Canadian Dad Podcast - Dai Manuel

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 3 – Fitness Coach, Dai Manuel

This week on the podcast, I spoke to fitness coach, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and father, Dai Manuel, from the website The Moose is Loose. Dai shares tips for parents who want to start making some changes in their lives. 

We discuss Dai’s battle with childhood obesity that led him to start taking care of his body at a young age, and I share my struggles with weight and general laziness. We also spend some time talking about the importance of setting a good example for our kids and ways to get them involved in the fun of exercising.  

Overall, Dai shares some amazing tips on how to get started and if you sign up for his mailing list, you get a very cool ebook that has 99 workouts that you can do with no extra equipment required. 

Enjoy the show!

View From Run

206. The Story Of My Potentially Broken Scale

206. I looked down in disbelief at what I was seeing. 206. It sounds more like someone’s apartment number than what my weight should be. 206! This scale must be broken… After all, I have already written a number of times about how I was finally committing to creating a better, healthier life for myself, and saying it makes it so, right? Apparently it takes more than words to make something so, which means I am back to the drawing board.

I make these commitments often enough that you’d think I’d have figured out how to work around my own mind at this point, but I haven’t. It took me 5 years to finally quit smoking, and if I’m being honest I still haven’t gotten the little voice out of my head. Exercise and healthy eating is proving to be an ever bigger obstacle for me, mostly because two of my favourite things are eating and sitting/lying down. I’ve also learned that trying to change too many things all at once is definitely detrimental to my end goal, so I am taking things slow.

That said, I have started alternating running and weight training 5-6 days a week and have lasted a month and a half so far, which is good for me. I even signed up for the 5K race in the Canada Army Run to keep myself motivated and I’m finding that I am actually excited about the upcoming adventure. I think the difference this time around is that I am truly unhappy with the way I look and feel most of the time. I’m achy, tired, my clothes don’t fit and there aren’t a lot of clothing places that cater to short dudes with round bellies. If I don’t do something now, I’m scared that I never will.

Most importantly, however, I have been having trouble keeping up with my growing children and that makes me sadder than all of the above reasons combined. I don’t want to be the dad that can’t play road hockey with his son because he needs to take a break every 2 minutes, or the guy who can’t practice a dance routine with his daughter because I am carrying too much weight to keep up. I refuse to allow my children to see me as this shell of my former self and am hoping that this time around, I can stick to it. If all that wasn’t motivation enough, my 6 year old son came running with me the other day and said “Dad, I love to come running with you because I like having daddy son time”. How do I quit after hearing that?

I don’t write this story so that you will shower me with congratulations or encouragement. I do it for a couple of reasons. First, writing and talking about it is a strong motivator for me. Also, I think there are a lot of people like me out there. People who start something with a strong passion for it, only to watch it fade away without a second glance. I want to show those people that failing once or twice or five times doesn’t mean it’s over. As long as you are breathing, you have the chance to make a difference in your own lifestyle and you should seize that opportunity. You know, YOLO, and all that stuff!

I have no idea what is going to happen with my latest attempt at creating a better situation for myself but I know that I am more motivated than ever and at least that is a step in the right direction.

Oren Miller GiveForward

The Story of Oren

A fellow father, dad blogger, and friend, Oren Miller, is going through a tough time right now. Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, he is in a fight for his life and the dad community is responding in a united effort to help Oren and his family with moral and monetary support.

To the dad blogging community, Oren Miller is more than just a dad who writes about his kids. He had the idea to start a Dad Bloggers Facebook group a couple years ago that now houses almost 800 fathers from around the world. This may not sound like a big deal to some but this group has been a source of great pride, support, debate and friendship to those members and, to us, Oren is our leader.

A GiveForward campaign was started, with the initial goal of $5,000, to help Oren’s family go on a trip together. In less than 24 hours, the campaign had reached $15,000 and it continues to grow each day. What started as a simple gesture has now turned into an amazing outpouring of support that is going to help Oren and his family with more than just a family trip. Essentially, the dads have decided to push the bystander effect to the side and set a new trend of giving and sharing as much as they can to help a fellow brother and friend.

I have never been so proud to be associated with a group of such amazing and supportive people. Just two years ago most of us were struggling on our own with our blogs, and now, thanks to Oren, we have a place where we can hang out, share ideas and thoughts on fatherhood, and develop friendships that will last a lifetime. We owe Oren more than just money but this is our way of helping him now, in his time of need, and I hope you will consider helping him out as well.

To donate to Oren’s fund, you can click on this GiveForward Campaign and help in any way you can. Thank you for your consideration in helping my friend and his family.

Bike Riding Training

The Greatest Bike Riding Teacher Ever!

He ran up and hugged me tightly. “Daddy, you’re the best bike teacher ever!” he exclaimed, his voice filled with pride. Up until that moment, I had managed to contain my emotions solely to a prideful glow, but this kid always seems to find a way to push me outside of my comfort zone. Today’s moment comes courtesy of him learning to ride his bike, without training wheels, in under an hour.

The truth is, teaching a child to ride a bike has little to do with the teacher. I was essentially there for moral support and to follow along behind him, holding his seat as so many Hallmark cards would imply. He is the one who did all the work and my heightened emotions came from watching his pride in himself rather than being proclaimed World’s Greatest Bike Teacher, although it does have a nice ring to it.

This is just one of many obstacles he will hurdle in his lifetime and watching him have pride in the things he accomplishes has been helping me renew my own sense of pride in the things I have done recently. It’s so easy to get lost in routine to the point where you feel like you are just going through the motions of life. What my kids have taught me is that you are never too old to learn something new, and in the case of my children, I’m learning to become a teacher, mentor, disciplinarian and role model, all at the same time. This has opened my eyes to all the other things I want to accomplish in my life and has encouraged me to start going after those dreams.

Funny the effects children can have on our brains.

She Has No Idea How Loved She Is

The animated and believable way in which she can tell a story about fictional princesses who can fly and who also turn into magical mermaids with super strength.

She has no idea how loved she is.

When she bats her eyes and asks for five more minutes of colouring before bed, after I’ve already given her five more minutes three times.

She has no idea how loved she is.

When she gives me the twentieth drawing she’s done that day and says, “This one’s just for you, daddy”.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Having to scold her when she’s misbehaved, because that’s my job as her father, but having it hurt so much to do so.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Listening to her beautiful voice sing when she thinks no one is listening.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Getting lost in her eyes as she recounts her day.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The way she instinctively plays with my hair while I read her bedtime story.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The passionate way in which she loves her friends and family, and at such a young age.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Watching her play “family” with her dollies and all I can think about is that someday those dolls will be real people.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The pride in her eyes when she does something she’s never done before.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Her career choice, when asked: Superstar

She has no idea how loved she is.

The way she understands and practices compassion for others.

She has no idea how loved she is.

It’s my little girl’s birthday today and yet I feel like I’m the one who got the greatest gift. Happy Birthday, Baby!

#DadsRun4Boston

I am not a runner. Heck, I can’t tell you the number of times that I have committed to going back to the gym, only to have it fall apart after a half-assed effort. That said, I am lacing up some running shoes to take part in the #DadsRun4Boston initiative.

A year ago today, terrorists killed three people in the Boston Marathon bombing. Among those killed was an 8-year-old boy named, Martin Richard. After a couple of days of Boston being under siege, the terrorists then killed an MIT police officer, and proceeded to turn the streets of Watertown into a war zone. People were ordered inside their houses and entire towns were shut down as law enforcement worked diligently to find the man responsible, which they eventually did.

The bombing left hundreds of others battered and scarred, both physically and emotionally. In the days leading up to this year’s marathon, the dads are coming together to show our support by going for a run and sharing a picture on social media, using the hashtag #DadsRun4Boston. You don’t have to run far, but we are encouraging you to get outside and show your support in memory of all of those affected by the tragic events of last year. Then, snap a pic, pop it on your favourite social media channel and use the #DadsRun4Boston to show your support.

Or, if you’re physically unable to run, consider donating to The One Fund (the official organization helping bombing victims). But use the #DadsRun4Boston hashtag when you do. Special thanks to Charlie Capen and Aaron Gouveia for their efforts in putting this together.

Thanks and we can’t wait to see all your pictures!

Sometimes Inspiration Hits When You Need It Most

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend my third We Day event. I went into this We Day thinking that I had seen all there is to see when it came to the Free The Children event, and I left with something I hadn’t realized I needed. Personal inspiration.

Life has been busy lately. With family, a full time job, part time job and a blog to look after, I had started to feel overwhelmed on an almost daily basis. In essence, my time had become small units of monetary value and I was having trouble seeing it any other way. Family was still number 1, always, but every other aspect of my life was suffering and I was too busy to notice it.

Enter, We Day. This was by far the largest We Day I had been too, almost quadrupling last year’s Ottawa attendance. As I sat and listened to speaker after speaker share their stories as the 16,000 children in attendance screamed and flashed their strobe-like wristbands, I was transported back to the place I was in a year ago. That place was one of kindness and love, where the prevailing thought on my mind was making sure I left the world a better place than I entered it.

I got to hang out with my inspiring friend and We Day speaker, Hannah Alper. I met another amazing youth in Vishal Vijay and had the chance to speak to two amazing local girls from Huntley Centennial Public School, named Isabelle Poulin and Chelsea Wilken, who were all doing their part to create a positive change in our day to day lives. Listening to these children speak and share why kindness was important to them, reminded me of what was important to me.

When I got home that day, I immediately re-launched Kindness Canada, as it had been on the back burner, and started re-organizing my life. I realized that I still have time to do all the work that I was doing, but I plan on doing it smarter so that I have more time to focus on the things that are most important to me. Those things are my family, my health and my commitment to making the world a better place, one smile at a time. I guess this sounds cheesy but it’s how I feel, so I’m not sure how else to word it.

The We Day movement is something that I knew nothing about a year ago, and yet I have no idea where I would be without it. Everyone from the founders to the PR team and speakers are all amazing people and it just reinforces the benefit of building a strong community. I realize that the event was created to inspire children to change the world, but it has changed my world, multiple times over. Please do yourself a favour and check out the Free The Children website and the videos within it. They will change you in a very good way. Also, keep an eye out for Hannah and Spencer West as they embark on the We Create Change Tour, which started this week.

Here are some shots from the National We Day event I just attended. It’s not the same as being there but it’s still pretty cool!

We Day Speakers, Isabelle Poulin & Chelsea Wilken

We Day Speakers, Isabelle Poulin & Chelsea Wilken

Simple Plan frontman, Pierre Bouvier, rocks the We Day stage

Simple Plan frontman, Pierre Bouvier, rocks the We Day stage

 

Hannah Alper and Vishal Vijay give their powerful presentations.

Hannah Alper and Vishal Vijay give their powerful presentations.

Power In Numbers

Power In Numbers

 

 

 

A Father’s Gift

There are a number of reasons why this short film hit me so hard and maybe someday I’ll get into them on here. In the meantime, enjoy this incredible story and the slew of messages it dishes out.

Capturing A Child’s True Beauty

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time on the internet, as bloggers do. Because of that, I sometimes feel like I have seen everything the internet has to offer. Yesterday, however, I was reminded that there are still amazing things happening that deserve to be talked about and I want to share one of those with you today.

A friend shared a link to an online magazine yesterday (linked above) and mentioned that it was a powerful read. It took me about a half a page before that stinging feeling started and I was wiping tears away. By the time I got to the end, I had already typed out an email to the creator of the magazine to ask if I could share it with all of you. The magazine, entitled “Kids – All About Love”, mostly features photographs and stories of children who are battling some form of illness. The pictures are incredibly done, really bringing out the personality in all the children, and the stories are so well written that I felt invested in all of them from the opening paragraphs.

The creator’s name is Lisa Kelly and she runs a website called, Salt and Light Studio. I was so touched by the stories that I arranged a phone interview with Lisa that day to talk about them and her inspiration for them. I love and agree with Lisa when she says that “Our life stories are a gift we give to the world“. I hope these stories move you the way they have moved me and please feel free to share them if you see fit. We need more stories of love in the world and these kids have helped me remember that we need to make the most of every second on this planet!

You can find more of Lisa’s work on her website, Salt and Light Studio, or on her Facebook Page.

Three Words for 2014

Last year I was introduced to Chris Brogan’s “Three Words” exercise and for whatever reason, I didn’t create a list of my own. Oddly, it mostly had to do with the fact that I felt I was too busy to fit it in. I would now like to visit last year’s version of myself to quickly say, “Hahahahahaha!!”

As it turns out, I wasn’t busy at all, just disorganized. That said, my first step in 2014 is going to be taking the time to share my “Three Words” with all seven of you reading this. Each word comes with an explanation as to why I chose it, that will make complete sense to me but perhaps not as much sense to you. Without further dudes, here are my “Three Words” for 2014:

1. Push – I need to stop telling myself that something is going to fail before I try it. I have a lot of goals for this coming year that were also on my list from last year. The closer I would get to seeing them through, the busier I would pretend to be. This vicious cycle continued all year to the point where I feel like I accomplished very few of the goals I had set for myself.

This year is hopefully going to be different. I am going to push myself to, at the very least, attempt the things on my list, even if they result in failure. I have been so afraid to make a mistake or fail at something that I have been talking myself out of trying them and that needs to stop this year.

2. Learn – Part of my lack of self-confidence is that I don’t spend enough time familiarizing myself with the projects I want to complete. For instance, I have wanted to start a podcast from Day 1 of this blog but I always give myself a pass because I don’t know the first thing about podcasting. This is despite the fact that I have had more than one person tell me that they would be happy to walk me through the steps and that it would be easier than I thought. I want to take more time to hone my craft, which includes becoming a better writer, speaker and to gain a greater understanding of the social media space.

I would also like to start reading books again. The first half of last year was my most creative by far, and I feel like it is no coincidence that my creativity started to wane around the beginning of summer, when I convinced myself that I was “too busy” to read anymore. I’m proud to announce that I have already started to rectify this situation when I started reading Brett Wilson’s “Redefining Success”.

3. Family – This was an adjustment year for my family. With my wife running a home daycare, I had a hard time figuring out how to balance family and a full time job, along with my writing, speaking, social media work and various other hobbies and part time gigs. I felt completely disorganized most of the time and ended up wasting a lot of time back tracking and staring at blank screens, when I could have been spending time with my family.

Sadly, it took a death in my family this holiday season to really open my eyes to what I was missing, and I have vowed to make some serious changes. What kind of dad blogger would I be if I let this website take away from the very thing it is based on? This goal can be easily achieved by simply being more organized in my day to day life and I am confident that I can do it.

That’s it for my list. I actually got a lot out of doing this exercise and encourage you to do the same whether you intend on sharing it or not. I probably could have listed about 10 words for things I want to accomplish or improve about myself for this year, but one thing I’ve learned is that the more I add, the less I achieve. I hope you have an amazing 2014, filled with happiness, love and dreams coming true!