I’m going to preface this post by first admitting that it has been long overdue. I have been pretty silent for quite some time, mostly because of being busy adjusting to some of my new roles in life, but here I am. This will be the first of monthly installments that will discuss a variety of topics that affect YOU in your fitness journey and I hope they help. These topics will include everything from nutrition tips, recovery techniques, thoughts about mental aspects of training, and updates on upcoming program focuses during class, as well as guest bloggers from various corners of the health and fitness community.
It’s just about August and summer break is almost over for the kiddies. For some of you that means back to the hustle of driving through the county every which way dropping the kids off at this and that activity, checking homework, studying for tests, getting them to eat dinner, brush their teeth and get to bed on time for the next day to do it all over again. Wait just a minute! You forgot to get to the gym! There go all your gains! (Just kidding) But seriously I really don’t know how some of you do it. Not to say any of you who don’t have families to contend with have a less complex or easy life, but it does require a lot of energy to get through the work day only to realize you’ve got several little people depending on your promptness and mental focus before you even consider your own personal wellbeing. Some of you may still not have found an “easy” way to get it all done but I am going to discuss some basic concepts that will hopefully help you find time for YOU!
- Preparation: You pick up your son from soccer practice just in time to make the 6pm class at your gym. It’s been a long day at work but you know you don’t want to miss today – it’s “Helen”! You get in the building, roll out your lats and legs, start the warm up and then it hits you… you haven’t eaten since 6:00am. You feel weak and sluggish during the whole ordeal and almost faint during the instructional before the WOD. The coach starts the clock and you feel your legs are a hundred pounds of slow moving mush as you start your run. Next thing you know you jump on the pull-up bar and find yourself missing and falling onto the rubber matted floor. You manage to get back on the bar but can barely hold and are feeling light headed as you attempt your first set of pull-ups. Coach looks at you and tells you to have a seat as you are visibly pale looking and not well. YOU JUST DON’T HAVE IT IN YOU TODAY. I can admit I have been here, but there are easy solutions to prevent this from happening. Proper nutrition pre and post workout are important but they don’t mean much when your daily intake leaves you in a calorie deficit. You don’t have time or funds to go out to lunch every day and prepping a meal every morning on top of your breakfast (you definitely need that too) is unrealistic. Sunday, or at least the day in the week where you are at home the most and can make some head way on chores, should be a time set aside for food prep. I’m not talking about cooking 5 different meals for the week. I am talking about grilling up a family pack of chicken breast and pork chops to throw in the fridge for the rest of the week, mixing up a large jar of trail mix you can scoop into individual servings with your lunches, and maybe a mixed bag of vegetable/salad and done. It will probably take you less than 2 hours to accomplish and you’ll be set for the week. It’s not glamorous cuisine but it’s better than the aforementioned scenario.
- Ruling the roost (or at least the dinner table): This may raise some hairs and ruffle some feathers but I am going to say it anyway. It makes no sense what so ever, logistical or otherwise, to cook a great well balanced healthy meal for dinner only to cater another, less than healthy meal, to the rest of the family regardless of the fact little Mikey only likes McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Ask yourself not only who the boss here is, but also what health trends you are setting for your young family. Don’t bombard them with gluten free everything right off that bat, but you can squeeze in a side of vegetables here and there over time. Put out a jar of healthy snack foods (fruits and nuts) for them to munch on as they stroll by the kitchen, they will eat it. Next thing you know they have a full plate of healthy food in front of them that they are glad to eat and you don’t have to waste your valuable time and money cooking for two households.
- Self-sufficiency: There is a misconception out there that you need an obscene acreage of land in order to grow your own food. I’m here to tell you this is simply not true. Some of you may already be doing this but as for the rest of you here is the skinny on the suburban farm life style. There really isn’t that much to it. If you have a yard with dirt in it, you can probably pull it off. Anywhere from 100 square feet to 500 square feet is sufficient for most families to have a variety of plants growing throughout various harvest times. All you need to do is break out the shovels, get the kids involved, and make sure you read up on the planting times for each plant to ensure a fruitful yield. Once again you are setting a great example and teaching the family good habits for later down the road, not to mention you actually know where your food is coming from.
- Pack a bag: This especially applies for those that pass the gym on their way to and from work. What sense does it make to drive 20-30 minutes north and south each day only to have to pass by the gym, go another 10 minutes to go home, maybe eat something, get your gym clothes on, then drive 10 minutes back the other way. Some of us might even decide to stay home at that point if it’s been a particularly long day at work. Don’t give yourself that chance to come up with an excuse and save some valuable time while you are at it. Have a designated bag that contains everything. you might need so you can drop by the gym on your way to work or on the way home and save some fuel (we do have showers). This bag should contain essentials like appropriate training clothes, training shoes, wrist supports, coaches’ tape, water bottle, and any supplements you might find beneficial for you pre/post workout.
- Family time: You get done with work, make it to the gym for your max back squat day and you PR! Three solid months of eating well and consistent attendance all pay off and you feel great. Then you get home and the kids are all veg’ing out in front of the TV. This is a regular occurrence and you are beginning to worry about your children’s health. They aren’t over weight by any means, but you see that they have poor posture, tire easy, and are relatively lethargic throughout most of the day. This wasn’t so much a problem in the past, especially when most of you grew up, however the more I talk with other athletic coaches in the area I hear that they are seeing fewer and fewer kids go out for sports throughout the year. Video games and social media engulf their young lives to the point you can’t recall the last time you even saw them outside! I’m not going to suggest that forcing your kid to go to the gym is the best idea (this can cause a backlash), but it’s certainly better than doing nothing at all. You could simply get them moving around by making it a point to go do something active together as a family on a weekly basis. And I don’t want to hear there isn’t anything to do around here. You folks live along the Schuylkill River in the Appalachian Mountains! Go hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, camping, something! Your personal goals are important but keeping an even keel is important at home. It’s easy to get so focused on your next daily grind that you start to neglect the reason you started this thing in the first place. You wanted to be healthy for your family and set a good example to follow. Don’t leave them in the dust.