Staying In Shape As A Coach With A Family

They say if you have your health, you can handle anything.  For the most part that is a true statement.  This article is going to be about staying fit and being healthy for your family.  I’m not here to tell you how to be on the cover of a muscle and fitness magazine, or win the next gold medal in the clean and jerk, but to provide a guide on how to establish and then maintain healthy level of strength and body weight.  It can be a trying ordeal in this profession.  Long hours, sporadic meals, of which many are of questionable decision making for the sake of convenience.  On top of that, you have a family as well. How can you justify taking even more time from them?  It is my belief that you owe it to your family to take care of yourself. Self care is self preservation, you can only take care of someone else when you are able to take care of yourself as well. You should be able to play in the back yard with the kids and not get winded.  Or to have the general strength to take on work around the yard and house.  This article will walk you through an easy to understand plan for diet, programming, and time management; to hopefully avoid the dreaded “coach bod”

Coach Bod- the gradual accumulation of weight around the mid section as a result of high stress, low amounts of sleep and poor diet choices to make up for lack of time.
Think about how you looked when you first finished playing football. Think about the things you could do.  While returning to the level you were at when playing is not likely, we can get in pretty good shape!



I am definitely no expert in nutrition, but I can tell you this.  We are adults, and we know how to eat healthy and make adult decisions.  I get it, and I’m guilty too from time to time.  Those convince stops for food save time.  We all know that stopping for fast food after practice, and/or games is not the best choice, and it usually becomes a habit.  A habit that can lead to pounds stacking up each season.  Add a few seasons together and you start to go buy bigger pants.  Its not just after practice either.  Starting your day with cereal that comes out of a box with a cartoon character on it should not be on your things to do.  Skipping breakfast can be even worse, then you get hungry and snack in the teachers lounge, buy something from the vending machine or go out and buy a big lunch.  Nothing wrong with that…. but when you’re hungry you tend to choose calorie dense, nutrient weak foods.

Here is a list of foods to avoid:

SODA (by all means, even diet…stay away!)

Wheat (any carbohydrate that comes from a box or bag. Ex: sugar, cereal, bread, bagels…you get it)

Corn (its bad, no it’s not a vegetable)

              The problem with corn and wheat is that its literally in everything!  So as a general rule, buy food from the outside perimeter of the grocery store.

Dairy (ok in small amounts)

Pork (yes its awesomely delicious, save it for special occasions)

Beans and rice (highly estrogenic, estrogen = boobs)

Here is a list of foods to eat:

WATER (the best anabolic hands down)

Vegetables (all kinds, all colors.  Eat lots. Mom was right all along)

Fruit (the more fibrous the better)

Things that used to have a face (chicken, beef, fish and so on)


Potatoes (white, sweet, red… all OK.  Just keep them on workout days)


Meal Planning

Planning your meals makes eating healthier very easy.  Its not hard.  Tupperware on amazon is like 5 bucks for 5 containers.  Cook 3-5 lunches for work and stick them in the fridge.  Eat eggs and other meat along with fruit and or vegetables in the morning.  For dinner have one of the pre-made meals or cook something that is on the good list I provided.   Here are some photos of some meals that could be used:

Most of you will lose weight just by cleaning up the diet, but if you want aggressive weight loss, it can be attained.  Here is my disclaimer. From my time cutting weight as a wrestler I can tell you this, the faster the weight is lost…the higher the amount of suck it will be.  It also has a greater chance of rebounding back after.  Well, here it is, get some protein powder and you only get one solid meal a day.  One shake in the morning upon waking up, one mid-morning, one for late lunch and one after work.  Protein shake is mixed with water. Your single solid meal will be meat and vegetables, no carbs.  Again, this will suck.  It will however get the weight off you.  I would not stay on this for more than 20-25 days at a time.  Take a few months of normal healthy eating before repeating.  For most of us, just following basic healthy adult eating will be fine.  As a general rule, follow the 80/20 rule.  that it, 80 percent of your diet should come from the good list.


We are coaches, we teach all day then go coach for 2 to 3 more hours before coming home.  During the season we go back on the weekends for staff meetings and when we are home, we usually are still doing some work at some point.  This is not going to make you set any records or grace the cover of muscle and fitness…well if it does make sure you credit me!  All joking aside, this is designed to get you stronger and make you look like you could still play a snap or two if you had too. The whole thing will take between 15 and 30 minutes, and it is 5 to 6 days a week depending on rotation and how you are feeling recovery wise.

Working out more days for shorter amounts of time is the best way to go.  It develops habits, and you are in and out of the weight room, vs the other method of 3 to 4 days a week and in the weight room for an hour, sometimes more.  You will have a warm up, a strength lift, a supplemental lift, a MetCon and then you are done. MetCon stands for metabolic conditioning.  It was established by the Russian weightlifting team in the 1940s. Today, hipsters like to call it crossfit (Don’t worry, we won’t be doing any flying monkey snatches).  It is short, it is intense, it gets the heart rate up, which is what we want.

Warming up is easy, you can do old school calisthenics, a quick jog or my favorite, jump rope.  I highly recommend jumping rope, it is a great whole body warm up, primes the central nervous system and only needs to be done for 1 to 3 minutes.  It is also a good test to determine how the day is going to go.  If you blast through the jump rope you can probably really get after the weights.  Stumble and smack your shins and your back a lot…you probably should take it easier as your nervous system may need a break.

The program goes 3 days on, and 1 day rest/off

Day 1

Squat movement (back squat, front squat, over head squat, split squat) you pick.  I would pick 2 lifts to focus on and then rotate them every round. So Day One do back squats, the next Day One do front. THIS GOES FOR ALL EXERCISE SELECTIONS, pick 2 to focus on.  Switch after 3-5 months if you really want to.

Posterior chain movement (RDL, Lunges, leg curls, anything that targets back of the legs or gluteals)


Day 2

Hinge Move (dead lift, Cleans, Kettle bell swings)

Pull Move (pull ups, chin ups, rows, barbell curls)


Day 3

Push Move (Push press, bench, dips, strict overhead press)

Push Move (close grip bench, push ups, tricep extensions)


Rest day, then repeat Day 1 with the other lift options you chose

You will only track the last set of each main lift.  First 1 to 4 sets will be ramping sets of 5 reps that progressively get heavier till you get to your work set.  Then for that weight you will try to get as many as possible.  Once you can get between 8 and 10, you know next time you do that lift you can move up 5 to 10 pounds.  After the work set no matter how many you get, take 10 to 20 deep breaths and do it again, you may only get 1 or 2 reps but that is OK.  The idea is that you did it again while the body was still taxed.  An example ramp might look like this,

Back squat-45×5, 135×5, 225×5 and 275×7, 20 breaths then 3 more reps.

For the second lift just do 2 to 3 sets till you are just shy of failure at a manageable weight.  Don’t worry about tracking, just put on what feels right for that day.

MetCons are simple, get moving fast with inefficient movements.  Combining 2-3 movements seams to work best.  One of my favorites is combining jump rope with push ups.  Jump rope for 30 seconds as fast as possible then do 20 push ups and go back and forth for 10-15 minutes.  No MetCon should take longer than 20 minutes.  Always cut it off at 20 minutes, 15 minutes is usually what I go for.  Another combo is burpees and sit ups. or jogging and jumping jacks. The good thing about a MetCon is, it can be different every day, a simple search of the word, or the various crossfit type websites will give you all you ever need.


This whole work out should take no more than 30 minutes, 20 should be an attainable average.  But you are working out 5-6 days per week to make up for the short time.  You can fit 20 minutes a day anywhere.  Wake up early to get to a gym.  If your like me and have stuff in your garage, do it there in early morning.  We coach at schools, use the school weight room, get in early.  Do it on your plan period, its only 30 minutes of working out.  Do it on your lunch break.  Or right after practice before you go home.  Once your home let that be family time.  Either start your day with the workout while the family is asleep, or do it before you get home at some point.  You should let home time, be home time.  You can also use family time as a way to get extra movement in.  Play with the kids outside, or go for a family walk, walk the dog.  We live right by a wild life preserve called Turkey Creek, I love to take my son there and walk the trails.  Its bonding time and some extra movement to help maintain a healthy life style.

(My son and I checking the map in Turkey Creek):



This should be more than enough to get you started and maintained for a long time.  Finding time to keep ourselves healthy is a priority if we want to be there for our family and set a good example for our children to be healthy as well.  As always please feel free to comment with any questions.  Subscribe to the email list to be updated whenever I post a new article and give me a follow on twitter @thecoachvogt


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