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This week’s Fit Dad Fitness Podcast guest is Blake Williams. Blake’s journey to this point in his life can best be described, I believe, as a whirlwind. You’ll hear that much within the first few seconds of our conversation.

Blake is 31 years old and is a bariatric weight coach at a hospital in Georgia, a nationally qualified men’s physique and classic physique athlete, and a father of two boys with another child on the way.

And through dealing with an abusive father to battling depression to working his way up from the maintenance staff to his position now, Blake’s upbeat, positive, and forgiving attitude makes this one of the more encouraging interviews I’ve ever done.

He also drops several incredible nuggets of inspiration and wisdom, so be sure to listen intently. Enjoy!

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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My kids immediately hopped in the Pop N Go — stuffed animals and all — as soon as I got it out of the box.

At some point, every dad is going to get asked by their kid(s) to build a fort. And once you do it one time, you know you’re going to get asked to do it 100 more.

It’s definitely a good bonding experience with your kids to gather up every blanket, pillow, and chair in the house and turn your living room into the setting for an amazing blanket fort, letting your imagination run wild as you huddle in the darkness and protection of the fort.

But sometimes, you just want to get something built quickly, so you throw a blanket over a chair and the ottoman and — voila — blanket fort. You pretend not to see your kids’ underwhelmed faces.

Enter the Pop N Go.

I recently had the chance to try out this new pop-up playpen — or should I say, my kids had a chance to try it out.

Billed as “the lightest, safest, and most convenient portable playpen in the world,” I’ve got to say, after about a week of trying it out, they may be right.

It is an incredibly easy-to-use design. Set up takes less than a minute, and while take-down is a little more cumbersome, there’s no denying it’s better than any other system like this I’ve seen or come across.

Best of all, my kids absolutely love it. Since we first got our Pop N Go, not only did both my son and daughter immediately jump in an use it as a fort, they have each taken turns sleeping in it at night in their rooms. During the day, they use it as a fort or play space, or for whatever their imaginations have cooked up that day.

I can definitely see us putting it in our backyard this summer and letting the kids use it as their fort, castle, hideout, etc., and it’ll certainly make an appearance at soccer games and at the park as well. It’s so light that we could even take it up into the mountains for one of our weekend hikes and eat lunch inside as a family.

I’m a big fan of the Pop N Go. If you want to check it out for yourself, they’re running a Kickstarter campaign (which ends today, after which they’ll transition to IndieGoGo): fnd.to/popngo

Fatherly.com has a great video that shows just how simple it is to set up the Pop N Go:

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This week’s Fit Dad Fitness Podcast guest is Chris Brown, President of the National Fatherhood Initiative. NFI is a non-profit dedicated to ending father absence by equipping communities and organizations with resources and information “to intentionally and proactively engage fathers in their children’s lives.”

Chris has been with the organization for two decades, and his story about how he came to lead NFI is quite remarkable considering his strained relationship with his own father growing up.

What makes Chris’ story even more awesome and completely relevant to Fit Dad Fitness is that Chris and his father eventually reconciled their relationship through fitness. It’s an amazing story, along with the work that Chris and the NFI team are doing to get more fathers to lead active, involved, healthy lives with their children.

Check out NFI’s resources on its website, including its program locator, which can help you find a fatherhood program near you.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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A word of caution to anyone working on their health and fitness: Your fitness journey will not be a linear path; your growth track will not be a straight line up and to the right.

As many of us begin exercising and working out, we tend to experience weeks and months of positive results — provided we are training the right way for our goals, our nutrition is on point, and our body chemistry is not out of whack.

However, as we progress, we experience plateaus, and perhaps even some backsliding. This could be because of any number of factors: fatigue, poor sleep, nutrition changes, injuries. Often it is a combination of many factors rather than just one.

However, one often overlooked reason you might experience a lull in your results is that you’re not adjusting your workouts to compensate for the fact that your body is really, REALLY good at adapting to stress.

As your body gets used to the increased demand you’re putting it through, it requires more and more effort to extract results from it.

So how do you accomplish this?

Working muscles in different planes of motion, using different weights, changing up your number of reps or sets, experimenting with different tempos — changing these variables can be XXXXX.

You can also change up the frequency with which you train.

Studies have shown that “well-trained individuals benefit from including periods of training muscle groups 3 days-per-week when the goal is to maximize muscle hypertrophy.”

Essentially, the research suggests that for those individuals who have trained for a long time, by working your muscles more frequently — rather than, say, the typical body-part splits you often see in the gym — you keep your muscles in a heightened state of muscle growth. The increased exertion of your muscles is the signal to your well-trained body to keep growing!

This is one of the reasons why I’ve recently switched over to total-body workouts.

Instead of dedicating an entire workout each day to one specific body part (chest day, back day, leg day, etc.), each day is a total-body workout with an emphasis on a body part. So while my Tuesdays, for example, are still focused on my back, I’m also working in leg exercises, chest exercises, shoulder exercises, and core work.

In the study I linked above, the study participants who trained in a total-body style had statistically significant positive results when it came to muscle growth over their body part-split counterparts, with no positive or negative difference in strength gains.

I’m noticing this same effect as I continue to workout in a total-body fashion, and at the same time, the total-body workouts have allowed my body to recover from little nagging pains and aches that come with the heavier lifting of body-part splits.

Additionally, as a guy who loves to change it up and always keep my routine fresh and new, the total-body workouts have been awesome for that. I would encourage you that if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, that you’re not progressing like you once were, or you just want a change, give total-body workouts a try.

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As is the case so often in today’s social media-driven world, I came across this week’s Fit Dad Fitness Podcast guest, Ben Barker, on Instagram. I was intrigued by his content, which is geared towards busy dads who don’t always have the time to get to the gym or who don’t have a lot of equipment to work with at home but want a way to stay fit and active.

Ben runs the website, The Dad Wod, where he posts daily workouts for free for the busy dads out there. He’s also big into CrossFit, and with it, believes heavily in the importance of stretching, flexibility, and mobility.

We discuss these things and more in this week’s episode, which I characterize as two fit dads just having a wide-ranging conversation about what it means to live an active, involved, healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy this interview with Ben, because I definitely did.

Also, be sure to check out the coffee Ben and I discuss towards the end of our talk, Leiva’s Coffee.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, and Spotify. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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Sixty-six percent of overdose deaths in the United States involve opioids. One hundred and fifteen Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and deaths from opioids have quadrupled since 1999. In the same timeframe, the amount of opioids introduced into the system — sold to pharmacies, doctors, etc. — has quadrupled as well, despite no shift in the amount of pain Americans report suffering.

Today’s Fit Dad Fitness Podcast guest knows firsthand the harsh effects of the opioid epidemic. From his early teenage years until he finally got sober in his early 20s, Nic Durso tried just about every drug out there, had multiple felonies to his name, and had been incarcerated several times. He became so dependent on opioids during this time that even while working as a personal trainer, Nic would train his clients while he was high, because that was the only way he could function.

It wasn’t until a judge took a chance on him that Nic finally righted his life, got sober, and began channeling his energy toward more positive outlets. Now, more than 6 years removed from finally deciding to get sober, Nic is a physique competition coach, a boxing coach, and a father to 3-year-old Rylin. He also has some powerful words for anyone seeking approval through the way they look.

Listen to this powerful episode, and if you struggle with addiction, I beg you to seek help. As Nic says in the podcast, start getting back to healthy right now. Today.

One quick note: Due to the nature of the content Nic and I discuss, I’d caution against letting children listen to this episode. Just a fair warning.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, and Spotify. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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This week, I welcome my first repeat guest to the Fit Dad Fitness Podcast — Efren Pelayo of The Dad Lift. Our conversation on this episode deviates from specifically talking about health and fitness, as we have a conversation about the importance of sowing into our marriages.

We kick off the discussion talking about an article that Efren wrote on his website called “The Core.” Efren and I are both certified personal trainers, and one of the first things we were taught is that to build a well-performing body, you have to start with building a strong core and continue to work on it as your progress.

The same is true in marriage, as your relationship with your spouse is the core of your family.

This week’s episode is simply a conversation between two guys — both husbands and fathers — who are open and honest about our successes and setbacks in our relationships with our wives, and why its so important to continue to work at being the best spouse you can be.

This week’s episode is sponsored by HealthIQ. HealthIQ is a great company that my wife and I recently used to double our life insurance coverage and reduce our monthly premiums by about 20 percent. If you take care of yourself and care about your physical health and you want to make sure that your family is set up to be taken care of should the worst happen, then you have to check out HealthIQ. Go to www.HealthIQ.com/FitDad to get the process starting with your free quote.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, and Spotify. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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This week’s episode of the Fit Dad Fitness Podcast tackles a sensitive and touchy subject: fat.

In this solo episode, I lay out the scientific facts as to why there is no such thing as healthy obesity, or being ‘fat but fit.’ I explore why believing in this myth — that you can be healthy and overweight at the same time — is simply untrue and potentially life-threatening. I also explain the huge difference between being overweight and being OK with the ramifications of that, and being overweight and believing you are OK.

In the second part of the podcast, I dive into understanding the difference between someone expressing concern over a person’s body weight, versus body shaming. Hint: It all comes down to intent.

Understand this, if nothing else: I want dads to live active, involved, healthy lives with their children, for as long as they can possibly affect. My intent with this episode is to educate and to motivate, not to demean or chastise. I want to see more dads take control of their health and fitness, for their sake and for the sake of their family for years to come.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, StitcherSoundCloud, and Spotify. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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This week’s Fit Dad Fitness Podcast guest has a fitness transformation that is truly one of the most eye opening ones you’ll find.

My guest this week is Mike Lee, a 12-time physique competition champion, which includes the 2017 Musclemania World Championship. To see Mike today is to see a lean, athletic, ripped specimen who looks capable of stepping on stage at any moment. Yet in 2010, that was far from the case.

In August 2010, Mike weighed more than 230 pounds, had a 40-inch waist, was pre-diabetic, and was, as he puts it on his website (www.5fitrules.com), “terribly out of shape, out of energy and at an unhappy time in my life.”

After seeing a picture of himself shirtless while on a family outing at a water park, Mike made the decision to take control of his health and fitness, and over the next several months, he went about radically transforming his body from a dad bod to that of a ripped dad.

He made his transformation by making practical, uncomplicated changes to his daily habits, which became the basis for his 5 Fit Rules.

Now, Mike is quickly becoming one of the more recognizable names and faces in the fitness industry, especially after making it into the final round of the 2017 Bodybuilding.com Spokesmodel competition.

We get into Mike’s total fitness journey on this week’s episode, which I know you’re going to enjoy. If you do, please do me a huge favor and share it with a friend, subscribe, and leave a rating and a review.

This week’s episode is sponsored by HealthIQ. HealthIQ is a great company that my wife and I recently used to double our life insurance coverage and reduce our monthly premiums by about 20 percent. If you take care of yourself and care about your physical health and you want to make sure that your family is set up to be taken care of should the worst happen, then you have to check out HealthIQ. Go to www.HealthIQ.com/FitDad to get the process starting with your free quote.

Listen to this episode!

The Fit Dad Fitness Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, and Spotify. Please give it a listen and subscribe, and let me know what you think. I can always improve, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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At the summit of Mount Sneffels near Ouray, Colorado, taken by my friend, Lee Nemes.

If you’ve followed me on social media, you might have noticed that several times over the past couple of months, I’ve shared that I was struggling to land on my next fitness goal.

I think having goals is essential to a fulfilling and successful fitness journey, but after my Holiday Shred wrapped up at the end of 2017, I was at a loss when it came to deciding what to do next.

The past few years, I’ve done a Warrior Dash and two Spartan Races as a way to test myself physically. I’ve set and met goals along my fitness journey related to building muscle and losing body fat percentage.

But I wanted something different. Something bigger.

For a while, I strongly considered stepping on stage to compete in a physique show. I had never really wanted to compete, but I was definitely feeling a tug in that direction. In the fitness world, competing and stepping on stage is typically the next step in a bodybuilder’s progression — it’s just kind of “what you do.”

But I gave it a ton of thought, and eventually told myself “no.” Physique competitions are not a healthy thing, and while the challenge would be extraordinary, I didn’t want it to come at the expense of my well-being, both physically and mentally.

So what, then?

I thought about the characteristics I wanted in my next challenge.

  • First, I want it to be something I’ve never done before
  • Second, I want it to be something outside of the gym and beyond the measure of a new PR or weight/muscle gained
  • Third, I want it to be something that inspires me, challenges me, and holds a deeper meaning

As I thought about these things, I realized my next goal was literally right in front of my eyes.

Mountains.

I live in Colorado, home to 53 mountain peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet in altitude. Fourteeners, as Coloradans call them.

From where I live, I see at least four of them peaking over the foothills, and right now, they’re capped in a brilliant white layer of snow.

I looked at these mountains as I was leaving the gym last week and my next goal came to me.

In 2018, my goal is to summit at least three of Colorado’s Fourteeners.

It makes so much sense to me. I spend a majority of my fitness time training in a gym, but I absolutely love getting out of that element and into nature, where my body is tested in new and unnatural ways.

The highest I’ve hiked so far after living in Colorado for three years is about 12,000 feet, so not only is it something I’ve never done before, but it will challenge me in completely new ways to train to climb not one, but three, Fourteeners this year.

The three peaks I’ve chosen:

I am so excited about this goal. I envision what it will be like standing at the summit of each of these peaks, looking down on the world below, and that inspires me. My goal in 2018 is to reach new heights, and if I succeed, I will have quite literally accomplished this three times over.

I’m also particularly excited that this goal has nothing to do with my physical appearance; but rather, it has everything to do with stamina, endurance, mental toughness, and determination. Health and fitness is about more than aesthetics and appearance — even the most ripped, muscular people in the world can be unhealthy.

Right now, I’m planning to attempt my first summit in late June, with another in July and another in August. If you live in the Denver area and want to join me on this journey, email me at fitdadfitness15@gmail.com and we’ll coordinate!

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