Bodybuilding As a Family Man

Bodybuilding is tough, plain and simple.

It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of days of doing the same routine over and over again.

  • You wake up and eat
  • you go to work and try to eat
  • you try and eat again before leaving
  • you come home and eat before the gym
  • you come back home to eat and shower
  • you try to do a few small things before going to bed
  • you wake up and do it all over again the next day

Yes, bodybuilding can be monotonous.

Now, somehow during all of this, you may be trying to find time to date or be trying to raise a family.

This is where most men fall off the bodybuilding wagon and join the army of everyday miserable and fat slobs, who only exist to work for a woman or family who eventually looks at them as nothing more than a paycheck anyways.

Dad’s job is to buy shit and pay bills now, and that is pretty much all there is to it anymore.

Dad’s job is to no longer throw a baseball to his son in the yard, it’s just to buy video games. Dad’s job is to no longer have a date night with his wife, it’s to sleep in the other room while watching television and drinking a few beers by himself.

Dad is no longer respected, and he is slowly and surely losing everything he owns, more specifically his freedom! He kills himself for his family, and you know how they look at him? He is looked at as a fat buffoon; a slob, whose only purpose in life is to follow the rules and make money.

That is not how I live.

I live by my own rules for the most part, and my family respects me. I never get any shit for going to the gym, because my wife always knew I was heavily involved in the gym and it was never going to stop.

She knew she married a bodybuilder and she doesn’t give me any shit for it.

My son knows that Daddy needs to eat because he lifts a lot of weights, and my son knows good and bad foods.

He will tell me sometimes “Dad, you aren’t supposed to be eating that” and he is 6 years old.

I occasionally pull over to the side of the road or in a parking lot to eat when I have him with me. He never complains; he knows that it’s what I do.

Sometimes I will walk into a nutrition store and buy his favorite protein drink, “Monster Milk.” My son has been drinking protein shakes since he was 2 years old because he thinks they’re cool. (Of course I never give him much since he is so little).

But I can’t tell you how many times we have shared a “Monster Milk” together while pulled over in some parking lot, because Daddy needed to get a meal in.

Then of course I will eat a potato or a Tupperware container of rice or something with it.

Just a few days ago my wife and I went to a concert that was about 4 hours away from home. I packed a cooler and made sure the hotel room I got had a refrigerator.

When I got about halfway to my destination, I pulled off into a Wendy’s and ordered a plain baked potato. I walked outside and then pulled out my cooler. I opened up 2 cans of tuna fish in the parking lot and drained them before stirring them into my potato.

I sat down on a curb and ate my meal while my wife patiently waited in the car with the cold a/c blowing and listening to music. SHE NEVER SAID A WORD TO ME ABOUT HAVING TO EAT THAT WAY.

She knows it’s what I do, and what’s even more important is she respects it.

Now, after the concert was over with we were both starving. So I drove around trying to find a diner, because at least if I was at a Diner I could get an omelette and bacon, or something with no carbs.

If I have to stray off the diet like this then it’s usually something like that which has little carbs in it. Anyways, we ended up at a Waffle House and I had some coffee w/ cream and Splenda and a cheese/mushroom omelette with bacon.

You see, my point here is if I stray off course of what I would normally eat, at least it’s for good reason – family!

So this for me was a semi-cheat meal, but I had an incredible time at the concert and a great time with my wife that evening.

We went back to the high rise hotel I got which overlooked the city skyline from my room on the top floor, and as you can probably guess, let’s just say the night wasn’t over for awhile…. Also, let me tell you something else here; at 3 am I was eating 8 ounces of tilapia and some potatoes downstairs in the dining hall by myself. I had my fun and now it was back to business!

Just last week I was with my father out on my boat. My Dad works a ton of hours and I never get to see him anymore. His only day off is Sunday, and I cannot even remember the last time we did something together.

I decided to dedicate the entire day to hanging out with my Dad.

So we headed out for the lake with the boat, and I started drinking Michelob Ultra’s at 11:00 am out on the lake. When it approached 1:00 pm we went to a lake house restaurant where I consumed a couple more beers and had a Smokehouse cheeseburger and french fries.

I’m training for a competition right now too btw. But you know what? If having a burger and a few beers with my father is going to make the difference between 1st and 2nd place, I’ll gladly take 2nd place. Some things in life you just don’t get back.

(BTW,  the next day I look pumped and shredded from that cheat meal anyways).

That was the first junk meal I had in about 11 days, when I was with my father. Again, the cheat meal fell that day because I strayed off the diet for family!

You see, there are ways to do this shit and still have a life. Save those cheat meals for family time or certain events where it’s damn near impossible to bring a cooler and have a microwave! Come on, it’s not like this type of shit happens everyday anyways, you just have to time it better!

I have missed NOTHING this cycle of cutting. I have gone on vacations, been out on the boat, gone to shows and concerts, been to the motocross track with my son (he is involved in motocross) sat down to play video games with him, played football in the yard, been golfing with friends, been fishing, the beach, mountains, and probably a ton of other things I cannot even think of off the top of my head.

Bodybuilding is just second nature to me; it’s just part of what I do and who I am.

But life is short and family is important. I get tired like anyone else does. There are times I don’t feel like running around my front yard and playing football in the hot sun right after a workout. When most guys come home and eat their post workout meal, sometimes I have to go straight to playing football because I have a son waiting for me at the door with a football in his hands.

Is it really going to kill me to wait 30 minutes to eat because he wants to run around the yard? NOPE, LOOKS LIKE IT’S A 30 MINUTE CARDIO SESSION!  It’s part of my training plan anyways, my son is just helping Dad do his cardio.

My son knows all the bodybuilding poses at 6 years old.

We could be at a park and I’ll call out “Front lat spread” and my kid will take his shirt off, jump up on a rock somewhere and hit a front lat spread and want me to take his picture.

Then I have to show him his picture so he can critique it. It’s hilarious, but at the same time it’s touching to me. Knowing that he thinks that what I do is cool means a lot to me.

You know, a lot of kids never think their Dad is cool.

But I have to be cool because he really has nobody else to play with yet. I’m the kid he has to play with.

I build Legos,  play Halo and Mortal Kombat, whiffle ball, kickball, football, motocross, pretty much anything a 6 year old boy who is going on 15 partakes in, I also partake in.

Yes, I bodybuild, yes I try to make money, and yes I’m a no bullshit guy, but I’m also sort of just a kid who wants to live life to the fullest before it’s over with.

I have found ways to make bodybuilding work with this where others fall off.

For Christ’s sake, a lot of times I’m taking bites of chicken while I’m waiting for my character to respawn on Halo.

But it CAN BE DONE. You don’t have to throw away what you love just because you have a family. Find ways to make it work for you.

Now, with all of that being said; if I was to spend 4 hours a day in the gym and train like I was back in the Golden era of muscle beach, then yeah my wife might not be happy with me.

If my son waited at the door with a football in his hands and his father never came home before dark, then you know what that makes me? A piece of fucking shit. I may be a piece of shit with a trophy in my hands, but I’m still a piece of shit. I’m a piece of shit who left his kid at the door waiting on him.

  • What type of marriage would I have if we never did anything because I never left the house?
  • What type of life would I be missing out on?
  • How about all of the trips and fun things you could have had that you never experienced because you couldn’t find a way to make bodybuilding work with life?
  • Do you think you might regret that one day?


I’m right there at it. There isn’t much better I’m going to get from this point forward. It’s not going to happen because I refuse to let life go to get just a s midge better, and what’s even worse is getting just a little better usually isn’t something you’ll retain all the time anyways.

So right now I’m sitting around 220 lbs in single digit body fat, maybe 7 %. This is it, THERE ISN’T MUCH MORE I’M GOING TO DO FROM THIS POINT.

At this stage it’s nothing more than extremes that are only going to make me a hair better looking, but WAY MORE MISERABLE, and WAY MORE PULLED AWAY FROM LIFE!

Don’t take any of this the wrong way; I love bodybuilding and will always try to get better.

But I also love life and will always try to experience new things, AND LIFE PASSES BY PRETTY FUCKING FAST!


Owning a nice car is tangible, you can walk outside and touch it everyday.

Driving an Indy car is intangible, you cannot do it everyday. You cannot drive at that speed, pulling those kind of G’s on turns, and accelerating that quickly in an everyday ride.

This is an experience that is intangible. You experience it, you love it, you always remember it! I value the intangible in life over the tangible.

Trips and vacations are intangible, you experience them and then it’s gone.

Time with your father having a few beers on your boat is intangible, because one day he will be gone and the only thing left is a memory.

That memory is priceless, and nobody in the world could hand you any amount of money to be right back there in that very moment EXACTLY the way it was. They aren’t paying to bring your Dad back.

I place much more value on the intangible in life than the everyday, attainable bullshit.

Bodybuilding is intangible.

Yes, the product is tangible, but the sweat and grueling workouts are experiences that help mold you and shape your character.

You become that hard work and sweat that you have poured out over the years. That hard work and sweat is intangible. The intangible in life will always have more meaning than the tangible. There are material objects and there are memories.

Most memories never involve just us, and if they do involve only us then we usually don’t value them as highly as memories that involve others.

This is proof that man was not meant to be lonely.

You can choose a life of fulfillment or a life of narcissism. When you’re younger it’s all about the weights, it was for myself as well. But I’m better now than I ever was, and I have more of a life than I ever had. It just takes time to see things clearly sometimes.

I’m telling you guys right now, if I can have a family and still have a life with bodybuilding, then so can you!

Make it work with your life and keep moving on.

If someone criticizes you for draining tuna fish in a Wendy’s parking lot because it’s not normal, then fuck ’em!

I never claimed to be normal, that shit is boring!

Train hard!


Becoming The Bull ebook


26 thoughts on “Bodybuilding As a Family Man”

  1. Knocked it out of the park again!

    As a family man who’s trying to get and stay jacked-up, I can only this site is biblical. Starting to sound a little fanboyish here, but goddamn…

  2. You’re one of the few people who can write about fitness and make it poetic. Beautifully written. And very true. Outstanding post, really refreshing compared to the rest of the nonsense populating the internet.

  3. I started casually following your posts a few months back, but now I am finding myself reading everything you post as soon as it hits my inbox. Great writing and I love your view on life and family as much as your training advice. Keep up the good work, John.

  4. Hi John, quick question:
    I’ve got a muscle imbalance from ego lifting on barbell curls so my left bicep is smaller than my right and my left pec is bigger than the other.
    I’ve switched to seated dumbell curls to even out my biceps. Is there anything I can do to even out my pecs?

    • This is not uncommon, especially earlier on. Most people have one arm that is about 1/2″ smaller than their primary arm, including myself. As far as pecs go, very common to be stronger on one side than the other for quite some time. Switch to dumbbells for awhile and focus on keeping arms even. Fuck ego lifting, you do everything slow and controlled with proper form and watch those lifts and size increase!! You’ll be toying with weights ego guys struggle with eventually

  5. I needed that…good real life shit.I do some of the same things my self and had to change to finding time to get my bodybuilding into my family life instead of time to sqeeze my family into bodybuilding life.

  6. So right. When I look back, the things I regret and miss the most is the time spent with my family. It goes away so fast and just thinking about the future when it will be over breaks my heart.

  7. Joe I can notice a big difference in your style of writing over the last couple of months. You are making great progress and you’re managing to write in a more compelling way – keep at it.

    PS: I asked you a while ago whether you could give me an idea of whether I would be OK to enter a fitness competition and you replied but I never received an email to which I could send you some pictures. Would appreciate it if you would take a look , let me know.

  8. John,

    Your book has got me from 65 kg to 74 kg in 3.5 months.

    My goal is to weight 77kg( at 5ft8in) at 10-12% bodyfat.

    Currently I weight 74kg but at 16% bodyfat.

    I am thinking about going to the following–
    Bodyweight 84 kg. ( Currently 74kg)
    Squats 110 kg 15 reps ( currently 65kg)
    Incline bb bench 85kg 6 reps ( currently 75kg)
    Db row 50kg 10 reps ( currently 38kg)

    My plan is to bulk and attain the following strength stats and then cut.

    Is my plan of action good or should I take another approach?

    I would appreciate any help as I can’t afford a trainer right now.


    • 20 lbs in 3 months sounds like pretty good gains man!!! Thanks for your book purchase and following the site. Id say your plan of action is good rt now, unless you are clearly “fat”. What I find with a lot of guys is they never really get fat, but its more like they finally started giving their body what it desperately wanted (enough food for growing and recovery) and they just get great gains.

      • Thanks man.

        And you are right I m becoming a bit puffy but as long as I can bang out 12+ pullups in one set I don’t really care about fat gain.

        BTW I have also found thatheavy squats and deaslifts make me very hungry so its easy to eat food, started them after reading your book and so far they are helping.

        Also I want some tips about increasing forearm size as they lag a bit.

        My current routine does not have direct forearm work.

        Thanks once again

  9. Balancing family time and working out is always tough. I’m not entering any competitions any time soon, but I train for bodybuilding goals.
    I love your honesty about drinking beers with your dad. It shows how special your relationship with him must be, especially when you’re normally willing to sit curbside by a Wendy’s eating tuna to stay on your diet!
    I recently posted advice for the average guy wanting to lose weight, and I forbade beer. I’m conflicted by it because it is the perfect social drink–individually bottled, no mixing required, cheap, not too stong.
    Clear liqours are marginally better, and zero calorie depending on how you mix them, but not ideally social. It’s odd to show up at a summer cookout with a bottle of tequila, and have the equivalent of 2 or 3 shots, and it’s painful to leave that 30 dollar bottle behind.
    Is Michelob Ultra always your go to in a situation where you’ve decided to drink?

    • It’s either that or I’ll have a good quality Vodka such as Kettle One w/ some diet tonic water or club soda, since regular tonic water is full of sugar. Vodka/Tonics are my favorite hard drink, but I’ll only have 2 or 3 of them and it’s done. I usually wake up looking even better the next morning. This isn’t regular practice though, here and there only

  10. I believe what you published made a lot of sense. But, what about this?
    suppose you added a little information? I
    ain’t saying your content isn’t solid., but suppose you added a headline that makes
    people want more? I mean Bodybuilding As a Family Man – John Doe Bodybuilding
    is kinda boring. You could glance at Yahoo’s front page and note
    how they create news titles to grab viewers to open the links.
    You might add a related video or a related picture or two to grab readers excited about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your posts a little bit more interesting.

    • NOTHING boring about the Title JD. It grabbed my attention immediately. Great read-Funnily enough I was sitting in my bed drinking beer reading it on date night. Goin straight downstairs after typin this-Gotta look after the woman!

      Thanks. Also-Just received my RAD 140 and YK11. This should be interesting (I also ordered the red-pct). Great stuff-Keep it comin!!!


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