The unexpected health benefits of flexible working

Darren Kirby went from stressed out City dad to champion iron man. He writes about the health benefits of going self employed and embracing flexible working and offers some fitness tips

Fitter healthier dad Darren Kirby who writes about the health benefits of going self employed


Darren Kirby was eating his usual desk lunch when a colleague encouraged him to enter an iron man competition his company was getting involved in.

So began his journey to becoming an elite athlete and a better dad. He set up Fitter Healthier Dad offering fitness programmes to dads aged over 40. He reckons going self employed offers new challenges to maintaining fitness and new opportunities to improve it as well as bringing mental health benefits.

Darren shared his story and some quick fitness tips.

Working in our standard Monday through Friday, 9-5 world has many challenges and restrictions. Yet, rarely are we aware of the impact this work schedule has on our health and fitness. 

I worked in the City of London for 17 years in a very demanding IT position for one of Europe’s largest hedge funds. I would leave the house at 5:30am in the morning. Not returning until 8pm or later in the evening. 

Looking back, I see the impact of my relationship with my kids was enormous. I rarely saw my kids during the week. 

And when it comes to my health? Let’s just say, skipping lunch so you can work out doesn’t necessarily improve it. 

Corporate world has many financial benefits. But there’s a lot of baggage that comes with it, too. So I completely understand when I hear dads complaining exercising and paying attention to their health and nutrition is the last thing on their minds. 

Navigating work, family and health does require a modest amount of self-discipline and being able to budget your time. As well as energy at the end of the day. I did it for the better part of two years and was able to rank in the top 5% of Ironman athletes in the world. 

Running my own business

Then in 2016, something amazing happened. An opportunity came on my radar and I switched to running my own business from home. The flexibility and improved family life has had an eye-opening impact. 

I would like to point out that I am still working just as hard. It’s not the easy laptop lifestyle which is portrayed in the media. 

But what it does mean is that I have something better than health, work or even family. I have the power of choice. I have freedom. I have time. I have my life back. I can choose when I work and when I want to be around the family. And when I sometimes want a little of both. 

I waste zero time commuting. I’m able to focus and pay way more attention to my health and fitness. But curiously, this doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym or in the kitchen. 

Based upon my successful health and fitness transformation, I created a new program, Fitter Healthier Dads 40+. 

Fitter Healthier Dads 40+ is designed specifically for fathers who desire to improve their overall health—yet just don’t have the time because of work and family life to do it justice. I show you how to get your health back, I show you how to lose weight and get fit. And I show you how to do it in less than two hours per week, total. 

Top Five Tips

Right now, here’s my Top Five Tips for Exercise & Nutrition:

  1. Get your diet right first: you cannot train out a bad diet. So track your food to see where you need to make the changes.
  2. Eat a nutrient dense diet: natural foods, not processed foods, meat, fish, vegetables, etc.
  3. Plan in your diary when you will exercise: multiple studies have shown if its booked in a calendar, you are more inclined to do it.
  4. Do HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training): because this can be done in 12 minutes and has lasting fat burning effects for 8 hours.
  5. Find a fitness method you like: don’t do a certain exercise just because you think you should. Do it because you enjoy it. Swimming, running, cycling and these can all be done in a HIIT format.


For free resources to get started, or to get Darren’s ’90-Day Transformation Plan’ head over to 

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