This week I’m delighted to welcome a guest post from my friend, former colleague and former football team mate Rob Battigan. Rob is married with two children under four and has recently started in a new role that has the potential to be very demanding on his time. In this post Rob gives us an insight into where he’s come from and where he’d like to get to on his exercise journey!
My name is Rob and I am a 37 year old professional, happily married with two very active toddlers. A personal goal for greater levels of fitness cancelled out by allowing life ‘to get in the way’ has led me to write this article in the hope of generating the motivation I need to get up and do it! Having recently changed jobs and office location, my challenge seems to be finding the time to start and maintain a structured exercise routine.
The Good Old Days
Growing up I was incredibly active and spent all of my time at the local GAA, soccer and tennis clubs. GAA was the main stay of my early sporting endeavours, moving to soccer when I was about 11 and being completely overtaken by tennis from my early teens. I joined my first tennis club when I was about 8 and relinquished it when I was in my early 20’s but during those intervening years my fitness levels were very high. I returned to competitive soccer in my late 20’s and the commitment it required initially fitted with my life at that point. Almost weekly, I would play a friendly, yet competitive, game of 5-a-side on a Monday & Wednesday night; have training with the club on Tuesdays and Thursday nights and a club match on the Saturday afternoon. After training on a Thursday I would usually head straight to play an 11-a-side game. Throw in the odd cycle, run and round of golf and all in all it was a pretty busy week and decent amounts of exercise.
After getting married and starting a family, priorities changed and I reduced the 5 evenings down to an hour a week. This was a personal choice as I wanted to spend time with my family. Work was mostly a 9 to 5 routine and I didn’t do much exercise in the evenings. I have been lucky to have had gym facilities on-site in all of the offices I have worked in over the years but never availed of the opportunity!
New job, new location, same old challenge
This week I started a new job in the city centre and one of the first things promoted to me was the company Sports & Social club. I happily signed up and was immediately invited to join the company team in an upcoming corporate 5k, delighted at the opportunity to not only meet and get to know some of my new colleagues but also to get out and hit the pavement. Fitness has always been something I maintained relatively easily and I have no concerns about my ability to compete and complete in the 5k (which is just 2 weeks away). Last night during my weekly 5-a-side game I felt sluggish for the first time in months. Having had a few weeks off and spent some of that in sunnier climes eating well and enjoying wine in the evenings, I put it down to that. But it also got me thinking that maybe as I head towards 40 my fitness levels are actually going to need work. My metabolism is one of modern miracle in that I have always been able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted and never gained weight and I think that often helped with maintaining a decent level of fitness. With the impending 5k and the feeling of sluggishness now upon me, the question I’m posing is how do I manage enjoying my young family, settling into a new professional challenge and kick off a new exercise routine?
Hitting the gym or getting out for a run before work isn’t going to be possible for me given family commitments with crèche drop offs and my wife starting her working day at 8am. I’ve always looked at lunchtimes as exactly that – time to have lunch – and not a chance to get some exercise in. So the conclusion I come to is motivating myself to get off the couch a few evenings a week. How will that pan out given my workload and other commitments? Time will tell I guess. A lot has been written about health and wellbeing and in fact Angela Seeger’s recent blog in Office Worker Health posed the question of whether there is a relationship between your health and your work. In the past I didn’t really think the relationship was a close one but as I get busier in my working life I definitely feel that there certainly is a strong affiliation between the two.
What I need to do is set some specific goals so that I am challenged in the public domain to meet them. I remain a competitive individual and the 5k in two weeks’ time is my immediate goal. Next week I will get out and do a few kilometres in preparation and I think signing up for some other 10k runs between now and Christmas will keep me pushing to improve my times which for me should translate into improving my fitness and overall wellbeing.
Best of luck with the race and the new exercise routine Rob. We look forward to checking in on your progress in the near future!