How To Rock A Fitness Lifestyle
Today I’m chatting to a father of three who works twelve-hour work shifts but still has time to rock a fitness lifestyle. Get motivated and see how it all works while we chat about how to fit fitness and healthy eating into jam-packed, work-loaded scheduled.
- Develop STRONGER Glutes
- Rocking the Fitness Lifestyle – 0:35
- Meet Jeff (1:56)
- Making the Fitness Lifestyle Part of Your Daily Scheduling (5:17)
- Workout Tips (8:22)
- The Best Fitness Equipment (13:22)
- Staying Motivated with A Fitness Lifestyle (15:47)
- Healthy Food Habits (19:29)
- Wrap Up (26:27)
- Mentioned In the Podcast
- Connect With Jeff
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Welcome to the Fit as A Mama Bear podcast! I’m Shelby and certified strength coach, nutrition coach, mama to two and all-around health nut. This show is a little bit of everything a healthy fit and natural related.
So. if you’re striving the smash goals, eat better, feel better and enjoy the occasional mom rant. This is the place for you. You’re listening to episode 22 today where I’m chatting to Jeff, a father of three. Jedd has worked for the same company for 23 years and puts in 12-hour workdays. With all of that, he still finds the time to exercise and eat healthily… and we want to chat about how he does it.
Hello everyone. Thanks for tuning in today as I chat about a topic that I’m hoping will help motivate you to take the steps you need to live a healthier life.
With me today is Jeff and as I mentioned, he’s not only worked at the same company for 23 years, but he puts in over 12-hour days when he’s on shift.
The reason I brought Jeff on this show is that he’s a true example of making it all work and I thought that between the two of us, you might get some great actionable steps to help you shift some habits.
Let’s be honest, working out often takes a back burner. As a busy parent, we ended up with a zillion things on our to do list and we place our efforts elsewhere. And if you’re listening in today, it’s probably because you want to change that.
You want to make it work, but you’re stuck. The most common excuse I hear from potential clients is that they don’t have time, but the truth is neither do we. There’s a misconception that because I’m fit, I must have more time than you, but I don’t.
I work two and a half jobs from home and have two littles. Time is important to me too and I can rant all day about how eventually you just need to prioritize differently, but I guess we’ll get to that.
What I’d like to do today is break down how to make the fitness lifestyle and healthy eating thing practical as a busy parent so that it doesn’t seem like such an uphill climb. Before we delve into any of the tips, Jeff, welcome to the show. And why don’t you take a few moments to tell us a bit more about yourself and kind of how you came to be a super fit dad of three.
Well, thank you Shelby.
I’ve always been into lifting weights. I started way back in high school, but I’ve just had cheap Kmart weights and the cheap treadmill back then. I did that on and off for years. The fitness lifestyle to me was always just part of what I did because I didn’t really have a social life, so I watched a lot of Rocky movies, and I just always aspired to be like him.
Then, when I got up to 22 years old, that’s when I got to 205 pounds and just felt way too jiggly for a dude. I started working out even harder, but I didn’t focus on nutrition and right around that time was also when I had my first child.
Then the nutrition really went downhill because at that point you’re putting all of your attention on your baby rather than on yourself.
I was just eating whatever I could, whenever I could just to basically keep food in my body. Then, once I started getting jiggly, I said, “I’m going to set attainable goals”. I think a lot of people are hurt whenever they’re really overweight and they say, “okay, I want to get down to 150 pounds”.
I think by setting attainable goals, like “I’m 205 pounds, I want to get down to 180 pounds or 190 pounds”, that’s more realistic. Plus, it’s going to help you stay motivated. When you hit that goal, it’s going to be positive in your life.
Every time you get a positive, that’s going to motivate you and keep you going. So, that was my plan of action with the children. Working out with children in the house can be a little tricky, especially when they’re babies.
Especially once they learn how to crawl. The playpen was really good whenever he was a little teeny tiny baby, but then as more kids kept coming and it just was kind of tricky to do.
What I ended up doing was getting up super early in the morning. If I had to work at five in the morning, I’d get up around two 30 or three in the morning just to get my workout in because realistically after working 12 plus hours a day, there was no way I was going to come home and want to work out.
That’s me too. Personally, I would much rather get up early and do something than I would save it to the end of the day because by then you’re dreading it and it’s just your energy a little bit lower, you’re lackluster and you’re more likely to bail on it.
And then then I started reading and the internet just helped me learn more about nutrition and proper exercise form, getting the most out of my workouts.
Making the Fitness Lifestyle Part of Your Daily Scheduling (5:17)Making the Fitness Lifestyle Part of Your Daily Scheduling (5:17)
Well, let’s delve right into making fitness practical when you’re busy as hell and it doesn’t seem like you can ever squeeze it in. I’d say that point number one is that it needs to actually a fitness lifestyle and not just a quick fad or because you have a vacation coming up.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this too; it’s great to have a fitness goal, but how do you work it into your day to day lifestyle?
So, Jeff talked to me about scheduling and are you still working out that early or have you found a better system when you get your workouts in?
I say this a lot on my podcast, there are 24 hours in a day. Most people spend on average 2.25 to two and a half hours on social media every day. That’s not counting the time that people watch television.
Twenty-four hours is a long time. So, if you plan out your day, no matter what your schedule is, plan for at least an hour of exercise if that’s too much, a half-hour. But realistically there’s no reason not to be able to fit your fitness in.
Right now, I’m working night shifts because I just got promoted. So now my schedule is 5:00 PM to 6:00 AM but again, I still wake up a few hours before I have to wake up so that I can get my workout in.
But say you don’t have that option for whatever reason, here’s how to fit it in:
If you get a lunch break at work, which most people do, use it. I have a set of suspension straps in my filing cabinet at work. What I’ll do is I’ll go into the server room on top of one of the big metal things. There’s like a little round hook for some reason, I don’t know why it’s there, but it’s perfect for the suspension straps.
I can get in some suspension strap workouts. You can go to YouTube and you can YouTube search, 10-minute chest workout, bodyweight workout.
There’s plenty of ways to get your fitness in. I was on a podcast the other day where the ladies talked about walking every hour. She would walk around the building, which was about two minutes, so she worked 10 hours, 10-hour shifts, so right there without really doing anything. She’s getting 20 minutes’ worth of walking in a day without sacrificing anything at all and still being able to maintain her job function.
I love it. It’s all, it’s just the little stuff that adds up. I’m really impressed that you keep suspension straps at work. That makes my heart happy. That is so something I would do whenever we travel. It drives my husband bonkers because I’m always packing all this fitness equipment, but the thing is get it in where you can.
I’m an early morning workout person, which has been that way for a while. We normally work out at about 6:00 AM and we get up at five and we have to be at the door by seven so it’s very fast. It’s a little chaotic because obviously my girls are still teeny, but that’s the only time it works. So that’s when we make it happen. Whether or not we are sluggish and tired or have a rushed day, that’s the time that we work out.
And I would say so if you’re going to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, don’t wake up 30 minutes early because you’re not going to magically appear on the treadmill.
Give yourself about 15 minutes to physically wake up, brush your teeth, do what you need to do prior to getting on the treadmill. And honestly, my workouts start with a warmup on the treadmill as soon as I wake up. So, by the time I’m on the treadmill, I like to warm up. I have no idea what I’m even doing.
There’s no backing out.
That’s a really good tip. I have to have coffee before I work out. At least half a cup and then I’ll sometimes finish the cup while I’m working out. But it’s true. I’m not going wake up, rub my eyes and start lifting.
You do need that buffer time frame to kind of get your head in the game, get ready to go and get dressed. That’s a really good tip.
So, what are your workouts look like?
Well, as soon as I wake up every day, whether I have to get up really early for work or even on non-work out days, the first thing I do is take my pre-workout, grab my Bluetooth speaker, and get on the treadmill.
Then I do one mile warm-up on the treadmill just to get my blood flowing and get my body warmed up. And that’s me personally. Like I said, if I wait until later in the day, the excuses start to set in, I’m too tired, I’m too sore, et cetera, et cetera.
So, I’ll do my warmup on the treadmill. Then I’ll do some exercises, usually weight training exercises. Then some rotator cuff exercises because it helps keep your posture straight. Then I do some core exercises.
Then I’ll chill out for a few minutes. I’ll also do an app thing where I go for my daily food intake, my daily exercises and recipes and such. And then after I’m done with all of that, it’s usually about a half-hour, 45 minutes, I’ll jump on the treadmill and do a 30-minute steady-state cardio.
So, you’re coming in about an hour-long workout ish?
That’s on non-workdays. So, on workdays, I usually just do a 30-minute steady-state cardio on the treadmill. Then at work, I’ll try to fit in another 30 minutes.
Awesome. I’d like to point out to all the parents listening is to fit it in where you can. Sometimes there is not a complete workout straight through.
Sometimes those workouts or those exercises or those movements get a little bit broken up. But the fact that you are still doing something is going to matter.
Right. And so just to another point, if you don’t like treadmill or you don’t have a treadmill, there are super cheap workout options out there.
Like a jump rope is ridiculously effective and ridiculously cheap. Those ladder drills, as you know that like football people use those ladders. If you YouTube searched and drills for that, those are very effective and getting your heart rate up.
It doesn’t have to be the standard piece of workout equipment bike or a treadmill or a Stairmaster. So, I talked about this on my podcast a few weeks ago. PlayStation three I believe my kids had like all sorts of video games, there’s a game for the move, which is similar to the Nintendo WII, but it’s a boxing game. And I believe that how hard you move your arms is actually registered in the video game. So, if you’re like doing a fighting game, it’s, it can wind you just as quick as like hitting a heavy bag. Such a challenge.
I like it.
I don’t have any cardio equipment in my gym, that’s just not my thing. In my workouts, I lift heavy three days a week and those are, I’d say about 20 to 30 30 minutes long. And then two days a week I rock a mini circuit or an EMOM style workout that honestly averages about 15 minutes.
It’s still lifting based or strength, body weight, but done as a circuit. It kind of gets your heart rate up. Otherwise, I’m not a huge cardio person. It’s just preference. I do run every so often, but again, you don’t need a whole lot of equipment to get something in.
There are amazing bodyweight exercises out there. I know I have a lot those workouts up on my YouTube are resistance bands workouts just because they’re so easy for moms to do anywhere and you don’t need a lot of space for them.
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This allows you to target your postural muscles much better than with just your body weight. Bands are simple to use and extremely cheap. I am Dutch after all.
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And resistance bands and the suspension straps are so perfect to use. Most hotel gyms aren’t the greatest and they, at least for me, this is going to sound weird, but they don’t have heavy enough weights. So, if you have suspension straps or resistance bands, those there alone will get you in a very good workout.
Like I said, especially if you don’t know anything about them, just go to YouTube. You’ll find plenty of videos on exercises you can do with them.
Yeah, I adore my TRX straps, like absolutely love them. I trained on them without anything else for probably two years. It was awesome.
And if they get too easy, I have a 40-pound weight vest. If it gets too easy you can still add weight to it.
And how many days do you work out a week?
If you don’t count cardio, then I would say four. But if you count cardio then I’m usually doing seven unless something drastic happens.
That’s about the same. So, I do intensive like scheduled workouts five days a week and then the other two, well they’re rest days, but I want to just point out that I’m still moving.
And I think that’s what a lot of parent’s kind of underestimate or overlook is that it doesn’t always need to be a scheduled workout, but you do need some move throughout the day. If you’re truly going to be more fit and healthy and be able to play with your kids, you need to make movement part of every single day, whether it’s scheduled or routine based.
You need to move.
How do you stay motivated to do it all then?
Whew. The mirror is actually a big motivator for me. For Thanksgiving weekend, it was all planned out. I had told myself I was going to eat whatever I wanted on Thanksgiving Day and because it was Thanksgiving, so why not? So that was cool.
The next day woke up, did my treadmill workout, which was exactly like I planned. Then I took a little road trip to West Virginia and that’s where everything went to heck. So, from that point on, I just was eating ridiculously fatty, crazy foods in like the matter of we’ll say three, four days, I’ve put on 10 pounds.
Right? So, my fitness lifestyle motivation basically comes from knowing that if I do you get out of hand, I don’t work out because nutrition in my head is way more important than actually lifting.
If I’m in a situation where I know I won’t be able to work out, then I’m going to focus on nutrition. The motivation for me is knowing that if I slip up, I’m super quick to put on weight. Remember, I got up to 205 when I was 21 years old. Knowing that I got up that heavy, that quick means that if I didn’t work out now an eat healthy now, I would probably be like one of those dudes on my 600-pound life.
That’s a big motivator.
I’m also posting weekly pictures of my progress since Thanksgiving, just to basically have some accountability for my actions.
If my pictures were me getting heavier and heavier than why would people want to listen to anything I say? So, this way I have proof that you know, if you do this, this and this, you will get results.
I like it. For me, I haven’t had aesthetic goals in a very long time. I don’t gain weight easily. I can stay pretty small, just not overly lean when I stop lifting.
But for me, it’s more performance-based. I want to be able to do all the things with my girls. And I don’t want to have to say I can’t play tag because I’m winded or sore or I can’t run next to your bike because of etc.
I just want to be able to do all of the things. And sometimes I think those that mindset’s a little bit harder when it comes to saying consistently. If you skip a workout, it’s probably not the end of the world.
But when you look at the bigger picture, it’s a huge motivator for me to be able to chase, run and climb with my girls. And that just makes me want to be super strong and super fit. It makes it an easy motivator mentally to kind of try and do it all.
Agreed. And you know with running and jumping and climbing when you are doing that it’s a great workout. I always try each day I try to do one thing better than the day before.
Even if it’s only lifting an extra one pound, then to me that’s a success. Even if it’s not a huge milestone, any improvement is an improvement. That’s my goal every day is just to try to do something better.
I like it. That’s definitely my goal. To push harder.
I went through a phase where I kind of slacked in my workouts. I still did them, but I was more going through the motions versus actually pushing.
And then for me, the reminder of what I want to be able to do now makes me genuinely push through them and struggle. Not struggle through them but push through that mental block that says you don’t need the last rep right now.
How do you find the times eat healthy with those shifts? What kind of tips can you give everyone to kind of fit in healthy eating?
Okay, so if you’re married it’s, well if you’re married and have a super awesome wife then it’s super easy because she makes all of my breakfast and lunch meals for me in advance. Right now, I have my entire next week’s lunches and dinners in the freezer.
Your wife is my hero.
But for workdays, I’ve been eating the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch for the past 23 years just because I know it’s nutritious. I know what the macros are in it and I know if eat that and stick to it, I’m not going to get off course.
So, I’m not a prepper except for workdays. Then on non-workdays, I try to have a lot of protein, some vegetables, and then I will also have a snack.
Usually, stuff I find online that is chocolate because I love chocolate. Speaking of that, I’ve been eyeballing your peanut butter jelly cookies, I believe.
Oh my, the flowerless ones? They’re tasty.
That’s going to be my little treat when I get back to 153lbs.
They’re super tasty. And you really can’t go wrong with peanut butter and jelly.
Dude, I love peanut butter.
But if I can afford to have a snack, then I will if I want one, but I’m not going to eat, just eat a random snack all Willy nilly. It has to fit into my macros, and it can’t be every day either. It has to be structured and I have to stay disciplined. Otherwise, that’s when it goes to heck,
I’m a little bit more lax now. I used to be a bit more rigid that way, but I’m a little bit more relaxed.
I tend to be a snacker. I think my biggest tip to fit in healthy food is to make it.
I’m a veggie-based person, so I make sure that vegetables and proteins are already prepped or cooked in the fridge so that it makes it easy grab and go. Because stir fry is like the easiest meal you can make.
And then we have, I’d say probably eight to 10 meals that we just rotate through week after week. We do have something different for breakfast or lunch each day, but we have those core meals that we rotate through that we all love because I think that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel and try something new every single day. It’ll make you crazy.
And then I always have snacks prepped in the freezer. No-bake protein bars, and energy balls or protein muffins are almost always in the freezer for grabbing those situations just to make life a little bit easier.
Treat wise. I’m a chocolate fanatic also because who doesn’t love chocolate? I normally just try and make healthier versions instead of grabbing a kit Kat type of thing.
But the truth is, it’s never going to work until you put some sort of effort in. Shifting a habit is super hard and making a fitness lifestyle is super overwhelming.
I think that it comes down to, unfortunately, you just have to put in the effort and stick with it and be consistent.
There’s also, in addition to your snacks, I mean there’s plenty of like other snacks out there.
I have these, they’re called bakery brownies that are like 37 calories. Then I take some dark chocolate hummus and one serving that’s like 30 40 calories. Spread that on top.
I mean even if you’re a chocolate lover, there are some options out there where you can still get your fix with chocolate in without going crazy.
I think kind of having a bit of a trial and error as to what works for you is the best way to go because everyone’s going to have a bit of a different system when it comes to food.
Figure out what works for you in terms of sanity, energy,and fueling and then tweak from there is the, is the best way that I would do it.
For all the parents that they’re listening to sum it up: If you’re looking at making a fitness lifestyle work versus a two-month kind of thing, the biggest tips I can give you are faster workouts.
You don’t need to be in the gym for 90 minutes. It’s not going to happen, especially if you have super young kids.
Faster workouts can be just as effective.
Play around with time. It’s not always going to happen at the same time every day, and it’s okay if it’s a bit broken up. But get movement in while you can and then, and this is the biggest tip: stop scrolling on social media until your workouts are in.
I know it sounds harsh, but we waste so much time scrolling on our phones when really those 20-minute intervals that you just got drowned in Instagram could have easily put towards a quick workout, which would be a bigger bang for your buck.
There’s no quick fix. There’s no easy answer. I really wish I could give you one, but if you want to make rock fitness lifestyle, you’re going to have to commit to it and schedule it out.
So, Jeff, any other tips that you’d add? Final, last words?
Just one: You do have time. There’s plenty of time in the day if you do decide to work out at home, I would recommend working out at home. And I would also recommend starting off with something simple like resistance bands. They don’t take up a lot of room. They’re very inexpensive and you can pretty much do the majority of the necessary movements with them.
I second that. Resistance bands are amazing.
And they’re low impact. If you’re brand new to exercise, you have way less likely to injure yourself.
And people that have been doing it for a while, keep in mind everyone messes up. Everyone has bad days, everyone has weaknesses.
Mine is chocolate and peanut butter. If you mess up one day, get back on track. So, one day in six months, if you mess up one day out of it, six months, it’s unmeasurable. If you mess up one day and stay off track, that’s where it gets messy.
Don’t focus on the game you lost. Focus on the game you’re in. Every day is a new game.
I love that. That’s a killer mindset.
Well thank you bunches for coming onto the podcast today and for all the listeners, I truly hope you took some valuable tips to work yourself into a fitness lifestyle.
It doesn’t need to be all or nothing, but you do need to try.
For all of you looking to connect with Jeff, you can find him at Fittinthisfitnessin.com
On that note, check back soon to catch the next episode of the fit as a mama bear podcast. And if you took one lesson from today’s podcast, I hope it’s that staying fit can be practical, but it takes work, consistency, and making yourself a priority.
- Trx Straps
- Shoulder Mobility Workout
- At Home Workout Equipment
- Agility Ladder Drills
- An At-home EMOM Workout
- How To MASTER Working Out At Home
- Red Resistance Band – use code mamabearfit
- Green Mini Loop – use code mamabearfit
- How To Boost Activity Outside Of Workouts
- PB & J Flourless Cookies