I’m a Christian, a husband, a father, and I provide for my family. So who cares if I have a few extra pounds? In fact, it’s kind of expected and we’ve given it a term: Dad Bod. It’s the norm and culturally accepted so…is physical fitness all that important for The Christian Dad?
If you’re like most men out there, you would agree that maintaining your overall health is important. But also if you’re like most men out there, working out just doesn’t always make it to the top of your priority list. Eating healthy takes too much time and preparation to be practical. And I would definitely argue that fitness is not the most important thing in life. I would certainly, however, argue that it is an essential ingredient when it comes to cooking up the best version of dad you can be.
In this post, I’m going to lay out why I believe physical fitness is extremely important for the Christian Dad. I’ll also address the most common obstacles for transitioning from Dad Bod to Fit Dad, and ways to overcome them. So get off the couch and do some air squats while you read this article.
Why The Christian Dad is Fit
As I write, I’m serving in the US Air Force (bring on the Chair Force jokes!). With the rise of suicides in the Armed Forces, the military has placed a special emphasis on something we call resilience. Resilience can be defined as, “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Now if there were ever a place in the dictionary for a picture of The Christian Dad to show up, it would be right next to this definition. Think about it, dads. To do what you do, to make the sacrifices you make, and to lead your family in these times, you have to be tough and able to recover quickly from challenges and hardships. Your kids and family need you to be resilient. There are different areas of resiliency including mental and spiritual health. But today we’ll be focusing on the physical aspect of resilience.
How does physical fitness increase my resiliency?
- Confidence Boost!
When you feel better about the shape and appearance of your body, your confidence will naturally increase. As a dad, confidence is especially important in the home or when you are around your family. Your sons will have an opportunity to see what a confident Christian man looks like, and how he handles himself in difficult situations. They will have that experience to draw on as they get older. You certainly don’t have to be physically fit to be confident, but it can definitely help!
- Less Illness!
Everyone knows that guy or gal that just seems to always be sick. They may have underlying issues and physical fitness isn’t a cure for everything. But when you watch what you put into your body and stick to a workout routine, I can all but guarantee that your time spent in a hospital bed will significantly decrease. Your family needs you to be healthy and around for the long haul!
- Happy Dad!
Studies have proven that people who are physically fit are simply happier in general. I’m not a scientist, but something about endorphins getting released and etc. Think about the last time you went for a run. Hopefully, you don’t have to think to hard but that’s ok, too! As painful as the event may have been, I’m willing to bet you felt great afterwards…even if you were a little sore. That’s the physical impacting the mental, which in turn positively impacts those around you.
- More Energy!
Energy is like the Holy Grail for the busy Christian Dad. If you’re like me, you put in a hard day’s work and are easily exhausted by the time you make it home. It seems easier to crash in front of the TV than to engage with your wife and kids. Working out and eating right is proven to increase your energy levels and give you the edge you need to be a present and effective dad.
Common obstacles and solutions for The Christian Dad when getting fit.
- Not enough time in the day.
This obstacle is by far the most common for The Christian Dad. You have work, family, church, chores…commitments. Perhaps you try to keep a journal and hopefully you’re dedicating time to Bible study and prayer as well. Maybe your commute is long which drains even more time from your day. I agree that there never seems to be enough time to do everything you may want to do. But I implore you to make time for your fitness. For me, I have to workout first thing in the morning or it just won’t happen. Maybe lunchtime or right after work is best for you. Perhaps, right before bed is the only time. Just make time and stick with it. I will say that the later in the day you schedule your workout, the easier it is for circumstances to derail your best intentions. If possible, find a workout partner that will help keep you motivated and accountable. And most importantly, ask God for the strength to keep with it.
I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13
- Don’t know how to start.
In today’s information-abundant age, the problem isn’t finding how to start working out. It can be difficult, however, to find the right information. My advice is to start slow. Don’t kill yourself with your first day back to the gym…you might not go back. The important thing here is to find a plan and stick with it for a couple weeks. You’ll know by then if it isn’t for you and can adjust accordingly. But the neuro pathways in your brain will already start rewiring to ingrain the workout habit within you.
- I don’t know what, when, or how to eat.
Insert fad diet here. There are literally tons of programs and diets out there all claiming to be the answer. Maybe one of them is, but you’ll go crazy trying to find it. Here’s the goal: Eat clean foods in moderation. That’s it! I won’t stop you from counting calories or avoiding carbs. But if you’re like me and that stuff burns you out, don’t do it!
The world of fitness is a huge one and I encourage you to do your research. My hope is that this post relayed the importance of fitness in the life of the Christian Dad, and maybe inspired you to get back on the wagon regarding your health. Go forth and be a Fit Dad.
Bonus Dad Joke
I’m all about fitness…fitness burrito in my mouth.