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Celebrating the Fathers of Tempo

Sharing stories of strength and fatherhood

Date June 15, 2021
Author Patrick Wong
Tags Community

Happy Father’s Day! In honor of this special day, we want to share some stories from the dads and father figures in our Tempo community. Jokingly, there’s talk of dad-bod workouts and dad-bod classes, but we want to take some time to really celebrate what being a dad is all about. Six Tempo dads tell us what gives them strength

Shane Wallin, Texas, Emory’s Dad

I'm a military brat. So, while I've grown up in a few different places, I've been living in Texas since I was 10 years old. Prior to that, my father was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii, so most of my early childhood was spent in a tropical climate, which, of course, meant a lot of activities outside.

The only problem with that was I was a very small, scrawny kid, and I really wasn't that great at sports. Despite that, my dad did his best to get me outside and off of my Nintendo. He finally started taking me to Taekwondo lessons and even took them with me. It was the first thing in the realm of fitness that I really loved doing. I made it to Black Belt First Degree Senior before we moved to Texas. From there, we didn't continue, as I got sucked into the throes of adolescence and eventually high school. Fast forward a few years and I'm 6'1", 130 lbs, and a sophomore in college. I was incredibly thin...and I hated it.

One day, my best friend Grant noticed my insecurity (I would sort of hunch over in crowds, trying to be smaller and unnoticed) and offered to work out and train with me, and that's the first time I started lifting weights. It's really hard for me to gain weight. It always has been. But those few months of lifting heavy and eating a lot finally broke through my metabolism barrier, and I started gaining weight and muscle mass.

With that, clothes fit better and girls noticed me more. Fitness and weightlifting really changed my entire life. I lost a lot of that insecurity, and I finally didn't feel ashamed of my frame anymore. I stopped hunching over and looking down all of the time. From there, working out became a big part of my everyday life.

Fast forward a few more years and I'm living in Dallas. I've been training in Brazilian Capoeira for about five years and also started doing CrossFit. Then for spring break, I visited Miami to celebrate Grant's bachelor party. Olivia, my not-yet-wife at the time, was visiting from Chicago that same week to celebrate her sister's birthday. We met randomly at the Clevelander and spent the entire night and the rest of the weekend hanging out. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history!

We settled down in the Dallas Fort Worth area. I work for a power company as an energy trader/analyst, and my wife is a stay-at-home mom to our 21-month-old daughter, Emory!

Looking back at my history with fitness, I'd never really concerned myself with it prior to college. I was involved in martial arts as a child, but I was always small and scrawny. One would think being a black belt in Taekwondo would have inspired some confidence, but it really didn't. I spent most of my teenage to early college years as a timid, shy, and awkward stork-giraffe that wanted to be invisible. I'm not kidding!

It was fitness that brought me out of my shell. I don't know if it was purely the physical transformation or if it was all the healthy endorphins, or both, but everything changed when I went from 130 lbs to 170 lbs. I was strong and I felt SO good about myself. I was a brand-new person!

And with COVID hitting, there was definitely an adjustment. My gym closed down (along with the rest of the entire world), and the price of home workout equipment shot through the roof. All I did during that initial COVID era was jog a couple miles a week, and I struggled to get into a groove with that.

By the time Emory was about a year old, things started opening back up slowly here in Texas. Gyms were reopening, but I had no intention of going back. I just didn't want to risk getting COVID and bringing it home!

But I had to do something. I'm 40 years old (turning 41 this year), and my wife and I are just starting to grow our family. Heart disease is a big concern for me as well. My dad has had two heart attacks, and his dad had to have a triple bypass. And my dad has never been unhealthy! He basically worked in Afghanistan and Iraq as a contractor until he was in his late 50s, keeping up with all the young soldiers out there!

So, health and fitness are no longer just things that inspire confidence. They mean more turns around the sun and more adventures with Emory and my wife and the children we haven't had yet. They mean years and years of getting to know my daughter, and discovering who she is, and also learning how to be the best version of me for her.

With all of that in mind, I started looking at home fitness equipment on the Internet, focusing on HIIT style workouts and strength training, and that's when I happened across the Tempo Studio! We received it in March 2021, and my wife and I have been hooked ever since!

And, of course, being the best version of myself for Emory is amazing. The most rewarding thing about being a father is just being a father...being around and watching Emory discover the world. And the hugs. I'd trade the entire world to hug her for just 1 second!

Honestly, my only real challenge to being a father is my age. I mean, 40 isn't old by any means, and I don't feel old at all. I actually feel great, but I think about time differently now, and it scares me! When I'm 50, she'll be 10. Will I still feel the way I do now? Will I be able to keep up? I'd like to think so, and it'll be largely because of the Tempo Studio! I'm a fan for life. It's the only at-home exercise equipment we own, and I don't see a need to work out on anything else or go to the gym again. It literally does everything I could ever want in a workout, and the crazy part is that the Tempo is only getting better and better as more features, classes, programs, coaches, etc., are added. This amazing machine is enabling me to get more of those seconds that I'd trade anything for!

Of course, there are other parts of my life that make me feel strong as well. My wife, definitely. She's the strongest person I know, and I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything in my life without her.

As the sole income earner after Olivia quit her job to take care of Emory, I found it easy to think selfishly that I was the only person holding everything together. Eventually I learned that that is so far from the truth. Simply said, I couldn't do anything without her support. She's my strength when I can't find any strength, and becoming a father has allowed me to see how much stronger mothers are. The physical and emotional journey they go on, from pregnancy to birth to postpartum care of our child who eats food that only my wife can make...

It's humbling. I could be the strongest man in the world and still have nothing on my wife. I promise you that! Thank you, Olivia. And, thank you, Tempo, for helping us become better and healthier versions of ourselves.

Kevin Sledge, New Jersey, Princeton’s Dad

I am Kevin, a 31-year-old information security analyst for First Republic Bank, and I have one son. His name is Princeton, and he's 3 years old.

Fitness and health are big parts of my life. They’ve helped me physically as well as mentally, and they’ve been even more important to me since I became a father to Princeton.

I want to be able to move freely when I get older and be there for my son, so my health has become a huge priority for me. By taking care of myself, I’m showing my son the importance of that as well. That's one of the most rewarding things about being a father: someone is always looking up to you. Of course, that’s not always easy—having to always set the right example—but it helps me become a better person.

And by conquering and overcoming obstacles in life and seeing how far I’ve come, I feel strong and I feel like my son’s superhero — it is the best feeling in the world. Looking at my son gives me the strength to push through any adversity because, even if I have doubts, I know in his eyes I can do anything.

Chris Weigl, Maryland, Avery and Emmy’s Dad

My name is Chris, and I live in a small town 30 minutes west of Baltimore. My wife, Lauren, and I have two girls: Emmy, who is 3.5 years old, and Avery, who is 1.5 years old. I am a CPA, and I work in finance for one of the largest healthcare systems in the Maryland / Washington, D.C. region.

One of our biggest passions in life is our love for Penn State Football. We are season ticket holders, and our Fall Saturdays revolve around road trips to games and tailgating!

My fitness journey began about four years ago. While pregnant with our first daughter, my wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Her diagnosis, and the pending birth of our first child, prompted me to take a look at my own health. After finding a new primary care provider and undergoing a full workup, I learned that my A1C was 9.7%. I was overweight at 265 pounds and officially a Type II diabetic. At that moment, knowing I was soon going to become a father, I committed myself to a healthier lifestyle.

I changed my diet significantly, reduced my carb intake, and started running on a treadmill. Over the next year, I lost more than 75 pounds and worked my way up to running almost 30 miles a week. Fast forward a year or two, and the combination of a global pandemic, a stressful work life, and boredom with running, resulted in my gaining back 30 pounds. That’s when we found Tempo. In the three months since our Tempo arrived, I’ve recommitted myself to a healthier lifestyle, lost more than 15 pounds, and gained several pounds of muscle. I’ve never felt stronger than I do today! My motivation was and still is my daughters. My desire to be there every step of the way as Emmy and Avery grow up, as well as be a living example of a healthy lifestyle for them to follow, is a big part of what drives me.

The most challenging part of being a father to two kids under the age of four is simply finding the energy to keep up with them! The two of them definitely keep my wife and me on our toes from morning until night. But no matter how tired we are, or how frustrating or stressful our days have been, when they give us a hug or tell us that they love us, nothing can beat it. The way I feel in that moment is the most rewarding thing in the world.

Many things make me feel strong. PRs make me feel strong. Completing a Tempo program makes me feel strong. Picking up both Emmy and Avery and jumping and dancing with them in my arms makes me feel strong. Having the energy to chase them around the backyard after a long, stressful workday makes me feel strong.

As a father, you are a superhero to your kids and that instills a degree of strength and motivation in you that you never knew was possible.

Ken Hunt, New Jersey, Nathan’s Dad

My name is Ken, and I am 32 years old. My wife, Karla, and I have an almost-2-year-old named Nathan, and we live in northwest New Jersey. I am a courier for FedEx Express and an avid New York Rangers fan.

I've played hockey my entire life, and for a long time, my fitness was based around that. With the pandemic, I went a full year without playing hockey, and my fitness and motivation really struggled. My goal is to get back into my best hockey shape.

My son is a big motivation and the best thing that ever happened to me. I want to be the best version of myself because he deserves that. I want to build good habits for him and be able to keep up with him as he gets older.

The most challenging thing about being a father is my hectic work schedule, which keeps me from seeing him as much as I'd like to. The most rewarding thing about being a father is LITERALLY EVERYTHING. There's really no other way to put it.

The responsibility of having to take care of the most important person in my life—that makes me feel strong.

Jeffe Hernandez, Southern California, Jia, Jordan, and J’s Dad

My name is Jeffe, I’m a pharmacist by trade and a full-time family man. I love sports, am 40 years old, and have been blessed with three children (17, 9, and 7 years old) with my better half that makes me whole. Our family, I like to say, is all about spending time with each other and making as many fun-filled memories as we can.

Fitness and health should not be taken for granted. These are contributing factors to one’s quality of life. And being a father has made me more mindful of my fitness and health. I want to be active and be able to do many things with my children even as I get older. I want to be around for my family for a long time, as for me the best present is presence. Just seeing my children’s and our family’s life journey is a gift for me.

For instance, hearing my kids call me “dad” is the most rewarding; their smiles, their laughter, their joy, their mere existence is rewarding! And the most challenging? Well, that might be trying to not have too much fun with the kids and being strict with game time and bedtime — not falling for the puppy dog faces when they want their way.

What makes me feel strong is knowing my kids and family feel loved, protected, and happy. Also overcoming adversity and learning from it. Our strength isn’t only physical, but emotional and mental, too.

Being a father has made me even stronger because I developed more heart muscle with every kid. I didn’t know how strongly I’d love someone ’til I saw each one of them for the first time and every day. They just exercise that muscle that they created and make it bigger and stronger every single day!

Harlan Russo, Georgia, Isabella’s Dad

I am 51 years old and have been married for 21 years. I have one daughter, Isabella, who is 16 years old. I’m a regional manager for a large furniture retailer.

When it comes to fitness, sometimes I see people who look and feel much older than they are. I don’t want to feel or look my age. I want to travel and do my best to stay feeling as young as possible, and being a parent adds an additional layer of responsibility alongside that.

You not only want to be around to walk your child down the aisle; you want to look and feel good doing it. You want to be there for when you have grandkids, and you want to be able to keep up with them and be active.

Being a father is really tough. Social media is like the bad parent in a lot of ways, putting pressures on kids—pressures that we never had. It also has made many things easier, so they don’t want to put in the work to get something they want, because they haven’t had to. Everything’s been at the push of a button. The best thing is seeing them reach their potential. Getting great feedback from their teachers or their coworkers. Parenting is a ton of sacrifice, and you want them to be the very best person they can be.

Being a father makes me feel strong, too. It makes me feel strong when I can run an obstacle race and blow by 20-year-olds with their hands on their hips. Being able to do daily things without huffing and puffing makes me feel great. I think being a father makes you mentally stronger, if not necessarily physically. You are going to deal with a ton of unexpected challenges as a parent that you have to navigate, and you need to be really mentally tough to be able to deal with all that comes with it.

Meet these dads and rest of our community in our Official Facebook Group.

Author Patrick Wong
Tags Community

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