Growing Stronger as a Father, Athlete, and Coach – Interview with Alex Ippoliti

Alex Ippoliti

Today's guest is an experienced trail sportsman, a fitness enthusiast, and more importantly a man devoted to living healthy so he can be there for his family and help others do the same.

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Visit Alex on his website at or on Instagram @littleriverfitness

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. Today's guest is an experienced trail sportsman, a fitness enthusiast, and more importantly a man devoted to living healthy so he can be there for his family and help others do the same. Give a warm welcome to Alex Ippolito. Yeah, definitely.Yeah, absolutely. So how's your week been so far? I know we talked a little bit earlier, has been really good. Nothing too, too exciting and yeah, you know, it's just kind of the normal stuff. It could sports, we have drill next weekend, so we're kind of getting ready for that. Nice. That's awesome. Um, I believe it's been going pretty well. Um, can nice to have a little bit of a break over the weekend, but then again, it's more of a break from the norm and getting into more of the stuff that you can't get to during the week. I know, right? It's kind of like that, that to do this piles up and you're like, Oh man, I've got to get up and just get at it. Yeah, right. Right there with you. Well, cool. So let, let's go ahead and get started with a little intro then. Um, we, we kinda talked a little bit about some, some stuff, but why don't you go ahead and just introduce yourself, kind of who you are, what you do, whether that's work, life, fitness, just kind of opened the floor to your, you know, intro message. So my name is Alex Ippolito. Alright. Hey, what time air national guard officer. I was a officer in the air force. Active duty.More importantly, I'm a father of six and I've been married to my wife, their mother for 14 years. Over time I've started competing and training more. You know, I trained initially just for the military to pass the air force PT test and then graduates that are training more for boards and competition, really focusing on mountain biking, a trail running and getting into obstacle course racing this fall. Sojust about a year ago I started earning my NAZA and certification as a personal trainer because I wanted to pass on because of the lessons that I've learned and just some of the experience that I've been a father. And as a athlete you had people just to help families in general fathers in particular to be active and to really build strength with their families. Perfect. That's really, I really like how you kind of wrapped it all up into a quick summary. I actually went and looked at your website too. You mentioned talking about wanting to pass on your experience and be able to help families. I went and looked at your, your website and I really like how straight straightforward and the value it, um, parental provides to the audience. And I just want to kind of name the tagline on the show. Cause at right when you open up your website it says build strength so you can be there for your family.And I, that was actually really powerful site. I think that's a really good message that you've got on your site. And also really, you know, when we talked earlier and what we're going to hear in the show here, that that's really a strong message that you can kind of provide to everyone. Absolutely. And I really wanna emphasize that it's something that I want. I want to see families really getting stronger as they get older. You know, because you start off and you're just having kids and you're young. So it's kind of, I mean, just as most individuals are young, so it's kind of, you know, you don't really thinktoo much about it, but as you get older and as your kids get older, you know, you, there's this inverse relationship between your kids getting more capable and you just getting older and just feeling the effects of that age. And I'm not particularly old by any means, which is just in my late thirties but we're definitely, you know, as you get, as I get further along and as my kids get to be older teenagers, I know that that's going to be a big difference than I want to be able to keep up with them and I want to be able to get out there with them. And I know it's not just me who feels this way. So that's such a huge part of my mission is helping families in general to grow together.Yeah. And I'm really glad that you're bringing that perspective to the show because the, the past few episodes have been focused a lot on whether it's competing for a body building competition or a certain aspects of fitness. While you do bring sure, you know, that mountain biking or trail running or certain functional fitnesses that you also bring that general wellness to it also because that's, that's pretty huge for me. I mean I've always grown up as a family person and like you said, I'm, I'm younger and I've got a 10 month old and as she grows older, right, she's going to be walking here pretty shortly and I know she's just going to run around like crazy and I don't want to find myself, you know, down the road where I'm not able to, you know, easily get down on the ground and play with her and that kind of stuff. Cause I love doing that now. Right. So that's, that's a huge thing.Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. You want to be able to, you know, when you're kids there are 13 1415 older, you know, you want to be able to get out there and show them that dad's still got it and not feel like, ah man, my back and my shoulders. I'm just gonna sit here and watch you dude. Stop now. You want to be actually leading the way even at that age.Yeah, absolutely. So I'll actually come back to that cause I want to ask you something about a, a post that you have on Instagram, but I'll, I'll come back to that. But firstly I want to get into something that's a little bit different than what our other guests have kind of talked about is you've got experience in our currently a active duty with the, I think you said the national guard.That's right. So I am active duty with the Maryland International National Guard. Kind of a different experience since most national guard members are part time. And I've been a part time, you know, one weekend a month, a couple of weeks, a year guardsman. But I had the opportunity to go back on active orders, to be active duty again. And so that really made the most sense for my family. I started out active duty, I commissioned through air force ROTC. Uh, that's when you're in college. And then also training to be an air force or a military officer. How did you get to university and sorry, I was on active duty for nine years. So that was really my first adult experience. And actually I grew up in the military. My Dad was air force and I had a lot of, I've had military in my family for several generations now.That's really great. And that's, that's something I would imagine. I, and I don't have too much of that in my, uh, family history. I know my grandparents, I think two of my grandfathers and maybe one or both of my grandmothers were in the military to some extent. I think it was more, well, I don't really speak to it cause I don't remember, but they, three of the four of them have already passed, but, so it was awhile back. So that's something that I would imagine kind of is, is a sense of pride in the family of, you know, this is what we've been able to contribute. Uh, not, and not in terms of like an arrogant pride, but more of just, you know, being proud of that sort of a contribution.Definitely, definitely. It gives you a connection to, you know, it gives you, I mean, every, all of us are connected to our country and in some way, but this gives us a different kind of connection to the country and to the decisions that we make and the, um, activities that we, you know, the policies and decisions that we make overseas. You know, really it's given me a sense of pride to be able to look at things in the news and then be able to go do something, even if it's a very, very, very small thing. They participate in that in a small way.And well, thank you for, you know, what you do contribute into everyone out there who is either, you know, active duty or veterans, cause they've definitely played a huge role. They really can't be put in words sometimes. So definitely want to express appreciation for that.It's been a real honor.So speaking about that experience, right, how do you, how would you go about explaining your experience with balancing that schedule or those requirements in your life with your family and fitness life? How do you balance all of that?Absolutely. I know that's a, that's a such a huge question that my wife and I even talked about all the time. You know, what are we doing right now? What are we, are we doing the right things? Are we spending enough time on these things? And it's really at the forefront of our minds. A lot of days, you know, when it comes to being in the military and fitness, I know any of your listeners that are other branches besides the air force, we don't have the most strenuous, uh, requirements, but we do still require all air force numbers to meet certain fitness standards. Uh, both air force, active duty and international guard. Uh, basically running a mile and a half. Yeah. And under specified time, depending on your age. For me, certain number of pushups, certain number of sit-ups. Um, again, depending on your gender and age, and then having a waist under 34 inches and the air force decided that these standards make the most sense for this service.So because of that, therefore it gives us time during the week to actually do physical training. And then they also make it, you know, they also play good gym facilities on just about every air force installation. So that's really made fitness kind of almost easy as it were because you're given time during the day to do it, you know, as part of your duty. And they say, go do PT and there's an hour or an hour and a half sometimes to go do that when you, when your commander. And that was really with some of my first experience, exposure to a structured physical training was military. And so that leads into the family commitments because I can say, well, this time that I'm doing physical training, at least part of it, I would be at work anyways. So it's not as great of a burden on my family. And now when I started training a little more competitively when I started going on longer rides or runs and spending more than an hour in the gym.Yeah. It takes a lot of communication between myself and my wife and my kids and that's really, I think been the key to it all is spending time talking to each other. My wife and I, especially as our kids get talking to them too and explaining, hey, here's what we're going to do today. Here's what we're going to do this week, here's what you can expect from me this week and here's what I need you to do as well. And then we have our schedules and our calendar set up so that we can see each other's events and this way, this way a nobody is surprised and disappointed if if like I need to take extra time in the gym on certain days when my wife expects it because we've talked about it ahead of time and she knows that I'll catch up on the other to do lists or other things that we have planned at some other point that we can we have cut back helps us to kind of build that trust with each other that we're not being selfish with our time but we're really using it for the best for the right purposes at the right time.No, that communication that you guys have is really key. That actually reminds me of what Megan mentioned on the last podcast episode that I posted does that communication is really important to be able to kind of balance every aspect of life with, you know, living with another companion and especially having kids involved. Now I want to try to make it a little bit more personal in, there may not be a connection here, but you've mentioned how you, you know, train a certain frequency and you, you know, what you would normally be at work anyway, so that doesn't really take away. Right. But has there been a time that you remember when maybe your, your kids have said, hey, like we, we want to spend more time with you or we want to do this with you and that maybe you've been able to kind of do something that allows you to then react and say, okay, here's, here's what we're going to do now because I kind of see that you guys are interested more so this is how I'm going to handle it.Yeah, definitely. No, I'm glad you brought that up cause I don't want to make it sound like, oh yeah, I trained the three hours a week of that I get for work and then I'm good to go. Cause you know, especially, uh, like you said, when I've done a little more intense training or as I have learned to make my training more intense, it's definitely taken more time. So we want to give you a great example of I'm training for a marathon recently and there's no other way to prepare for that besides getting up and running. And so every Sunday I would tell, uh, I told my wife, Megan, um, hey, I need to go out and go for a run. And those got progressively longer, you know, an hour and a half, two hours, three hours, three and a half hours until about a month out from my marathon.And she's asking me, Hey, I'm, am I going to see you again? What's going on? And I had to sit down and, and talk with her and really not justify what I was doing, but put it in context so that I could explain to her, hey, this is just for the next month. This is what my training cycle looks like, um, to build up to this event and then I can change my schedule. So because of that conversation, actually now my training, I still train six days a week. Um, and most, most of the time my training is usually about 90 minutes to two hours depending on what I'm doing. I make sure that Sundays are my day off on my rest day really so that I can have that dedicated time when I'm not going to the gym, I'm not going out to for a run or a ride. And Megan and the rest of my family know, hey, this is the day that we can plan family things because it's not going to be a training day. So there's other competition with that time.That's an excellent example. Now I would kind of say maybe for our listeners that if someone is going to start training for a marathon and maybe kind of bring that expectation up front and saying, well here's, here's the plan. Here's what's going to happen. Just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and now it sounds like, you know, the way that you and your wife had handled it w it went very well. Right? Cause maybe she wasn't expecting you to be running for the two, three hours. And, and I'm, I'm not much of a runner, but I know my brother has done a few marathons and I don't understand why people would do that to themselves. But, uh, but yeah, I mean it can be very time consuming cause you're not gonna train for a marathon by doing sprints. You have to put in the time.Yeah, exactly. And I think you're really goes far in anything you're training or even if it's bodybuilding or, uh, any other kind of sport or competition. And you know, for me, I, I'm playing my training cycle in between, um, usually 10 to 12 week blocks. And so that kind of helps me to say, okay, for the next 12 weeks, is it going to kind of be my routine? I'm going to be doing cardio on these days. I'm going to go to the gym on these days and this is going to be my rest day. And because I've done that, that gives me the ability to talk to Megan and say, look, every Sunday or whatever day is planned is the rest day is going to be free. Or Hey, I need this time on these days and here's why. And she can kind of see what the flow is going to be like. So it's not a surprise like you didn't, they're like, Whoa, you, where have you been all this time? Like, oh, it's off for my run. But she understands how to flip 10.Yeah, that makes sense. And I think you talked a little earlier when we talked earlier this week about how you, you really only do your endurance work maybe, you know, once or twice a week. Whereas like three days a week you'll do more of the strength training.Right. And the, and the current cycle that I'm in, I'm preparing for an obstacle first race that makes the most sense to me from my specific situation. Uh, just spend more time in the gym with a variety of trainings there and then spend a little less time on the endurance work. If I was running for a marathon, it again, of course I would need to just spend more time running. Yeah. That would just have to work its way in.So right now you're preparing for that race now you said that's the Spartan [inaudible]that's right, yeah. It's the Spartan based in Berlin, uh, in September.So you're, you're training for that right now. What would you say overall regardless of that being the next event, what would say your most passionate type of, whether it's a sport or what type of training would be, cause I know you're very into mountain biking and trail running. Is that kind of where your passion lies?You know, that's really where I, where I, I guess you could say I grew up as a athlete was first on a mountain biking and the later trail running when I'm just looking to just go out and just enjoy myself. Yeah. I really can't beat getting on a trail. Um, being outside, it doesn't matter what the conditions are or what the weather is. I mean, as long as it's healthy for the trail, but you know, if it's cold or anything like that or hot, it's fine as long as I'm outside. But it really grown to love the gym a lot more and um, you know, I didn't grow up that way at all. I really wasn't comfortable in the gym for a long time and really felt out of place there. I felt like I didn't understand how to actually work out or how to and I felt or how to use the equipment and it felt like I really stood out as the awkward skinny guy back there, like doing some really stupid light waves. But as I spent more time there, I really have grown to be a lot more comfortable and enjoy it more and just find, um, find that those are the, those are some times I look forward to my time in the gym almost as much as I do getting out on the trail sometimes.So you're really finding more of a where, where you had your roots in more of the trail sports, you're kind of finding more of a balance and enjoyment for the general health and the, and the gym as you continue to kind of add that to your arsenal of training.Yeah. Yeah. I guess I didn't really do a good job answering your question of be like where, what I enjoy the most. Um, and, and the reason is because, you know, when I set a goal for myself for a day that I need to do this type of training and then I can see it happen and see it come through as you get a lot of satisfaction out of that. Uh, and it used to be just more of a struggle to say, okay, well today's my gym days. I'm going to go in and do what I need to and get it done as fast as possible as I can get back to the things that I love. Um, but it just turned into this place where I really enjoy all of the training. You could say every, every aspect of it because I see the, the adaptations and the development that it produces in myself and frankly, I just, uh, enjoy the movements themselves. Nowthat's, that's a really good way to approach things because I feel like if we get too trapped into one thing, it kind of limits what we're able to grow in and it'll kind of limits our enjoyment of, of everything else. Right. So I don't, I'm not a huge fan of running, but I, I have such a desire to get back into it and I'm kind of getting out of myself here, but I'm going to touch back on, on this post I said I was going to come to, uh, earlier is on your Instagram. That's probably from about about a month ago. Um, I believe it's a picture of your, your daughter and you're talking to your post about, uh, running and how form is extremely important. And you're talking about having your knee high and your back leg extended. Now, I'm, I'm no runner by any means, but one of the things that limits me right now is, uh, I've actually, I've got really flat feet, so I've got I believe, some plantar fasciitis that I'm kind of working through. But back to this post. Right. So what would be kind of your recommendations for someone wanting to just get started? Uh, trying to make sure that they're doing the right form. Just kinda some beginner tips for people wanting to do that.Totally. Well actually, first I'd love to really key off of something that you just said because it's actually a really big theme for me and that's the idea that you brought up about not getting locked into one sport. And I really do want to talk about what you just asked in regards to getting started with running in particular because I know so many people, like for the airports, again, there so many people who are that that's a component of the test that they struggle with the most is running because they'll start running and they're not adjusted to it and then they'll end up hurting themselves and either do poorly or really suffered through the test because I really want to get to that. But first I want to, if you don't mind, I'd really love to be going. I don't at all. Sorry. So I'm really want to go back to what you just said because that was exactly my life just a couple of years ago.I thought of myself as a cyclist. That's all I was. All I wanted to do, I didn't care about anything else. Like you said, I went into the gym because I was like, well, cycling doesn't produce any resistance on your body, so you know, I'm going to develop bad bones and joints that I don't at least a little bit of resistance workout. But I really didn't enjoy it at all. Um, Michael talked about, and then I moved to a, I moved to the suburbs, which was exactly where I did not want to be living like the antithesis of my ideal light, but it made the most sense for my family. And I found myself where I really wasn't comfortable writing on the road. I had to go drive to trails and it was raining frequently, so the trails weren't really in any shape to rock the ride on and I didn't know what to do.I was completely lost. So I said, well, I guess I gotta start running now because otherwise I'm going to go crazy. I can only do so much. That's really the way I felt at the time. And that experience started running, started really enjoying it. A few months later started going to the gym more consistently, really started learning more about, we listened to weight training and that experience really taught me to appreciate all different kinds of sports and athletic and fitness activities and to really find a way, not just find a way, but to really enjoy them no matter what they were, because they were still wasted developing and using my body in a way that is intended to. So it really changed my mindset. It changed my perspective so that I didn't see myself as a single sport athlete anymore, but I could value a whole range of activities because I saw the benefit that they brought to people.So I'm actually, I'm really glad that you brought, brought that up and went back to that because it actually, it does bring the whole concept of a, uh, well-rounded skillset and well-rounded passion, you know, for different areas of sporting. But I actually, that reminds me of a post that Eliana, the, the first podcast guest I had that she posted on Instagram about being kind of like a multi-passionate athlete where she wants to try to break the stereotypes. Just, you know, stop being just a bodybuilder. Stop being just, and if people want to do that, that's fine. But I think too often people trap themselves and by doing exactly what you said, you can find a bigger sense of fulfillment and it makes things more fun when you can have that range. Yeah, I appreciate it. For one thing, it definitely does. Maybea better cyclist. I'm way I'm faster and stronger on the bike now that I'm writing a once a week, sometimes twice a week. Then I was at Penn and I've maintained it when I was writing a hundred miles a week. And that sounds crazy. And I know that there are dedicated, right? And if you're going to focus on one sport and really do it, then obviously those people will be better than me. So, so I understand where I'm going to fit into the pack. But in terms of my own performance, so maybe there's really just as about as much about my previous performance as anything else, right? But in terms of what I've seen and the goal is that I went to achieve, I'm still able to get that enjoyment, uh, from all these sports even at, um, changing it up and trying a bunch of different things. And it really does help me to appreciate each sport a little bit differently because I can compare it to something else and I can see how my body is using its full range of abilities instead of being, like you said, limited to one particular emotion and getting really good at that.Right. And I, and I agree with what you're saying and it's, it's interesting because I just, there's a lot of similarities between, um, you know, each guests that I'm talking with and it's kind of eyeopening and it brings me back to how we're kind of, I'm going to kind of lead this back to the question we were getting to, but I know that there are certain muscles that are used in running that you don't typically use in, in other, like if I'm just doing a leg press or some squats, it's not really involving certain muscle groups that running might, but by strengthening, um, I believe that'd be like your adductors and abductors that running use this a lot. It'll help improve my strength training. Right. So back to the other question about how I want to get started, right. Cause I'm going to consider myself a novice and running even though it's kind of a thing that I do sometimes. Uh, what would be some of your tips then for someone who wants to get started, whether that's with form or even shoes? Cause I know that's a big deal. Yeah, yeah,yeah, definitely. No, that's huge. And I really appreciate you giving me the chance to talk about it. Uh, cause it's, and what kind of a steep learning curve even for me when I moved from cycling to starting to run. And Yeah, let's start with the shoe. So the first thing, uh, when you're looking at the equipment, everybody says, okay, I got a pair of shoes. Trainers are uh, sneakers out there. I'm going to run into those. The first thing is almost everybody shoes, including mine when I started, are too small and know there should really be at least, um, at least I got thumbs with. So about an inch or so between your, the superior toe and the end of the shoe because your foot expands so much every time you hit the ground and you gotta have that space or you'll get all kinds of blisters and just feel miserable and really hate it.Um, the second thing is I think that what you're doing and just by doing bodybuilding and by lifting, I have really noticed a big increase in my ability to run. And I've seen other guys too who spent a lot of time in the gym, lift heavy and still end up running well because just like you said, the more that you can strengthen the entire system in the lower body, the better you're going to perform and the better you're going to prevent injury to which is where everybody goes wrong, right? We go out there, we start running and then we get hip pain and we get knee pain because they muscles that support our knees, our, you know, your hip flexors, even down into your calves and your ankle. Those are weak in some way. Um, because we're not strengthening them in the gym and so they're not able to support your, like through that impact.Every time you hit the ground he ended up hurting yourself. So it's been a time in the gym. It's really huge. And then the third thing really, really being mindful of your recovery after each run. Really making sure that you're rolling, making sure that you spend time, if you've got like the plantar fasciitis, which sucks. I've had that um, you know, spending time and ice bat and the icing your feet, uh, spending time, really stretching and making sure hydrated well and make a huge difference in your ability to keep running into sustain that and to kind of keep those injuries at bay. So those three things, having good fitting shoes and making sure your, your whole body strong and then uh, making sure you're really mindful of your recovery, those will really help. Now when it comes to actually developing your running form, definitely. And I wanna make sure that you're starting off kind of with the moderate distances, even if it feels like your cardio system is able to sustain you for a longer distance. You know, if you tried to push and you say, well I can run five miles, I haven't run in months and I'm just going to get up tomorrow on run, you'll almost definitely hurt yourself that way. So making sure you build up your distance gradually.Oh No, you're fine. I just, I was going to say that's actually how I think I might've caused my injury because I think I was, I think I was maybe feeling upset one night and I just decided, you know what, I'm just gonna go for a run. And it was only a mile. Right. But I hadn't run in probably a year and the shoes that I was wearing were worn out. They weren't the proper support. And I think I just kind of injured myself that way. So the advice you just gave is it's real easy to do, especially if you're strong otherwise, cause I, I used to do this and I focus more on cycling, you know? Yeah, I'm strong. I can do this, I can get out and run and then the next day I would just be dying because I hadn't taken care of myself and had him prepared for the event properly. That's the other thing is that, you know, just over years oldof habit, we don't walk the way that we should run. So we ended up like running so much with a really strong heel strike, which really can aggravate a lot of injuries including to some degree plantar fasciitis and other knee and some knee injuries too. And so spending time, it's never a bad idea to spend time working on technique. Even if it's something doing short sprints in a lag of five, 10, five sort of drill or a hundred meter sprints around the, around the track to really kind of help you get into more of a midfoot strike where you're planning the, the middle of your foot on the ground instead of the heel too. And it just takes time and, and work on actually growing that habit. But that's made a huge difference for me and proud of the runners that I know too cause that was kind of a lot. But yeah, I really choose string recovery and then for actual um, technique, building your mileage gradually and being really mindful and flow and spending time focusing on your actual footwork.Yeah. So I'll do that. Um, I want to, I wanted to ask a little bit about mountain biking. Actually, just one thing really. Uh, so here, cause I did it back in, uh, in high school and college and I went more, but I, I haven't been for probably a good five years, which, um, I need to start changing. But, uh, here it's just desert landscape. I mean, unless, unless I drive two hours north up to near Flagstaff, I mean it's, it's going to be desert cactus's usually hot and it's just not, I don't know. It's a different world cause I've been mountain biking once, uh, my, I think it was a further north and Arizona and it was some pretty nice forest trails. But what, what's it like there were, where you're at, what's the kind of atmosphere for your trailshere is, it's hot, it's humid. Uh, it's pretty sticky in the summers, but it's all through the surprisingly steep river valleys basically that intersect all of eastern, well not using, but all the, the landscape between Baltimore and Washington, which is where I'm at. Uh, so they've leveled a lot of it to put in the suburbs. Like mine, but, uh, the parts that are natural, I still have these incredibly steep valleys that you give you a ton of switchbacks, a lot of terrain, uh, some good rocks. Uh, and it can be pretty challenging. It can really be fun. You don't get, you know, when you ride out west, like in your area, uh, everything is trying to hurt you, which can be really, really fun because it's all got spikes of some kind. So fortunately we don't have to deal with that here. But yeah, it's pretty and it's pretty different also cause we get a lot of shade, which is pretty nice.Yeah, I googled, I googled the mountain biking over kind of in your area just to look at some pictures and it's, it just looks a lot more pleasant cause there's actually green, I mean I dunno, don't get me wrong, it's nice to, you know, be here in the desert. But it's, I think when I've lived here for, you know, the 25 plus years, it's, I dunno, it's Kinda nice to see that change. So it's kind, Kinda coolfor sure. It's nice again to change these up a little, but we'll go, I'll go out west every, you know, periodically, uh, just to Kinda change things up from my perspective too. So I totally understand that.Yeah, that's true. So when you do that, when you travel, do you actually travel with your bike?If I get a chance to, yeah, about usually about once a year. This year I don't have the opportunity unfortunately, but in the past I've tried to make it about once a year or so. Then I'll travel. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho. I've been a couple places. I've got a few places I've gone to. Yeah. Just to kind of get a little change of scenery and a little different challenge.Yeah, absolutely. So I want to transition now, cause we've talked a lot about the sports aspect in the military and a little bit about balancing that with family. But I kind of want to go into Kinda for the last portion of this, the, the main message, uh, is really being able to help families be more active, help parents, uh, fathers in particular, um, being stronger and being active for their families. So I kind of want to switch over to that. And I think the first thing I wanted to ask is when as you're introducing the activities to your kids, whether it's mountain biking or track running, things like that, has there been a time when maybe they haven't quite wanted to the same interest and maybe you've got some differences between the kids and kind of how have you gone about navigating that?Absolutely. Yeah, that's a great question because I know when I was a, uh, and this is gonna sound super snitty cause I'm not that old of a father, but when I was a little bit younger, father and my, you know, like kids are just getting old enough that I could finally introduce them to uh, like say writing or to sports or something. I would get so frustrated when I go off a ride and my kids are like 10 and eight and one kid would just love it and the other one would just be so frustrated and dawdling behind and we would all just end up totally far apart from each other. Not even have a little bit of a connection after that. Right. I kind of grow into it. That has really taught me to just like, it's going to be a really consistent theme, right?Just like with the sports to really kind of help each kid find something that they can enjoy and appreciate, you know, by sometimes exposing them to different sports, different activities and then saying, okay, you, and then just having the maturity myself to say, okay, you're really not liking this and cause a time when pushing you might be healthy. But right now there's not that time. So let's back off. Let's help redirect you in a different direction and we'll get a chance in the future to come back and see if you like this again or, or to find some way for you to develop that keeps our relationship strong and still helps you grow into a healthy and functional human being. Uh, so like, you know, my two oldest kids and their two boys at 13 and 11 now and the oldest loves cycling and is super competitive.He loves to hang out with a, with the fastest people in any group that we're in. Uh, and he'll do his best. You, you know, he'll do his absolute best to hang with whoever he's with. Then he won't complain at all. And he's just really fun to go for a ride with my other 11 year old, doesn't have that passion at all and really doesn't feel it. But he loves to get out and like build trails. He'll do, he'll do that all day. Uh, he loves to get out and explore and really notice details and just kind of finding those ways that we can still get out and be active together has been really valuable and really good for me as a parent, but then also hopefully good for them too.Yeah, absolutely. And I like how you approached that because you know, as kids have their own personalities, we, we can't necessarily expect them to enjoy it. All the same thing. I mean, I only have one right. And she's only 10 months, but I can tell that she loves blueberries. Right. And she just, for some reason it's kind of cool that she just kind of developed this liking to blueberries right out of all the food we give her, you know? So as she grows older, I get the feeling that it's going to be very close to, you know, what you're saying is if there's going to be certain things that she likes or doesn't like, right. I'm into weightlifting and certain things and my wife does a lot of dance, right? So it's like, is she going to do both? Does she do some of each? And like, I like the way that you kind of expressed that, thatI don't just want to stop and be like, okay, well you don't like when let's just give up. Then now I'm going to kind of give them, help them to give a good try to what they're doing. And so it's really always a judgment call. It's kind of, you know, it's kind of like, hey, if I'm spending all my time just controlling you and there are starting to be tears and frustration, that's probably a sign that it's not healthy for us and we should go find a new new place to get that energy out.Yeah. And I like that. So that, that kind of focus is more on the kids aspect of it. Right. So when it comes to family, we, you know, you also have the, the marital relation, right? And then also kind of the individual of being able to provide for the family. Right. So can you talk a little bit about your, uh, feelings of, of how this kind of active family lifestyle has helped you feel more, you know, have a successful provider, both, whether it's physically or emotionally. Can you talk a little bit about your, your feelings on that?You know, for something, I think about this a lot for myself when I'm out on those three hour runs and I'm like, man, why? Why am I here and not at home with my family? And for me it really comes down to, I want to set a good example for my children. I want to set a good example for my family. And this is the example that I want to set. You know, I think as fathers we really have to think to ourselves about what, what example, what kind of father we want to be. And I'm a different father from my dad and I know that and recognize it and I'm okay with it because I, I've chosen what I want to do on purpose. And I said part of what makes, what's unique about me as a father and part of the things that I want to give to, or I wouldn't say unique, but the things that make me the fondant that I am or that I wanted to give my children an example of physical ability and strength. And that's important to me. And so being able to get out and do these things myself, uh, is part of my identity as a father that I want my children to grow up with because I want to be able to help them as they find things that they love to really kind of see, see a healthy balance between work and family and then activity.No, I imagine that has a lot of impact on the way that you feel about yourself when you do encounter certain aspects that you may be weak in. Like if you, you know, I don't know the best way to put it right, but if you have some sort of a shortcoming where you're like, oh, well I need to work on this, it probably allows you to kind of approach those better because you know that you have such a, I don't know, a strong value on providing that for your family to be able to, you know, be that a physical support and that kind of, that role model and example, although, you know, nobody's perfect, right. It kind of helps you navigate all that.Yeah. And especially emphasis on the last part. And Babe every great does, there's always ideals and there's what I want to be doing. And then there's a what, what actually the kids receive and what ends up happening in the real world. But yeah, I, you know, ideally, um, I like being able to say, yeah, I have this particular, there's a couple of aspects of that, right? One is being able to say, okay, here's an area of weakness for me and I can show my kids half how I kind of worked through that and I can explain to them, hey, this is the struggle that I'm going through so that they don't just see, you know, cause as a child you just see your parents as is well for a very, very short time. You see your parents as they, the mission of nicotine being. Um, usually that ends about age two, but it was still as it even as an older child, you still see your parents as somebody stronger and relatively more knowledgeable than you.Uh, and so it's nice to be able to show my kids, this is what is taking me to get to where I am to that as they experienced their own setbacks or problems, they can kind of understand the mental steps into the emotional steps of working through those. Um, and then actually seeing overcoming them. So it's not just, hey, I had a problem and then it stopped me, but I had a problem and I took these steps and I overcame them, uh, as an example for them to at least model after at least the first model that they get.Yeah. And I really liked the way that you put that about, you know, not you have ideals, right, but you're not always like that. I think of also how you were saying, you know, you're not always, your kids think of you as like this, you know, omnipotent or this like, you know, great. You know, example. But then that ends up at age two. So it's funny because there's, there's a picture in my bedroom at my parents' house, like, you know, I haven't lived there for a long time, but there's a, there's a picture there that has a, I think it's just a picture of me and my dad and I can't remember all of the, the words on it, but it basically goes from like, you know, h to h seven, eight and it goes through the ages and it says, you know, oh, I want to be, I want to be just like you.And then as you go through it says, you know, I, I know better than you, you know, around like the teenage years. And then, you know, it comes full circle back around with like, you know, I wish you were here. Right. You know, talking about the parents passing on. But, um, I mean, my dad's not gone yet, but, um, but it's funny because like, I just, every time I have a problem, like, hey, you know, this is going wrong with my car, what do you think? Or, you know, what, what's your opinion on this? It's like you come to realize that you know, there's, your parents do have this value. Right? So I think that's interesting that you bring that up cause kids are going to go through that cycle. And I think we just have to realize that. And I'm, you know, I guess I'm going to shout out to my parents on this one cause they've dealt with a lot of a lot of crap and um, you know, it's just, it's just a great example and I think that you do a wonderful job of capturing, you know, that whole circle in your message.So I guess talking about family, right, cause I want to kind of bring this towards kind of a close but about family and the whole aspect of what you are trying to share with the community. Um, out of everything that we've talked about, is there something else that you may want to touch on or kind of get across that we haven't already reached?So when is, when it comes to talking about family, I think it's really important. I do want to emphasize that I think it's important for kids to grow up being active and, and not just being active but seeing their parents active. So I know I've kind of alluded to this earlier in terms of my own goals and personal goals. You know, I just think that it's one thing to, to make sure that your kids are involved in activities and that's another thing to actually get out there and do them with your kids. Even if you can't be a coach, even if you can't act, you know, they eventually get to the point where they need a more experienced coach than you, or if you can't actually do the specific sport or activity that they're in them. Just I think that, you know, just just like you said, as we get older, we definitely take on certain aspects of our, of our upbringing, even if we don't think about it, even if we don't do it on purpose.And so being mindful of that as parents and say, what, what kinds of things am I showing to my kid that an adult does? And if we show our kids, Hey, activity is great for children, but then it's not, there's no place for it in the real world. And what kind of messages I really sending to them as they get to be adults and they get to have the responsibilities of families and they're not able to take care of themselves because they've never seen an example of that in their own lives. So I think it's really important that we get kids involved in sports and activities that we teach them how to train properly, but more than that, that we show them how to do that in the middle of a full life so that it's not just something you do when you're in school, but it's something that continues through your whole life because it'll make such a huge difference, a quality of life as we get older. Just like I was saying before and I was, as you get older, you don't want to be that, that grandparent or that dad who, you know, can't get off the couch, but you want to be the one that's out there actually running around with your kids or your grandkids even someday. So that's, in terms of the family,I liked that a lot and that really it's, it's more personal I think, especially thinking about my experience with my wife and her family because they, they go hunting, right? And so her dad, her dad will in mind too, they're all a little bit on the older spectrum. He goes hunting with them. Right. And if, if we weren't, you know, physically able to go do that or whatnot, it, it, you kind of miss out on those bonds that happen between, you know, parent and child or even siblings when you go out and do those things. Cause there's certain things like when you're out hunting and I imagine with you and your son, when you go trail building, right, there's certain experiences that just can't be replaced.No, not at all. And, uh, I used to hunt actually. Um, so I have had some of that, but I didn't introduce my children to it. But you're right, there's, is there a way of interacting with the environment around you that you just have to be able to get out and do it? You can't talk about it. And I have memories of my own dad, you know, some early camping, early hiking activities. I have a memory when I was really young, better just invaluable. It, I wouldn't have been able to, you know, otherwise.No, that's, that's really great. And I really appreciate you sharing all of this and it's, it's definitely opened up a lot more than I was initially thinking during our first call because there's a lot of stuff here I think that can reach a pretty good audience and, and I really appreciate that and I kind of want to let people know where, where they can find you. Right? So if you want to go ahead and just say like, you know, where they can find you, whether it's website or Instagram. Um, and I will put that in the show notes, but go ahead and kind of give your elevator pitch for what you can do and where people can find you.Definitely. So like I said, over the past year and developing as a coach with my nails and certification, applying that to myself, to my friends and familyand you'll see a lot of fab material available on [inaudible]but my personal Instagram like is in cluster. And then I also started a business offering coaching services, especially trying to reach out in a similar situation and want to build on strength and want to be active. And that's a little river fitness. You can find my website at www dot [inaudible] dot com and um, at this point what makes the most sense is offering online trainings. I'm happy to but I'm happy to talk with anybody, uh, going to get a sense for work you're fired and help them to answer questions and then see if training makes sense to them and it's the right fit for them.And that's excellent. So thank you for sharing that. And I also want to point out to you, cause we didn't talk about it here, but in our first call, the your name little river fitness comes from that water feature, right? The little river that's by your house. And I, I kind of want to point out to everybody that that really just reflects how personal you take a, you basically want to take that, that home lifestyle and the values that you have and kind of share that with the rest of the community. Cause I thought that was really powerful.Absolutely. You know, I think, I think the really everything that we do on life has to start with our core and our center. And for me that's here and my house with my family and it moves out from that. And so the little river, the little production river is just a hundred yards from my house or 200 yards from my house right here. My kids go down and look for turtles and frogs all the time over there. And so it just kind of to me reflected my emphasis on this, on my family, on, on our community where we live. And I'm helping other people to, um, develop their own, what's important to them and their own values.That's great. And I really admire, you know, the message that you shared in the values that you have and I look forward to staying in touch. I like to do that as part of, you know, getting to know people on these shows is I'm personally building, and again, I could probably say this as a selfish reason for doing the podcast, but I enjoy that, right. And having that network. So I would invite everybody to, to reach out to you. Right. And kind of build that network and share similar stories. Uh, I know I'm more than willing to answer questions, whether it's on Instagram or Twitter and I, I get the feeling that you're more than willing to help others as well. Right. As long as they're looking to reach those things. Absolutely. Yeah. I'm glad to talk to people, get to know them. I love seeing other people's stories and understanding where they're at because it's so many variations on a themeand it's amazing. I love seeing how we all are really working to do the best thing for ourselves and for our families. I really admire what you're doing and I really appreciate it this time on your show.Yeah, absolutely. I definitely appreciate it and we'll, we'll be sure to keep in touch and thanks a lot for coming on the show. Yeah, for sure. John, we'll talk to you soon.Thanks for listening. And if you haven't subscribed yet, please make sure you do leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and make sure to share this episode with your family and friends. Check in weekly for new episodes and we'll see you next time.

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