In honor of Father’s Day, 24Life asked some of our favorite healthy dads, who work in the fitness industry, their thoughts on parenthood, life and of course, fitness …

Richard Boyd
Senior Vice President of Fitness + Innovation, 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a father change you? It changed me from head to toe. Not only as a person emotionally and lovingly, but also physically. When the babies start to crawl and then walk, you spend most of your time on the ground, getting up and down. When they get older, you spend most your time carrying them, and they get heavy. Then when they get older, they want you to play outdoors all the time.
  • What has surprised you about being a father? How much love you feel for your children — there is no comparison. My father once told me “ no matter what someone’s child has done, try not to get between them and their parent, because right or wrong, the parent will protect their child, and they will do it with every ounce of their being”– I didn’t understand that until I had children.

“It’s a love and bond that you don’t get with your spouse or anything else in your life. Yes dog people, even more than your dog!”

  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? I think being fit as a dad allows you to ensure that your kids stay active with you and it also helps you get them outdoors. There are so many times when I am so tired and just want to sit down and relax, but the kids want to be active, and being fit helps me to keep at their pace even when I’m exhausted.

Derek Vandenbrink
Information Officer, Institute of Motion:

  • How did becoming a father change you? Other than having to re-evaluate my priorities immediately, becoming a dad made me more patient. The smallest developmental changes are magnified in your kids because you pay so close attention to them. Nothing seems to happen quickly, and then all of a sudden, they break through and are onto the next thing. Just like coaching, the more patient we can be, the better we all are if the process is sound and the right behaviors are in place.
  • What has surprised you about being a father? How much I want to be like my kids! They quickly forgive and forget.

“They find wonder everywhere because they’re curious. They’re always trying new things. They smile and laugh so much. They’re becoming my role models.”

  • What advice would you give other dads on fitness? Figure out what you want fitness to do for you. When we had our first daughter, I couldn’t sit cross-legged on the floor so I had to lay out or kneel down — both of which became fairly uncomfortable quickly. I was strong, but not mobile, and that was limiting me. The best thing I did was identify what I wanted to be able to do with my kids, and then make sure I addressed that in my workouts.

Jason Mathes
Regional Manager, 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a father change you? It has helped me care less about myself and more about providing for my family.
  • What has surprised you about being a father? It is the most difficult and rewarding experience I have ever imagined. It has also helped me realize how great my dad was as a father. He made it look easy.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? As a father, you are the best coach your children will ever have. It doesn’t matter how great you are at teaching your children new sports or games.

“All that matters is that you are present in those moments, because they will last a lifetime.”

  • They will never forget those moments; I know I have not. And your kids will always need you, so stay fit for them.

Phil Timmons
Director of Group Personal Training, 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a father change you? Without question, I found a different kind of love that I never imagined or knew before. It’s unconditional love, and now I have a bond with three new lives that will always be there no matter what.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? When discussing fitness, we usually talk about health and aesthetics, but there are so many more benefits. Father’s Day is a cool opportunity that dads can enjoy with their kids and foster some behaviors that our kids can grow with. It’s not just about looking good – it’s about feeling good.

“I also want my kids to see that exercise can be a healthy outlet for relieving stress and gives you a community aspect, whether that’s through sports or the gym. These benefits transcend into so many areas.”

  • What advice would you give other dads on fitness? Have fun! It’s amazing to watch your kids grow into their own unique personalities, and this is absolutely true with fitness as well. Encourage your kids to make it part of their life, so that they can experience the same benefits us dads have. Don’t put pressure on them, but keep it fun! Let them try everything and allow them to find what activities they enjoy. Once they find it, support them in it.

GJ Groos IV
Senior Director of Fitness Operations, 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a father change you? I think the biggest thing for me is being more present in the moment. It’s so easy to get caught up with work, obligations and all the other tasks that saturate our lives every day. I used to get a sense of accomplishment by tackling as much as I could each day. As a father, I’ve learned to be a lot more patient and truly slow down to experience the moment with my family that I may have previously missed.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? As a father of two boys under four years old, I have keep up with their pace. They don’t take days off, so having the energy and motivation -– even on days when I don’t feel like it -– is essential for me.
  • What advice would you give other dads on fitness? Stay active and model the behaviors that you want to see in your kids through our own life. Don’t let excuses of being too busy be the reason you give up on your own goals.

“Make yourself a priority too and demonstrate how important being fit yourself is first, and your kids will follow.”


Pete McCall
Personal Trainer and Consultant, Institute of Motion:

  • What has surprised you about being a father? I’m surprised at how many things that used to be important to me now seem irrelevant. For example, I still watch the NFL, but have stopped rooting for any particular team, because at the end of the day, whether they win or lose just isn’t that important to my life.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? Kids have a lot of energy, and being fit gives me the ability to keep up with kids and be able to play with them at the park or on the playground.

“I know that they will model my behavior, so I try to show that exercise and physical activity are important components of a healthy life – not for appearance, but for health.”

  • What advice would you give other dads on fitness? Just make time for fitness; even if it is for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time, exercise can help you maintain your energy and give you the ability to keep up with your offspring. Plus, it’s time that you have for yourself, which can be important when you have young kids at home.


Joel Greiner
Regional Educator, 24 Hour Fitness:

  • How did becoming a father change you? One of the changes that has occurred in my life after the birth of my daughter is that now I have even more of a passion for life. Seeing her interact with her world has reminded me how precious life is and how adventurous it can be. The other big change that fatherhood has brought is an awareness that there is a tiny human who needs me to be the best person that I can be. She is watching me, learning from me, so I am more intentional with my actions, behaviors and interactions.
  • How do you think fitness plays into being a dad? It is important for me to maintain my fitness level after becoming a dad. Fortunately, my wife maintains a healthy and fit lifestyle as well and understands that fitness is a part of who I am. I don’t feel like I can be as good of a dad unless I am able to participate in some type of activity on a daily basis. My workouts and surfing sessions are definitely not as long or frequent as they used to be but they have become more efficient.
  • What advice would you give other dads on fitness? Put a plan together every night for the workout you would like to participate in on the following day. Identify more than one time-slot where you can fit a brief workout session throughout your day. Work with your spouse, significant other or anyone who helps care for your child to prioritize the time-slots knowing that your first time-slot might get taken by baby.

“Having your partner involved in prioritizing your fitness time-slots will communicate to them that you are flexible and willing to work with their schedule.”

  • Lastly, be aware for opportunities throughout the day to be active. Sometimes something as simple as taking an unscheduled brisk walk with your baby in the stroller can be enough to “regenerate” your soul and mind.

Happy Father’s Day to all!

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