The catalyst to my fitness journey started when I was 12 years old and was tagged as the scrawny one in my class. I remember my father, who was avid fitness enthusiast, took me to the gym shortly after that — and that experience made a lasting impact. From there, the gym would be a place that would influence my awareness of self, both physically and mentally. Additionally, it became a safe haven for me to check in with myself, and connect with other men in my life who may be going through similar experiences. Throughout my fitness journey I’ve been on a mission to cultivate a community of men, especially fathers, who may be looking for more than just a place to exercise but the support of others like themselves. That’s what inspired me to create a Facebook community that’s changed my life, and so many others as well.
In September 2018, I was expecting my first child and wanted to avoid the proverbial “dad bod.” That’s when I started the Facebook Group Dads Who Lift, inviting my Facebook friends to join and talk about what it was like to raise kids and stay in shape in the process.
Since then, the Group has grown to more than 21,000 members and has become a place for a whole range of dads – from new fathers to ones whose kids have flown the nest – all on various parts of their fitness journey and personal lives. Our community discusses topics and offer advice on everything from having accountability in their workouts and showcasing what routine is working for them, to asking for advice on disciplining their kids and sharing struggles with their partners.
As we wind down the year, the conversation in our Group, like so many others, has shifted to the best ways to stay motivated during the holiday season and tips for setting (and sticking to!) New Year’s resolutions. For me, being part of this community holds me accountable. And it seems I’m not alone. I recently learned that here in the U.S., more than 6.5 million people are part of at least one of the over 40,000 fitness groups on Facebook — and it’s amazing that Dads Who Lift is one small part of that. So in the spirit of community and sticking to your goals, here are four actionable tips for kick starting your fitness goals in 2020 that have worked for me and so many of our Dads Who Lift members. Remember, it’s all about jumping in, no matter where you are on your fitness journey:
- Write It Down: Start by taking the small step of writing down your goals – instead of keeping them in your head, put them down.
- Establish Community: Find a supportive, like-minded community and submerge yourself in it. If you have a group, you can get practical tips and set yourself up for success as well as a group of people who hold you accountable. For me, Dads Who Lift, proved to be a great network because it affirmed my experiences, and provided an outlet for me to seek motivation and support
- Set Intentional Goals: Be very specific with your goals – this will help you measure where you are in your journey, and what you need to focus on to reach the goals you’ve set. When I’m writing my goals, I like to set specific timing, outlining calories and identifying personal obstacles.
- Start Today: Don’t wait until Monday or January 1st to begin – start today! Don’t use the holiday as an excuse, you can enjoy yourself and still continue making progress.
This community of Dads is special to me, not only because it’s a support system for my fitness goals and journey, but because it reminds me of my earliest memories of going to the gym with my dad, and continues to fuel the work I do today. Dads Who Lift is a community for dads to ask anything — there’s no such thing as a dumb question. When you’re part of a community, you’re all there to grow together.