Keeping active has always been high on my agenda. I’m pretty sure I have some form of low level undiagnosed ADHD. If I do, it would explain my need to be doing something, anything to entertain me at moments throughout the day. Now before you eye roll, I’m not saying my weekends are spent motivated, going on jolly hikes and forcing the family on long bike rides whilst wearing my lycra revealing all for the world and what they definitely don’t want to see. Believe me when I say I am more than happy vegging in front of the TV, on the sofa eating Doritos and judging people’s cooking abilities on Masterchef, “you call that a quenelle Darren, pfft”. But under most circumstances it doesn’t take me long before I start suffering from cabin fever and feel the need to get out and move.
Beer > sport
When I was younger I played sport throughout school; I binned rugby in secondary school when everyone around me appeared to grow, whilst I remained a 5 foot nothing short arse that spent 80 minutes every match getting tipped on my head. Weirdly I was quite good at basketball though (figure that one out). Anyway, by the time the much needed growth spurt came, playing rugby was something of the past. Instead I stuck to watching it from the comfort of the touchline whilst drinking pints. Football stuck around for the longest, until I went to uni and realised half the population were significantly better than I was, and I didn’t even make any of the 5 teams. I don’t quit easily, but I saw that I had an incredible knack for drinking, so I spent a lot of time focusing on that instead. I’ve added completing the ‘Otley Run’ pub crawl to my CV for those that are interested.
Student in training
My days of competitive sport are pretty much done. These days the closest you’ll find me doing anything remotely competitive is huffing and puffing around a 5 aside pitch once a week, that’s if I haven’t picked up my latest injury. The one thing that has remained consistent is going to the gym. I started lifting weights in my later years of university, it was mostly just filling time that I should have spent doing actual work. The gym came with the expected benefits of; my body changing, people noticing said changes and basically a cycle of that until the consistency of it all would come and go. Injuries would pop up, specifically to my shoulder which would put me out of anything weight related for a long time. It was in the forced down time that I realised how much going to the gym did for me. Not just lifting weights but moving and burning some energy. Seeing the hard work pay off is always nice, but through injury I realised how much of an effect being active has on my mental health.
Unsurprisingly my work and family life doesn’t always allow me the time to even get out for a run, and there are always days where frankly I can’t be arsed. However when the days roll into a week or a couple of weeks of not really doing anything, I start to notice a difference; I feel groggy, I get snappy, I’m a bit self-critical and the majority of the time I can put it down to the fact that I haven’t had a chance to blow off some steam.
Avoiding the ‘Dad Bod’
When I knew I was going to become a dad, I bombarded myself with questions about everything. Within those questions was whether I would still have time to be active, to go to the gym or to go out running. That might seem bizarre to some people, but the picture that is painted of new parenthood is you’re either going to be too tired to do it (SO TRUE!) or you won’t have time to go to the toilet, let alone find the time to squeeze in a 3 mile run (in some cases also very true). And for me, my outlet, my free time, my opportunity to direct my stress at metal objects as opposed to my family and friends was and still is really important to me.
The term dad bod was chucked around for a bit, and whilst it’s funny, I kind of saw that as a challenge. In the sense that I don’t want to become some stereotype all because I have a child. Why can’t I be in good shape and lead a healthy life? It all comes down to priorities, and everybody has their own. For me my family is my priority, and being active is high on the list too and I therefore make the effort to be in the gym first thing in the morning so I can be home in time for breakfast and home in the evenings spending time with my family. I basically want to be around for as long as possible, and be able to keep up with Ivy, which is already pretty difficult. Hopefully keeping up the fitness will allow me to do that.