Swim Night

Tonight was a swim night at the in-laws house.  Every time I swim with kids, it ends up being a workout for me.  Maybe it’s cuz inside I’m really like 5.  All it takes is for me to throw one kid, then every single kid wants to be thrown…one hundred million times!  After about 946 throws, I feel like I just did 10 super sets of military press, lateral raises, and shrugs.  Jo is so much more fun this year than last year.  Not that she wasn’t fun last year, but this year she has her little tiny floaties on and she goes to town.  She just doggy paddles her way around the pool, circle after circle, until she needs a break by the ladder for a second.  Then she is back at it again.  I did a lake trip a few weeks ago and had literal battle wounds from kids scratching me and clawing at my back to be the next kid thrown. The thing about me is, I can’t just throw a kid. Every throw is an internal competition over who I can throw the farthest.  When that gets boring, then I start spinning them midair.  If that gets boring, I move on to flips.  Ok so I haven’t moved on to the third one yet.

All of the kid stuff aside, swimming is really one of the most therapeutic exercises you can do.  There is something about the weightlessness and the ever so slight resistance that nurses sore muscles back to health.  There is something that it does to a guys ego to see the water glistening and reflecting off each striation and shadow of your bulging muscles.  Next time you feel some soreness or stiffness in a muscle, take a trip to the pool and wade around a little.  It helps.  Then glance down to your jacked up dieselness and think, “is this safe?……to look this awesome?”  Yes. Yes it is.  Keep at it.  Work hard.  AROO!

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How to Eat Healthy but Keep Your Man Card

One of my really good friends Simon, the author of The Intentional Dad Blog, recently contacted me and asked, “bro, what do you eat bro?” Ok, so he didn’t ask me like that, but it’s a relevant question.  How do I eat to be fit?  Eating to be fit isn’t to be looked at as a diet.  Not to me anyway.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a constant daily choice to be what you eat.   Every guy wants to be happy with what they look like.  It’s not a vanity thing, it’s a pride thing.  There is a difference in being OK with what you look like and being happy with it.  But it goes deeper than that for me.  Being healthy means I’ll live life to its fullest extent.  My life won’t be cut short due to the many illnesses that plague bad eating habits.  I will be in my kids lives until the good Lord decides to take me.

So let’s get to the real question.  What diet should I do?  There are millions of diets: Atkins diet, south beach diet, weight watchers, paleo, raw food, vegetarianism, Mediterranean, slim-fast, Jenny Craig, TLC, DASH, nutrisystem, HMI,  Ornish, flexitarian, etc.  I must admit there is something appealing about being on the flexitarian diet.  “Hey bro, I’m on the flexitarian diet.” (Hits front bicep pose) Let me first say that I don’t think any of these diets are bad. If they work for you, fantastic.  Kudos to you! AROO!  Me personally, I’ve chosen the Eat Clean diet.  I find it to be the least restrictive and easily modified.  The Eat Clean diet tends to be more on carbs and less on fat. My diet tends to flip flop those to lower the carbs I’m taking in.  Basically, if it’s meat (like actual meat from an animal, not Bologna), fruits, veggies, nuts, basically anything that isn’t processed, eat it.  If I can’t kill it, pick it, dig it up, or harvest it somehow, I don’t eat it.  Unless it’s hot dogs. I love me a good hot dog, but i digress.  As far as drinks, I tend to avoid sugar and drink lots of water.  Problem is, I don’t really like the taste of plain water.  My answer, Mio.  Flavor your water with zero sugar and zero calories.  I even found some with caffeine! Win win!   Mio isn’t included in clean eating but it helped me drink more water, which was good for me.

Here’s a typical day:  breakfast: eggs, bacon, homemade sausage, oatmeal, protein drink.  I like casein protein because it’s longer digesting and acts more of a meal replacement than a muscle fuel.  Lunch: ham, salad with grilled chicken and low fat dressing, fruit.  You don’t want people to ask, “hey, you want some salad with your dressing?” No.  Just no.  Dinner: meat, veggies, salad, fruit. Snacks: one of my favorite snacks is to buy a container of raisins and a container of unsalted peanuts and put them in a larger container and shake it up.  Voila!  Healthier trail mix!  I also have a protein drink post-workout in the evenings.  I usually use whey instead of casein as a more immediate delivery to the muscle.  Drinks: water and milk.

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not perfect.  You won’t be either.  I don’t see anything wrong with indulging every now and then.  Note I said EVERY NOW AND THEN.  If you are shopping in the ice cream, chips, and soda aisles, you might have missed my point.  I’m sure I could write more on this, but this post is flirting with “too long”.

As always, incorporate cardio and weight training into your diet.  Yes I included it in your diet.  Muscle burns off anything you eat much faster than fat.  Also, keep in mind that this post is NOT medical advice, it is not professional, it is merely what has worked for me.  It’s still manly, gives you lots of choices while you’re out and about, and won’t give the appearance you’re actually on a diet (Can a man even utter the actual word diet out loud in reference to himself?).  Find what works for you and that picture on your man card will be of someone you can be proud of, a better, healthier, manlier version of you. AROO!

My dinner tonight…

How do I find time?

A lot of dads ask me, “How do you find the time to work out?”  I often hear, “I would love to work out but  don’t want to sacrifice time with my kids.”  “I was planning on working out after I put the kids to bed but I was too tired.”  Or my favorite, “My kids tired me out!”

So how do I do it?  What’s my secret?  I wanted to be fit.  I wanted to be the dad that my daughter looked up to. I wanted to be her superhero.  I found the time.  I usually put my daughter to bed around 9ish. So 9:15 was workout time. I retreated to the basement lair and it was my time to shine.  I would throw on a little Krewella or some Watsky and get lost in the iron.  My wife can sing the lyrics to my favorite Watsky songs just from hearing them blast from the basement.  Usually I can get a good hour in so that I can have my much needed chill time before I pass out for the night.

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This past thursday, we took a family trip to High Rock in MD before cruising over to Cunningham Falls State Park.  While at High Rock, my daughter was amazed at the view from the top of the graffiti laced rock.  So I decided that we should go down the trail to a different viewpoint.  My daughter says, “we like hiking daddy, cuz we are spartans!” AROO right?  So we get to a different set of rocks and it was a fairly steep climb.  I kept Jocelyn (my daughter) in front of me as she climbed the rocks like it was a Spartan cargo net.  As I stepped forward, I noticed a long brown creature with diamonds on its back slide down the rock beside us.  Without any time to react, I grabbed Jo and jetted up the rock while yelling to my wife, “Copperhead! Stay down there!”  Do you have any idea how hard it is to climb a 45 degree incline with a 4 year old in one arm?  I got Jo down while the slithering serpent escaped into the brush away from us. I used this opportunity to teach her what a copperhead looks like.  Now I know that if she comes running up to me at home and tells me that she saw a copperhead, I KNOW that there is a copperhead, and I need to grab the closest, sharpest shovel.  The cool part of this whole story is the walk back.  Jo was walking back to the car with me and said, “Daddy, you saved me from the copperhead, you’re like a superhero.”

Every dad wants to be their child’s superhero.  There isn’t much greater that a dad can hear.  Looking at my daughters eyes, I imagined how she looked at me.  Was it like how I used to look at Superman on my TV when I was younger?  Am I worth looking up to?  Am I being the best dad I can be?  Am I being the best man I can be? Then she looks at me, puts her little arm up in the air with her best flex and says, “look at these pythons.”  In that moment, I knew I was doing something right.

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