‘Watch out for them booby traps!’ What an awesome movie. (Come on, you know? The Goonies was the best movie of the 1980s.)
This week, I want to give you a little insight into some of the booby traps I find my clients often fall into.
They’re usually little things that affect bigger goals. They’re like the pieces of Lego placed carefully on the landing so that when you go for a midnight visit to the toilet, you nearly break your neck walking over them.
These booby traps can set dads back massively from achieving fitness success and, like all well-set traps, will catch you totally unawares. (I know from my own experience on this one.)
1). Eating the leftovers
No one likes food to go to waste, especially when it’s fish fingers and chips (or is that just me?).
That said, you know kids – they are always going to leave food because they want to leave room for dessert.
If this is a regular occurrence (it happens every day in our house), these extra calories are going to have an impact on your waistline.
I speak about calories all the time.
They count, even if you don’t count them.
What am I saying?
Yes, food waste is a shame, certainly, as there are many people in the world that go without.
It’s not your responsibility to eat all the leftovers just because your mum said good food should not go to waste.
2). Calories in beer
Sorry about this one, boys, but this is where calories will literally kill your success.
Now, I am not one for just having a couple.
My nature dictates that I’m an ALL OR NOTHING drinker.
It’s very silly of me, and it’s something I personally need to work on continually.
That said, I do know that a lot of my clients like to have a couple on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I have clients who have a couple every night.
What does this mean?
Ever heard the phrase: ‘if it fits your macros’?
This means that if your overall calorie allowance for the day is 2500, in order to lose body fat (if this is your goal – and for most dads over 30, this is going to be a goal for sure), you need to factor in the couple of beers to what you consume.
‘So, how many calories are in beer?’ I hear you ask.
Sorry, team: these are the calorie counts from the website www.drinkaware.co.uk:
Typical pint of beer – 182 calories.
Typical bottle of beer – 142 calories.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can polish off 10 bottles in one session easily.
I will add a caveat to that, though: I will always offset these calories with a beast of a walk and reduced calories the day after.
I advise my clients to manage their alcohol intake in the same way.
Some like to have a couple of pints most evenings – I just advise them to off-set the calories with exercise or not eat as much the next day.
3). Time warp
Ever since I worked in a butcher’s shop from the age of 14, I’ve been an early bird.
This has paid off hugely as I’ve got older.
When it comes to my own fitness program, and those I’ve devised for most of my clients, I can’t stress enough how getting a workout in early doors helps massively with adherence.
If you manage to get your session in early in the day, that gives you the rest of the day with no stress about fitting in a workout.
Anything else you do exercise-wise is a bonus.
The most popular excuse for not training is that by the end of the day, people are knackered and can’t be bothered.
Trust me: getting out of bed 30-45 minutes earlier to smash a workout will blast your fitness success into overdrive.
4). The unsupportive partner
This can work both ways.
That said, I am building a fitness community to support dads who want to get fit, not their partners, so I will talk from a dad’s perspective.
What has been strange to witness with some of the guys I have worked with recently is that their partners have been unsupportive (often in an indirect way) with their fitness goals.
What do I mean by ‘indirect’?
Well, they don’t come out and say: ‘Right, I’m not happy you are trying to get fitter, stronger and leaner so you can perform better as a father due to the positive mindset this gives you as a human being.’
No – what happens is that there will be subtle things going on. I’ve heard stories of partners piling my clients’ plates up with food when it is their turn to cook, knowing this means unnecessary calories, even though portion size has already been discussed. I’ve heard stories of partners making it almost impossible for my clients to train by guilt-tripping them into feeling like it makes them a more supportive person to stay as they are.
Our partners have more power over our decisions than we realize sometimes, so it’s worth just having an awareness of whether your partner is supporting you in your quest for fitness or whether they are sabotaging your progress.
If it is the latter, it’s time to call a relationship meeting, work out why this is happening, and get your partner onside (possibly by getting them involved too).
5). Shopping on an empty stomach
I don’t have much experience of this these days, as we do our shopping online. (It’s so much easier and saves a lot of time – which is hugely valuable as a parent, right?)
That said, back in the day, if I stepped into Tesco on a Friday afternoon having not eaten anything since breakfast, I would be straight to the Doritos and sweets.
Don’t get me wrong: having this type of food is ok if it fits within your calories for that day (if you are training to lose body fat, that is).
However, I remember that I would literally eat my whole daily calorie quota before I even had a chance to pay for the rest of the shopping.
Before you do the shopping, make sure you eat something that fits in more readily with your fitness goals.
It is that simple.