Not so long ago I became a dad. I’m very lucky in that my wife has opted to be a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ to our new son, and so he’s been very well looked after. Having said that, I’m keen to be an active part of his life, rather than that guy he mostly sees on weekends because his dad works late during the week. But that tends to mean that I’m either working, spending time with my boy, or crashed out on the sofa with a general feeling that I’m never really 100% ‘awake’.
I’m conscious that proper exercise will help give me a much healthier energy level, allowing me to achieve more at work and spend more active time with my son (especially now that’s he’s walking – he’ll be a star football player in no time), and yet the concept of exercise seems like a luxury that I have no time for, or I’m in a catch 22 whereby I’m too tired to exercise in the first place!
So given that, and with my son’s own energy levels and thirst for adventure on the rise, I’m putting together a few exercise ideas for the modern dad that basically avoid paying for a gym membership.
1. Exercise from Home
Given that I’ve had a few pieces of basic exercise equipment lying around in the garage for the past 10 years gathering dust (small dumbbell set, a precarious chest expander that wants to kills me, and a punching bag that I bought from The Warehouse and then promptly sold after hurting my wrist), I feel like I need a little something more to motivate me to exercise at home.
To that end, I’m planning on taking a strategic approach to minimise my excuses. First, I’ll take a day to give the garage a good tidy-up and make a nice environment for exercising; free of clutter, good lighting, plenty of space, and with a good sound setup. Secondly, I’m going to look at buying an item or two of quality exercise gear for the ‘modern home gym’.
The trick to this will be getting professional advice on exactly what gear is right for what I want to achieve. I could speak to an expert (nervously talking to a real person at a gym and trying to avoid getting signed-up, or visiting a dedicated exercise equipment store and having a chat with the team) or I – more likely – could do my own research online. There are a few good sites in New Zealand to help with the latter; providing both the home gym equipment as well as the advice. A quick search shows that Achieve Fitness is a good example, with a decent range of exercise equipment as well as step-by-step guides on choosing the right exercise gear (plus a bonus for the ’30 day no fuss returns’ option).
Exercising from home is the obvious choice; I get to be on standby should my son wake from his nap and my wife need a break (or in the event of any emergencies), and I eliminate any travel time to outdoor areas and gyms and therefore maximise my exercise time.
2. Use Exercise Apps
After reviewing, and then later purchasing, a smartwatch (see earlier blog post), I’ve grown more used to the idea of improving my exercise routine through the use of gadgets and apps.
My smartwatch has a heart rate monitor and also allows me to record weight gain/loss and keep track of my exercise sessions; also measurements that I can record into my iPhone’s inbuilt ‘Health’ app. I’ve learnt through my marketing role that measurement is the key to success, helping to motivate you to work harder and rewarding you for achieving your goals, so I’m going to apply that to the way I exercise.
On top of this recording functions, I’m also keen to try out some other exercise apps. Zombies, Run! (App Store and Google Play) has previously peaked my interest (an app whereby your exercise routine is incorporated into an apocalyptic story that involves evading zombies while gathering supplies for your camp – as far as I’m aware, your running efforts are encouraged by the sound of zombies chasing you. What’s not to like!) and I’m also keen to give a few ‘fitness routine’ apps a go. These are apps that have pre-built routines setup that you work through one by one to improve your fitness.
The one proviso is that I’m after apps that allow you to work from a treadmill or other home equipment rather than only working off your GPS when physically out running.
3. Mix with spending time with my son
To keep myself motivated, test my fitness levels each week, and to spend some rewarding time with my son, I’m going to mix-up time in the garage with time playing outdoors with my son. Preferably in physical situations.
My boy’s not quite ready to run around a field yet, but we’ve recently hired some awesome and very cost effective outdoor toys from the local toy library (seriously, they’re like $2 or $3 per toy!) and are focusing on toys that involve both the child and the adult – such as a big car thing that he gets to sit in while dad pushes him around the garden. At the moment, it’s surprising how tired I can get after just a short time of doing this, so I’m looking forward to increasing my fitness in the garage and pushing our playtime boundaries further in the field!
I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me. Maybe I’ll post back here in 6 months with incredible stories of my new energy levels and thirst for life! Fingers crossed!