Around 2004 as a 25-year-old, solidly established Personal Trainer I would attack the excuses for missed workouts, lazy sessions and poor nutrition with a naivety that nowadays leaves me stupefied. With absolutely no frame of reference or understanding around the life of a parent I wholeheartedly believed you should just find the 8-10 hours per week to exercise and never deviate from a strict calorie controlled nutrition plan.
Fast forward to present day and WOW, how far off the mark could I have been. With a wife, 2 boys and a fulltime job outside of the fitness game I now realise the mistakes I made as a trainer. Not mistakes from a prescription point of view, as I believe everything works you just need to find passion in it, but mistakes from an empathy point of view.
To not fully understand the needs and lives of my clients didn’t allow me to fully appreciate the legitimate struggles they had with fitness. By not understanding the gravity of the impact a child has on your life, well, lets just say I probably would’ve done things differently.
Skip to July 2013 and the birth of our first boy Theo. As any parent reading this will know the birth of your child is just mind blowing. To say it’s life changing is an understatement. Your entire world is literally flipped upside down and thrown about 50 ft in the air. Good, bad or somewhere in the middle the only thing that is certain is that you probably didn’t expect what was coming your way.
For a guy that advocated health and fitness his entire life the 6 months that followed Theo’s birth were some of the toughest I had ever gone through. Without beating around the bush I was around 10kg over what I had spent the previous 5 years, drastically unfit, what I saw when I looked in the mirror was a complete embarrassment to me and I was disorganised, reactive and basically struggling with everything I was tasked with. However much the majority of my lack of self esteem was due to physical appearance it was affecting everything I was doing in a hugely negative way, and that was not good.
Balancing the extreme high of being a brand new parent with the extreme low of feeling a level of self consciousness, due to body image, I had never experienced was a very strange place to be and after many a discussion with Rebecca it was mutually decided that control needed to be re established.
We identified some key areas of leverage such as times available to exercise and drilled down that we could allocate around 10-15 mins most days for a burst of intensity.This combined with a lifetime of health and fitness knowledge soon took shape into a well established fitness regime.
Over a period of time we also noticed that anyone we spoke to who had recently become a parent was also suffering from the same issues. Rebecca and I decided that this was too common of a problem to ignore and we embarked on what turned out to be an almost 3 year journey to launch our FifteenFit site. A journey which saw us go through multiple product names, a mobile fitness app, and a lot of hours planning building and writing product.
For me personally the biggest struggle whilst building FifteenFit was staying on track with the grind we have to do everyday in order to produce content and information, whilst holding down a full time job and being a husband and father. During this time we have had productive and non productive periods, but by realising that life can invariably get in the way it has become easier to accept that even though you don’t feel like putting in the work, you just have to do it. You will never have enough sleep or feel ready to go get after it 100% of the time but if you are ok with that, the results seem to flow.
This acceptance has helped in every aspect of my life. By understanding that there will be no orderly schedule in life with a newborn, I have found an orderly schedule. By realising that preparation, focus and discipline can make up for a lack of time or resources I have found more time when life is busier than it has ever been. And by doing this I have found that I am able to not just appreciate, but truly excel at my role as a husband and father. At 37 years old I am happier, healthier and in better shape than I have ever been.
There is no magic formula, secret sauce or hidden code that will give you the happiness and peace that you get from being healthy. It genuinely is grind. I have found how to get satisfaction and reward from that grind. I genuinely want to help any guy or girl who is running their own version of what I have described.
Rebecca and I want to build a community so that the knowledge and support to achieve your goals is available to everybody. Help us do that by sharing your story with us. We post on social everyday with our daily happenings. We have workouts & recipes free to everybody so go get stuck in. Post your pics on our Facebook and be part of helping change what is a massive part of every parents life. #pj
This post has been written from paul’s perspective.