the get strong plan for new dads
Many talented writers have come through Muscle & Fitness over the years, one of them being Jon Finkel, who served as staff writer for the magazine in 2008 and 2009. Jon’s specialty is humor. He penned the hilarious, yet always muscle-relevant, back page column “Strong Words,” predecessor to what is now “Last Set.” Recently, he’s been spending his free time writing e-books. (Who writes e-books in their spare time, anyway? Jon Finkel, that’s who.) His latest one – titled The Dadvantage – is aimed directly at new dads slacking on their workouts because of the baby. It’s hilarious, it’s instructive and, unfortunately, it means you can no longer blame your children for letting yourself go. That excuse is officially dead, thanks to Jon, who we recently interviewed…
You obviously didn't have the personal experience for The Dadvantage before you had kids. At what point did you decide to write a book?
Jon Finkel: At around the third week of having my daughter home from the hospital the idea hit me. I know the exact moment. My daughter was colicky (a 4-letter word I don't wish on any of you) and simply would cry all night unless you carried her around to put her to sleep. One night I realized I watched the entire movie Inception on HBO while pacing around my couch and rocking my daughter in my arms (switching from right to left every 5 minutes or so). She was probably only 8 or 9 pounds back then. I put her to bed at about 3am and crashed. When I woke up, my biceps and back were sore as hell. I thought to myself: "I haven't worked out in two weeks and I don't have time for the gym. It feels good to have sore muscles, maybe I can come up with a workout for the time that I do have." My daughter started sleeping through the night soon after, so I wasn't able to come up with any other great ideas.
Did you really try everything in the book? Even the Baby Burp Squats?
Yeah, I tried everything... Even a few things that I ended up cutting from the program because they were ridiculous and possibly unsafe. The number one rule was, of course, safety. And there are many exercises in the book that don't involve your kid at all, merely the minutes around stuff you do with your kid. But ultimately, yes, I did it all. I mention it in the book, but if you're going to try a few sets of baby shoulder raises, do it BEFORE she eats. Trying to hit up a quick set for your delts with curdled milk spewing in your face isn't fun.
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How many trips to the gym did you miss before you started improvising around the house?
Like I said, I didn't work out for about two weeks after my daughter was born. Maybe a little more. I was used to going 3-4 times a week in addition to playing basketball and swimming. I went through serious withdrawal. I started to feel tired all the time and I felt weak. When holding my eight-pound daughter for a prolonged period of time felt like a workout, I knew I had to do something. Once I put the plan together, I figured there had to be thousands of dads out there in my shoes who could use a little game plan for staying in shape after having a kid.
Do you think your daughter minds at all that she sometimes plays the duel role of being a daughter and a dumbbell?
Her first words were: "Daddy, please don't hack squat me again." Does that answer your question?
You were on staff here at Muscle & Fitness for two years. Did you pull anything from your M&F experience to use in the book?
Definitely. I worked with some great fitness minds like you, Joe, and Jim Stoppani, who were always coming up with innovative workouts. In a way, I probably channeled both of you guys. I also remembered reading an old article by Joe Weider about the confusion principle of training. I knew that what I had done in the gym had worked for so many years, but I also knew that muscles respond to new workouts by growing – even if that new workout involves push-ups under your office desk and car seat curls before you strap your daughter into your SUV.
Jon Finkel’s The Dadvantage - Stay in Shape on No Sleep, with No Time and No Equipment is on sale now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. For more information on Jon, The Dadvantage or his previous hit comedy/advice book, The Three Dollar Scholar, visit www.jonfinkel.com. Follow Jon on Twitter: @3dollarscholar