How can you be a strong parent?
Being a parent is tough enough. I’m not even talking about the act of raising kids. I’m talking about how busy you are. How tired you can be. How on top of everything else – work, hobbies, socializing, fitness, etc. – there is the huge responsibility and time demands of your kids needs. Being a strong parent goes beyond strategic parenting and into tactics for your own self-care.
TOO PRESSED FOR TIME TO READ? LET ME READ IT TO YOU:
It can seem that you have to give up your own well-being to provide for your kids and their opportunities. Goals, like losing weight, getting fit, sleeping enough, and not being a heavy coffee drinker, can seem far fetched. If you want to raise fantastic humans AND enjoy the fruit of your labor than looking back in history can result in looking forward to every day of your life, where not only do your kids get what they need but you do too.
Milo of Croton lived in the 6th-century BC as a larger-than-life figure of athletic and military accomplishment. His legendary feats of strength have been recalled in culture and art ever since with paintings, sculptures, and prose dedicated to his might. Not only was he a physical juggernaut but he was closely associated with Pythagoras, reflecting that his brain was not dwarfed by his brawn.
Milo’s timeless fame is related to his almost superhuman strength and focus in achieving excellence over the course of a 24-year career – about the same amount of time it takes to raise a child to (semi-)independence nowadays. Gone are the days of ancient Greece, where children were hardened before puberty and parents lived a more Spartan existence.
However, today being a parent might not be any easier. It might just be harder. So, take a page out of Milo’s book, and become a legend as a strong parent. Not only will you be happier and have more energy but you will live longer and in better health. You might just get bronze statues and oil paintings created to honor your divine body.
Milo’s Strong Parent Plan:
Lift Heavy Things
Milo started lifting a bull each day when it was just a calf. Every day the calf grew and he would continue to lift it. Eventually, he was able to lift a fully grown bull! This is known as progressive overload and is one of the best ways to increase strength. Maybe you don’t like lifting weights or you don’t think strength is for you.
Let me clarify. You can and should want to lift yourself, as well as your kids, for as long as possible. There’s a ton of benefits, not to mention the value in an emergency situation – like when you find yourself hanging on a ledge with danger below.
Lifting heavy things is vital for a good metabolism. It aids liver function through enhanced insulin sensitivity. It improves cognition by increasing blood flow and beneficial hormone releases which can stave off dementia.
Lifting also helps balance out hormones in general. Immunity is strengthened and bone density increased all, through a well-structured lifting plan.
To be a Strong Parent:
Start a resistance training protocol.
Whether it’s body weight exercises like pushups, dips, air squats, and pull-ups (check out Al Kavadlo for inspiration and beginner to expert progressions) or move heavy objects in the form of weights (I love these for home workouts), truck tires or logs.
Get a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer to get you started while keeping your form and habits sound. With the right quality coaching, you can safely develop into Olympic lifts or CrossFit.
After that check out Ido Portal for how far a quality movement practice can take you…starting at any age.
Yes, you will look good naked and burn off fat by lifting. Your body composition and your hormones are far more favorably affected by lifting than extended steady-state cardio.
If you are worried about getting too muscular, it’s harder than you think. It has a lot more to do with what and how much you eat than lifting heavy weights. This is the case for women too.
Eat Enough Quality Food
Milo supposedly ate 20 lbs of meat a day. While I don’t recommend this exact strategy. He knew to thrive, get stronger and not be “hangry”, he needed fuel to replenish his body and support protein synthesis. Some people can do well on caloric deficits for some of the time. Some people can do well with intermittent fasting but the more your body, AND mind, works, the greater quality fuel it will need.
If you are looking to lose weight, quality nutrient-dense foods will keep you from being hungry, support your hormones, supply you with energy and result in a far more efficient fat loss than a “Diet Coke diet” or even a “salad diet”. By being well-fed, you lower cortisol and this translates to a less anxious, more productive you. Good food creates good brain chemistry, a robust immune system, and a resilient body.
To be a Strong Parent:
Stop calorie counting. Focus on meals that are plant-strong, with well-sourced clean protein and healthy fats. Avoid the processed stuff, refined carbohydrates and reduce all kinds of sugar.
Don’t neglect to feed yourself before you run around or you’ll more likely make poor food choices on the go. If your life is really that busy a strategic meal plan can be a huge help with time, money and health.
If you are looking for more energy, (I know you’re thinking coffee or worse, an energy drink) you might be better offer with an alternative Bree uses to be a strong parent. Coffee is bad for my wife, so she created a delicious blend that is healthier and just as energizing. Often I choose it over a keto-coffee. Sustained energy and adequate nutrition will enable you to consistently be a strong parent in every aspect of your life.
Flex Your Mind Muscle
Milo hung out with philosophers and developed his leadership skills in the military. His approach to physical training and competitions was calculated. Remember, he was smart enough to start by lifting a newborn calf and consistent enough to keep his progress continuous until he could achieve superhuman feats.
Approaching strength intelligently results in being strong for life rather than a massive feat of all-out might. This means not physically training all the time. Shorter more intense sessions are better. Lengthy marathons of anything result in a serious tax on you physically, mentally and emotionally.
Develop the mental and emotional strength to lead your family gracefully, clearly, and patiently. This doesn’t mean suffering in silence but it does require self-awareness. When you start to tire, get sick or grow frustrated, engage in the things that will return balance into your life, like rest and relaxation.
To Be A Strong Parent:
Be smart. Start small. Maintain effort. Don’t get overwhelmed with the end result. This has as much to do with starting a weight lifting routine as any other task. A little progress every day builds to massive changes over time.
When it comes to physical strength, incorporate stretching. Mix in other movement patterns to maintain agility and mobility like yoga, martial arts, or an outdoor recreation activity.
Connect mentally with your muscles. That means not zoning out in your workouts but enhancing the mind-body connection. You will be able to break through plateaus, avoid injury and know when to stop without counting reps and sets.
Let your muscles feed your brain. In other words, focus on physical efforts that boost cognitive and emotional health. Here’s my tweetable:
Use the Pareto Principle. 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. Audit your efforts to see where they get the best results. Do away with everything else and replicate those that make the biggest difference. This is how you control time, a resource that is always slipping away.
From an attitude perspective, fortify positivity and subdue negativity. This will surely allow you to be more resilient in every way. Everyone who knows you will thank you too (whether they say it or not).
Finally, breath well. Consciously control the physical thing you do more than anything else. Developing proper breathing techniques is like a super power that can increase strength, focus and well-being while reducing stress, anxiety and even disease.
There’s amazing research on the role the vagus nerve has in our functioning and breathwork is a powerful modulator of this. Meditation is something well worth exploring, in whatever form works for you.
So there you have it. Oh yeah, if all that doesn’t work maybe the best way to be a strong parent is what Milo practiced throughout his legendary Olympic career… celibacy. If it’s too late for that for you then maybe don’t have any more kids. 😉
All joking aside, parent or not, these things will make you strong in all the right ways. Whether it’s for your children, your spouse or you, developing a timeless strength is the stuff that legends are made from.
So, pick up your kid every day until you are carrying a fully grown adult with no difficulty. Then you’ll be a legendary strong parent!
What do you think? Are there other things that help you to be a strong parent?