My oldest had just turned five years old. Our soon-to-be middle child was four.
They wanted to play tag, and have me lift them up, and swing them around upside down. And so I did. We played hard.
For about five minutes.
Then I was out of breath. Time for daddy to rest. They were disappointed, but not near as disappointed as I was.
It had happened before, but this time, a voice inside said “never again.”
If I was ever going to stop playing with my kids, it would never again be because I was out of breath. I had to outlast them. Playtime would stop on their terms and not because of the weakness of their father’s body.
I also have a family history of heart problems. My grandfather died of a heart attack when he was only thirty-three. I needed to make sure that I did everything in my power to make sure that didn’t happen to me.
This is when I got into Muay Thai kickboxing and then calisthenics.
The Muay Thai because I need to be learning something or competing in order to exercise. I can’t just go and run.
I started calisthenics about a year later because I hit a plateau in my gains from the normal conditioning for Muay Thai. I’ve now been doing both for years. Consistently.
And running out of breath, while playing with my kids, has never happened again.
I might get injured. Some day, I will die. It might even be from a heart attack. But I will not die because of my lack of discipline.
My own laziness will not be the reason I leave my wife without a husband and my children without a father. Too much is at stake.
I think there are some minimum requirements for fitness every man should have, especially if you are a father. Raising children is a young man’s game, and you need as much energy as you can get.
If you work with your hands for a living, this doesn’t really apply to you, as you’ll have natural strength from labor, which is the best kind of strength.
But for those of us with desk jobs, we have to move.
None of these are extreme. Being able to do all of them will put you in the top 20% of the population.
- Run a mile in under 8 minutes.
- 20 pushups.
- 5 pull-ups.
- 25 squats.
- Hollow-body hold for 30 seconds.
This should be the minimum.
I also highly recommend a scheduled class of some sort. It helps you form the habit and takes one decision off of your mind.
But be sure and lift your kids more than you do weights.