In my pre-fatherhood days, I used to tell people is,” I run so that I can eat”. This phase stemmed from the fact that I enjoy my food (a lot!!!) and because of my upbringing and parent’s influence, I would rather overeat than to see the food goes to waste. But that’s a separate story for another time.
Like many of my peers, when priorities took over the free time I have to exercise, those extra kilo piled up over the years. And when fatherhood kicks in full time, part of the problem has been finding the time and energy to fit in a fitness regimen.
Reality is a bitch. And the truth sets in when my office tea lady started to call me “fei zhai” (cantonese for fat boy). And so does the motivation and commitment to squeeze in that extra time in my packed schedule.
I ’ve also tried various workouts and various timing— waking up extra early to run (failed – not a morning person). Hitting the gym downstairs after work (failed – rather go home to spend time with family). Going for a run after work (failed – unstable work hours, unable to create a routine of any sort).
So I figured the best way to fit in any workout routine is not by squeezing an additional slot into that already established and packed schedule but to integrate workout into the routine. And by that, it means replacing the journey to and from work with a workout. Cycling is the easier option since it is an approximately 9 km journey (30 min at comfortable 18 km/hour speed) one way.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a easier option but it is by no means an easy routine. This means that on a cycling day, I have to pack all my work clothes and start my journey. I arrived at my workplace sweaty, after umpteen attempts at not running over people or cars trying to run over me .Then I have to cool down and shower and changed into my work clothes. And reverse for the journey home.
I soon realised that the motivation that has guided me for so long has changed and I no longer hold the mantra of ” I run so that I can eat”. Now, I don’t really care how I look in a swimming truck. I’m married to the most beautiful wife, a active 2 years old boy and a need-to-walk-daily 9 years old dog , any pride based on narcissism evaporated when we change our two doors car to a practical family carrier.
So wait for it ….
The current motivational mantra is “I exercise so I can run after my boy.”
As a dad, I have a lot of jobs I have to do for my boy— feeding him, playing with him, bathing him, bring him out for a walk, reading bedtime stories and all the other parenting stuff we do each day without even thinking about it and I know there is one job I have in my future as a dad that I simply cannot miss. And it involves being there for him.
For me, the phrase is about being there for him every day I can, for as long as I can: For the walks along the river, for the strolls at the park, for the random moments I cannot yet imagine.
I want to be there, walking through it all with him, until it’s not my job anymore.