Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 28 August 2023
Today you'll meet Nathan and Matthew, who have both worked incredibly hard to overcome challenges with their health to be able to be dads who exercise. We're very grateful for them sharing their stories with us.
Nathan Hunter, @thegutlessrunner
How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have 1 amazing 8 year old daughter.
What is your sport/exercise of choice and how long have you been doing it?
My main sport of choice is running/ultra running. I participated in athletics to a decent level when I was younger but as is the case, life took over and the exercise got shelved for the best part of 20 years. I took up running again in my mid thirties and have been running/exercising regularly ever since.
Do you have a favourite location or national park to exercise?
My local running spot is the coastal beach paths on the Sunshine Coast. I am very fortunate that I live within close distance to some of the best beaches and public access areas around. Heading off road, my local trail network is Parklands near Nambour, but you can find amazing trails everywhere once you head inland from the coast.
What is your favourite piece of equipment that you always use before/during/after your exercise?
My favourite piece of equipment is my running shoes. I am a bit of a shoe geek, so I am always trying to stay up to date with everything shoe related and working on my shoe "rotation". My massage gun is brilliant as well. I use it any chance I get! Oh, and my compression gear, I use it for everything: training, events and recovery.
What is something you have learned since combining exercise and kids in your life?
That you can do both. It's not one of the other and if you want to make it work i.e. being a good father and achieving your own personal goals, you can. You just have to want it enough to do it. Also, be flexible with things. I used to get frustrated if I couldn't do a planned run or workout, but in the scheme of things it is one run! There is always tomorrow, and if it's for the priority of your family, then it can never be a bad thing.
What are some challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
I have Crohn's disease so unfortunately I will be dealing with this challenge for the rest of my life. Having said that, I don't think I would be pushing myself and achieving goals I never thought imaginable previously, if I didn't go through the lows and hard times of dealing with a chronic illness.
What has been your greatest achievement in your sport?
To be honest, I feel that my greatest achievements are yet to come. I have definitely done things that I am proud of but my running journey is still being written. My favourite memory came when I was completing the Kokoda Challenge on the Gold Coast. It was the middle of the night, I was by myself (briefly) and was walking up a hill through a paddock. There was this memorising string of headlamps zig zagging their way up the hill which looked amazing. Off in the distance as well was the Gold Coast skyline surrounded by a golden glow of the lights. In that minute I knew this was my new happy place and was exactly where I wanted to be
Do you have any future goals for your sport?
I am currently training for my first 100km ultra marathon in Oct (2022) so am very excited and nervous to do that. Moving forward I would like to think that there will be more of the longer runs to come, as well as a few solo missions to some areas I've always wanted to visit.
Do your children have any involvement in your sport?
No not really, but that's ok. My daughter competes in martial arts and gymnastics so I am just happy that she gets regular exercise and has something to focus her energies on. Funnily enough, she has won her running race two years in a row at the school carnival. She just doesn't care about running!
How do you encourage your children to be active?
Deeds not words. A big part of why I run is so my daughter can grow up seeing me staying active, but also to show her that if she wants to achieve things she has to commit to it and put in the hard work.
How do you incorporate sport into your daily/weekly routine?
Consistency is key for me, as well as being flexible. I don't think of running/exercise as a chore (anymore). It's just a part of my life that helps me be a better person, husband & father. It's not a matter of if I'm going to do it, it's just a matter of ensuring that I get it done.
What advice would you give to another dad wanting to get into exercise/sport but may be unsure as to where to start?
The answer is in the question. Just start!! Get up, put your shoes on and go for a run, or ride, or pick up those dumbbells, or do 10 sit ups. Don't worry about how fast you go, or how far, or how many sets, just do something. I don't have any blunders as such, but I definitely tried too much too soon, which quickly turned bad. Take your time, trust the process and stay consistent.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Happy fathers day everyone!!
Matthew Coughlin, @matt_72
Emma is our only child and is 10
Running, I started at parkrun in 2014
I love the Mt Disappointment State forest. It's a short drive from home and is a hidden treasure for trail runners
Before, I always use Squirrel's Nut Butter to avoid crying in the shower after. During, I am most likely to be seen wearing a Fractel cap/hat of some description- I have quite the collection. I am a new convert to percussive massage so afterwards I sit down and get the massage gun out on the legs.
You will never find time to exercise or for your kids, you have to make that time. And the rewards that exercise and kids offer are directly linked to the effort that you put into both.
I was diagnosed with AF(irregular heartbeat) in 2003. Apart from the physical limitations the condition and the medication caused it also brought along depression, panic attacks and anxiety. I had a procedure in 2015 to correct the AF and my heart has been 99.99% perfect since then.
I think getting through my first 50k trail race would be right up there.
I'd love to push up to the 100k distance, at least once.
Emma did her 10 parkruns to get her t/shirt and now she has switched focus to gymnastics and tennis. However Emma and Dannii, my wife, always come along to my big events and have crewed a couple of the 50k ones, meeting me at about 35km to keep me going.
We lead by example and we allow Emma to try different after school activities and always emphasise enjoyment over performance.
I run 6 times a week and try to get it done after work during the week and in the mornings before the house wakes up on the weekends.
Just start. It doesn't matter where you start or what you do but as long as you start you will find your way. Social media is a great way to find local groups doing what you want to do and social groups are always looking for new members.