Mark de Grasse is the Chief Fitness Officer of Onnit Labs, heading up the Onnit Academy. He is also the founder and editor of My Mad Methods Magazine, a publication dedicated to unconventional training methods since 2010. With a primary goal of bringing the greatest amount of people to an optimal “functional” standard, Mark has dedicated years of his life to networking with coaches and trainers who are willing to step outside the box when it comes to fitness. Working with hundreds of fitness professionals around the world, Mark collects their knowledge in the form of articles, pictures, and videos, and organizes them to make the greatest global impact. He is the editor, graphic designer, writer, and photographer of the publication, not to mention he is also a “Rad Dad!”
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I’m the Chief Fitness Officer of Onnit Labs, an innovative new company that specializes in holistic nutrition/supplementation, fitness equipment, and unconventional training and methodology. I’m in charge of the Onnit Academy Magazine, gym, blog, fitness certification, and equipment product development. Compared to when I had a full time job as a marketing director and a fitness magazine (it was called My Mad Methods Magazine), it’s actually pretty easy to manage my career as a dad.
I try to limit my hours to the work day (maybe a little more after the kids go to bed), and I try to be as available as possible in my off hours. I take full advantage of the weekends to do activities with them, whether it’s hikes, playground visits, or even just trying to involve them in household chores. I even take them to the gym with me for various photo shoots and events if I can (my wife, of course, is the most amazing person in the world for enabling me to do all this).
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Being a modern day dad is all about the ability to “man up” consistently, day after day. That term is used a lot, but to me, it means that you can get the job done no matter what the task is, no matter who is watching, no matter how tired/frustrated/unsure you might feel.
I grew up feeling like being a father had more expectations than any job in the world… I felt like when I was a father, I would be able to make a good living, provide a shelter, be a gracious husband, a patient and wise mentor, a handyman, an artist, a caregiver. As I’ve gotten older and have become a father, I realize that it is much more than that, and much less at the same time. I can only give as much as my energy and sanity will allow… but now I feel that that is enough, as long as I give it all to my family. Manning up is accepting that you can’t do everything, but you can always do enough to make your children happy.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
There is nothing that hasn’t changed since I became a father. I remember being worried about the stupidest things; things that seemed so vital and urgent… a job, a relationship, finances, personal achievements, failures, stress and worries that seemed so bleak. Once the babies came, all of that faded like I had turned down the volume of a song that was playing much too loud. Your children truly matter… everything else is complementary to that fact. Sure, other things matter, but not like the little monsters that require your love and every resource you can give them.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The greatest part of being a dad is witnessing change. I’ve always been worried about the efficient use of time; this made me hyperaware of where I spent the few spare moments of my life. I was always trying to use them efficiently enough to get the most out of each fleeting one. For the first time in my life, I don’t mind how they are passing, because I get to see my children grow and develop. Their changes are significant enough to make me forget that time is passing… first steps, new words, new abilities, new expressions; each one is special and wouldn’t be possible if time didn’t pass. I get to see these awesome people develop and I get to be a part of it.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
Babies make the most mundane task interesting and exhausting at the same time. A couple months ago we needed a new mattress. We bundled up the kids (1 and 2 years old at the time) and took them to large mattress store. While they could have tried to jump on the mattresses all day long, they instead decided to run back and forth along the aisles of product, screaming and laughing all the way. I decided to get in on the action and jumped over them each time they passed. They couldn’t get enough of this, and I proceeding to jump over them about 50 times over the next 30 minutes. Needless to say, we all needed naps after the outing.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
New fathers need to worry about three VERY important things:
(1) Parenting is NOT a competition with your wife, and if it was, you would lose so hard it’s not even funny. You will never do more than they will in the long run, nothing you can ever do will be more difficult than pregnancy, and yes, you will pay for the fact that you did this to them forever. Accept this, and simply try to support them as much as possible.
(2) Nothing is going to go to plan. You can read all the books, babysit your nieces/nephews all the time, and speak to all the people you know who have children… what you learn may help, but nothing will be as easy/hard as you think it will be. Be flexible with all aspects of parenting.
(3) This will be more work than anything you’ve done in your life. I have a history of working 90+ hour work weeks at thankless, low-paying start ups, I’ve owned businesses while working full time jobs, and worked on 100 page RFP’s for government contracts with deadlines so strict and impossible that I would go days without sleep… and none of it compares to parenting. Now, my second son had diagnosed case of colic for five months AND my two sons are only 10 months apart, so my experience may be a little bit on the extreme side (I also sold my business and moved to Texas from California while everything else was going on), but I still stand by the fact that taking care of babies is lots and lots of work, so don’t be surprised if you’re tired all the time.
I’m not trying to scare you; I’m just a realist and I like to inform people whenever necessary. Having kids is the most significant thing you’re going to do in your life; man up and take care of business :)
Thanks so much Mark, it was an absolute pleasure! Keep up the great work!
Get a hold of Mark through these links!
Personal URL: http://www.markdegrasse.com
Company URL: http://www.Onnit.com