When Sheila asked me to guest post for Living Smart Girl, I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated. I mean, clearly I have to write about something healthy or fitness-related. And yet, well, just look at her. Sheila could so easily bench press me with one hand while flipping flapjacks for breakfast in the other! But she’s also a hoot and way too down to earth for her own good, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Thanks so much for sharing your readers with me, Sheila. I won’t disappoint. Then again, you are a living smart girl, so you already knew that, didn’t ya?
Working out is hard. Obviously. Otherwise it’d be called playing. Or lounging.
When you’re young and kidless, it’s easy to find time to hit the gym and exercise. Then again, you’re younger and in better shape to begin with so you don’t need to work out as much. But get married and add a couple of kidlets and suddenly the drive, motivation and above all else, the time, to exercise is all but destroyed. I don’t even want to think about how hard it is for single moms out there trying to fit exercise into their schedule, let alone sleep!
I’ve got two boys and I’m happily married. (Sorry, ladies. I know, I know. You’re devastated…) I used to work out quite a bit, hitting the gym with a personal trainer to lift weights a couple of times each week. I’d also work out on the elliptical or treadmill regularly too, either in the morning at home or at the gym during lunch. I wasn’t super duper fit, but I was in the best shape of my life I’d say. Not bad for a 40-year-old geek, right?
And then, well, then I stopped working from home and got a job in Manhattan. Now I get up at 6 a.m. to get to work by 9, and don’t get home until at least 7:30 at night. I do a lot of freelance writing at night too, so for me to exercise at night or get up even earlier in the morning is just not an option for me.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t still get a good workout. In fact, there are tons of simple exercises for all us dads to slip into our regular routine. Just remember to consult your doctor before attempting anything as strenuous as the following suggestions:
The Beer Curl
This one’s great and just full of motivation. You can do it at home or at your favorite sports bar. Make sure you’re seated for this one and have your favorite ball game on the TV. Then get yourself a nice frosty mug full of your favorite beer. Grab the mug, lift it up and… here comes the really, really hard part… put it back down without taking a sip. You can grunt if you want to. Sometimes that helps push through the pain. After doing a single curl, do another and this time take a sip. Continue this routine every five or 10 minutes until your game is over.
The TV Remote Lift
Sure, wrestling the TV remote away from your wife’s hands is normally exercise enough, but once you have it, here’s a great one to strengthen your wrists and really work those biceps! Buy yourself a 1-pound weight, the flatter the better. Then get yourself some good duct tape and tape that sucker to the back of your remote. Every commercial break, lift your arm up over your head and then back down and change the channel. Just don’t turn to a commercial-free movie or True Blood on HBO. You’re not fooling anyone that way.
The Full-On Couch Nap
Ever notice that you weigh a few pounds less in the morning than you do at night? Go ahead and try it if you don’t believe me. Hop on the scale right before bed and then first thing in the morning. You’ll be shocked to see you’ve actually lost a pound or two. That’s because sleeping is a fantastic workout. All that running in your dreams really does pay off! So, why not take advantage of this during the day? Around 2 or 3 p.m., as you start to feel a little sluggish, don’t go looking for another cup of coffee. Uh uh. Instead, go looking for an empty couch to plop down on. Make sure you spread yourself out over the whole thing and doze off for a good 45 minutes to an hour. For best results, do not mention your intentions to the wife or kids, or they may interrupt your workout.
The Celery Crunch
Did you know that eating celery actually burns calories? Maybe it’s all that chomping and the fact that celery is made up of nothing but water and stringy green stuff. But you can burn off like 500 calories or so a stalk! Okay, I may be off by about 499 calories or so, but it is true! Or, maybe it’s a myth. Regardless, if you love celery, bully for you. Go to town and eat your bodyweight in the stuff. If not, then just be sure to eat at least a piece or two with every order of Buffalo Wings.
The Vacuum-Packed Power Leg Lift
This one is super strenuous but a solid exercise if you’re looking to give your leg muscles a great workout. You’ll need a partner to do this one, though. Chances are you’re the one who normally does the vacuuming in your house (wink, wink). But just this once, ask your wife if she’d mind doing it. As she’s sucking up all the crumbs from your Doritos and wings, plop yourself down on the couch and put your feet out in front of you. As the vacuum approaches, tighten your leg muscles and lift your legs. Try to hold that position for as long as the vacuum’s underneath. Once the floor’s clean, feel free to put your feet down and take a well-deserved rest.
How do you other dads handle your manly workout?
When not sweatin’ to the oldies, Andrew Kardon writes thought-provoking parenting advice at Singlemommie.com. He also shares the meaning of life (it’s all about sushi!) and has way too much fun discussing cookies, comic books, video games and his kids over on his daddy blog Mommy’s Busy, Go Ask Daddy.