun family activities, please share them in the comment section below!
And Dads, please share your tips on how you balance life, family, work, and activity in the comment section below. Gooooooo dads!
Desirée Nathanson is an Atlanta-based personal trainer, dietetic technician, nutrition coach, group exercise/dance instructor, and fitness competitor. To learn more about Desirée and her tips for healthy living, see her website: www.fitdesiree.com