By: Emily Beers
Dan ‘Afghan’ and Caroline have always been one of my favourite MadLab-created couples. Maybe it’s because I was there that night at Phoenix gymnastics in the early days when they first started to flirt adorably like 16-year-olds.
Fast-forward a handful of years, and it’s incredibly obvious how strong of a team they are together—accentuated by two beautiful daughters Charlotte and Adeline.
Back in the day, Dan and Caroline both represented us at Regionals, and Dan at the CrossFit Games in 2011. Then when pregnancy number one, and then number two, happened, their priorities obviously changed and they loosened up their commitment to fitness—understandably.
But if you have been paying attention lately, you’ve probably noticed they have both upped their commitment to diet and exercise and have both seen huge gains. Dan has re-committed himself to the early morning 6 am classes multiple times a week, and Caroline is a devout DP program attendee. At the same time, they have dialed in their diets and both look leaner and healthier than ever. Happier, too.
I caught up with Dan and Caroline to ask them about their newfound commitment to bettering themselves through diet and exercise:
“I was feeling pretty fit three years ago when Charlotte was born and that just gradually dropped away over the last three years because I wasn't making the time to work out consistently. It was more important to me to get home and help out and see the kids, then to get in the gym. Adeline was getting close to 1 around Christmas time this past year, and it was time to stop the slide and get back to feeling good,” Dan explained of their decision to ramp up their fitness.
Caroline added: “I had a goal to get back in shape by Christmas, which was about a year after Adeline was born. By the fall, I was able to add a few extra training days at DP. Once I started feeling like myself again, it was easier to stay motivated.”
Diet-wise, the biggest change she made was cutting out refined sugar, while Dan stopped drinking bourbon and Gingerale, his main “guilty pleasure,” he said. And more recently, they also stopped have all other simple carbs, like rice and pasta.
“Although our weekly cheat meal is that we each eat a whole pizza from Pizza Carano,” Caroline said.
Their diet and exercise ramp-up means Dan, who was already quite lean, lost a quick 10 lb. and has maintained it. As for Caroline, she is leaner than we’ve ever seen her, and said she feels “faster and fitter” than ever before.
Having each other on board the same lifestyle has helped a lot, they agree.
“We both have to take on a little more at home to cover for each other, but we collectively make an effort to make sure the other person can get (into the gym,)” Dan said. “We have a healthy competitive streak between the two of us, and we’ve also decided that 2018 is a bit of a vanity year. Caroline is winning right now.”
Their message for other parents trying to juggle full-time careers with raising kids, all the while remaining fit and healthy themselves, is simple: “We believe it’s important to take time for yourself, and working out and feeling good about ourselves makes us better for each other and for our kids,” Dan said, adding the support from the MadLab community helps, too.
“There are so many parents in the gym that have been and are also managing to show up at the gym, which certainly motivated us. It's also a great example for our kids and we want them to live an active life.”