How to Keep Your Competitive Edge and Feel Great with 6 Kids

My dad is not a betting man, but when I got married he made a bet.

It was a simple bet:

“Ryan, I bet you $20 you’ll go up at least one pants size within two years of getting married.”

I was instantly indignant…

“I can’t believe you think that. There is NO WAY I’m going up a pants size in the next two years. In fact, I’m NEVER going up a pants size. You watch.”

At the time, I was twenty years old.

Now, if you’ve ever had kids, you know what a challenge it is to stay in shape during and immediately after each pregnancy.

Pregnant wives put on baby weight. Husbands of pregnant wives usually put on sympathy weight.

But when God made me, he shortchanged me in the sympathy department. There’s very little of it in my emotional makeup. Some would call it a deficiency.

I’ve been through four pregnancies now. Last spring, during the fourth pregnancy, I spoke to a friend over the phone and he joked that I must be putting on some sympathy pounds. I had to correct him. I had actually lost six pounds. My weight was going down while my wife’s was going up.

For the last 14 years, my workout routines have been fairly consistent and predictable. Weight-lifting and cardio a couple times a week. Cycling in the summer, snowboarding in the winter, racquetball and squash mixed in throughout the year.

But as of two weeks ago I decided to begin a new routine. Instead of cramming cardio and weight-lifting into the same workout, I’m splitting them up. And instead of working all muscle groups when I lift, I’m splitting them up too.

Here’s my new routine:

  • Monday – Back and Biceps
  • Tuesday – Chest and Triceps
  • Wednesday – Recumbent Bike (35 minutes)
  • Thursday – Back and Biceps
  • Friday – Chest and Triceps

I’ve kept this routine for two weeks now. I’m currently in my third week. My goal is to build muscle size while reducing body fat.

I’ve also begun supplementing with creatine — something I’ve never done before, but have wanted to try. (Creatine helps muscles recover more quickly and gives you more endurance when lifting.)

So far the results are promising. My body seems to be responding well, and I’m eager to see what happens in the next couple months.

What I’ve realized is that it’s much easier for me to commit to a shorter daily workout than it is to commit to two 90-minute workouts each week.

When I was trying to fit everything into a single workout, it would take about 90 minutes, plus eating and showering afterward. That’s a huge chunk of time during a workday.

But doing 30-45 minutes a day plus a quick shower and shake is easy to fit in.

And now I’m enjoying all the benefits of a daily exercise routine:

  • Better sleep – I’ve been sleeping like a dead man lately. It’s awesome.
  • Better diet – My body craves nutritious foods after a workout.
  • Better mood – I feel happier and more optimistic.
  • Better energy – I wake up energized and have stable energy throughout the day.
  • Better appearance – I feel better about my physique when I look in the mirror at night.

I’m well acquainted with the benefits of regular exercise, but I’ve gone through a few slumps through the years, usually because of pregnancies and adapting to having another child in our family.

It’s required me to be flexible… to shift my schedule… to try new gyms (I’ve tried eight of them)… and, most importantly, to be persistent even in the face of setbacks.

Every time I have adapted to my new reality and resumed a consistent exercise routine, I’ve kicked myself for not starting sooner.

So about that bet…

My dad lost it — badly.

I got married in 1999. I’ve never gone up a pants size. (Actually, I almost went DOWN a pants size at one point when I cut out sugar, wheat, and dairy for six weeks.)

So does any of this matter to you?

Of course it does.

If you have a computer job (and I’m betting you do), then it’s easy to let inertia take over. Your belly gets bigger. Your shoulders curl over. You feel winded when you walk up a flight of stairs. You develop “office body.”

Poor health and fitness affects your on-the-job performance. You’re not performing at your highest levels if you’re tired and trying to function in a persistent brain fog.

Fortunately, you can reverse all the negative side effects of a computer job by committing to a regular workout routine. Just 30 minutes a day is all it takes to unlock a laundry list of physical, emotional, and even professional benefits.

So what are you waiting for? Get movin’!

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. My friend Ryan Masters has some great workout advice on his YouTube channel. Check it out…

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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