Juggling Family and Fitness: Live Life on Your Terms

From what we’ve learned, most people don’t plan to fail but they fail to plan. When it comes to having a family and being fit, that goes double.

My wife Katie and I wake up at 6:30 am every morning. Let’s get real, it’s chaos—we get ready for work, we make breakfast, and make sure our baby boy is ready for his 8:30 drop off at daycare. As of now, we only have one son, but as our family grows our routine will have to change.

Our morning is a sprint to eat, pack lunches, workout clothes, work bags, and get out the door. We give each other our goodbye kisses, hugs, and we’re off. This is the life of our typical young family. Of course, we have all the normal stresses any family would: bills, work, my business, our personal health, and friends and family time to manage. Being healthy has become a way of life, but it didn’t start out that way.

Our Journey to Health

Our journey to health started about eight years ago after never paying attention to diet, sleep, or having any kind of regimented schedule. Prior to living a healthy life, we were both professional athletes who worked out for our sports, but never had much of a long-term health plan. Because of this, we both suffered from injuries related to malnourishment and had poor recovery and inflammation at relatively young ages. At the age of 23, even though I looked healthy from the outside, my blood work didn’t show the pinnacle of health. I was severally B-12 deficient and had high insulin levels. When you’re uneducated, you think you’re impervious to a healthy diet and that exercise will be enough. Much of my issues were due to this. I remember eating pizza after a workout and practice and thinking it was completely acceptable because I could burn the calories off anyway. I was one of those guys who spent a lot of time in the gym but ate fast food, drank alcohol, and never stuck to any scheduling or anything regimented. I used to think that fitness just happens and that my genetics would carry me through. But this was far from the truth.

Most people live their lives in a cause and effect scenario. When I was 26, a college teammate and ex-professional football player friend of mine passed away from a sudden massive heart attack. He was 27 years old and looked like Superman from the outside. In the autopsy, it was found that he had high cholesterol that went undetected. This ultimately lead to him dying within hours after a run on a treadmill. This concept shook me. How could someone so fit and athletic pass away from high cholesterol? I immediately changed my habits and took a deeper consider my overall health. Yes, we wanted to be able to compete in Crossfit and Olympic weightlfting competitions for fun, but we wanted to make sure our bodies were as clean as possible. We started to pay attention to labels, we dissected a menu when we would go out to eat. We started shopping a farmer’s markets and asking better questions of the vendors there. We stayed away from processed foods, gluten, sugar, and anything else we thought would hinder our health.

What my wife Katie and I do to stay fit may be unorthodox to some, but it has become highly effective for us. We are not your freakish 5:00 am workout people. We don’t eat 100% clean like robots. We enjoy food just as much as the next person. We are not personal trainers or gym junkies. We are now professionals who have careers outside the scope of fitness. My wife is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I am a financial consultant and business owner.

We feel we can teach you to have it all.

It Starts with a Calendar Commitment

To us, Sunday is not only a day of rest and spirituality, but it is a day of planning. From what we’ve learned, most people don’t plan to fail but they fail to plan. One of the biggest steps we take in controlling our life is controlling our calendar. We plan our week every Sunday—from meals, pickups and drop offs, to workout times, and even a date night every Friday. One of the greatest gifts sports gave us is to create a schedule then stick to it. We recently bought a dry erase calendar board and posted it on our refrigerator. What Katie and I know is that we must stick to our calendar to get optimum results.

Every Sunday our routine looks like this:

  • Wake up at 7:30 am
  • Arrive at the gym by 9:00 am
  • Katie works out while I hang with the baby 9-10 am

Katie packs in about 60 minutes of a very intense workout. Using this discipline can be rigorous. Prior to having our son, we would take our sweet time in the gym and be there for three hours doing whatever. Our intensity wasn’t as high, which means we would focus more on building muscle over maintaining health. Now we know we have to get in as much as we can so it has forced us to focus on what is most important—overall health versus aesthetics and performance. Our intensity is higher during our workouts, which adds another element that I’ll add to in our next article.

Once she is finished, I’ll do the same workout from 10-11 am as she watches our young son. Then, we are off to do our Sunday shopping from 11:30-12:30 at the local farmer’s market and Trader Joe’s.

We eat all organic, non-GMO vegetables and fruit. We also get our grass-fed meat, eggs, and poultry from the farmer’s market, as well. Trader Joe’s gets us the other essentials we can’t find at the market, things such as gluten free breads, almond milk, sparkling water, etc.

The remainder of our Sundays look like this:

  • 12:30 pm – Eat lunch
  • 1-3 pm – Meal preparation for the week – We make/prep full meals and package them in containers. At minimum three lunches each and three dinners. We will share these recipes in later articles.
  • 3-8 pm – Family time
  • 8 pm – Calendar review for the week – This is when we schedule days and times to workout, organize pick ups, drop offs, and any other plans that week. Obviously, calendars may change, but we schedule the most important weekly activities first and workout around those sacred times.

Our priority ranking system looks like this:

1. Family time

2. Exercise time

3. Work and business time (This is mainly for me because I run my own business.)

By organizing beforehand, we are fully in control of our week. As opposed to being reactive to what happens to us, we are active. This is a huge deal for most people because they get caught up in their busy lives and forget about themselves. We have been there. With all that life throws at us, we found that having a priority list keeps us focused, and the most important things, such as family and health, are never disregarded. What we have found is that by having control of our calendar, and living up to all of our high priority commitments, there is no way to fail.

Keeping Our Commitments

The biggest objection personal trainers get from their clientele is that they don’t have the time to organize themselves. However, time is just a matter of priority. Fitness is high priority for us, but family comes first. There are days where we break a workout commitment to spend time as a family after a long day at work, as opposed to going the gym. If you are struggling with regular exercise or healthy eating, usually it’s because there isn’t a strong enough reason for you to take action. As Malcolm X said, “That in which you do not hate, you will eventually tolerate.”

We believe discipline is what you want now versus what you want most. I’ve never met a healthy person who didn’t embrace challenges and change. Most people coast. They just don’t have a big enough reason to change their lifestyle. They do just enough to survive, but not thrive. Katie and I want to thrive, and we want to teach you how we do it.

Live Life On Your Terms

We believe that people should live life on their own terms while keeping health a priority. We have weeks where unexpected events occur, just as everyone does. We have times where we feel overwhelmed and fearful that we are letting certain things slip through the cracks. The key for us is that we want to be there when our grandkids graduate from college, get married, and have babies of their own. We want to live the longest and most fulfilling life possible. We want to be there for the special moments, the athletic and scholastic achievements, the travel, our grandbaby’s first Christmas, and everything else that life’s experiences will bring us. Without our health where would we end up?

Katie and I want to help you invest the time in what is going to grow your health, family, and spirit. Pay close attention to our next few articles and video logs. You won’t want to miss them.

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