Turns out morning exercise is actually good for you.
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Have you ever wanted to unlock the secrets to owning your day while balancing fitness and fatherhood?
My name is Bob Algard, co-owner of Solid Rock Training, and I just entered first-time fatherhood with my wonderful wife, Bekah, and our beautiful son, Robert Paul. Here’s my Father’s Day gift to dads just like you and me. But before you get into all my secrets, I have to warn you, not all of them are “easy,” but they are proven to work, and have worked, for hundreds of men.
Just as a soldier is expected to have their gear ready to go at all times, so should you. Get your bag packed the night before and lay out the clothes for the upcoming day. No more thinking required—it’s go time!
Keeping the same waking schedule is proven to help you stay at the top of your game because your body craves consistency. Fatherly duties require us to be alert, attentive, and ready for action, and waking up at the same time helps make those attributes routine.
I learned this one while at military college. When your alarm goes off, it’s time to get up. You set your alarm. Honor it. This is your first commitment of the day. You, your family, and your purpose can’t afford to be snoozed on. NO SNOOZING.
It’s a scientific fact that when you wake up in the morning your body NEEDS water. While you slept, your body and mind did serious work repairing muscles, replacing cells, removing toxins, and reorganizing your memory files. Hydrate, hydrate, and when you are about done, hydrate some more.
What you pay attention to will dominate your focus, so setting powerful intentions daily will ensure laser focus on what really matters. Intentions are about your life’s vision and purpose. For example, my intentions every day are built using a simple framework. I break everything into the 5 F’s. Faith. Family. Fitness. Finance. Freedom. It’s your duty to give an ‘F’ about the things that matter.
Every morning after I’m done setting my intentions for the day, I have a smoothie to fire up my metabolism and fuel the beast within. Typically, I’ll have a healthy serving of fruits, vegetables, fat, organic matcha, and vegan protein.
Pro Tip: Put it all in the blender, minus the frozen ingredients, the night before to give yourself a five-minute head start.
You’ve got two options based on how your body feels. Go for a 20-minute walk to get your blood flowing and joints lubricated or get a quick 20-minute strength and mobility flow in. As the old saying goes, a body in motion stays in motion.
Now, you are off to the races! The best part of all this will take you no more than 45 minutes, so you can focus on crushing your day and owning the most important aspects of your life.
Let’s get to it.
By now, we all know the benefits of virtual and online fitness classes, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the struggles. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, studios and instructors all over the world had to get crafty, many with little-to-no experience with live streaming or recording workouts at home (so, if you haven’t, make sure you send your instructors a quick thank you—because they deserve it). Now that we’ve realized virtual fitness is here to stay—and we’ve all had lots of practice—the virtual experience is getting a whole lot better.
Here’s what your favorite studios and instructors are doing to improve their virtual fitness classes right now:
Everything seems harder than it must be right now...which is why jumping through hoops to get into a class should be the last thing on your mind. As with most things, the simpler, the better (unless we’re talking about the actual workout). Studios are working on creating a one-button experience to join a class. You sign up, get an email, press ‘join,’ and you’re in. And if something happens with your WiFi and you end up getting kicked out, no worries. One button click and you’re back in, without even missing a circuit.
If there's one thing more annoying than not having easy access to classes, it’s bad quality and connection. We’ve all found ourselves in online classes where you literally can’t follow along due to poor connectivity causing instructors to freeze every five seconds. Or if it’s an on-demand class that doesn’t buffer, you’re stuck looking at a spinning wheel as your heart rate decreases at the worst possible time. Not fun.
Now, studios and instructors are doing their absolute best to make sure they have top-notch WiFi and streaming services so we can work out without delays. Better cameras, lighting, and space setups are just a few of the investments instructors and studios are making to make virtual workouts as close to the in-studio experience as possible.
For most, working out with music is a must. But figuring out how to balance tunes with the instructor’s voice can be a challenge. In the studio, they have state-of-the-art speakers blasting playlists throughout class, and oftentimes they have headset mics—all adjusted to the perfect volume so you can sweat to the beat, without missing a beat.
But at home, it’s a little more difficult. Now that instructors have had some time to work on it, they’re figuring it out. Some instructors suggest playlists for you, others have mastered the perfect music to voice volume ratio, and some have invested in some high-quality mic setups for their home studios. In yoga instructor, Dani Schenone’s words, “Instructors are Jedi masters at the music-to-voice volume ratio at this point. When necessary, external microphones offer an amazingly clear experience. I record my classes and listen back, noticing any audio issues I need to address the next time around.” We’re getting there together, and again, thank your instructors. This isn’t easy.
With instructors improving their own spaces for filming workouts, we need to be doing the same as attendees. An instructor’s key to creating a good virtual experience is making it all replicable—creating a space and using equipment that’s realistic for anyone to mimic at home. If they're using weights, they should let you know ahead of time, and maybe even give some household items you can use as alternatives.
Instructors are people too, and they know this. They’re coming up with tons of creative ways to make the experience easier for you, whether it’s propping up their cameras so you can see their entire setup and body, notifying you of equipment needs early in the booking process, or teaching classes that can realistically fit in most spaces.
Have you seen the videos of teachers trying to keep their kindergarteners engaged over Zoom? Fitness classes are not much different. Signing up for group fitness classes means more motivation and encouragement, so we can’t skip out on the hard moves and cut our workouts short when we’re feeling tired. Instructors, though, have an interesting challenge—keeping that spirit up through a computer or phone screen. And right now (as always), they’re stepping up in several ways:
• They’re always on time, beginning and ending class right when they say they will.
• They talk through all the moves, so you don’t constantly have to be looking at the screen, and demo them at least twice in case you missed the first one.
• They shout out words of encouragement and call people out by name, just as they would at an in-studio class.
• They give tips and pointers for perfecting your form, even if they can’t always see you.
• They have a positive attitude throughout the class and are consistent with their delivery, so we always know what to expect.
• They’re our superstars, and we love them for it.
Shifting from IRL to virtual fitness has not come without its own set of complications, but let’s not forget about the struggles of the people on the other side of that screen. Our instructors are working hard out here to make these classes better because they genuinely care about our health, well-being, and sense of community.
Virtual classes are here to stay, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better. Thank you, instructors.