Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Our generation has seen a definite shift in expectations of the man of the house. It’s not uncommon for dads to be much more involved with their children than our fathers before us. In addition to being the main bread winner for the family, modern dads are accustomed to playing more of a part in the household duties and bucking the stereotypical trends of yesteryear.

It’s a far cry from my upbringing.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a sob story. My upbringing was fantastic albeit tumultuous at times with respect to the old boy. Admittedly, I was a very sensitive and highly anxious child and Dad’s parenting style involved strict adherence to the old-school views of masculinity (a direct result of his own upbringing) which didn’t lend itself to my sensitive nature.

“Harden up. Stop being such a pussy“.

I didn’t connect well with my dad during my formative years. He did shift work at a coal mine so I didn’t see him much. I know that memories can be easily screwed but I don’t often remember him being involved with my sport or school life. I can’t remember him cooking or cleaning much and I had to battle to spend time with him. When we did spend time together I often felt myself trying to prove my masculinity to him, and failing dismally. Having grown up and experiencing what it means to work and provide for my own family, I now understand a little better that he would have only been working hard to do just that. He was probably just exhausted all the time but that’s not what a child sees.

However, at times I absolutely needed a firm hand to help force me out of my comfort zone. A good example is when I was too afraid to swim in the local public pool because I genuinely believed it was shark infested after seeing the swimming club logo of a shark on a sign next to the pool, which my young mind considered a warning sign. This was a problem because I was supposed to be competing in club night and it would have caused mayhem amongst my peers had I warned them of our supposed impending doom.

Dad’s solution was to simply hurl my tiny, frightened body directly into the (non) shark infested pool.

In what can only be described as a manic frenzy, I worked my way to the edge of the pool completely unencumbered by any form of marine life (emotional scars, on the other hand, were inflicted). It seems cruel but it is exactly what I needed at that time and I spent the proceeding years winning numerous swimming competitions. Dadโ€™s action was the catalyst for lessons I learnt in the importance of hard work and discipline. Whenever I needed an extra boost whilst competing, I would imagine I was being chased by my Dad.. riding a fucking great white.

In stark contrast, let me introduce you to the Modern Dad. He works full time, cooks dinner, changes nappies, washes clothes, plays with the kids, gets involved with their learning and also tries hard to be a good husband. He’s a top bloke and family is his number one priority. He’s also exhausted and under an immense amount of pressure to perform in the mantle of a ‘Modern Dad’. Sound familiar?

Then, we have the Modern Influencer Dad. This guy can be seen publicly performing household duties whilst brandishing a child attached to his body with an overpriced human carrier, via his social media page. He posts lovely blurbs about how amazing his wife and kids are, everything is perfect, he has heaps of money and well-known brands like to provide him with complementary products to prove that he is a fantastic dad, and you could be too. His name is Steve.

Whilst he’s a top bloke and loves his family, Steve’s a bit of a problem for the average Modern Dad.

I have personally struggled with the expectations of the Modern Dad. It’s tough because obviously I want what is best for my family but I also don’t want to completely lose myself in the process. It’s difficult to find that balance. For instance, it is difficult for me not to feel guilty when partaking in my hobbies because I should be doing something that benefits the whole family. A quick scroll on social media has left me feeling deflated because other dads appear to be better fathers to their children or husbands for their wives. Ultimately this just leads to a nasty cycle of feeling inadequate or a little lost.

Our kids are watching and learning from our every move. Whilst it’s important to exhibit the desirable characteristics of the Modern Dad, we need to make sure we are also taking care of our own wellbeing. Importantly, our kids will learn from that too.

No dad is perfect. The best thing we can do as fathers is be present, learn from our mistakes (we will make many)and look after ourselves in the process.

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

Part 2 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Catch up on the on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative. The series will also include a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep your motivation and discipline maxed out .

Recap

Failure is a part of life. It’s how we deal with those failures which determines the true nature of our character. Let me tell you, I have failed dismally with my fitness goals so far this year and I’m going to share that with you despite my embarrassment.

Since the big launch of the dadBod to dadRig initiative back in January, I have gained 2kg and my work clothes are so tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear them each day. If I look down from a standing positing, I can only just see the end of my dick. I’m not even 30 years of age for goodness sake.

The point is, this is real life. Losing weight is difficult and set-backs, life circumstances and old habits will take time to overcome.

Many blokes struggle with their weight and body image and it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you are the only useless fat fuck who can’t see his own dick. It’s much easier to feel sorry for yourself then to act and work hard to achieve your goals, and that is exactly what I have done over the past few months.

The Comparison Cluster-fuck

The problem with comparing ourselves with others is that there is no comparison. We are all individual and we all have our own unique set of circumstances, values and problems.

Take Chris Hemsworth for example. Frankly, I love the bloke. He is built like a brick shit-house, he’s a philanthropist, seemingly good parent and an iconic Australian larrikin. My wife seems to be a fan too.

It is completely unrealistic to compare yourself to a bloke like that. Obviously, he works incredibly hard for the life and body he has built for himself. However, with a net worth of $130M, a personal trainer on tap, excellent genetics and a personal chef preparing nutritionally optimised meals, comparing yourself to Chis Hemsworth is like comparing films produced by Marvel Studios with films produced by DC. It’s simply not a fair comparison.

Remember, he is also already in peak physical condition, unlike us mere mortals. It’s like comparing an elite runner with an amateur table tennis player. It’s chalk and cheese.

The Resilience Resurgence

Now that we have established that comparing yourself with others is counterproductive (although difficult to avoid), it’s time to focus on ourselves.

I failed to achieve my goals because life got busy and I completely lost sight of goals. Work has been horrendously busy, and as a result I prioritised drinking beers as quick-fix for post work relaxation instead of prioritising good nutrition, exercise and sleep. I visited the servo hot box for deep fried processed foods instead of preparing healthy whole food meals.

We were also forced into a snap COVID lockdown where I was required to live at the site camp for a few days which also threw out my routine of travelling home each day.

I fell off the wagon, hard.

That’s ok. Just need to re-focus and have another crack. That’s resilience and it is very important because your best efforts will often be challenged by what life has to throw at you. Your mission is to maintain focus on your goals and deal with the adversity as it comes so you can remain consistent and ultimately achieve your goals.

For me, this is a matter of ceasing empty promises and taking action. As such, I have revised my goals which will be used to measure my success.

Goal Status (revised)

My overarching goal is weightless with a view to transition into performance based goals in the future.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks (in time for anniversary get-away 27/06/2021)Fitness20th June
Run 5km – Run 3 times per week progressively increasing distanceFitness25th April
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeekly
My weight-loss oriented health goals

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: 103.9kg


Physical metrics tracked using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

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: 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!