Fitness: Friend or Foe in your Relationship?

“Set aside time to improve your health so it can positively impact your home life and how you treat your family.”

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Fitness in your Law Enforcement Relationship

As we start the new year, fitness, and “New year, New me” is a focus for many. We all know how important being physically fit is for officer safety, but how does exercising and meal prep fit into their limited off time?  Does this impact their relationship with family? I’ve heard complaints from spouses about hyperfocus, how working out feels more important than family and takes time away, separate meal planning which contributes to the feeling of separation again, supplements, and tailoring of uniform shirts.

I also know it is important for the physical and mental health of officers.

Is Fitness a friend or foe?

To answer that question, I brought Adam Haidary on the podcast.  Adam is a former law enforcement officer and owner of Effective Fitness Training explains how fitness can strengthen your relationship while also improving your physical and mental health.

The physical threat on officers

We know that law enforcement officers are at potential risk when they go on duty.  The profession alone is not the threat. It’s the physical impact on the officer created from the long hours, the lack of nutrition, and deficiencies in the awareness of health and wellness. Officers are missing education regarding nutrition and lack of resources and support from command staff.

“One of the biggest threats to law enforcement is law enforcement itself.”

To combat the physical impact on the officer, the focus needs to be on overall officer ability and wellness. Through officer education surrounding nutrition and fitness, change can be made to improve the overall well-being and safety of our law enforcement community. The standard level of training needs to be expanded.

How fitness can cause conflict in your law enforcement relationship

When it comes to fitness, nutrition, and relationships, there is a lot of room for misinterpretation! As an officer, it is important to stay physically fit for safety reasons, so scheduling time for exercising is of value. It can become difficult to do this after a 12-hour shift.  Your spouse and family have expectations of your time when you are off-duty.  Although spouses may understand the positive impact of nutrition and working out, a feeling of competition for the officer’s attention and time may arise due to the time and focus on the fitness routine.  Many spouses would love to take the time for themselves to meal prep or workout but struggle to find the energy and time due to working and taking care of the family as a solo-parent when the officer is on duty.  This can result in greater problems and threats to the relationship in the form of resentment and contempt.

How fitness can cause conflict in your law enforcement relationship

Another level of misinterpretation can result from the language used wanting to incorporate the spouse into the fitness routine.  Simply saying “You should go to the gym with me,” or “You should eat like I am,” may not be the best choice of words. Spouses may interpret these comments as criticism depending on how they are feeling about their personal fitness.  They may hear that they need to lose weight.

“Set aside time to improve your health so it can positively impact your home life and how you treat your family.”

Do it for the future

Don’t let the job dictate your relationship or your physical ability. “When you leave the job, the job doesn’t care about you anymore.” Officers that do not address their fitness while on the job can wind up not being able to physically participate in their life in retirement.  Take charge of your own physical ability, whether it’s reducing stress or protecting your joints, or being able to protect yourself or your family. This takes communication with your spouse so everyone is on the same page to have common goals. Remember, it benefits spouses to make sure that their officer takes the time to integrate the fitness component. Not only for safety reasons but for the functional longevity of their body as well as reducing the impact of the stress of the profession.

How to get started?

Just Start. 

It sounds simple but takes a lot of courage to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s okay to suck at first and to not know everything but give yourself permission to do that. Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym for three hours, 7 days a week or eating boring food, so don’t set unrealistic standards that set yourself up for failure.

Ask for Help

Most people have a baseline of common sense as it pertains to health and wellness. They know what’s good for them, but fitness and nutrition can be incredibly overwhelming. Find someone to help develop a plan and provide resources. Remember, it is about behavioral change and change takes time, support, motivation and discipline. Motivation can be short-lived, and your motivation may change over time, but that is ok! That is normal and expected.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The best way for success is to have support. Yes, you can do it yourself, but it makes it a lot easier when you have somebody else there with you. Find a common ground of how to make a lifestyle change together without criticizing or creating resentment. Include your spouse in meal prep and try to eat the same things and eat together! Eating different meals at different times can feel disjointed and distant. It is few and far between where mealtimes happen as a family, so value that time together. Maximize the time you spend together, even if it means working out with one another. Just be careful how you approach the subject

Look at the bigger picture

Sit down and look at the bigger picture of health and wellness. It isn’t just about feeling bad, but it can impact your finances, and relationships with those around you. Do you want to use retirement money for medication and surgeries due to poor health conditions, or do you want to invest your money? Do you want to be able to bend down and pick up your grandchild and play with them at the park? Using this idea of consequential decision-making, decisions can be made to benefit long-term goals. Through communication, having common goals and looking at how fitness will impact your “bigger picture,” fitness can be a friend in your relationships.

 It is the idea of thinking about how the small steps will benefit in the long run. You can only get one life. Try and live your best life.

 Contact Adam!

Adam provides online coaching through effective.fitness.com and efcombatives.com and his app, Effective Fitness

He offers free information including blogs, free workouts, opt-ins, programs about nutrition and nutrition guidelines and rehab programs written by his team of physical therapists for the shoulders, knees, and lower back.

 Adam Haidary spent 7 years in Law Enforcement, 2 of which as a full-time training Sergeant. He is the founder and CEO of PolicePosts, the world’s largest training platform for police on Instagram. PolicePosts focuses on education and training for police officers and the public through real-world incidents. Adam wanted to make an impact in the law enforcement community by adjusting and boosting the standard in training. He founded and is the CEO of Effective Fitness Training, a science and data-driven fitness program that specializes in developing more effective and prepared police officers. Recently he has also started Effective Fitness Combatives where his team specializes in providing education and solutions for law enforcement officers through proven science-driven fitness and combatives.

Reach out to him on Instagram: @effectivefitnesstraining @efcombatives.

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Fitness: Friend or Foe in your Relationship?

“Set aside time to improve your health so it can positively impact your home life and how you treat your family.”

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