Balance Family and Fitness Like a Five-Time Guinness World Record Holder
Endurance athlete Lee Ryan talks about how self-achievement goes hand in hand with being a good husband and father.
GamePlan A readers in Dubai will recognize Lee Ryan or possibly his preferred training partners…his two daughters! They’ve covered a marathon together plus all the hours of training that went into performing on the big day.
He’s a trainer for our adidas Runners community in the UAE and constantly being asked about balancing family, business and fitness. The questions today come from my colleagues at adidas Dubai.
What Guinness World Records do you currently hold?
“Most burpees in 24 hours (10,110)”
“Most burpees in 12 hours (6,900)”
“Fastest Half Marathon with 20lb back pack (1hr 32mins)”
And most recently “Fastest Marathon Pushing a Double Stroller (3hr 27mins)”
We all have dreams, but sometimes you have to put yourself out there, standing alone in a place of uncertainty, and be the only person willing to try and turn that dream into a reality. Take on the challenge with everything you have, not stopping until you succeed. Itâs life changing! Fastest marathon in the world pushing a double stroller â Now letâs see whatâs next… #TakeChargeDubai #TeamRyan #Dubaimarathon #Worldrecordbreakers #adidasrunning
How did you get into sport?
I didn’t enjoy sports as a boy. I rode my bike and played football with friends, but I never really got involved in team sports. Then one day picked up my Dad’s gym weights in the garage and you could say the rest is history. I was a naive 18-year-old when I ran my first marathon in London, and that’s when I fell in love with the sport.
What’s the fitness lesson that you learned as a child that you’ve had to unlearn?
If I was to unlearn anything, it would be to realize that you should be patient enough to work for long enough to see the results. It doesn’t happen overnight!
What diet do you follow and how does your family help you stick to your routine?
I love food! I cook all my food for me and the family every night and prep lunches for the next day. We try when we can to sit down and eat the same food at the same time.
Pajamas & fairytales ð â ð¦ #bedtime #family #daddysgirl
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My food routine is fairly simple; I eat what I enjoy and I eat what allows me to perform. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables, red meat maybe twice a week max, lots of fish and chicken. Carbs are not my enemy either, so plenty of rice and pasta to run my training weeks.
When I get closer to race days, I tighten the reins a bit more on the food and make better choices with the snacks. I have a massive sweet tooth that I battle, but at the same time I don’t hate myself for having the odd chocolate bar.
How do you balance your family, your job and your fitness to maintain your standards in all three?
It comes down to prioritizing the most important things and making some sacrifices. Quiet time is something I never thought I would miss. To read a book or listen to some music. With kids, work and everything that comes with it, life is a loud!
What advice do you have for parents who struggle to make time for exercise while balancing a job and family obligations?
There is always a way, and teamwork is key. You don’t have to find hours and hours.
So, when the kids are napping, give yourself 20 minutes to do a small run or circuit. If the weather allows it, go and push the stroller outside take some time to get your heart rate up while you push in the park. Use a bench for steps ups, or bring some small weights in the base of the stroller. Depending on how young your kids are, you can also find a way to play with them in the house with workout videos or dancing.
What is your greatest achievement?
I would have to say becoming a father! But also, being a five-time Guinness World Record holder is amazing. The realization that I am the only person in the world to have these records is sometimes something I cannot get my head around.
My family has been through a lot of trauma over the last few years so that has been the catalyst driving me to become a world record holder. Pushing myself through the challenges is my avenue for reflection and grieving. Running allows me to escape but it has also helped to share my story with others to inspire them to turn sadness into motivation.
What is your next conquest?
To make it to tomorrow, and to be the best I can be in the moment as a husband, father and coach to the Dubai community of adidas Runners. As a full-time, active, and working father to two Girls (3 years and 20 months), every day is a new challenge.
I have the Chicago marathon in October and maybe another world record attempt in December for “Fastest Half Marathon with a Double Stroller” to follow on from my success in the Dubai marathon in January.
thanks for your comment.
Great to hear that Lee's story has motivated you to start running. Start easy, don't set overambitious goals (learn more here: https://www.gameplan-a.com/2018/02/you-want-small-wins-not-six-pack-abs/) and just enjoy the fact that you are active regularly.
Once you're in a routine, you can increase your goals step by step.
Let me know how it goes.
My fingers are crossed,