Finding The Balance Between Fappiness and Fitness

I don’t think anyone that is fit ever sets out to gain wait and lose their fitness. Well, that is unless they are a movie star that is getting a HUGE pay day and looking to finally take home that elusive Oscar (here’s looking at you Robert Deniro in Raging Bull). After I lost nearly 90 pounds in 2007, I never intended to go back to being heavy again. Then something happened that threw a wrench in my routine. I fell in love and got married. In an instant, the seeds of fappiness were planted.

Fappiness (happiness that leads us to getting fatter) for those not familiar with the term is what happens to millions of men and women when they fall in love and start their families. Time once reserved for the gym or a nice run is easily replaced with courting their spouse or spending time with their children.

It took about six months after my marriage for the my fappiness bomb to detonate. The bomb, of course, was planted while dating. Things like skipping a run or two to have a nice unhealthy dinner with my future wife and giving in to more and more social eating situations were just the beginning.

In the fall of 2010, I developed my first significant injury in years. I had been married for  about six months. Normally, I would have spent all my spare time rehabbing and trying to get back into top fitness as soon as possible. Instead, I saw the injury as a nice break from the 50 mile plus weeks I had been putting myself through for the last three years. I spent more time with my wife and indulged more and more in foods that I would normally deny myself during training. I just couldn’t find the motivation to put in the miles. Why? Because I was happy. I didn’t need to look to my running as my only source of validation as I had in the past. I had a great wife and was having plenty of fun living my life on reduced mileage and an increase in food intake.

The weight gain happened fairly quickly given my past history with being over weight. I continued to run but didn’t take it too seriously; however, after about a year and a half, I decided to get more serious about my training again. I cleaned up my diet and started to lose weight in preparation for the 2012 St. George Marathon. My wife was pregnant and working full time during this training period, so it was easy. My wife would come home from work and nap, and I would go from the work to the gym. My wife only craved fruits and vegetables during her pregnancy so naturally my diet cleaned up as well.

Six weeks before the marathon, my daughter Tamsin was born. I Immediately took a week off of work and training to be at home with my wife and new baby. I learned quickly that being a dad is the greatest thing in the world but it is exhausting! My wife still makes fun of me for how much I slept in the hospital room. The photo below was taken during that first week at home. I laid down to play with my girl and at some point we both dropped off to sleep.

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I returned to full training the following week and didn’t feel too bad for not coming straight home after work as my wife was resting and all Tamsin did was sleep and poop.

I stayed strong with my diet through the marathon and because of the better diet and increase in training, I ran a 3:14 (my third best marathon time). I was ecstatic to say the least. I started to make plans in my head about how to improve my training and finally run that sub three hour marathon that has eluded me since my teenage years. The photo below is of me and Tamsin at her first marathon finish line. As all of us runners know, this is a special moment in all of our babies lives. As you can see, Tamsin was thrilled to be there. 🙂

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We’ve all heard the saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Well, so is the road to Fappiness. Almost immediately after the race and making plans to once again train hard and push to run a sub three hour marathon, I found myself with a complete lack of desire to train. The picture below says it better than any words can describe. I could go to the gym after work or I could come home and hold and play with my baby. In my mind there wasn’t much of a choice. Tamsin always won out over  going for a run.

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I kept running of course, but more in the range of 15-20 miles a week at a significantly reduced pace. My lack of desire to train hard was coupled with a desire to eat whatever the hell I wanted and just enjoy life. In my mind this was fine because I was still “training.” Of course, as they always do, the pounds started to pile on. My fappiness period was hitting its stride (pun intended). 🙂

We started taking Tamsin to 5k’s and other races that I was participating in so she will hopefully like the environment in the future. Below is a pic of Tamsin wearing her first race bib.

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I decided the best way for me to keep my fappiness in control was to train for another marathon. I signed up for the 2013 St. George Marathon and got in. I figured this would be the kick in the butt I needed to get serious about my diet and training again. My training went OK. I ran some decent mileage and a couple of times that I was proud of considering my new heftier clydesdale frame. I even ran a marathon in preparation for the St. George Marathon. Below is a pic of Tamsin at her second marathon finish line. The Morgan Valley Marathon. As you can tell by the picture, she is already starting to enjoy races more. 🙂

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I continued to push forward to St. George never getting my diet under control. I simply didn’t have the desire to eat right. I had a happy life, a beautiful wife and daughter, and I was still running fairly well for my 220-225 pounds.

My friends convinced my to officially run in the clydesdale division at the race. I did and I surprised myself by running a 3:34. Once again, I immediately started making plans in my head about how to buckle down my diet and come back the next year to run a faster race. As quickly as the plans entered my head, they left and I started dreaming of eating a large pizza (marathons tend to make you hungry).

Tamsin had a great time at this race too. Don’t let the picture below fool you; she is just reacting to her dad’s smell after running 26.2 miles. She likes to remind me that I’m stinky every time I come home from a run now.

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After the marathon last year, I continued to let my diet go until I reached 238.8 pounds. That is just a few pounds shy of where I was when I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. That was the wake up call I needed. My fappiness period was fun and I can’t say (at least at this time) that I regret one minute of it. Being nearly 240 pounds meant I had regained 70 of the 90 pounds I had lost in 2007. I started thinking about my overall health and being there for Tamsin in the future.

I decided to start this blog as a way to keep myself accountable. As many readers know, in my very first post, I gave myself the challenge to get my weight back under 200 pounds. I am happy to report that nine weeks into my challenge, I am currently 2.8 pounds away from achieving my goal! I appreciate all the comments and support that I have received from readers as I have been working on my goal and this blog.

In closing, I want to ask all you parents out there. How do you balance your home life with your training schedules? How do you stay committed to your fitness and avoid giving into fappiness? Please let me know any successful strategies you have. I’m still perfecting my balance and welcome all advice.

 

6 Comments

  1. Great post and your daughter and wife are gorgeous! Its definitely hard to find that balance of training with a family. I have found what works for me is getting up super early in the morning and running before work so when I get home at night, I can be focused on my family and on the weekends when I have my long runs, I do them during my sons naptime to minimize the time spent away from him. It’s tough no doubt and its not always smooth sailing but it works well for us 95% of the time. Good luck!

    • nickbernard110

      March 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you for the comment Sara! I also wake up early and go to the gym before work so I can be home at night. Saturdays I like to do my long run with some of my friends. We typically go very early so we don’t conflict with family time. However, I also like to let my wife sleep and watch cartoons with my daughter on Saturday morning, so I am still finding a balance there.

  2. Great post, Nick! It’s awesome to see how far you’ve come, and how you’re trying to balance home life and fitness! I don’t have children yet, so there’s not a ton for me to balance, but it helps me to stay motivated if my husband works out with me. It becomes another date 🙂

    • nickbernard110

      March 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you for your comment Hannah! Having kids makes it harder but it is definitely doable. I’m lucky that my wife is very understanding. She knows that no running = an anxious and irritated husband.

  3. I don’t know if this counts as good advice but I dont take working out very seriously. -_- Exercise for me is something I enjoy doing – as opposed to something I ‘must’ do for my health. Even though the latter is true and important, I find that that perspective is more burdensome. We tend to start to ponder upon failure and not measuring up.

    For me, I am more comfortable being in a relaxed state of mind. I run as well, I do at least one marathon a year and I play flag football. Aside from that, I work out ‘without’ focus — contrary to common practice. By that I mean that, if I wake up in the morning and feel like kick boxing, I do kick boxing. If I wake up in the morning and feel like doing pilates, I do pilates. I don’t force myself into exercise niches.

    Like I said…I don’t know if that’s good advice, but that’s how I handle it. lol.

    • nickbernard110

      March 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Nevy… Thank you for the comment and your advice. I like your just do what you feel type philosophy. I’ve been thinking of branching out from running and the elliptical and maybe adding yoga as a cross training tool. Also, to keep myself from getting too bored with my routine.

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