Keeping up with your personal health and physical fitness pursuits is difficult enough on its own, and adding the responsibilities of children makes it that much harder.
Of course, that’s not to say it can’t be done – all three GMB founders have kids, and a large percentage of our clients are parents who prioritize maintaining an active lifestyle and staying fit for the things that matter to them. Still, there are adjustments that need to be made when you’ve got a little person (or people!) relying on you every day.
In this article, we’ll take a look at one man who faced those challenges and struggled to maintain his fitness level, but eventually found a way to build his strength back up with the help of gymnastic rings training.
From Dedicated Climber to Dedicated Family Man
Brad Newman and his wife had been avid rock climbers until their son was born, at which point it became a lot more difficult to stay as dedicated as they’d once been to their sport of choice, and as a result, Brad’s fitness level suffered.
It wasn’t until he found our Rings One program that he was able to gain his strength back so he could stay fit for his family.
“Going climbing is quite difficult with a young family. I don’t have as much time as I used to, so staying fit for climbing at home is the next best thing… I’m now climbing better than I was climbing at my peak level before my children were born and I now only get to the climbing wall once every two weeks, as opposed to 2-3 times per week before my kids were born. The Rings One program has definitely helped in that respect.”
Many people get frustrated with how much of their hard earned fitness they lose after the time off they take after a birth, but Brad found a way to balance his family responsibilities with his personal goals. He saw just how important it was that he get back in shape and continue to get better and better for those who count on him.
We’ve All Been There Before… So What Do You Do When Life Gets in the Way?
Before they had kids Brad and his wife Amelia – natives of Canada living in Aberdeen, Scotland – spent most of their free time rock climbing. Whether it was indoor rock climbing, bouldering, adventure climbing, or sport climbing, they made sure to get some form of climbing in 2-3 times a week at least.
Since he was so active on a regular basis – he was even cycling 14 miles roundtrip to work each day for a while – Brad never really had to think about using a formal exercise program.
After the birth of his son, though, getting to the climbing wall became more challenging and 6 or 8 months of inactivity left him feeling out of shape, having gained quite a bit of weight, and just not happy with his fitness level.
…Sometimes All You Need is a Change in Perspective
Brad took stock of his situation and how, like many others, he’d let life’s changes get in the way of his health, and he decided it was time to make a change.
“Now that I’ve had children my whole perspective on life has shifted. I no longer take the short view on things. It’s forced me to take the long view. I think about what I’m going to be like in 20 years when my children are coming into adulthood and I don’t want to be immobile or infirm.
I want to be who I am now. I want to be fit and strong for them. They need that from me now but I would like to be that 20 years from now as well. As a 40-year old man with a desk job, that can be a tall order. If you don’t work at your fitness and your strength and your flexibility, it will go away. That’s not something I had to think about as a young man, but it’s definitely something I’m thinking about in my middle age.”
Brad started getting back into training when his son was a year old – his son is now 3.5-years old and he also has a newborn daughter – with Mark Lauren’s You Are Your Own Gym and then he went through Convict Conditioning.
Though he enjoyed both programs, he found his progress stalling due to growing aches and pains throughout his body. That’s when he found GMB and our wrist conditioning video on YouTube.
After working with that for a while (he still uses the routine daily!) Brad checked out our website and was inspired to start with our rings program after reading the case study we’d done on Sami, a fellow climber.
With the help of the structured programming of Rings One, Brad worked hard and got himself not just back in shape, but in even better shape than before.
Brad’s Results: More Muscle, More Strength, and Better Climbing
Like many of our clients, Brad was surprised by just how challenging rings training is, and how, especially in the beginning, “rings seem to have a mind of their own.”
But take a look at Brad’s journey with the rings, and how his dedicated practice over the course of 9 months paid off:
He’s put on muscle, built strength and skill, and has seen dramatic improvements in his climbing abilities.
“Rings are a fantastic strength tool and they’re a lot of fun to use as well. The moves are cool and it requires a lot of precise movement and focus, concentration.
Like rock climbing, it requires so much more than just strength. It requires discipline and focus and mental acuity and body awareness and balance and flexibility – so many things need to come together in order to successfully perform some of these movements. That kind of training appeals to me so much more than just sets and reps.”
One of the key features that distinguishes our programs from some others is that the goal is never to just “workout” but to engage in your training as best you can in each particular day – both mentally and in regards to skill level. That approach resonated with Brad and he got a lot out of it.
What’s Next for Brad?
After completing his first run-through of Rings One, Brad decided to go through the program again with the Level B (intermediate) programming before moving on to Rings Two, our advanced rings training program.
“I think the most surprising thing about training with the rings is how fun they are. It’s not like a typical training program where you’re just trying to crank out a bunch of reps. It’s much more playful and movement oriented. I’ve stayed with the program for 7 or 8 months and have no intention of stopping. Most days I’m psyched to train and get up on the rings.”
And indeed, Brad stuck with R1 for a full 28 weeks (14 weeks at Level A and 14 weeks at Level B). This commitment and consistency with the program led him to great progress and made him able to perform very well on the rings.
Mostly, though, Brad’s focused on using his new levels of strength and skill to be there for his kids, not just today or tomorrow, but for the long haul.
“I don’t ever want to lose the ability to move in ways that are important to me, whether it’s playing with my kids, climbing with my wife or lifting groceries from the boot of my car. When I first discovered GMB on my fitness reboot, I was immediately drawn to the idea that fitness isn’t about being the biggest or the strongest or looking jacked or whatever but rather being able to move your body in ways that are meaningful.
Training with R1 has been incredibly satisfying in that regard and I started out to get fit, but I keep at it because it’s really fun.”
Brad is proof that, no matter how many responsibilities you’re juggling, taking control of your health and improving your fitness levels will actually help you do the things you love and be there for the people that matter to you.
Take Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of the People You Love
There’s no way around it – life’s responsibilities do make it harder to prioritize training. All that “fitspiration” nonsense about not making excuses is way off the mark. These challenges are real, and most of you will face them at some point, if you haven’t already.
The key thing to think about, though, is what will allow you to keep up with those responsibilities better.
Not everyone has the same answer, of course. But for many people, including Brad, training and keeping their bodies healthy and functioning optimally allows them to do the things they need to – and want to – better.
And that’s really what it’s all about.
Rings One worked well for Brad because he could work on building the strength and skill that he wanted to at home, rather than going to a climbing wall. That meant he could still be present for his family, while gaining control of his health and setting an example for his kids.
If you’re looking to improve your strength and control while learning cool skills, Rings One is a good place to start.
Build Strength & Skill
R1 is an intermediate-level program for building basic gymnastic ring skills and getting very strong. R1 systematically builds your foundation for more advanced skills.