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Entries in fitness (19)


so, kettlebells

I've been using barbells for a couple of years now and the "problem" is that the minute you start talking about fitness you end up talking about muscles and strength, and the best way to build those (safely, quickly, and proportionately) is with barbells. Which means everything else, basically, is inferior. You can disagree, but look at any professional athlete's strength training program and you will see barbells at the core. Even if you're just trying to be "toned", whatever the hell that means, you still will want to achieve results the best you can in the quickest amount of time. Barbells again.

I was really at a loss for what to do from a fitness standpoint as we get ready to leave our first world accoutrements behind. I even went so far as to look into bringing a full Olympic barbell with bumper plates. Yes, I'm just that absurd. But reality won out and after talking to my lifting buddy (a requirement in the barbell world), I turned to kettlebells. My current fitness program I've got broken into conditioning and strength training.

Strength training builds muscle, builds bone, and makes you (duh) stronger. I could write paragraphs on why these are so important but I doubt I'll convince anyone of anything so instead, here's my strength training program, every other day:

30 minutes, constantly looping through these. Start with the lighter bell, move up to heavy for the middle of the workout, then go back to medium as fatigue kicks in:

- 20 pushups (or ring dips, preferably)
- 15 dead clean and jerks, each arm.
- 15 dead snatches, each arm.
- 15 single arm swings, each arm.
- 5 turkish get ups, each side.
- 5 wind mills, each side.
- 20 double arm swings
- 10 single arm rows (or weighted ring pullups, preferably)

Conditioning is a little different, but fortunately I've got two things on my life right now that fit the bill and I enjoy doing. Every other day (the non kettlebell days):

- Paddleboarding. 30-60 minutes on a windy day with some chop will beat the crap out of you, or at least it beats the crap out of me.
- Running. It takes patience and determination to "get your legs", so to speak. Ask anyone who can run five miles enjoyably and they'll tell you about how much it hurt in the beginning when they could barely run down the block. Once you get your legs, you don't want to lose them. Running even once a week (in addition to all the other stuff) helps keep you in the game. There's something about the beating it puts on your legs where if you don't do it enough your body stops keeping you in shape to do it again, and there you are not being able to run down the block.

Equipment wise, I have the following items to support all of that:

- Three kettlebells. A 44lb, a 35lb, and a 26lb (or something like that). I'll add a 53lb before I go. Yes, heavier is often better, but that's a future blog post discussion. Add two more for Charlotte in smaller weights, although she's using my 26 more and more.
- A pair of running shoes.
- A set of gymnast rings with straps, which lets me set them up nearly anywhere. Trees, pavilions, rafters, children's playground sets, whatever.
- Some chalk.
- A paddleboard, but that's also a mini-dinghy and a sort-of-surfboard so that doesn't really count.

A lot of folks ask about "what are you doing to do when sailing?" The average voyaging sailboat spends roughly 10% of it's time underway, so I'm not really concerned about that. I can get the kettlebells to the beach or dock, do my thing on shore, and put a u-lock through them if we'll be there for a few days. My plan covers 90% of our time, and the other 10% I don't really care about. It's nice to take breaks and banging around on the boat is pretty hard on you anyway, not to mention that swinging weights around while you're bucking in the swell sounds like a great way to rip your arm off.


the gym membership contract

A sad truth in the fitness industry is that from a purely monetary prospective, the best members are the ones who never show up. Places like 24 Hour Fitness really have this strategy nailed down: plan on the fact that you won't show up regularly (thereby lowering their operating costs), charge a low enough fee that you don't really complain when you see it every month in your statement, and rely on the psychological deterrent of "cancelling your gym membership". Because as long as you have a membership that means you can go, even if you don't. But if you cancel, which is a pain in the ass, it sends a clear message that you in fact have thrown in the towel. 

Once you're a paying member they have you, with psychology and probably by a contract termination penalty, by the proverbial balls. The only missing link is ensuring that they close the deal once they have you in their clutches, and most gyms have the gym membership "closer" guy. I've seen personal trainers do it as well, essentially guilt tripping you into paying more money.

Why This Pisses Me Off So Much

Fighting back the sedentary life of a non-physical culture is hard. Walking into a gym that you don't feel comfortable in, probably in a body you don't feel comfortable in, and perhaps dealing with meathead assholes or at least people in far better shape than you, is not comfortable. At all. It is down right intimidating, scary, and unwelcoming. 

Anyone out of shape who can walk into a barbell room and learn how to squat properly, especially by themselves, deserves a golden trophy encrusted in diamonds. If that person is deconditioned, alone, and the gym is crowded, the trophy should also have little rocket boosters on the bottom so it can follow them around.

The membership guy isn't the devil, of course. He's some guy who needs to make money and it's his job to sign you up, and he's probably primarily on commission anyway. Certainly his performance is judged by the amount of people he or she is getting onboard. However, and there are books written about this very topic, the membership dude and his boss are both wrong.

Just Say No To Stupid Gyms

Stupid: earings, makeup, bracelets, and especially GLOVES.To provide a working example, I was checking around town for some Judo options. I've always wanted to learn martial arts. I found two options, so let's compare them. They are literally across the street from each other. 

We'll start with Victory MMA, which honestly has great reviews. It doesn't talk about membership fees, contracts, or anything of the sort. Head over to Yelp!, and sure enough it's $90 a month with a $100 initiation fee. You can be guaranteed that they have a "membership closer" guy or girl who will be putting the pressure on you.

Now let's look at San Diego Judo, which amongst other things clearly has their fees listed in entirety. They are a 501(c)3 non profit with $60 a month in fees, and they encourage you to show up and watch or participate in a class anytime you like to see if it's a good match. 

This is a small example and your town size, desired fitness focus, and travel distance all need to come into play. My current gym is a bit of a joke, but I'm grandfathered in by the old no-contract membership plan of the previous owners, and it's extremely convenient for me. Additionally, because the old management knew what they were doing it's stocked decently well with relevant equipment, and the masses are reading magazines up on the "cardio deck".

Give your money to a gym that puts fitness first, and relies on happy customers who are achieving their goals. The pressure sales tactics so commonly used in the fitness industry are, quite frankly, shameful. I have people who want to workout with me because they know I care about fitness and take it (and their's) seriously. Look around for it. It probably won't come in a glossy membership pamphlet and the gym might not have a lot of fancy gear, but I can promise you that a glossy brochure and an elliptical machine have zero bearing on you achieving your fitness goals. 


what your gym needs and why it (probably) sucks

Woman squatting proper depth in a squat rack. Click to enlarge.One of the most troublesome aspects of the modern American gym is its saturation with things that don't work (Zumba rooms, ellipticals, and treadmills complete with individual multimedia screens come to mind). 

In most gyms you can find perhaps 50 "cardio" machines but you probably can't find an actual squat rack, there's a decent chance there's nowhere to deadlift, and bumper plates are about as common as unicorns having sex on the White House lawn.

What you need:

A squat rack. These come in different forms but serve the same purposes: a safe way to grab a barbell and set it back down from an upright position on your back. Additionally, some of the "cage" variety allow you to bail out and drop the bar on pins if it's too much to lift. A Smith machine is not a squat rack: the barbell needs to move independently. Balancing the bar and keeping it in position throughout the movement is core to squatting. If you have a home gym, you can make a squat rack if you're handy, or just buy one.

Pushing Prowlers around in the parking lot. Click to enlarge.Community. We all have days where we feel like shit and have no motivation: this will not change. If you have friends that you work out with you will get pushed harder, you will have more fun, and you'll be safer. 

This means avoiding the Globo Gyms and favoring the smaller strength training establishments with a more dedicated group of members. If all you have to work with is one of the mega gyms you can still make do, but don't be surprised if you're wondering why it's no fun.

I'm not a huge advocate of CrossFit, but unless you have another program that you're getting kick ass progress from, CrossFit will certainly be better than whatever else you're doing. And since this is under the flag of community, CrossFit gyms tend to be rather tight knit and focus on people working together in a constructive and effective way.

A gym that doesn't let you use chalk is a joke. Click to enlarge.Chalk. I bring my own in an old can of SuperPump. I don't make a huge mess, but I chalk up for almost everything short of taking a leak. Look at people doing serious shit with their hands: rock climbers, Olympians, pool sharks. What do they have in common? Chalk. So if you want to do serious shit with your hands, use chalk.

Since 99% of gym members have no idea what's going on, it's possible you'll be the only guy with chalk. If your gym doesn't like it or gives you grief, they're not taking things seriously so don't give them your money.

Never lift with gloves. Again, look at the top echelon of world class athletes and find me any that lift with gloves on. I'll save you some time: you won't find any. You will see gloves worn by guys with no clue and women who are terrified of getting calluses. Neither of those two groups are taking things seriously.

A barbell being "cleaned", note the chalk powder bottom left. Click to enlarge.Dropping Weights. There are several critical exercises that put barbells loaded with heavy weight high up on your body. You will need to drop that weight on the ground, in a controlled manner, in order to be safe. If you have bumper plates and thick rubber mats, this is not an issue. If you have "normal" weights, you will most likely break the floor or seriously mangle the hell out of it.

Dropping weights because you're an asshole is very different from a controlled drop for very good reasons. This particular author is no monster tough guy, but I routinely deadlift north of 300 pounds. Go pick something up that weighs 300 pounds and tell me how easy it is to gracefully set it down.

Being unable to drop weights will essentially restrict you from deadlifts, cleans, barbell rows, and all Olympic lifts. That's a lot of restriction because the gym doesn't want to spook off the patrons reading their magazines on the elliptical. 

Sadly, there is a chasm between the most effective fitness methods and what you'll find in a modern gym. There is a very simple formula for fitness, but the business of fitness is about making money, not getting people fit. If a gym can do both, so much the better. But for most gyms the option is to have paying members who want to do stupid shit or not having paying members at all. So, the stupid shit reigns supreme. And the more of a mega-gym it is (24 Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, etc) the better the chances it's going to be chock full o' stupid shit. Plenty of small gyms are loaded up with shit as well, but small gyms run by people who know what they're doing and who are focusing on results as a priority are really what you want to find.

As normal, I'll plug Mark Rippetoe's book Starting Strength. Buy it, read it, study it, and do it. You owe it to yourself. Your body was made to do great things: ditch your clown-ass gym full of zeroes and go make yourself into a specimen that is worthy of emulation.



fitness: yes you have to be that guy who's totally into fitness

There are two eternal truths that I have learned about fitness:

1) It's very important. It prolongs your life, makes your life more enjoyable at all stages along the way, reduces injuries, and brings you pride, confidence, and self esteem.

2) You need take it seriously and make it the long term top priority of your life.

That second point is where a lot of people fall off their chairs. You will profess how your families and loves ones are more important.  Well therein lies the conundrum that unless you're healthy you're actually more of a burden to those who care most about you. 

Being less healthy means you are less physically attractive (to most people), much more prone to disease and cancer along with a host of emotional problems, have less stamina in the event you are needed for any type of physical action, and you're setting a bar for others around you that it's okay for them to settle for less physically in life themselves. 

I am a convert to the fitness world and much like an evangelical born-again Christian I am by far the most obnoxious and preachy. I'm the guy who had man tits, was labeled "obese" by my physician, was on acid reflux medication due to pressure on my stomach because of abdominal  fat, and wore jackets for a long time because I was so embarrassed about my stomach. 

A series of events, of which I really can't remember what came first, had me running again. It hurt, but it was something I did when I was younger so I at least knew what I was doing to train for that. Start slower and with shorter distances, work your way up. Pretty straight forward. 

From there I wasted a bunch of time in the gym until I got a hold of Mark Rippetoe's book that I swear by: Starting Strength. It is hands down the most straight forward breakdown of what it means to be strong, why that matters, and how to accomplish it. 

Our bodies represent the sum total of hundreds millions of years of evolution. In a brutal world of survival of the fittest, human beings are at the top of the heap for development. We represent a genome that has made every right move and adapted in every conceivable way. Literally countless billions of other life forms were crushed under our mighty boot. We are quite simply the finest biological machines ever produced by a huge margin. 

I took the time to write all this down because I can say I'm officially converted. I looked back at pictures of every vacation I've taken in years, and they all have me out running or doing exercises in some weird place. I get lazy sometimes, I get injured and have to be forced into being lazy, and sometimes I push too hard and burn out a little. But no matter what, I'm there with a steady connection to that part of my body that remembers what it was like to live a wild life. The reason we even have adrenal glands: to push our already dominating physical prowess into hyperdrive. Make no mistake: we have physical parts of our body that serve no other purpose than to allow us to freak out and go ballistic. This is not the type of hardware supplied to some craven dna strand destined for the evolutionary graveyard.

Done with a run in Tucson on a road tripAs fanatical as I am, fitness is ultimately a means to an end. The whole point to fitness is to allow you to live the life you deserve to live. Warping that and saying that it must also be the only thing you do or even the thing you take the most joy out of is ridiculous. Eventually all converts do enjoy it, but there will be days and weeks where you won't. But it's still relevant, and it's required for healthy living so deal with it.

But what's the point of having the physical ability to do great things but not be able to do them? Go run around with your kids, go join a flag football league, go for a hike up a mountain in a beautiful forest. And yes, go have sex with someone who looks terrific. 

Your odds of pulling off anything in that incredibly awesome list above is very small if you don't have your fitness in order. Pumping iron doesn't have to be your full time gig. Going to the toilet and bathing are standard things you've worked into your life because early on someone drilled it into your head that it's just the way things work and that it's simply not optional. 

Fitness is incredibly important. It allows you to live a life worth living for a long time and one that is frankly superior to it's deconditioned counterpart. Even more, you'll be healthier and in better condition to help those you love. 

I'm busy, you're busy. It's something you'll do later or soon or whatever, I get that, I was there too. I had this thing I was going to try, or maybe I just ignored what I looked like in the mirror and tried to pretend the problem didn't exist. I don't know. What I do know is that I really want everyone else to feel the conversion I did from living in a late 80's ford station wagon of a body to something people (occasionally, but I'm vain or petty enough to still notice every time) check out like a upper-not-quite-top end sports car.

Well hey, my blog, my rules. Come at me bro.


my first lesson in the difference between recreational and professional scuba


The guy with the blurred out face there taught me a few lessons today. We’ll call him Ned. As a Divemaster candidate, my job was to act as a divemaster for a group of open water students. Herding the cats, as they say.

My day started with a lady who dropped her mask in 55’ of water. No big deal, go down and grab it for her. There was one student who from working with him yesterday I knew he was a bit of a spaz (that’s the technical term used to denote people lacking all forms of grace and elegance in the subsea environment), so when I head “Eric, buddy up with Ned and get him down!” I knew I was in trouble.

Ned has two ways of moving in the water: dropping like a stone or flying up like a child’s balloon soaring to the heavens. Trying to keep pace with this, the current set us off, so there I was all alone with Ned as he went high and low and low and high again.

As a recreational diver, you learn your limits. You learn a way to descend (both in rate and technique) that works for you, and likewise for ascending. But with student divers, you have to deal with their often crazy behavior. If they shoot to the surface over buoyant, you need to slow them down by grabbing a fin and trying to slow their rate of ascent. Likewise if they’re bombing into the depths, you need to arrest their downward progress. Both of these maneuvers require you to alter your normal way of doing business and quickly have both ascents and descents that you weren’t planning on making. Ears giving you trouble that day? Tough shit, you can’t let your students drown.

So here I sit with a nice cause of sinus barotrauma,  unable to smell or taste anything, never mind the pain of whatever damage happened deep inside my face. Caused by chasing Ned around as he flew up and down in the ocean, I need to get some rest and have sweet dreams about how to manage myself underwater so that I don’t get injured and my students learn how to dive and don’t get injured themselves.

Ugh. File this blogpost in the “what the hell am I doing this again for?” category.


the winter of 2011 marches on

This blog post will entertain very few; let me just get that out of the way right now. There are things worth blogging about, and things not worth blogging about, and I've been doing a lot of the latter recently. But I have been doing things none the less, so perhaps you're a friend or associate of mine and wondering "where the hell has Eric been?" lately. Well, here's my update.

Who Doesn't Want To Be A Tug Captain?Maritime Training

I have twelve hours of class a week, in addition to my forty hour a week job, so if you haven't seen me around it's probably because of that. Want to hang out some evening? Sorry, can't make it. How about go have lunch? Sorry, need to do homework.

The upside is that I'm finally getting some things out of the way that I've wanted to for a long time and I'm learning a lot. One of my instructors is a merchant marine (heavy shipping) so he approaches everything from a big-ship prospective. Another instructor is primarily a pleasure boat operator (charters and the such) and has spent a lot of time sailing, so he has a typical sailing vessel view of the world. In my class there are commercial fishermen, sport fisher crew, life guards, diving instructors, and then a few pleasure boat sailors like myself. One guy even pushes gondolas around.

Typical Pacific StormSan Diego Winters

This is where I get a chuckle from everyone about how we don't have real winters. Well okay buckaroo, let's go ahead and strap you into a sail boat in 40+ knot winds with horizontal rain and send you out into the winters we don't have here. It might not look like your typical snow scene from some Christmas movie but we get powerful storms from the north and south that dump rain on us for days accompanied by driving winds. And these storms have been known to arrive in pairs, triples, and even quadruples, slamming into the coast line just as the tail end of the last one vanishes.

Couple that with 50 degree water, not so much daylight, crummy fishing, fog, and nights loaded with dew that might as well be rain and you have yourself a San Diego winter. Until the Pacific High regains its strength and formidable nature, here we sit taking southwesters up our ass and artic storms on our nose, for months.

Strength Training

I was lucky enough to start reading some of Mark Rippetoe's books, namely Starting Strength and Practical Programming. I have learned a lot about strength training and by following the Bill Star 5x5 model I've been making some ridiculous improvement. Focusing on the compound barbell lifts and avoiding almost all the garbage out there. Focusing on squats, press, and now power cleans I've gained just over ten pounds of muscle (correcting for body fat and water) in a six month period. More importantly I've become much more flexible, have almost no injuries to speak of, and have gotten much stronger.

As of writing this however I am struggling with my power cleans. This might sound trivial to a lot of people out there but for me it's really been a thorn in my side. For over one month now I've been beating my head against the wall, video taping myself over and over again trying to get my form right for this movement that so many renown athletes and trainers say is critical to strength. 

Being A Husband And Dad

In a lot of ways all the things listed above are part of being a husband and dad. You're not very good at either one of those if you become a lazy slob, so keeping your mind and body in as top form as possible is the forerunner to anything else. Trying to teach your kid to shoot for their dreams while you play XBOX and smoke pot probably isn't going to do the trick. I'm not trying to ride too high on my horse, but even before Cora arrived I keyed in on the notion that your child will basically adopt many of your attributes more so than whatever you want to teach them. So I thought long and hard about the type of daughter I want to raise, and try as hard as I can in my life to reflect those qualities.

However, there are brass tacks issues you need to take care of as well. Waking up in the middle of the night (which Charlotte does much more often than I do, I might add) to change a diaper or just hold Cora for a moment, scheduling your life around available babysitters, trying to ensure that Charlotte and I have time together as often as possible sans daughter so we can remember that we are two adults who like being with each other: these are some of the new responsibilities you get to handle. Making sure I read to my daughter rather than surf the Internet or play Global Agenda.

Cora has gotten to be much more enjoyable as late. I'm not a baby person. To be perfectly honest, I don't really care about anyone's baby other than mine. I certainly don't wish them harm in anyway, but I just don't really care. I don't find them cute or charming and I'd like them to be kept away and out of earshot from me. I managed to enjoy Cora as a small baby probably because of some physical hardwiring that causes parents to love and adore their children no matter what.

But lately, really right around six months, there are more and more periods (and we're talking about periods that grow by maybe a second a day so let's not get carried away here) where I actually really enjoy hanging out with her. She's getting to be more fun to play with, and just this morning I think she actually got the concept of walking a little bit with me holding her arms up, swinging her legs one in front of the other. 

On the husband front, I'm reminded of a pre-marital course we went through were they said that many couples after having children focus on their jobs and parenting and the relationship suffers. To some extent the first few weeks and maybe first few months make that guaranteed. We're getting to the point now, slowly but surely, were our time commitments are opening back up again and Charlotte and I can start going on dates and doing stuff again. It's a nice change of pace and six months of baby plus six months of a rough pregnancy before that make it a year ago that we could really be somewhat carefree and enjoying the sunshine in the park.

In Summary

As I said in the beginning of this, I've been doing a lot of things that are not worth blogging about. No one is making movies about people studying, working, saving, getting strong, or trying to be a good husband and dad. In my day job, there are days of closure where you can actually check something off your list and feel good about yourself. And then there are the weeks and sometimes months (and sometimes years) of work that goes towards that one day, where you often feel like you're in a coal mine just pursuing a path that you hope leads you to where you want to be one day.

The greater the things you're trying to accomplish, the longer you might end up having to keep your head down and nose to the grindstone. 


deadlift appreciation day

Today we will pay homage to one of the most important strength building exercises you can do: the deadlift

Primarily targeting your erector spinae, in a nutshell the deadlift will strengthen the parts of your back most likely to suffer injuries. If you've ever had lower back pain chances are you have (or had) a weak erector spinae. 

In addition to the jumble of muscles that extend from your butt up into your neck, the deadlift also touches these muscles: 

Gluteus Maximus (your butt)
Adductor Magnus (inside of your thigh)
Quadriceps (big thigh muscles)
Soleus (top calf, behind knee)
Hamstrings (big powerful contractors on back of thigh)
Gastrocnemius (calf muscle)
Trapezius, Middle (upper back)
Trapezius, Upper (upper back)
Levator Scapulae (sides of neck)
Rhomboids (deep upper back)
Rectus Abdominis (your abs!)
Obliques (ab sides)

Aside from Olympic lifts like the snatch (which incorporates a deadlift and an overhead squat), you'll be hard pressed to find an exercise that does a better job at strengthening your back. And if you're pressed for time, a single compound movement with so much benefit should form a pillar of your strength building routine.



goal completed: my first half marathon

About a year ago, I weighed somewhere in the 210 range. Flabby and gross, at 31 I started looking around at guys double my age who were in better shape than me.

I had my excuses: I work on the boat a lot, I'm a VP at my company and have a decent amount of responsibilities, not to mention my job as a husband. But right around the time we decided to have a baby I knew things had to change. I didn't want my daughter growing up with a fat dad and I felt like garbage when I looked in the mirror.

I didn't like sitting down in clothes that made my belly flop out over my belt. I would never take my shirt off in public and even felt embarrassed doing so in front of Charlotte. I used to race bicycles competitively in my teens and again in my early 20's, but I never learned how to balance a real grown up life with fitness.

my 32nd birthday parySo, I started running, lifting weights, and playing racquetball at work. My goal has always been to do things I could do anywhere (or almost anywhere). Armed with a set of running shoes and some dumbbells I need little else to do my workouts (read: sailor proof). 

I cut out drinking. I used to have 1-3 drinks a night, and shifted to 1-2 every 1-2 weeks on average. I got very serious about my diet. I ran and ran and ran and ran. If we went on vacation, I'd bring my running shoes and make sure the hotel had a small gym with a dumbbell rack. The day after Cora was born, I was running in Balboa Park. 

I gave myself a goal over nine months ago: to run the America's Finest City Half Marathon, and maybe, just maybe, see if I have the guts to tackle a full marathon later. A half marathon would easily be the longest distance run in my life.

I got a training plan and stuck to it as best I could. I got hip bursitis, shin splints, illobital band syndrome, torn muscles, sore feet, blisters, and even the family jewels took a bruising from underwear that eventually got too large as my waist shrank down (I now wear men's small undies). I tore my rotator cuff and had debilitating elbow pain. Charlotte watched one night as one of my back muscles was spasming for hours. I did full squats, peg boards, and deadlifts. In summary: there were no shortcuts.

Fast forwarding a year later, I just woke up from my nap following a decent finish for my first half marathon: 1:40:25. I'm roughly 40 pounds lighter (with a lot more muscle mass), I dropped six pants sizes (32's are comfortable for me; first time since high school), and most importantly I feel that I now have the tools, knowledge, and dedication to keep myself in shape for the rest of my life.


yes, you can workout with a newborn at home

I went for a terrific run today that I just had to share. Nothing magical and nothing you probably don't already know about, but it was great just the same. I've been training for a while for the America's Finest City Half Marathon (26.2/2=13.1), so my weekend runs have been getting longer and longer. Initially doing 5 miles was a lot, then pushing 7 or 8 was tough, and today I was able to belt out about ten and a half with a solid sprint at the end and felt great.

Exhausted afterwards and ready for a nap, but great none the less.

It's been a little challenging to maintain a running and lifting schedule with a two week old newborn (a week of which was spent in the hospital), but it's doable. In fact, I'm getting ready to throw the official bullshit flag on dads who get fat and lazy and blame their kids (or their new responsibilities, however you want to phrase it) for it.

Let me be clear, it's hard. For the last year or so I've religiously lifted weights 3-6 days a week, only stopping for actual injury recovery or planned rests (of which there have been three one-week periods in that year). I've run three days a week, again only stopping three times, to let some overuse injuries heal.

Since the delivery, my schedule has been much more erratic and hard to predict. Rather than having the well oiled schedule I did before, the sleepless nights that most newborn parents have to deal with turn every day into a dice roll, where you don't know how much energy you'll have the next day.

So some days when I can't make it to the gym, I do as many pushups as I can, throughout the day. Crunches can be done almost anywhere. Pullups on the campionway hatch. Lunges down the salon. It's not perfect, but it keeps the base alive and is much better than doing nothing. As is said around my workplace, the enemy of done is often perfect, meaning that just because you can't do something exactly the way you'd like to doesn't mean you shouldn't get it done regardless. As is often the case in life, if you wait for the lights to be green you'll be waiting your entire life.

So dads, get out there. Kick some ass, and make sure your kids grow up knowing that excuses don't work for them any better than they work for you.


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