Twin Boys: A new father’s quest for an efficient workout

Free exercise!
Double trouble!

Double trouble!

Three years ago my wife and I were blessed to have twin boys!  They were the love of my life!  Until their little sister came along shortly thereafter.  Now my affection is split among the three of them!  Before having children, I used to just go to the gym for my workouts.  Or go on long bike rides with my pals.  Now that I’ve got three kids under three, I’ve traded dumbbells for diapers!

 

Baby 3 crawls into the scene

Baby 3 crawls into the scene

Desperate and determined to stay in shape, I came up with an extremely efficient way to eat well (see Todd’s Power Oats) and stay active.  My workout is super simple.  It can be done at home, with no equipment.  And I can do it in about 12 minutes when I really focus.  At that pace, it ends up being both a strength and cardio workout all rolled into one.

Me and my new workout buddies

Me and my new workout buddies

The approach is simple.  I call it “The 300”.  It’s based on the concept of high intensity interval training.  You do just 3 exercises in each circuit, and then repeat that circuit 10 times.  Each exercise is done 10 times.  Then you move on to the next exercise without resting.  The secret to being able to do this without resting is to choose your exercises so you allow one part of your body to recover while you’re doing the other two exercises.

An easy way to do this is the pick one exercise for each of the following 3 body areas:

  1. Upper body
  2. Lower body
  3. Core

So in a typical workout I’ll do the following:

  1. Circuit 1
    1. 10 Pushups
    2. 10 Squats
    3. 10 Bicycle crunches
  2. Circuit 2
    1. 10 Pushups
    2. 10 Squats
    3. 10 Bicycle crunches
  3. Wash, rinse and repeat for 8 more circuits (for a total of 10)

 

As I’ve evolved this workout over that past few years, I’ve added other features to my regimen to make it more challenging (like adding a chin-ups) and rotating my core moves (sometimes I’ll do mountain climbers, some times classic crunches, sometimes planks, etc.)  But the approach is still the same.

Counting with legos

Counting with legos (source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oskay)

I use my kids legos lined up in a row of 10 and slide one forward with each set to keep track of how far I am into the workout.

So there you have it.  A super simple, fast, no-cost way for a busy new parent to stay in shape when there are diapers waiting to be changed!

Here’s a video of my explaining the workout:

A neat side note is that I often do this workout in the living room with my little ones watching me.  They often copy my moves, or try to help by climbing on my back!  I LOVE the fact that my kids are getting exposed to exercise from a young age (and the extra challenge of doing a pushup with 30 pounds on your back is great too!)

Good luck!

 

-The Toddfather

Free exercise!

Free exercise!

 

Categories: Exercise, Health, Home workouts, Motivation, No equipment workouts | Leave a comment

Using a treadmill desk to get “free exercise” while working

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk

Today it’s snowing and cold in Denver.  While it’s tempting to use that as reason for not getting some exercise, using a treadmill desk in the office makes it almost as easy as getting outside for a walk.  And in some ways it’s better, since I can easily type, read, talk on the phone and do just about any other typical office activity while I’m exercising.  And for me personally, I tend to have better concentration on the treadmill desk.  It must be the improved blood circulation.

Now I’m only moving at 1 mile per hour, so it’s not like  a typical workout.  But it is free exercise that I’m getting (covering a mile each hour) relative to the usual “sitting in an office chair” approach which usually just leaves me slouching with bad posture and a sore back.  Working on the treadmill desk actually helps me maintain my focus, and I think it feels better on my back.

Attached are a couple of pictures of the set up.  It takes a few times to get used to the gently motion of walking this slow, but that passes pretty quickly.  A few pointers if you take the plunge and try one out:

  • Resist the temptation to increase the speed beyond about 1.5 MPH.  It’s tempting to go faster, but things get a bit unstable at that speed.  Plus you’ll start to sweat and make obnoxious noises (see below)
  • Walking at a slow speed (I usually set it around 1.2 MPH) lets you walk at a pace that keeps you from sweating, and it keeps the treadmill quieter
  • Walking at a slow speed means you can walk in your work shoes, without having to worry about changing your shoes.
  • Don’t try to spend a full day on the treadmill desk, especially at first.  Start with shorter (1 hour) sessions.
  • Remember that the purpose isn’t to be getting a vigorous workout.  You’re just trying to replace some sedentary work time with some much needed motion.
Have fun!

Close up of the treadmill desk work area

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Todd’s Power Oats

Todd's Power Oats...the Sunday evening assembly line makes it easy to make a week's worth of healthy breakfast in about 5 minutes!

Todd’s Power Oats…the Sunday evening assembly line makes it easy to make a week’s worth of healthy breakfast in about 5 minutes!

 

Here’s the recipe for Todd’s Power Oatmeal (and some photos of the assembly line).  This is the “fully loaded” version.  You can trim the calories a bit if needed by skipping the almonds!  Also, the stats below don’t show fiber which is pretty high for a dish like this…

 

  • • ½ cup Slow Cook Oats (or steel cut oats for extra crunch)
  • • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • • ¼ cup raisins or dried cherries or cranberries
  • • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (Whole Foods 365 brand is my favorite…no artificial sweeteners).  Can double this and eliminate the nuts for more protein)

 

Place in glass bowl with a lid and shake vigorously.  Add water or almond milk to bowl the night before eating and mix thoroughly so the ingredients are wet.

In the morning, add fresh berries (blueberries and strawberries work well) and dress with a splash of milk or almond milk to give it a nice finish.  You can swap the almond milk for regular milk or water depending on what you like.  Enjoy!

Here are the stats:

  CALORIES CARBS FAT PROTEIN
Cinnamon, ground, 1 tsp 6 2 0 0
Almonds, dry roasted, 0.75 oz (22 whole kernels) 127 4 11 5
Old Fashioned Quaker Oatmeal- Plain (1/2 cup dry), 1 serving 150 27 3 5
*Flax Seed Meal (ground flax), 2 tbsp 60 4 5 3
Protein Powder – Trader Joe’s Whey Protein, 1 serving 130 11 2 16
Blueberries, fresh, 0.33 cup 27 7 0 0
Raisins, 1 miniature box (.5 oz) 42 11 0 0
Ultimate CHIAlife Chia Seed, 0.5 tbsp 30 3 2 1
Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Unsweetened Original, 4 oz 20 1 2 1
TOTALS: 592 69 24 31

Here are some close up images of what the oats look like before and after you shake them up.

Before shaking…

After shaking…just add water!

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Clever way to prevent mobile phone usage while driving

speaker-phone-block

 

 

This is a neat idea for limiting cell phone use by the driver of a car!  http://www.autoblog.com/2011/12/05/heres-how-researchers-can-shut-down-your-phone-while-youre-dri/speaker-phone-block

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Lost your Fitbit? Check the seatbelt!

Found my lost Fitbit
Found my lost Fitbit

Found my lost Fitbit

This is from the “strange but true” file. I am a big fan of the Fitbit. I wear it just about everywhere. And in the 2+ years that I’ve been wearing it I’ve never lost it. Until yesterday. I was coming back from lunch and noticed that it was missing from my pocket where I usually clip it (as Fitbit wearers know, you develop a subtle new behavior where you instinctively check for your Fitbit while you’re walking even when you’re not thinking about it!). I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. I get back in the car to return to the restaurant where I had lunch. As I got into the car I looked down at the seatbelt and found the Fitbit clipped on! When I put the seatbelt on, it must of slipped under the Fitbit and then deviously snagged it onto the belt. Here’s what it looked like!

 

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Dad takes his 5 year old through mountain bike park!

Screenshot 2013-11-13 16.11.23

I love seeing how excited this little boy is following his dad thorugh the park!

5 year old follows dad on a mountain bike

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