This last year has been a crazy one.  From starting this blog and getting it off the ground to now partnering with someone doing a whole series for the month of January and everything in between, 2017 and now the beginning of 2018 feels like one big roller coaster ride.  I am grateful for all the people I have met.  I certainly have been taught a lot by the whole experience.  But today, I am going Back to the Future.  Ok, maybe I will not be getting in a time machine, whether it be a WayBack or a DeLorean.  But I will be returning to where I was, almost a year ago to the date, when I decided I needed to do more to help my physical fitness as I will begin again with my “Fitness Fridays For Fathers” series, even if today is Thursday.

My Fitness 2017 Journey . . .

The first half of 2017, while not perfect, I kept my eye on the ball when it came to keeping track of my physical fitness.  I wanted to make sure I would be doing positive things to impact my physical health last year.  So I began a 21-week journey to try to get myself in some form of shape.  And I did a reasonably good job of making regular progress at the gym.  But the second half of the year, I decided to push forward with the blogging, which made my time at the gym less and less.

And before long, I wasn’t going and my dad ended up in the hospital needing heart surgery.  This started to throw me off, and by the time I caught the flu in December, I was pretty much wiped out.  I was in some form of shape, just not the shape I wanted to be.  I knew I needed to get back to the gym and to better and healthier habits.

As many of you know, I have been partnering with Brandi Kennedy of Brandi Kennedy: Love Stories and Lifestyle for the undaunted woman to do a “Perspectives Series” throughout the month of January.  Doing six blog posts a week, we would cover each topic from a single father’s and single mother’s perspective.  While every topic does not fit neatly into those categories, we give it our own little flare.  From National Whipped Cream Day to how to stay sane as a single father/mother to our keyword for the year, momentum, and everything in between, we have covered a bit.  So as we were finishing up the third week and began to discuss what we would be writing about, we knew fitness would go in there somewhere.  And we decided today would make a good day.

. . . And Then It Went Off The Rails

Of course, this made me nervous.  I hadn’t been putting in the kind of effort, even just thinking about fitness.  My last fitness post was about whether cheat days would impact a person positively or negatively, given a study released and spoken about on ABC News.  The study believes it did.  But somehow I don’t think making every day a “cheat day” counts, especially if you are trying to lose weight.  I am guessing it would lessen the impact.

In addition to concern over what to write, I had to think about how I was going to give this a dad’s angle.  What would I say about fitness which related to dads specifically?  Is there something which dads could take from my fitness talk which would make them feel good or deal specifically with them?  And honestly, I did not have an answer.  To me, fitness is fitness, male or female.  What complicates the matter is more an issue of being a single parent.

Single Parents And Fitness

For those single parents out there, I am sure you understand the issue of schedules with your kids, which are frequently court-ordered or agreed to, through mediation.  If you don’t have a schedule, it means you have your kids all the time.  This I call “extreme single parenting.”  But whether a divorced/separated parent or a full-time single parent, physical fitness becomes an issue of time.

Yes, anyone can be out there and let something become a complete time waste to them.  Whether it’s watching TV, going to the bar, or spending time hiking, you have limited time in your day to accomplish goals.  Throw in a couple of children you have for varying parts of the day and things become more challenging.  And this just has to deal with going to the gym.  I haven’t even begun to speak about how you deal with your children and what happens with the other parent.  Eating healthy can be much more difficult to manage.

Single Parents And Healthy Eating

I could demand my daughter eat healthy food and only prepare it, hoping she will decide to eat it.  But mostly what happens is she starves herself, and then I have to deal with the fallout from the “co-parent” who blames you for the fact your child will not eat.  So either you deal with the fallout week after week, or you capitulate and prepare your child things which aren’t as healthy as you would like. And before long, you start eating them yourself because trying to prepare two meals each meal becomes difficult.

While I admit being a single parent makes the fitness things more difficult, fitness still comes down to a matter of the will.  Things may have been chaotic and difficult, but I refuse to allow me to use my difficulties as an excuse.  My difficulties don’t define me.  How I respond to the difficulties will define who I am.  Which means I need to make a plan, set goals, and follow through.  So I’m going to.  And like last year, I am going to use my blog to keep me accountable to the goals I will set forth.  Only this year I am going to be more ambitious.  This year I want to make it a year-long journey to fitness.

Fitness 2018 Goals

This year I plan to cover fitness once a week throughout the year.  Which means I will begin the fitness journey again with a goal setting post.  Last year I began with a list of goals I wanted to accomplish for myself.  I wanted to go to the gym five days a week but I accepted four.  And I wanted to count my calories and keep everything under the 2000 amount per day.  As the time went by I would eventually add drinking water, expand what I meant by exercise, and make sure I got eight hours worth of sleep per night.

All of those were laudable goals, but I wanted to begin again stating the goals I had, with some minor addendums to last years goals.  And this year I am going to be more specific in my measurements and keep track of the pluses and minuses of each week.  And beyond all of this, I want to keep this year’s fitness week goals more interactive.  I welcome questions from you about specific issues of fitness, and for you to include your goals in the comments section so we can keep ourselves accountable together.  And for all of you who are fathers out there, I hope to cover some topic of interest with men and fitness each week.  So please follow along on this journey as I present the first of my 2018 fitness Goals.

1) Exercise for one hour a day, five days per week.

2) Drink eight glasses of water per day.

3) Get seven hours of sleep per night.

4) Keep track of my daily food choices.

5) Work at finding someone to partner with on my journey.

Continue The Conversation –

As you can see from my goals, I didn’t change the goals very much.  I did change some of the specificity.  And I think the biggest thing this year will be to consciously track everything I do every day.  I purchased a lovely 2018 planner, which I will use to track my weekly fitness goals.  But I really would love to hear from you about your fitness interests, and goals.  Not only would I love to help you keep accountable, but I would love to cover fitness issues each week so we can learn on our journey together.  So please feel free to talk about any topic in fitness which concerns you.  I would love to hear it.

Like / Follow Me

If you liked this post, definitely check out some of my fitness posts from last year and catch Brandi’s corresponding fitness post.  And like the post here at the end.  And if you want to follow along, don’t forget to subscribe to the Dad Rules.  These are ten rules every father should know about and follow.  Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life