"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
In the best selling book, "Code of the Extraordinary Mind" Vishen Lakhaini talks about BRules (BS rules). Brules are rules we tell ourselves, either directly or ones that have been fed to us through peers, family, or our culture.
These are rules that constrict our true potential, but are taken as true, yet once we begin to examine them fall apart like a cheap flat-packed wardrobe.
I'm sure you've heard of "Once you hit a certain age it's hard to lose weight" or "You can't have a social life if you want to keep fit." You get the idea, and god forbid if you are a stay at home dad. No doubt you'll have come head on against a certain set of BRules too, which judge your entire "manhood" - it's ridiculous right? Whether you stay at home or work doesn't mean you are any more or less of a man (or a human being). But this is the nature of BRules. They are archaic. They used to work, but no longer serve us.
As a coach, I've watched as many of my clients have transitioned into fatherhood. Often more than once. Each time brings with it its own unique set of challenges, but the first time is usually the biggest shock, as they attempt to hold on to habits they enjoyed in the past, while juggling their new commitments. Time is now even more at a premium.
To meet the needs of their family, the first thing that often goes in the first year is their fitness. If you are someone who hasn't been active most of your life then this aspect makes no real difference to you. But for those who were used to being physically active it can be a painful transition. Changes in energy, body image, sleeplessness, and mood can come as a shock. For many dads working out is as much about channelling tension, aggression, release form daily pressure and "me time" for their mental well being. When you remove this, you take block the pressure valve, that can leak out in other ways - often showing up in the relationship or at work.
If you are a dad that can relate to this then my 10 day online challenge is for you.
But what if you are a dad that hasn't really worked out before, but you recognise that if you don't take care of your health now, you won't be around to enjoy your family in later years?
Maybe you're starting to notice just bending over to pick your socks up off the floor is an effort. That you can't get out of the sofa without making strange noises. Lower back pain has gone from being occasional to a familiar friend (you know it well).
You get out of breath easily. You don't so much as seize the day, but grab it with a limp grip, then let it slip away.
I'm not going to make outrageous promises about results you can get in 10 days. But what I am going to tell you is that most people think what that they need is the latest diet or workout - when what they really need is behaviour change. In Vishen Lakhaini makes an important point
Often we can spend too much time in one area, such as our beliefs, without adequately developing new approaches to what we do through habit change. That's what this 10 day challenge will focus on. Small habits, the when worked on consistently will take on a compound effect for greater wins. It all starts November 15th and its the last online challenge for this year. Register [here] to get involved.
See you on the other side.
Kate told me to aim for the centre.
No matter what, every time aim for the gold
I missed again. Then again and again, until I was finally out of arrows.
All the other Archers we’re a similar level to me. This was my first lesson on a traditional long-bow at Archery Fit in London. For the past few months I had been shooting with an Olympic Recurve bow – a completely different animal.
The other archers had mixed success. Some had struck gold (well, the yellow actually), others had hit red, blue or black. There were some who had missed the target completely.
You could feel the weight of the room become heavy, as the group began to vent their frustrations. Fascinatingly, many not only cursed their ability (or lack of skill) but also themselves.
Kate gave the command, “Safe to collect.”
We walked to the end of the range. I analysed where I had hit the target. My arrows had landed consistently in a group on the target, just not where I wanted them to be.
I collected my arrows and walked back to my mark.
I knew what I was doing wrong, but I didn’t know how to correct it. So I asked for help.
Kate, told me where to aim if my arrows were drifting to the left, and slightly high. But not to adjust my technique.
She gave the command, “Safe to shoot.”
Those words stuck in my mind.
You know that thing you’ve always wanted to do? Get in better shape, train for that 10k or marathon? Compete in that competition but didn’t?
What if it was “safe to shoot?” What would your life be like then, how different would it be?
What if you simply aimed for the centre, no matter where your arrows landed, you kept going until you had nothing left to shoot.
So many times in life we attempt something, then when we don't achieve what we want we immediately change our approach. They say that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result - but could the rush to change things be the very reason we delay our own success?
In her thick Russian accent, Kate explained to me,
“If you always aim for the centre, even if you don’t hit the gold it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we get your arrows in a grouping. Once they are in a nice group we adjust and learn to compensate so that we can move the grouping closer to the centre – this is what matters.”
You see, if I adjust after every attempt and I hit the target, but my results are all over the place, it's far more difficult to identify exactly what went wrong, and what variable needs to be adjusted.
Sometimes we need to fail consistently (rather than erratically). This type of feedback can be invaluable.
Now it’s “Safe to collect.”
Collect what we have learned, adjust, adapt, improvise and overcome. Make the necessary changes, (and this is key – so many simply don’t want to, or refuse to make the necessary changes).
How many times have you stopped short of your goal and not reached your target because you’ve become frustrated, disheartened and thought yourself a failure?
There’s no shame in it – we’ve all done it as some point in our lives in one area or another. I know I certainly have in the past. But what if there was another way?
Rather than doing it half arsed, we went all in. We aimed for the centre and didn’t stop until we had fired every arrow.
It’s easy to pretend that it doesn’t matter. To beat ourselves up, rather than just adjust our approach.
But what if…
We stuck to that six month nutrition plan - for six months, not three. How great would you feel?
You stayed with the fitness program for a year. Not a week. How much more different would you look?
You worked with your therapist for a year, not just one session..
That financial plan.. .you see where I am going with this right?
When we truly understand that we are not our performance, it gives us the opportunity to master our reactive self, the judge, jury and executioner that lurks in the corner of our mind, so that we can one day aim for the centre and hit gold.
Having an objective feedback loop is key.
"There is no excellence in archery without great labour."
Plus it's always handy to have a good coach!
If you don't know what a Dad-Bod is, you're either,
A) Not a dad
But in all seriousness, if you have a Dad-Bod I don't need to tell you what one is. So lets not cover old ground, as many other articles have dissected it already. But I want to come at it from a slightly different angle.
Think of it like this, if you are completely happy with your body, and don't compare your current physical state to the finely tuned (or reasonably tuned) Adonis that you were before becoming a dad, then you don't need to read on.
But if like many men out there, during the first year of parenthood you noticed that your fitness started slipping (along with your sleep), that your face became a little puffier. You found yourself snacking more frequently, becoming more stressed, those jeans no longer fit, and your shirt buttons now holding on for dear life as you push them to their limits when you eventually do find time to go out with friends and get dressed up.
Then this article is for you.
Maybe you are on your second or third child now, and think that you have passed the point of no return, and it's a pipe-dream to make any real impact to your health.
Well I'm here to tell you this simple truth. If you don't take care of yourself, you may not be around to enjoy your children in later years. These are facts, and they suck. It sucks for you, and it sucks for your family. Do it for them, but most importantly, do it for you. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, wanting to feel better and look good. Nothing wrong with wanting to be fit for you or your family. No matter what you think, It's never too late.
They media may say that it's vain, your peers may even ridicule you. In fact, as you begin to change and improve your quality of life, you will become a target.
A target for all the other men who deep down who wanted to change, but have managed to convince themselves not to. Your achievements will become a painful reminder that they sold themselves short. They'll redirect their own disappointment and anger. They'll make off hand remarks about how you look, fears about you "over doing it" telling you that "you looked better with the weight on".
Don't be fooled.
They are not doing it because they care about you, they are doing it to make themselves feel better, while trying to knock you off track - it's that simple. But you don't have to let that be your fate. If you want to reinvent your Dad-Bod let me introduce you to a working man, a father of two, who did just that. But before you meet Jimmi, I want you make sure that you fully understand the seven steps to reinventing the Dad-Bod, and it all starts with your mindset.
So what does that look like in real life? Meet Jimmi. Jimmi is approaching forty, a father of two, a husband and runs his own business. Jimmi was at a point in his life where he recognised that if he continued down the same road of not taking care of himself, that it would not end well.
Jimmi recently finished a twelve month program with me, that completely changed his health and life for good. All in less than a year. But I'll let him tell you about reinventing the Dad-Bod in his own words.
"I work in the wine trade for an internationally renowned champagne house. I joined Mentzendorff last year, looking after Bollinger and other wine agencies in the National on-trade in the UK. I got into the wine industry 22 years ago by accident. I love my job, it's varied nature and the social aspect it brings. Learning the history of the brand's I look after is really interesting, some have over 400 years of trading history. But I am concerned about the potential damage to my health.
What do you find is the most challenging thing about your job?
"The biggest challenge I face is the alcohol consumption and the fact that it's seen as a requirement. Limiting the amount I drink is often difficult."
A lot of dads will say that they simply don't have time, but you've seemed to have made it work - how do you make training and healthy eating fit into your lifestyle?
"Eating fresh and home made food has always been important to me so switching to healthy alternatives wasn't a struggle, I just saw it as a new challenge and a way to increase my repertoire of dishes. I'm lucky that I manage my own diary so getting out for a run or going to the gym isn't quite as challenging as it could be.. however I do still get up early to do yoga or kettlebells before work and I always take running stuff when I travel."
Is there anything that you'v had to give up to make these changes? If so, what?
"I've massively reduced how much meat I eat but actually giving something up totally is something I don't want to do.. that then becomes a demon and can easily knock you off course. I've given up the mind set that used to tell me I couldn't do something."
What have you gained? Or in what way has being healthy made your life that much more better?
It's the overall improvement to my health that's the biggest benefit.. I feel stronger fitter and faster.. I also feel.really proud of myself and know that I can do it.. if I stumble or slow it down for any reason I don't panic anymore.. just wipe the slate clean and start again.
You recently took part in my online 12 month fitness and nutrition program, what made you decide to take part?
"Cj never gave up on me.. It's a great program for people like me who were lost when it came to fitness..I learned to take it a step at a time, consistency and habits. I learned to believe in myself."
How did the program change your life, and is there anything that came up for you that you were not expecting?
It's changed my life for the better.. I'm happier about my appearance although I'll never be satisfied totally. I learned that that's ok and it's not just me that feels that way. I wasn't expecting to join the gym at the end!!! (which I did).
The importance of my health and fitness is playing an ever increasing role these days. I use fitness as a way to challenge myself, now looking for more varied activities to keep me interested.
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your process of reinventing the Dad-Bod Jimmi.
When it comes to reinventing the Dad-Bod there is no blueprint "out there". Recognise that you are the blueprint. Reinventing the Dad-Bod is about recognising that it's your body, your mind, your rules. You don't have to live up to media and societal perceptions of what a man should or shouldn't look like - you get to choose.
What you want to achieve, and the path you take will be as unique as you, and a your lifestyle circumstances. Whether you are a "stay -at-home" Dad, an entrepreneur, run your own business, married, recently divorced and have tonnes, or no experience, as long as you follow the 7 steps outlined above to reinventing the Dad-Bod, you'll be out of the blocks to a cracking start, and if you need help keeping you going, checkout my online fitness coaching and nutrition programs based on "The 5 Pillars of Health."
If you want to first get your toes wet, and be held to a higher standard, then why not join our Online 10 Dad-Bod Challenge which starts November 15th. It's completely FREE and will set you up for the win.
Now I know what you are thinking...
Listen, I have offered personal training services in the past, and in fact I still now offer one to one coaching (but on a very limited scale). I've been involved in the fitness industry for twenty years now, so I have a pretty good idea who personal training is for, and more importantly who it is not for....
So if you care considering personal training, or you are feeling a bit jaded with your current set-up with your personal trainer, before you part with your hard earned cash, I want you to consider these key signs that personal training may not be a good fit for you.
You Are Always Missing Sessions
This happens for many valid reasons (despite what your Personal Trainer might think).
Maybe you've got yourself a boot-camp style trainer, who talks down to you, who's idea of motivation is to verbally abuse you (often in subtle ways). If the thought of a session with your Personal Trainer fills you with dread, then I'd change change trainer, rather than throw in the towel - there are some fantastic trainers out there.
If you find that you have tried various trainers and it just doesn't fit in with your lifestyle and you keep having to cancel sessions (and getting charged a late fee) you may want to rethink things.
Maybe you have a chronic illness that flares up, you've moved jobs that requires extensive travel, you're now a parent and finding the first year really challenging, you've picked up a new hobby that you really enjoy which clashes with your personal trainer's diary - then it maybe a case that it's not for you. I joined an archery club earlier this year. They were open three times a week. It started off great, then my life situation changed. I began to miss more and more sessions. This frustrated me, and I began to beat myself up about it. Then a light switched on in my head.
I searched for clubs in the area that were full time. This meant that I had more options to hit the range. I was committed to learning archery, not the archery club. It's a subtle but important distinction.
Be committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and getting fit - rather than having a personal trainer or to specific gym.
You Are Pretty Self Motivated..
Personal Trainers are great at providing motivation when we hit a slump, not feeling one hundred percent or just need that kick up the arse to get our sh*t together. They are also great at providing little nuggets of wisdom, but if you are already self motivated, and know what you are doing, it could just be a wasted of your time and money.
You Already Have A Solid Knowledge Base....
Maybe you have had a keen interest in fitness all your life, or even studied it at university, but went into a different career. Most Personal Trainers nowadays are more like instructors than coaches, and while many are educated to a high standard they are often little more than a walking google search engine. They lack the soft skills of actual Coaching. So If you already have a solid knowledge base, and know how to use google, you're pretty much set.
You Want More Flexibility With Your