Achieve Goals with Metric Tracking

Achieve Goals with Metric Tracking

How do you know if you are on track with achieving your fitness goals?

Tracking metrics such as weight, body measurements and Personal Best achievements is a great way of measuring progress of achieving goals. In fact, without this essential component of a S.M.A.R.T goal, it is impossible to Measure progress or success in achieving your goal.

Tracking metrics has also been a great way for me to stay motivated. I made bold promises in my Dad Bod post, claiming to be on the verge of a total health transformation. It didn’t take long for me to forget those promises and my beer induced stomach protrusion continues to sustain it’s own gravity.

I decided I needed something more than relying on motivation alone to help shrink the gut and generally be fitter, healthier and happier. I wanted a visual representation of my progress. I’m a bonafide spreadsheet nerd, so naturally this called for one.

Download your Template

The spreadsheet I created allows me to see my improvement even though physical changes to my body arenโ€™t yet visible. This works so well for me that I wanted to share the template with readers who are looking for a tool to keep motivated and track goal progress the template can be downloaded via the link below:

This template allows you to track physical measurements, running distance/pace and resistance training including PB’s. A sample of the spreadsheet can be found below:

Preview of the Physical Metric Tracking Spreadsheet

Tips for Tracking Physical Metrics

Below are some easy to follow instructions for tracking metrics which are also contained within the spreadsheet for reference:

  1. Remember, the number on the scales doesn’t tell the whole story. It is important to record a number of physical metrics to track your overall progress. Our bodies are complicated and weight alone isn’t an accurate measure of overall health/fitness.
  2. In addition to tracking metric measurements, take a front and side photo of yourself. This is a great visual measure of the changes your body goes through as you achieve your fitness goals. Insert this in your spread sheet for some extra motivation.
  3. Try to take physical measurements in the same position each time to ensure accuracy. You can even use features on your body to help, for example I use a mole on my right bicep as a marker for measurements.
  4. The spreadsheet is intended to be used as a tool for measuring progress of achieving your own fitness goals. Feel free to change it any way you see fit to suit yourself.
  5. Add a fortnightly reminder on your phone to take measurements and weight yourself. Weight especially fluctuates so much that if you weigh your self too frequently, it may be disheartening and is likely to be de-motivating.

Yes, nice to mole you–meet you! Nice to meet your mole! Don’t say mole.

Austin Powers, Goldmember

As always, if you have any pointers of your own to share or improvements to offer up for the spreadsheet template please feel free to share in the comments. Remember, Quintessential Dad is a community for sharing experiences and knowledge so we can become better blokes!

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

Part 1 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Righto legends, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and well, stop shoving so much junk food and alcohol into my mouth and get my pasty white rig moving again. Following on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative, the following article will form the basic template for future posts which will be published each fortnight inline with my metric tracking measurements. There will also be a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep motivation up.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, I figure a good starting point is to reflect on the reasons for wanting to improve my health and wellbeing. Millennials call it, ‘finding your why?‘.

I call it no longer wanting to be a fat fucker and actively working to improve my self-confidence, improve my mindset, live longer for my family, set a good example for my kids and lead a more active lifestyle. I encourage you to take some time to think about this, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it every day so you are constantly reminded of your reasons to make positive changes in your life.

Goal Setting

Now that we understand the deeper drivers behind our desire to strive for health and wellbeing (rather than simply wanting to fit your into your favourite jeans again), we need decide on what improvements we are actually working towards and set some goals. My goals are listed in the table below and are currently weight-loss oriented. These goals will be statued each fortnight to ensure I am still tracking along well. This will be a good way to check-in and reassess if the goals are appropriate and if I am doing everything humanly possible to ensure I am going to crush them. Once I am comfortable with this, I will shift my focus to performance based goals and focus on some more specific detail.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks Fitness26th AprilTBA
Complete 2 guided runs per week (using the Nike Running app)MindfulnessWeeklyTBA
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeeklyTBA
My weight-loss oriented health goals

Importantly, I’ll break these goals down into ‘micro-goals’ on a day-to day basis to achieve some small wins, keeping me motivated and focused.

Physical Metrics

This part is a bit scary because although I know I’ve let myself go a bit, I have now quantified how much I’ve let myself go. Again, it’s an important step to take and I’m deciding to use it as more motivation rather than deflation. Here are my metrics and some photos which will be considered the baseline for all progress I make. You can learn more about tracking physical metrics by clicking on this link where you can also download the excel spreadsheet I use for tracking – complete with sexy graphs.

Starting weight: 102.5kg


Initial physical metrics using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

Energy Deficit

After reading Not a Diet Book by James Smith, I learnt that creating an energy deficit is a fundamental requirement for weight loss. So one of my focus areas will be tracking food energy using the MyFitness Pal app and exercising in accordance with my goals above.

In my post The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness, I touch on the importance of small wins, making sustainable lifestyle changes and abstinence from alcohol which are also key elements.

I’ll cover all of these topics and more in much more detail for future posts as part of this series.

Summary

In the coming weeks I’ll share further details about my workouts, nutrition, inevitable struggles, progress and informative (hopefully entertaining) articles pertaining to health and wellbeing – specifically for dads.

Get Involved

I encourage you to get involved and share your story so we can support each other in prioritising our physical and mental health as busy dads. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

#dadbodtodadrig

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

New Years Shitalution

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year and relish the opportunity to hit the reset button so we can wake up on the 1st of January with a whole new lease on life, ready to tackle life’s many challenges and resolve our personal shortfalls (again).

It’s a chance to say Salada Biscuit (Australian for ‘see you later’) and thanks for all the fish, or chicken, or aardvark, or whatever other innocent animal we can blame for instigating a global pandemic.

We are all guilty of setting ourselves entirely achievable goals for the new year only to experience a disappointing fail before we’ve even finished gorging ourselves on the Christmas lunch scraps. Our big dreams and aspirations shat and pissed on as a result of hefty self-sabotage. A big ol’ fuck you to yourself for even thinking you could improve yourself. Life still exists on the other side of the holiday break remember, ya numpty.

Now what?

Enter the dadBod to dadRig Initiative.

What is this rig bullshit, I hear you ask?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Basically, since becoming a father I have gained weight at an alarming rate and amount a number of factors I believe this is because the moment we become a dad, we loose the element of selfishness that actually works to preserve our health. With no sign of self-confidence on the horizon (I can just hear my wife’s sigh as I write this since I have made this claim on numerous other occasions) I’m ready for a change and I know you are too, dads.

Obviously, new year resolutions are bullshit and they don’t work. New Years Shitalutions. The dadBod to dadRig Initiative is my attempt to inspire meaningful and sustainable change and provide virtual support to other dads who are keen to drop some kilos and represent a mean, lean DadRig. Ultimately, this is about improving our mental and physical health which are intrinsically connected elements of our being and should be more of a focus for dads in general. If our mental and physical wellbeing is not maintained, the detrimental impacts propagate through every aspect of our lives and our kids are clever enough to notice.

None of this New Years Shitalution rubbish. Get after it!

How will it work?

The DadBod to DadRig Initiative is completely free and is aimed squarely at providing dads with support, motivation, encouragement and education to assist with crushing individual health goals. The initiative will consist of:

  1. Series of blog posts, information and motivation to keep us focused on achieving goals distributed on a regular basis. Some of the topics that will be covered as part of the series include:
    • Alcohol and its effects on weight-loss
    • Benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing
    • Healthy recipes and workout plans
    • Practical tips for getting your workouts in – balancing family and work
    • Sharing apps, books and resources which may assist with achieving health goals
  2. Virtual accountability and support provided by yours truly and other dads working towards their health goals. Share your goals, successes and failures with the DadRig team so we can all learn and improve. Instagram, MyFitness Pal and this blog will be the mediums for our virtual community.
  3. I will share my personal progress as I work to lose a total of 16kg, build self-confidence and shift my focus from this weight-loss goal to performance goals via a fortnightly blog post (to coincide with my metric measurements)

Get Involved

The best part about getting involved is the zero cost element. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

Alright, legends. Now that we are virtually connected it’s time to make this happen. I’ll be sharing an initial weigh-in, photos and a bit of a spiel about my goals and why I have set them for myself this Monday 4th January, then fortnightly after that. Blog posts will be published on a weekly basis so be sure to sign up so you don’t miss any.

Please do get in touch and share your story so we can support each other in transforming our dadBods to dadRigs both physically, and mentally.

#dadbodtodadrig


For other great dad-related content, head over to Feedspot and checkout the Top 100 Father Blog list: https://blog.feedspot.com/father_blogs/

Book Review: Not a Diet Book

Book Review: Not a Diet Book

Verdict: I highly recommend reading this book if your goal is to lose weight. You will be enlightened with practical advice and a refreshing perspective on weight loss in general. The information is presented in a uniquely James Smith way, which personally resonated with me. Many of the ideas in the book are contrary to popular belief however are backed by scientific research which the reader is encouraged to investigate further.

I’ve read this book three times and have learnt new things each time I have read it.

Damning Review of the Fitness Industry

The book kicks off with insight into the sad state of affairs currently plaguing the fitness industry. James Smith is embarrassed that the industry is more focused on making a profit and trapping people in the endless obesity loop to guarantee a steady income rather than helping people live better and more fulfilling lives. As a personal trainer, James is on the front line dealing with real people who need help, so he makes it his mission to disrupt the current focus of the industry, dispel myths and genuinely help people achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.

Energy Fucking Defecit

A key concept of the book is eloquently described by James Smith as the ‘energy fucking defecit‘. See why this book resonated with me so well now?

Essentially, the successful outcome of any fad diet is always a result of creating an energy deficit i.e. energy in (eating) is less than energy out (being alive, physical movement). No matter if you’ve been coaxed into a juice cleanse, vegan, vegetarian, keto or some other new craze – weight loss will always be a direct result of an energy deficit.

It’s a simple concept, but it has been overshadowed in a world of buzz words, celebrity diet endorsement and fancy advertising campaigns. Although the reader is not ordered to immediately throw out all of their Keto Cookbooks, the intention is to arm you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about how you fuel your body for weight-loss.

Track Energy Intake

There is one surefire way to determine if you are successfully running at an energy fucking deficit and that is to maintain a food diary. The recommended app for this is MyFitness Pal which I have been using and found to be an excellent way of tracking my energy intake on the go.

I started by not changing my diet at all and tracking exactly what I usually ate for three days. It was horrifying. I could not believe how much energy was in the food I inhaled each day. Coupled with very little to no physical activity, it’s any wonder I’m rocking the DadBod.

I won’t go into too much detail here but basically you can calculate your maintenance energy requirements, then establish your deficit from there. There is a calculator on the James Smith Academy website to get you started.

I discovered that instead of a 2500kJ deficit, I was consuming a 2500kJ surplus. Weight gain is inevitable at this rate and I had no idea I was doing that to myself until I applied my newfound knowledge courtesy of James Smith.

Focus on a Protein Target

Another important concept is focusing on a macro target, specifically protein. Among the many benefits of consuming an appropriate amount of protein including muscle development, reducing appetite and regulating blood pressure, protein has the highest thermic effect of all macronutrients. That is, protein requires up to 30% of it’s own energy just to digest it and make it available for your body to use. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).

You’ll need to read the book to get the details on this but essentially it involves a quick calculation to determine your individual protein requirements, then carbohydrates and fats can make up the rest of the daily energy requirements. You can then configure your MyFitness Pal app to match your individual energy requirements and track your progress each day.

Up Your N.E.A.T.

N.E.A.T. or Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is another key concept of the book which seems obvious now that I understand it but previously I hadn’t given it much consideration in terms of weight loss.

Put simply, N.E.A.T. is any energy expenditure outside planned exercise, eating or sleeping such as taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking to work instead of driving.

The reader is encouraged to Up Your N.E.A.T. in order to increase the energy deficit and I think that is a great concept as exercise can feel like a chore. Upping your N.E.A.T. is essentially exercise in disguise… free exercise, as it were.

N.E.A.T. and other physical activity forms part of the ‘energy out’ component of the energy fucking deficit. The greater the deficit, the quicker the weight loss so it makes sense to increase the deficit easily in our day to day lives without feeling like it is taking any more effort.

Performance Goal Setting

As perviously mentioned, exercise can feel like a chore. James Smith has an answer for this which is encouraging the reader to change their mindset and focus on performance goals which has resulted in much higher success rates for his clients and generally keeps motivation high.

If your goal is to loose weight, focus on this initially then transition into performance based goals. Not only will this help to maintain motivation but it will transform your mindset so instead of thinking like a low-self confidence, overweight, DadBod possessing sad sack, you will start to think like an athlete and you will become unstoppable.

Summary

Well, I’m still fat. However, this book has armed me with the knowledge, confidence and belief that I can loose my excess fat in the new year which I have now been struggling with for many years now.

If you’ve been looking at this book on the promotional stands at your local book store and thinking about giving it a go, I would encourage you to do so. I truly believe reading this book will benefit a lot of dads struggling with their ‘baby-weight’. It’s not just for the blokes either. There is a whole chapter dedicated to women’s mensural cycles and the effects on weight-loss. Give it a crack and let me know your thoughts by commenting on this post.

Thats right, I want you to get a bit fat at Christmas.

James Smith

Resources

The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness

The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness

I just went on a really short run to keep my little health and fitness venture heading in the right direction. Iโ€™ve learnt some really important things over the last month which I think could really help other blokes working to get their health and fitness back on track. 

๐€๐ฅ๐œ๐จ๐ก๐จ๐ฅ has had more of an influence on many aspects of my life than I realised. I havenโ€™t had a drop since the 13th of July (25 days) which is a huge achievement for me. It has been much easier to abstain than I ever imagined since the benefits have been so noticeable. I have experienced better sleep, improved mood and ability to control my emotions, clearer skin and weight loss (which was bizarrely preceded by weight gain). Perhaps the benefit that I didnโ€™t expect is how easy it has been to change other bad habits. Without even realising it, having a beer was the catalyst for a chain reaction of poor diet choices and lack of motivation to exercise. 

The other lesson is the importance of ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ changing habits. In turn this has allowed me to remain more consistent. 

๐‚๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ is the key. I have had more health and fitness โ€˜restartsโ€™ than Johnny Farnhem comebacks. This has been hard on my confidence and self-esteem because in the past I have aimed to completely overhaul my diet and exercise habits with only negative outcomes. I smash myself for a short period then end up right back where I started, only fatter. Whilst I did cut alcohol completely, I didnโ€™t focus on changing any other habits. I didnโ€™t start exercising or change the way I ate. In fact, today was the first time I have done any exercise since I stopped drinking 25 days ago. 

This mentality has been a complete game changer for me after years of struggling with my weight and self-esteem. Although I havenโ€™t dropped the 10kgโ€™s I have set out to, I ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ž๐ฅ fantastic and have no interest in giving up or slowing down. Itโ€™s a whole new mindset for me and it is working. 

Find the unhealthy habit that is causing you strife and kill it. Focus on doing so gradually and consistently. Be patient. You will feel the benefits like I have, guaranteed!

Have a crack, and good luck!

How to Overcome Gym Anxiety

How to Overcome Gym Anxiety

Of my many excuses to avoid fronting the gym for a workout, anxiety is my main deterrent. When I walk into the gym, everyone stops mid-workout to cast their judging eyes over my unfortunate Dad Bod and ill-fitting workout attire. At least that’s what my mind convinces me is happening.

Sound familiar?

It is a problem that a lot of blokes face. This could be due to a multitude of reasons including low self-esteem, the fear of being judged, or fear of failure. Not to mention the ever-present expectation on blokes to exhibit masculinity and confidence which seems to be amplified in a gym environment.

I have pondered ways to overcome anxious feelings in my preparations for starting a consistent gym routine and have come to the realisation that although the stigma remains, it should not prevent gym sessions. After all, everyone working out in the gym had to start from scratch at some point. In fact, I would wager most of the people in the gym are either feeling self-conscious or have felt anxious at some stage in their gym experience.

With this in mind, I have put together a list of techniques that I’ll be using to help manage my gym anxiety for the sake of improving my physical health and mindset.

Photo by Jelmer Assink on Unsplash

Develop a Program

Wandering around aimlessly in the gym is counterproductive when attempting to quench anxiety. Instead, I’m going in with a clear and simple program so I know exactly what I’m doing and don’t feel like a fish out of water. As advised by my gym-attending brother-in-law (who is built like a brick shit house), it is best for beginners to start with compound exercises which will work multiple muscle groups simultaneously and provide the most ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of results.

Timing is Everything

Google provides a nice little bar graph when you search for venues which allows you to see when it busy and quiet times. I am opting to go to the gym at a time that isn’t as busy (early in the morning) at least for a few weeks until I can build up some confidence.

Make it a Habit

Making gym workouts a regular part of my daily routine will not only be hugely beneficial for my health, but it will also help me become more comfortable in the gym environment. According to Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”, the habit loop involves a cue, routine and a reward. For me, the cue will be waking up, the routine will be going to the gym and completing a workout and the reward will simply be to document my progress (spreadsheet nerd alert).

Another key takeaway from the book for me was the importance of self-belief when developing a new habit. That is where the next section comes in.

Get Support

I will personally be drawing support from my wife. I don’t just mean encouragement and positive affirmation (although that would be nice) but working with her to share essential responsibilities and making sure I have time for the gym whilst ensuring she has time to work towards achieving her ambitions.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Another important aspect of extinguishing anxiety is adhering to general gym etiquette. This includes sharing equipment, using a towel and cleaning sweat off machines and placing weights back on racks. It’s simple stuff but may help to avoid uncomfortable interactions.

Finally, keep in mind you are doing this for yourself. You pay your membership and have all of the same rights as anyone else using the gym.

Good luck!

References

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/arnold-schwarzenegger-quotes-bodybuilding-motivation-success

The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business. New York : Random House, 2012. Print. Duhigg, Charles.

Dad Bod

Dad Bod

I love beer. Any beer, any time, give it to me and I’ll drink it. Ironically, I am drinking a beer whilst writing this.

Unfortunately, drinking beer excessively, along with poor diet choices and a sedentary lifestyle generally results in obesity. This is what occurred when I became an adult and began making my own lifestyle choices. Add the sleep deprivation, time deprivation and sanity deprivation that inevitably accompanies a newborn baby and the excuses to avoid healthy lifestyle choices will manifest by the 21 piece original recipe bucket load.

My worst fears were confirmed recently, not by the fact that I have upsized my clothes;
or the fact that my fast food bill is outweighing the mortgage repayments;
nor the fact that I have rolls appearing underneath my man-boobs;
neither my belly circumference competing with that of my wife’s 7 month pregnant baby belly; but rather by a visit to the doctor.

Again, the excuses come out of me quicker than the food goes in me: “I need this take away food because I’m too tired to cook” or “I can’t go to the gym today because I woke up early for work and the baby kept us up all night” or my personal favourite, “I’ll start working out next week when my life is miraculously less busy and I have no responsibilities”. This justifies the resultant shortness of breath experienced when walking a short distance or groaning like a wounded donkey when reaching for the TV remote because there is now a ball of jibble where my 6-pack used to be. However, when a medical professional tells you that you have a BMI of 30 and sit comfortably within the ‘overweight’ range, it does increase the pressure to start taking some action.

Typical features of a Dad Bod

It’s no secret that kids are hard work. Even non-parents can appreciate this. Sometimes it feels as though you are the only two people on the planet who have ever had to deal with the stress of keeping a tiny human alive whilst your own ambitions are forced aside. But the fact is, there is always someone who has it worse than you or has had to deal with more difficult circumstances. Additionally, general health is the responsibility of the individual, so although being a parent adds another layer of difficulty to finding time and motivation to exercise, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse at all.

With this in mind, I have undergone multiple self-initiated ‘restarts’ with the ambition of a complete health overhaul, unsurprising with no success. Upon reflection of my many failures I determined some learnings:

  • Previous methods for developing healthy habits weren’t realistic or sustainable
  • Habits take time to form and require on more than a sudden burst of motivation
  • Blow-outs on the booze destroy my motivation
  • Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two are intrinsically related
  • Sleep isn’t optional
  • Unfortunately, work isn’t either but that shouldn’t stop me from exercising
  • Focus has previously been on restriction rather than focusing on feeling healthier and happier
  • Being overweight does affect mood, happiness and self-confidence and therefore, all aspects of life

There is a myriad of resources available for ways I can rid myself of the beer guzzling growth that has made itself comfortable on my abdomen and with it, the Dad Bod stigma. Generally, the consensus on principals for weight loss are fairly simple:

  1. Weight loss (kg) = Energy Out (kJ ) > Energy in (kJ)
  2. You can’t out train bad nutrition – even if you exercise daily
  3. Eat a well balanced, healthy diet consisting of whole foods
  4. Interval training is proven to support weight loss
  5. Strength training can stimulate metabolism

https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au

In practice however, losing weight is not simple or easy and there is a multitude of factors that influence the outcomes of attempts to lose weight. In the posts to come, I will be delving into details of my experiences with habit forming, motivation, nutrition, goal setting and metric tracking in my quest to lose weight and become healthier and happier.

To sign off, I will gift you some wise words from one of the greatest minds of our time:

“I’ve put on about 6lbs recently, but I have a good reason, which is, I’m a greedy pig who’s been consuming more calories than I burn off. Fucking science. Please fat-shame me to help me to buck my ideas up. Thanks”

Ricky Gervais – Instagram (@rickygervais)