The Dads Guide To Building A Physically Resilient Body.
That moment, as Dads, we never want to experience, the one where we feel helpless and hopeless with no idea what the outcome may be, the emergencies… these are the moments we are constantly preparing for physically, mentally, emotionally.
Whether it’s a physical emergency or the family having a meltdown. As a father, a leader, we must be prepared.
We are the rock holding everything together when shit hits the fan. And every unwanted experience we’ve had to endure or overcome has built one more layer of resilience for us to carry as a badge of honour.
From the physical perspective, how do we make sure we stay prepared in the presence of family, work and social pressures to ensure we’re ready for what ever life throws at us?
3 steps we take to create physical resilience at Earn The Right.
Building Awareness & Honesty
How are you waking up and showing up every day?
Building physical awareness starts with noticing how you’re waking up everyday. Pain is usually the only thing we’re conscious of that indicates somethings not right. But waiting until something hurts shouldn’t be the measure of “am I healthy or not”. We get our blood pressure checked regularly as a predictor for cardiovascular disease (you don’t want to wait until you have a stroke or heart attack before you’re aware that somethings not right) so why wouldn’t you want a regular movement/body check to determine how “at risk” you are of musculoskeletal injury?
After a good nights sleep, at complete rest, you should wake up fresh and bounce out of bed. If you feel like the complete opposite, you’ve probably got some movement deficiencies that are causing your tightness/discomfort. And if how you wake up is what you’re carrying with you throughout your work and family day, it’s probably not making your day easier.
The next part of becoming AWARE of how you’re waking up and showing up is being HONEST with yourself that something doesn’t feel as good as it should. This means not ignoring that little niggle, pain or tightness because it’s inconvenient or annoying. IT’S THERE FOR A REASON. The little niggles will eventually turn into big pains if you ignore them long enough. This would be the equivalent of knowing you’ve got high blood pressure, but not doing anything to heal it.
Understanding Adaptation & Stress Dosage
The human body is built to adapt in order to survive. We have the physical and mental capacity to adapt to any environment mother nature can throw at us. But… if the amount of stress accumulating in our system is greater than the recovery period (more on that below), something will eventually break. If our body isn’t given the time to recover and adapt to the imposed demands, our tissue health will begin to suffer. This might look like cramps, strains, tears, bone deformation or just general inflammation.
Our physical body’s primary job is to get us from A to B as efficiently as possible. From a training perspective this might look like lifting 100kg off the ground or running your fastest marathon. From a business perspective this would look like working the long hours and staying up late to meet the deadline or outsourcing work to colleagues to ensure it gets done.
Either way you’ve adapted to the demand.
HOW well you perform the smaller tasks required to complete the bigger task will determine the quality of your outcome.
HOW efficiently you perform the smaller tasks required to complete the bigger task will determine the quantity of output you’re able to produce at any given time.
It’s comparing the local pizza guy and Dominos. Ones primary focus is quality then quantity, the other is quantity then quality. These should also be the two key elements when discussing any gym program.
Which exercises are you doing? HOW are you doing them and how much are you doing? These elements will determine how well you’re adapting to the stress and whether or not you’re getting return (better health) on your investment. If you’re constantly training and always in pain or tight, this is a good place to start to looking for the small 1%ers that could need tweaking.
Sleep is the #1 thing your body needs in order to recover well. Think about sleep as ‘topping up’ your fuel tank. The golden number is 8 hours. Anything less than that is constantly depleting your energy, your ability to focus (cognitive function), your memory, your immune system and even your brains ability to detect threat. This is why the Road Safety Commision advocates not driving if you’ve had less than 8 hours sleep over consecutive nights. If it’s not safe for you to make decisions behind the wheel, hows your decision making going at work? At home? For your health? Not ideal right… Do yourself a favour and book in more sleep.
The next part to recovery is understanding stress exposure, dosage and what to do about it. For example, you have a restless night with 4 hours sleep (you’re in the red right from go), your day at work is stressful with deadlines and pressure from management, you miss a meal in order to make up lost productive time and you had planned to hit the gym after work. In this scenario, in your current state, you have to ask yourself…
“Is my system stressed?”
“Would smashing myself at the gym add more unnecessary stress?”
“Would it be better to go for a walk/yoga/stretch or mobility work/breathing/reading?”
“Your bucket can only handle so much stress before it overflows.”
Here’s a simple way to think about keeping your health operating optimally if you have set backs through out your week or day.
1 hour of sleep missed = Instead of exercising for 1 hour you only get 45 minutes. If you get less than 5 hours sleep, go home.
8 hours sitting = spending 50% of your exercise time rolling out or doing mobility/preparation work and 50% working out.
Only drink 1 Litre of water = Drink 2L before you work out.
5 coffees in one day = stretch, yoga, breath, sleep.
Reviewing and acknowledging your state before you exercise will help you to maintain a healthier more resilient system instead of wearing yourself down and adding to your stress and your risk of injury or sickness.
“The study found that fathers’ parenting-related stress had a harmful effect on their children’s cognitive and language development when the children were 2 to 3 years old…”
The physical results you’re getting in the gym and in life, are a direct reflection of what you’re doing to your system. Constant stress will deteriorate the system. Proactive, smarter training and recovery will allow sustainable progression. Resilience is built through continually overcoming the small stressors that don’t destroy you. “Train smarter before harder” is the age old saying many athletes over the age of 40 abide by and should be a philosophy adopted by the future generations if we’re to build long lasting resilience physically, mentally and emotionally.
About Jason Dick & Earn The Right
I believe building resilience to the stressors of life prepares us to be successful in any endeavour and I think so often the conversation around health and fitness is a vein one about the sexy sick pack abs you either have or don’t have. What’s often forgotten is connection to self, body & mind and knowing what makes you strong, what you want to achieve and the life you ultimately want to live.
What I know from working with some of the best coaches and athletes in the world is that they have a true sense of what it takes to become the best and know exactly what they want to accomplish. This is the basis from which I build a long lasting foundation of health and strength.
Strength for me has always been a journey of discovery, a constant conversation with self and one of my pillars of success.
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