Setting Workout Goals Together

My son Jacob and I have been working out together for about two months now and I love seeing the sense of accomplishment on his face when he does something that he didn’t think he could do. We went to the Warrior Gym for the second time and Jacob went from just barely getting up the ten foot wall to making it to the twelve foot wall. The look on his face when he realized that his hard work is starting to pay off is something that I will remember for a long time. The more his confidence grew each time he made it up the twelve foot wall Jacob started trying different obstacles around the gym. The next obstacle that he try is called the spider wall. This is where there are two walls about five in a half feet apart and you have to jump up to from a small trampoline and reach out to both sides with your arms and legs. After you wedge yourself in between the two walls you have to strategically move along the wall for about fifteen feet without falling or losing your grip that you have with your hands and feet. This proved to be difficult for him since he is only five and a half feet tall so it takes every inch of him just to wedge himself between the two walls. After we left the gym he said that his next goal was to be able to run up the fourteen foot wall and complete the spider wall.

I love the fact that Jacob is starting to take a similar interest in working out as me. I also love that he sets goals for himself to be able to complete physical fitness obstacles and works hard to achieve these goals. The hard part is that I’m still a beginner and I don’t have all the knowledge. Jacob also has Scoliosis so I have to be cautious when it comes to certain exercises so that he doesn’t hurt his back. His physical therapist gave me a list of exercises that we can do at home and at the gym but I still have to make sure that he’s not over doing it and hurts himself. Just like any other kid when Jacob wants to do something he want to be able to it all right now. I remind him that this isn’t something that we can rush because that’s how we get injured.

Just like anyone else there are some workouts that he likes and others that he doesn’t like. He asks me why we have to do a certain workouts instead of this other workout. He doesn’t yet understand that we have to do certain things that you don’t want to because they workout a part of the body that needs to be strengthened to be able to complete a certain obstacle. One of the things he really doesn’t like to do is full arm extension pull ups. When we first started doing these he ask why he needed to be able to do them. I told him that since we both are not very tall that when we try to get up the fourteen foot wall we are going to have to pull ourselves up from a full arm extension position so that’s why we need to be able to do pull ups that way. I also tell him that the more upper body strength we have the easier other obstacles will be because we will have the body strength that is needed to complete them. Once I explained this to him it was as if the light went on and he understood why we do things that don’t seem important really are when we look at the overall picture.

Getting our kids into a regular workout routine now will make it easier for them when they’re adults.  I hope that Jacob doesn’t have to go through the same struggles I did when I first started but if he stays at it he’ll be on the right path.

Getting our kids into a regular workout routine now will make it easier for them when they're adults. Click To Tweet

Workout Together

The days that I enjoy the most at the gym are the days that my son comes with me. It all started one day as we were walking around The Man Show Expo. Jacob looked over and saw that there was a warp wall just like on American Ninja Warrior. We asked the guy if we were able to try it out. They said that they had a few obstacles set up that were open to the public to try out. For the next hour Jacob and I tried to do all the stuff that they had set up. At this point Jacob wasn’t going to the gym and really had no interest in working out. After we got home from the Man Show Jacob went on and on about how much fun he had. He kept on talking about if he did this or if he did that he would be able to get up the warped wall. I had mentioned to him that if he started coming to the gym with me I could help him start a workout routine that would definitely help him achieve his goal. That night we made a plan to go workout together two or three days a week. Just like when I started to workout I didn’t want Jacob to go big right out of the gate with the fear that he would get burned out quickly.

The first day that we went to the gym together was a proud day for me. I watched my son do things that he didn’t think that he could do. I was able to see the potential that I knew he had inside of him start to come out. He worked hard and was very observant to what I was doing and if he wasn’t sure how exactly to do something he didn’t hesitate to ask for assistance. It was fun for me to pass on the things that I was learning onto him. It was definitely a learning day for the both of us. For Jacob he was learning different weight lifting workouts and for me I was learning how to show him what to do and help him make sure that he was lifting the weights in the proper way so that he wouldn’t hurt himself. We were having so much fun working out together that we didn’t even notice that we had been at the gym for about 3 hours. It is definitely true when they say time flys when you’re having fun and for me it was double the amount of fun. Not only was I working out but I was using something that I really enjoy to spend quality time as father and son.

From time to time Jacob and I go to the Warrior Gym. This is a training gym that has the obstacles set up like American Ninja Warrior. These obstacles take a lot of upper body strength. To be honest these obstacles will give you a full body workout without you even knowing it. The first time we went I think we may have been there for thirty minutes or so. We both realized that we had a long way to go before we could do some of the obstacles. We tried our hardest to complete the ones that we thought we could do and at least attempted some of the other one as well. We set some goals of being able to complete the one we could almost do and also set a goal to get farther on the other ones we couldn’t get very far on. We both had a blast but when we got back to the house we were sore all over. In those thirty minutes we both definitely got a great workout. We also watch American Ninja Warrior to get some inspiration to keep us going back.

Our family motto is Never Give up and Never Quit. This helps us to stay focused on our goals. Now get out there and get after it.

Starting To Realize

If you’re anything like I was going to the gym to workout is not a priority. I would tell myself that I didn’t need to go because I worked all day. In my line of work I am always moving around and constantly bending squatting and crawling around on the floor. I also only live two blocks from work so I would either walk or ride a bike to work everyday. To me I was getting enough exercise everyday so why should I go to the gym? I thought that there wasn’t anything that I could do at the gym that I wasn’t already doing. I told myself that the gym was just going to charge me money for something I didn’t even need. If all this was true then why was I out of shape? Why was I gaining weight? Why was I so tired after work? Why couldn’t I walk home after work without feeling like I needed to stop for a rest? Like I said I only lived two blocks from work but didn’t feel like I could make it. After I got home from work I didn’t have the energy to do simple tasks around the house. I felt like I needed to rest for an hour or two before I could do anything. Why was I feeling like this if I was getting the proper exercise that I needed? The answer is because I wasn’t. I had a distorted thought process of what exercise really was. I had to change my perspective and had to get into the right mindset. The person that I asked for help without him even knowing hammered it into my head that what I thought about working out was harming my life. I’m so thankful that this person was willing to help because it literally saved my life.

After I got into the right mindset and changed my perspective I started going to the gym. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just started with things that I knew. Walking on the treadmill ridding on the bikes. I would to some weight lifting machines. It was painful to actually see just how out of shape I was. There were things that used to be able to do that I couldn’t even come close to doing anymore. One day while at the gym I saw one of the signs that was hanging on the wall that said “you belong” and after that I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. The next day I saw another sign that said “in the end it’s all about you.” It was like the gym was speaking to me. That’s when it started to sink in. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know everything there is to know about working out. It didn’t matter that I was using the twenty pound weights. The only thing that mattered was that I belonged there because I was doing what I needed to do to get back into shape and in the end it was all about how I felt about myself.

Were there days that I didn’t want to go to the gym? Absolutely, but I had to remind myself why I started, which had to be a constant reminder everyday. There is a saying that says “you shouldn’t look back at where you were,” however the person that helped me talked about this in one of his posts before. He said that this path is a journey and we need to enjoy it. We also need to look back from time to time to see just how far we’ve come. We need to use things that we’ve overcome from our past to help motivate us on our journey forward. I’m not saying that I’ve overcome everything that I need to because I don’t think that I ever will. What I mean by this is that the day I’ve achieved everything that I want to will be the day that I have nothing to work towards. I think that there is always a goal we need to work towards to achieve. We should always be in the fight to make ourselves better everyday.

It might sound strange but to me starting a workout routine is like becoming a parent. Think about it. When I first found out that I was going to be a dad I was nervous as I’m sure some of you were too. I tried to learn as much as I quickly as possible but the day my son was born I forgot almost everything I learned. We think we are prepared but in reality we have no idea what we are doing. Some things come naturally and others we kind of learn on the fly. I’m not saying that we as dads just stand there and wing it but for the most of us we don’t know how to handle things until they actually happen. We try to be prepared for just about anything to protect our kids. We seek advice from our parents and anybody else we trust enough to give us advice on how to teach our kids. It’s almost the same when we go to the gym for the first time. We don’t know how to do this or that. We start with what we know and build off it. We don’t have the same endurance that we did when we were younger but we work hard to get back there. We can also seek out help from others who have been in our same situation before. I know being a parent is hard work just like getting back in shape is hard work but with the right mindset and determination we can do both.

You have to be the one to put in the work because no one else is going to do it for you. Click To Tweet

Last thing to end this is you have to be the one to put in the work because no one else is going to do it for you. Now get up get out there and get after it.

Mowing the Lawn

As I backed out of the garage Saturday afternoon I noticed my 9-year-old neighbor mowing his grass. The push mower seemed taller than him. He looked frustrated as he tried to push it uphill. The yard looked well… like a 9-year-old had mowed it.

My heart was heavy as I saw this young man struggle. His parents are separated. It’s him, his younger brother and mother at home. The dad left sometime earlier this year and a video surveillance system went up shortly after. All at once this kid looked like he was having to become a man a lot sooner than he should.

The dad took great pride in making his yard look good. He cut the grass frequently and created carpentry projects that really made things nice. He even went as far to get a John Deere riding mower for a lot that’s not even a half-acre. Once at the community pool I overheard him going on about grass types to another neighbor. It appeared that the lawn was important to him.

This last Saturday his oldest son was pushing that lawn mower all by himself. His dad wasn’t there to show him how to do it. The dad could have been there to say that maybe it would be easier to start at the top of the hill and work your way down. He could have shared simple lessons that could teach him more than just how to cut grass, but how to navigate life.

I didn’t have a personal relationship with the dad. But I know men enough to realize that if the dad could be there showing his son how to tend the yard, he would. Instead this boy is left to figure out things on his own, frustrated. 

The decisions we make in life don’t always affect just us. Let’s take this time to realize our actions reach far beyond our hands. What we do can separate us from those we love.

We can leave our sons to figure out how to become men all on their own. None of us want that. Don’t indulge in decisions that could force you to leave your family behind to fend for themselves.

I’m aware that divorce is not solely one person’s fault and that men aren’t always to blame. But I wanted to take the time to remind you not to take your family situation for granted. You’re going to want to be there to teach your son how to mow the grass. To show your daughter how ride her bike.

The next time life gets the best of you and you want to lash out, go drinking all weekend, text an ex-girlfriend or spend your paycheck as soon as you get it – think about that kid. Think about how your actions might keep you from being there when your children need you the most.

I want you to remember that God’s love and guidance is sufficient for all of us. There is no problem He can’t pull you through. All you have to do is give your struggle over to Him. Giving God your pain and struggles isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength to trust in Him to guide you.

Lastly, I need your help. Can you pray with me for my neighbors? When you bow your head to pray, just call them “Andy’s neighbors,” God knows who they are. Pray for healing with that family and that His love and His will can be made known to them. And don’t forget to pray for your family too. Life can come at you unexpectedly, but God’s love is unwavering.

Andy Murphy

Proud Member of Tactical Dads

Deciding to get back in shape

I was never the guy who thought that I was out of shape or unhealthy. I would eat whatever I wanted and didn’t think twice about it. When I started to get a gut it didn’t really bother me.  When my clothes didn’t fit anymore I told myself that my metabolism was slowing down. When I was at work and I’d find myself getting tired and out of breath quickly I told myself that I was getting older and that’s what happens when we get older. The problem is I was only 37 and even though my son doesn’t agree 37 isn’t that old. It hit me one day at the doctors office that something was wrong. I had borderline high blood pressure and tipped the scale at 280. That’s when I knew something had to change. I didn’t have all the answers and still don’t so I asked for help. There is nothing wrong with seeking out assistance especially when it comes to our health. The person that I asked helped me change my perspectives on working out and my eating habits. He also taught me about the discipline of consistency. This means that we don’t get frustrated when life happens and we miss a workout but to be disciplined enough to get back at it the next day and stay consistent at it. For me I started small with just a run/walk around the block followed with some push ups and sit ups. I had to take baby step when getting back in shape because if I went to big to quick I would get burned out. I made the commitment to myself to do this 3 times a week  until I could run around the block without stopping to walk. I also committed to do 10 push ups and 10 sit ups 3 times a week until I could do them without stopping. After I achieved that I would increase but only a little bit.

I’m happier now that I asked for help and took the proper steps to get my health back on track. After I was doing this for a few weeks I noticed that not only did I feel good about myself but I gained energy as well. My happiness overflowed into other areas of my life as well. I became  positive with just about everything that came my way and it helped me strengthen some of my relationships as well. I took on the mindset that one day my son will have kids and I want to be that cool grandpa that can run around and play with my grandkids.

If any of this hits home for any of you then I would encourage you to make the same decision that I did and seek out assistance. Is it easy? No but our lives are worth it. There are no magic pills. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy paths just hard work but with the right mindset and positive attitude we all can push through the pain.

There are no magic pills. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy paths just hard work but with the right mindset and positive attitude we all can push through the pain. Click To Tweet

One of my favorite movies series that helps motivate me is Rocky. I’m sure some of you have seen them and probably know that he never quits until he wins. One of my favorite quotes came in Rocky 5 during the street fight when Rocky looks at his opponent and says “I didn’t hear no bell. One more round. “We can all use that line and use the next round to kick start our health.

To end this I’m going to quote  Jocko Willink. ” Get up. Get out there and Get After It!”

Frontline Fatherhood

The very fact that you’re visiting this website shows that you care about being a great dad. I didn’t introduce you to the idea of personal growth, but hopefully I’ve helped you along your journey.

Now I’m going to give you an opportunity to put some real skin in the game and level up in your dad game. If you’re interested in getting extra content throughout the week that will challenge you and stretch you to become better everyday, give Frontline Fatherhood a chance.

If you sign up for membership, you’ll receive audio, video, and texts from me covering all areas of personal growth and fatherhood. You’ll also gain access to a secret, subscriber-only group on Facebook for extra access to content and to me.

Give it a go. There’s no contract or anything, so if you don’t find it valuable, you can stop at any time.

Visit https://messagetribes.com/frontline-fatherhood/ to join the most elite Tactical Dads group to date.

Tactical Dads are committed

Are You Committed?

Commitment is something that has been on my mind lately as a family man. In thinking about commitment I believe there are two categories. One is making commitments, which is basically an obligation that you have to fulfill. For example, you make the commitment to be at your son’s ball game tomorrow night. The other category of commitment is more of a state or quality in which you’re dedicated to a cause or activity. For example, you are committed to raising your children to be quality kids. You are committed to being there for them, investing in them and fulfilling your duty and responsibility as a father. It is this second category of commitment that I want to briefly focus on today.

For many men today, being committed as a father is not even on their radar. They were there when the conception happened and maybe they are physically present in the home and perhaps they financially support their family. However, is that all that we as fathers are called to be? The answer is a resounding NO!!! Yet, that seems to be the accepted norm- just enough to get by as a dad and leave the rest to the mothers (or grandmothers). However, we are NOT called to “just get by” as dads! We are called to excel, to invest, to initiate, to lead… to be committed to our children!

So what does being a committed dad mean? I believe that being a committed dad means putting yourself second and the commitment of fatherhood first. In other words you put your relationship with your children first and your own wants and desires second. This isn’t something you can do once or twice and then put on autopilot. You have to work at this every day. Everyday we’re faced with choices that we have to make as fathers. The choice to invest in our kids, or just do what we feel like doing. The choice to sit and talk and listen, or just brush them off and tune them out. The choice to plan ahead and have margin in our lives, or to be so consumed with our work, business, workouts, sports etc… that we have no down time.

Being a committed dad takes time, energy, forethought, sacrifice, humility, courage, selflessness and self-discipline. Those last two are probably the most difficult to master as a dad. Men tend to be selfish to a fault and undisciplined in many areas of life. I know this is VERY true in my life and I have to work at it every day. However selfish and undisciplined you may be, that cannot be an excuse for failing to meet your duty as a father. You’re not always going to feel like being a dad, you’re not always going to feel like investing in your kids and you’re not always going to feel like taking the time it takes to be the dad you were called to be. But fatherhood isn’t a feeling! It’s a duty and responsibility that each of us assumed the moment we became a dad, like it or not. It’s kind of like love. Many today talk about love as if it was simply an emotion, but it’s not. Love is more than an emotion, it’s an action. To love someone is to think the best about them, do the best for them, say the best about them and desire the best for them. You may not always feel like doing those things, but if you truly love someone, you’ll do it anyway. The same holds true for fatherhood-you may not always feel like doing what it takes, but you do it anyway.

As I wrap this up, I wanted to leave you with a brief action plan for being a committed dad:

1. Make the decision to be a committed dad. When you decide to do something, you’re cutting off the option to not to it. Decide to be a committed dad.

2. Plan in advance. Plan to be a dad who takes time with his kids, who listens to his kids, who is present physically, mentally and emotionally. Plan some nice times with your kids. Daddy dates, boys night out for your sons or girls night out for your daughters.

3. Quality vs. Quantity. People talk about spending quality time with their kids. Did you know that what you think is quality time might not be perceived as quality time for your kids? In fact, you can’t really tell what is going to end up being quality time for them. So what you have to do is focus on spending a quantity of time with them and in that quantity of time there’s sure to be times that they perceive as quality.

What you think is quality time might not be perceived as quality time for your kids Click To Tweet

4. Listen. Listen to your kids and I mean really listen. This is something that I’m currently working on. Often we listen with an eye toward how we’re going to respond. Also, we tend to interpret what they’re saying through the lens of our life. If you’re doing this, then you’re not really listening. When you listen to your kids, just let them talk and really hear what they’re saying, try to see things from their point of view. Don’t jump right in and try to correct, fix or judge what they’re saying. Often when we really listen and empathize with our kids they end up resolving their own issues.

Take care dads and make the decision to be a committed dad!
Patrick Antonucci
pantonucci@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/patrickantonucci81

STRATEGIC Parenting

As many of you know, I’m a fan of acronyms and acrostics because of my time in the military. Sometimes it can just be a lot easier to communicate something through a word that stands for all of the other words. Such is the case when it comes to parenting. There are so many things I have to say about good parenting, and somehow they tend to fit nicely into acrostic packaging. Today I’m going to focus on STRATEGIC Parenting, the characteristics that every great parent should have. If you don’t have these traits, aim for developing them.

Supportive – Just because you’re the parent of a child doesn’t automatically mean you’re supportive. Some of us were blessed to grow up with parents who looked out for us and encouraged us in our efforts, but there are lots of mothers and fathers who just criticize all the time, never lend a helping hand, and never utter an encouraging word. Sure, sometimes my kids have bad ideas, but they’re creative. I let them know that I appreciate how much thought they put into the idea, but direct them in how it may be better put into practice. My oldest son wants to be an inventor. I have to balance being supportive and not letting him destroy everything in the house by taking it apart. Being supportive doesn’t mean you never tell your kids hard truths either. It just means you’re not out to put them down and you’re thoughtful with your words.

Tough – Maybe you didn’t think you’d see this characteristic make the list, but it’s vital to parenting. Being tough as a parent means several things. It means not letting your kids walk all over you and being strong enough to set boundaries. It means being resilient when things don’t go the way you expected so you can set an example for your kids. It also means protecting your family and taking a hard stand against anyone or anything that could threaten them. Being tough requires mental discipline, physical stamina, and emotional stability.

Ready – The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be prepared” and I share in that mentality. There are plenty of scenarios that can play out before we have children, and a ton more that can happen after we take on the role of parent. We will always fail to our highest level of preparation. That means that before we find ourselves in a predicament, we need to have already planned for such a thing to happen. When we’re unprepared we can freeze, but when we have already readied ourselves and our family, we can remain undeterred by the events of life. Nothing is really an “unforeseen circumstance,” just one we haven’t prepared for. Plan for events like natural disasters, have a bag packed and ready to go in case of evacuation, keep fresh batteries in your flashlights, always have a rally point in case of separation in public places. Plan and be ready.

Attentive – There are far too many distractions in our lives. Every few minutes, there is something that could potentially call you away from paying attention to your loved ones. But we only get so many days, so many hours, with these precious young ones. Soon they’ll be grown and gone and we’ll have missed out. They will have missed out. Kids need the attention of their parents. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever let them go play on their own. I’m not advocating for helicopter parenting, but let’s be honest, a lot of us are a far cry from every being accused of such a thing. We’ve got to put the phones down, spend time face-to-face with our kids, and really listen to them. They crave our attention. Let’s not starve them of it. Priorities.

Tender – It may seem contradictory to list both tough and tender among the traits that parents should possess, but I assure you they’re both important. As much as we need to lay down rules and boundaries and enforce them, as much as we need to be resilient and steadfast, we also need to be caring and reassuring. Kids need discipline, but they also need to hear that we still love them after they’ve received it. They need boundaries, but they also need hugs. They need us to be leaders, but they also need us to be there to listen. No matter how hard a day we’ve had, my kids always hear that I love them before bed and get hugs. They all know that I’m available to talk about anything whenever they need me, even though I’m the same person who makes sure they follow the rules. Tough and tender parents have kids who know boundaries and know love.

Empowering – I’ve already said I don’t advocate helicopter parenting. I believe that kids need they support of their parents to really achieve. Of course, we can’t let them go do every wild thing they may want to try, but within set boundaries, we should let them be free to explore and use the talents they were born with. Some of the most successful people on this planet had parents who took a role in their dreams, encouraged them along the way, and helped them to develop their skills. We can all be that for our kids, but it’s so easy to crush their dreams because we think what they want to do is impractical, impulsive, or just foolish. We’ve got to remove our egos from the equation and look at things from a different perspective.

Generous – Don’t read this trait and think that I mean we should give our kids a ton of stuff. Not what I’m saying at all. Kids learn from watching our example, and all too often what they learn from us is how to be selfish and stingy. I love watching families who serve others together. I love when I see a kid light up at the sight of their mom or dad giving a gift to someone else or volunteering their time to help someone in need. Generous parents result in generous kids. If you want to break your kids of their selfish mindset, model generosity for them. Let them see you write a check to a charity and tell them what it’s for. Let them see you volunteer and include them. We’re all born with selfish hearts. It takes practice to become generous.

Intentional – Good parenting doesn’t just happen on its own. One thing every good parent has in common is intentionality. Every good parent tries to be one. When we’re in a constant state of reaction, we never really get to interact with our kids in the best ways. When we prioritize our family, set aside time for just them, and make it a point to really engage, everyone benefits. Everything doesn’t have to be planned out on a calendar, but we have to be proactive in parenting in order to succeed because life is full of things waiting to fill in the gaps. There’s always something we could be doing rather than being available for our family, but with intention we can make sure that no one is left behind.

Committed – One of the major problems I see today in families is lack of commitment to each other. There are so many moms and dads out there who prioritize anyone and everyone but their own household. How easy it is to say yes to things that take us away from our families, but how harmful that becomes. One little thing here, one little obligation there, and before you know it your kids won’t speak to you. Do you ever wonder how it is that some families grow so far apart? It’s not overnight. It’s small little things that chip away at their commitment to each other. Commitments are taken lightly nowadays. This isn’t true, though, in STRATEGIC Parenting.

These are not all of the traits that great parents exhibit, but they’re some of the most important ones. What do you think? Did I miss some really important ones? Am I off the mark here? Join our STRATEGIC Parenting group on Facebook and join the discussion with lots of other like-minded moms and dads.