How To Stay Fit When You Have a New Baby In The House
I got a message the other day from a regular reader who was wondering if I had any advice for those who want to stay healthy and active with a newborn baby in the house. As you can see in the screenshot below, I gave him 3 tips in exactly 140 characters.
But you didn’t think I’d leave him hanging like that? Not ol’ blabbermouth, John! You see, I’ve got a few kiddos of my own, and I know that a few bullet points delivered in less than 140 characters may not exactly cut it. So today, I’m going to expand a little bit on those responses.
Granted, my advice will vary from person to person – and this post is mostly geared for new Dads – but here is some general advice that will apply to most new parents.
Be clear about your priorities. Is rocking your workout each day really more important than taking care of your baby and wife? What’s more important? What comes first? Figure that out, but don’t lose sleep over it. And make decisions accordingly.
Lower your expectations and forget about perfection. Good enough is good enough. For the time being, you have a higher priority than maintaining 5% bodyfat and keeping your macronutrients perfectly balanced. So, forget about those minute details. Decide what you’re going to commit to, and then make sure you do the minimum each day – whatever that means for you (e.g. eating three meals per day, going for a walk or run, doing some calisthenics, greasing the groove, etc.).
Be flexible. You might commit to a fifteen minute workout each day, and plan to do it first thing in the morning (good idea!). But then you wake up feeling like a zombie. Or, the baby won’t stop screaming. Or, your wife really needs a nap. Put it off and don’t worry about it. If you get to it later in the day, great. And if not, it’s no big deal. Maybe you’ll get to it tomorrow. It’s okay.
Remember that this is only a season. It might last 18+ years, but don’t worry, it’ll pass. And hopefully, you’ll be back to a semi-normal sleep schedule within a few months (from experience, this is not always the case). You might be a little more grumpy, but you’ll live. And hey, you have a baby. So, cheer up, chum.
Prioritize sleep. This is probably the single best thing you can do for your health and fitness during this season – and for some people, it’s probably even more important than getting exercise. So, get as much sleep as you can because – believe me – there will come a time when you wish you had rested more.
Reassess your goals and identify the most important things you need to do to achieve them. You want to apply the 80/20 rule (aka Paretto’s Principle). So, ask yourself “What is going to make the biggest difference in terms of my results?” Do that. And if necessary, forget about the rest of the less important stuff for now.
Train first thing in the morning. If it’s important, you should do it as early in the day as possible – whether or not it’s training.
Do the best you can with physical training. If you normally work out for an hour a day, that might not be possible for awhile. It’s okay. You’re not going to lose all your gains from a few weeks or even months of sub-optimal training conditions. If necessary, compress your training sessions into shorter time blocks. Train for a few minutes two or three times a day. Or, just forget about some of your normal exercise and focus on the most important stuff for the time being. For example, if your primary goal is fat loss, but you normally spend 20 minutes a day working on your mobility, then drop the hip circles for a bit.
Figure out what you can do. Decide what you’re going to do. And then try to do it the best you can.
And when all else fails, you can always try this…
Works every time.
Now, for any new Mom’s who may be reading this, follow your doctor’s recommendations about getting back to an active lifestyle. And keep in mind that it took nine months for your body to grow and birth this baby. So, don’t feel rushed to get back in tip-top shape. And just because Shelly Slimbelly from down the street lost all her baby weight in six weeks and is back to dominating her Crossfit workouts, doesn’t mean you have to.
Oh, and one last tip for you new Dads out there…
Take care of Mom, too. They say that going through labor is like running a marathon. Except with childbirth, the recovery takes a lot longer. And on top of that, you now have a tiny, helpless, little version of you that depends on you for its every single need. So, remember the first point I listed above, and take care of mom, too. Be a team player. Do your job. Go the extra mile. Be the man your wife needs and deserves – the man this precious child will someday look up to. You’ve got this.
If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends:
Health-First Fitness Coach