I’ve never been one to sit still. I’ve competed in the CrossFit Games eight times, own and manage three CrossFit ONE Nation gyms in the greater Boston area, and am head trainer at Reebok CrossFit ONE, Reebok’s headquarters gym. For as long as I can remember, my days have been full.
Then, in September of this year, I had my first child, Haley. A lot of people will say, “I didn’t know what busy was until I had a kid.” But for me, becoming a dad wasn’t so much about my life changing as it was about my perspective changing. Seeing my wife become a mother – in pregnancy, in birth and once Haley was home – made me understand women in a way I hadn’t been able to before.
I want to be the best father I can be, and that means setting an example for my daughter. I want her to see me continue to pursue my passion for fitness, but I also want to ensure I am providing for both her and my wife.
In trying to find the balance, I’ve learned a few things:
1. Be more efficient with your time
You might not have as much time as you’d like to do any one thing, so be smart about the time you do have. For me, that means being smart about my workouts. If I only have a few minutes to warm up, I’ll do something that doesn’t require a lot of progressions, like rowing. It’s about doing more with less!
2. Have a plan
I always schedule my workouts – always. By writing them out and planning them in advance, I can go to the gym and jump right into my workout instead of moving between machines and equipment thinking about my next move. I also use this strategy for my business meetings. I create agendas and set clear goals ahead of time to make my discussions as productive as possible. This goes back to being more efficient with your time – plan what you want to accomplish and move through it.
3. Know your priorities
Fitness is a top priority for me; it’s my career, and, more importantly, it’s my passion. As a father, a business owner and a coach, I don’t have a lot of free time, and when I do, I prioritize fitness. It may mean working out at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m., or in a hotel room instead of your preferred gym. Bottom line:
4. Manage your expectations
Lack of sleep may make fitting fitness in harder – whether that means finding the motivation to work out or the workout itself. The reality is not every workout is going to be a great one. You need to change your expectations. Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish today? It’s ok if it’s ambitious, just make sure it’s attainable within the parameters you’re working with.
5. Find your support system
My wife is my number one fan. She knows how passionate I am about fitness, supports me making time during the day to work out and is always asking about my training. Having someone who is supportive of your passions makes all the difference.
I’ve learned two things as a father. First, that time is a commodity now more than ever before. If I am going to do something for myself, I want to make sure it is adding value. And second, that being a father gives you more focus. I can’t multitask the way I used to; when I am with my daughter, I am 100% focused on her. Both have led me to be more thoughtful about how I spend my time and do so in a way that makes an impact.
How are you juggling being a first-time parent while working and keeping up your fitness routine?