Besides the obvious changes to your body, making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle comes with some pretty amazing side effects that can overhaul your entire life.
Here are five things you can expect to happen once you make the decision to be a Fit Dad:
1. You’ll sleep better
Restless, unfulfilling sleep plagues many of the fathers I know. Not surprisingly, this is accompanied by a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Sleep is so undeniably important when it comes to recharging and refueling your body, especially as a father taking care of not only your needs, but also the needs of your children.
Obviously, the health benefits of exercise are clear. Beyond that, there is a ton of evidence to show that exercise and better sleep go hand in hand.
For me, getting a solid sleep each night means I can jump right out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5:07 a.m. so I can be at the gym ready to hit it hard by 5:45.
2. Your priorities change
As my own father said in his Featured Fit Dad Q&A back in September, once you decide to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle, “You have to make it a priority and stick with it long enough that it becomes part of who you are.”
There are some studies that suggest it takes 21 days to create a habit. Other studies say it could take three times that long.
Everyone will be different, but once that change occurs – and you’ll know when it does – you’ll find yourself rearranging other aspects of your life that once seemed immovable in favor of healthier choices.
Getting up 30 minutes earlier to get some cardio in? Totally doable.
Skipping that episode of your favorite TV drama to hit the gym? No problem.
Ordering “just water” at your favorite restaurant instead of soda? Yes please!
One thing, though: Make sure in all of your re-prioritization to include time with your family. Remember, the whole point of being a Fit Dad is to be there for your children, both emotionally and physically. Don’t create an unhealthy relationship with the gym and exercise by neglecting your relationship with your family or your spouse.
3. Your schedule adjusts
This goes right along with your changing priorities.
Dedicating yourself to being a Fit Dad often brings about changes in your daily routine you once thought ridiculous.
Getting up before the sun so you can get a great workout in before heading to work? For many, the idea is laughable. Once I dedicated myself to getting fit, those early morning wake-ups became a need rather than a bother.
Going grocery shopping every week and making it home in time to cook dinner each night for you and your family? It’s amazing how quickly you can build a love of a good, home-cooked, HEALTHY meal that replaces your desire for the quick-and-easy heart-attack-in-a-box that takeout offers.
A Sunday afternoon nap sounds nice… But so does a awesome gym sesh!
Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me…if you’ve made fitness a part of who you are, you’ll be sitting on the couch one Sunday afternoon watching football and think to yourself, “As soon as this game is over, I gotta hit the gym. Today’s back and biceps day!”
That’s when you know you’re hooked on this fitness stuff!
4. You feel more confident
Look good. Feel good.
It’s really as simple as that.
Despite what the latest grocery store rags tell you, the “Dad Bod” does little to inspire men to be more confident, more outgoing or more assertive.
The problem often is guys don’t stick it out long enough to see the results of their effort (see the link earlier about forming habits), and so they lose the very confidence they seek to gain, and they spiral back into unhealthy habits.
Stick with it, and the confidence will come in spades. And confidence has it’s own side effects that will spill over into all other areas of your life, from your friendships to your family to your job.
5. You’ll want to get others to join you
This why I started FitDadFitness.com.
The changes I’ve experienced in my own life since making the decision to be a Fit Dad back in 2012 have inspired me to try to motivate others to do the same.
You feel like such a badass as you watch your body undergo the significant changes it goes through once you start making better and better choices about your health and physical fitness. From breathing easier to sleeping more soundly to losing weight to building muscle – or whatever your health and fitness goals may be – actually achieving those milestones is inspirational, not just internally to yourself, but outwardly to others around you.
It’s only natural to want others to experience the same sense of accomplishment and pride.
It’s not easy. In fact, it’s really freaking hard sometimes. But it is SO worth it.