I have attempted to write this piece about five times, and each time I feel as though I failed to capture the true meaning of what it is I want to share. What started out as an exciting idea to share the craziness of my household and how I juggle my daily obligations, ended up becoming nothing more than a glorified daily schedule that in all likelihood, is no different than any other household with children. The more I thought about it, the more I realized, who cares who cooks (I do), who does the laundry (she does), who bathes the kids (I do), and who mops the floor (she does).
Furthermore, why would anybody be interested in knowing my daily routine of when I work out, when I eat, and when I prep food? These are things we all do – whether we have work obligations, family obligations, church obligations, etc. Then I had a revelation. What I really want to share with you is how TWO people under one roof do all of these things, and still manage to maintain a happy and healthy household (and their sanity!).
I wish there was a single word to describe the awesome relationship my wife and I have, or at least a single word to illustrate our synergy.
Synergy: Interaction, cooperation, collaboration, working together, combined effect, concerted effort. Now we’re getting somewhere. How about respect?
Respect: Admiration, value, appreciate, follow. Now appreciate.Value, understand. Finally, compromise.
Compromise: Cooperation, settlement, cooperate.
Now this is an interesting group of words. Notice that Respect returned a result of Value. Synergy and Compromise both returned a result of cooperation? That’s quite profound when taken into this context, because in my opinion, the word compromise carries with it a negative connotation, as if to say you are “settling for less” or “giving in.” So, I narrow it down to VALUE and COOPERATION. I can’t narrow it any further because you can’t have one without the other.
I know what you are thinking – “is this pillow talk with Delilah? Let’s get to the bodybuilding!” Just hold your horses, we’re getting there. This is every bit as important as a post-workout meal. I can tell you now, if I did not have what I just described, I most definitely would not be where I am today.
Here is a typical afternoon: I return from work at 4:00pm. Immediately upon entering the home I am bombarded by children, mauled by a dog, burdened with dinner requests, and disillusioned by the state in which the kids have destroyed the house. My wife is all geared up to go at this time and she goes into the basement to workout. I start preparing dinner for the kids immediately, simultaneously clearing the sink, emptying the dishwasher (because it’s always full), and ordering the kids to clean and tidy the house. I aim to have their dinner on the table just before 5:00pm. It might seem early, but trust me, these kids take forever. I sit with the kids and we eat together (I fight and force feed them) – my meal was of course prepared ahead of time.
In between force feeding the kids, I am prepping more meals to store for later and am also preparing dinner for my wife. Yes, I make three dinners most nights. Keep in mind, we all have different goals. As I have said before, I don’t make the kids eat what I eat, and my wife, although very fitness oriented and health conscious, does not need to eat like I do. I prep and force feed for about an hour before I get the kids cleaned up and have them get the PJs on. Yes, PJs at 6:00pm. By this time my wife is done working out and she is cleaning up. I have thirty minutes now to prepare myself to get to the gym.
I work out from about 6:45pm to 8:00pm. When I get home I take a quick shower and then I’m back in the kitchen prepping more meals. I prep until 9:00pm at which time I sit down with my wife and we TRY to enjoy a show or movie. The kids are still running rampant at this time and we usually spend the next hour fighting with them to stay in their rooms. Sometimes we get to watch a movie – sometimes we don’t. It’s not uncommon for a movie to last two nights for us due to the constant interruptions. I usually don’t have the energy to go beyond 10:30pm, so we then call it a night. I’m then up at 5:20am the next morning to start the cycle again. That is the light version. Given those time constraints you can imagine how much more stressful it would be to add in anything extra such as bath night, grocery shopping, and soccer practice.
So now you might be wondering – when do I see my wife if I am at work all day, she works out when I get home, we don’t eat together, and I workout when she is done? Well, I see her when she drives me to work, I see her for 30 minutes over lunch, and I see her amidst interruptions for about an hour and half before bed. To be honest, most of the time we are just two people in the same room, even if the kids are behaving. She likes to unwind by reading and I like to unwind by prepping meals. It’s not that we don’t enjoy each other’s company; it is that we both enjoy making the other happy.
I will never ask my wife to skip or alter a workout to accommodate me, and she wouldn’t expect that of me for her. Not only have we made a commitment to each other (for better or worse!), but we have made a commitment to leading healthy lifestyles. This is a costly commitment, but one that has benefits that far outweigh the costs. There is no better way to fully illustrate my use of the words Value and Cooperation. What we do, and the results we achieve, is the fruit of a cooperative effort founded on the value and respect we have for each other.
I have met many bodybuilders that do not have the support of their family and loved ones. It is a sorry sight to see a bodybuilder backstage who has nobody to support him on his big day. It pains me to hear stories of bodybuilders whose loved ones beg and plead for them to refrain from doing competitions, or ask them to not share their advice and experiences. What we do is hard enough. The natural athlete, the health enthusiast, the fitness buff – we all work too hard. Some have the strength to persevere through adversity. After all, we do control our own destiny. But some, if not most, rely on that strength that can only be obtained through support of those around them.
Take the “New Year’s Resolutioners,” for example. You know the ones – they sign up for gym membership in January and by March they have stopped working out. What happened? They may have quit but did they have the help, support, and cooperation from those around them? While they were working out, were their loved ones eating take out in front of the TV, ridiculing their efforts? Was their commitment valued? One small insensitive act; one small comment or snide remark, is all it may take to ruin and completely dismantle what may have taken weeks, months, or years to accomplish.
I can’t stress it enough – surround yourself with a strong supportive network. If you want this lifestyle, let it be known. State your intentions and state your goals. Make sure you are loud and clear. Like any solid foundation, if laid out properly it will last forever and bare the heaviest of loads.