Darren Kirby’s top 5 fitness and nutrition tips

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Darren Kirby gives his tips for getting in the best shape of your life, geared towards dads with busy schedules.

Darren Kirby knows first hand what it takes to change your lifestyle. He went from not being able to run for two minutes to taking part in Ironman competitions.

Now, as the creator of the Busy Dad Weight-loss and Fitness program, he’s helping dads build healthier lives.

Find something you love doing

Exercise and fitness should be enjoyable. Keep it simple – there’s little point in going to the gym or doing any type of exercise you don’t enjoy.

Find exercise you enjoy doing which fits around your busy family life and career. I like variety and use the disciplines of swimming, cycling, running and interval workouts to get a complete body workout.

body weight is the top fitness and nutrition tip

With interval training and running you can do this either at home, or the park and with the kids. You can do short 12-15 minute workouts using interval training.

Using your own body weight you don’t need to add any weight to your workouts. With running you can do sprints rather than boring ineffective long runs.

Eat nutrient dense foods

Keeping diet simple by eating a balanced diet of meat, fish, vegetables and not processed foods is the best way to achieve a nutrient rich diet. It does not have to be bland or restrictive.

There are three main macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats. With the right balance of macronutrients you can achieve fat and weight loss before doing any exercise

Again, keep it simple when deciding on your food. Below is the breakdown of macronutrients:

  • 40-50 per cent protein – good for energy, feeding the muscles and keeping you fuller for longer. Try chicken, eggs, beef, salmon and mackerel.
  • 30 per cent fat – there are ‘good’ fats in some fish, meat and oils. One good fat is omega-3 found in olive oil, nuts, avocados and fish such as salmon. Stay away from vegetable oils, though.
  • 20 per cent carbohydrates – our bodies need carbs to fuel us. Avoid white starchy carbs like white bread and white rice. Instead, try whole grains, brown rice and sweet potatoes.

Watch your portion sizes. It’s very easy to eat half of your daily recommended intake of calories in one meal.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water is hugely overlooked, and is among the most important of fitness and nutrition tips. Being dehydrated can cause you to lose concentration and leave you feeling hungry when you are just dehydrated.

The general measure of how much water you need to consume throughout the day is between two to three litres, but this will depend on your activity level.

drinking water is among the most important of the fitness and nutrition tips

If you are feeling hungry in between meals, just check how much water you have had, drink a glass of water wait 10 minutes and see if you still feel hungry.

Don’t underestimate short workouts

Depending on your goals, either to lose fat or to improve your overall fitness level. A short 12-15 minute high intensity workout is all you need to do. This is known as HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Try four exercises of either 12-15 reps or 20-30 seconds with break of one minute in between each set. This will raise your heart rate to work in the anaerobic state and this state burns glycogen carbs. Additionally, a HIIT workout will raise your metabolism over the next eight hours.

HIIT workouts are highly effective forms of exercise.

Track your food

Understanding your food consumption is key to achieving fat loss and weight loss. Initially this may feel inconvenient, but you will very quickly see where and how many calories you are consuming and more importantly the breakdown of the macronutrients.

With all the clients I coach, I recommend tracking for just two weeks so you can get a baseline. From there you can then start making changes that will have you seeing results before you even consider exercise!