If you’re a parent or plan to be someday, then this message is for you.
Jason, a Strength Health Mind Power Inner Circle member, asks:
“I was also curious about how you have managed your overall dedication to health and fitness as a new father? I ask because my son Abram just turned 1 in December and we seem to be generally like minded in our approach to overall health and lifestyle. This is also my first child and I’m 41 so it was definitely a shock to my routine not to mention my sleep. Wouldn’t change a thing about my son but he definitely made things a little tricky for a while. I apologize if this question is was too personal. Have an awesome day sir!”
Great question and not too personal at all.
My daughter Elka is turning one-year-old in February so I’m really close to you there.
First and foremost, I have to give so much credit to my wife. She really does most of the work. I certainly do my share of responsibilities, but little compared to her. I am fortunate to be able to provide enough so that she can be a full-time mother and wife though so that helps. I understand that many can’t do this but I’ve worked for many years to be in this position, so it was doable for us.
We are blessed in that Elka sleeps fairly well. There are some nights where she sleeps straight through the night. More often she wakes up once or twice. Other times she’s waking up quite a few more times. Mostly my wife takes care of these as it’s often nursing her back to sleep.
So although my sleep is not as great as before the baby, I would still say that my sleep is great 90+% of nights.
While I do think certain things you do as a parent affect this, I also recognize that it’s a bit of a lottery in that some babies sleep well and others do not.
Besides sleep, let’s talk about the rest of everything that goes on.
As you allude too, excelling in fitness is about having a good routine. Before the baby I was prepared to have to completely change my routine if needed. Fortunately, that has not been the case, except that I am starting even earlier. I typically wake-up between 4 and 6 AM. This is before my wife or baby are up. (Quite a span of time, but I don’t use an alarm clock. Basically, I sleep in a bit more if I need it and less so if I am already recovered and well-rested.)
My morning routine involves dream work, meditation, journaling and more. After that is done, I head into my training for the day.
I think morning movement is great in that the rest of the day can’t get in the way. This is true for non-parents. And I think it might be even more important for those with babies and kids!
If you can wake up before anyone else is up than that time can be used for yourself as you see fit. I know many other parents that echo this sentiment.
The other thing to consider here is that my workouts are short compared to most. My typical workouts are in the fifteen to thirty-minute range. And if need be, I know how I could do a whole lot in just a spare five minutes.
I also workout from home. Let’s contrast this with my wife. She is into yoga and pilates and strongly prefers a class type of environment.
As the classes are at specific times and require travel to and from the gym, she has had a harder time having a solid fitness routine during this time.
She makes it a priority, and I do aim to support her in doing it, but it certainly has been more challenging. She does some stuff at home sometimes, but nothing as routinely as I do.
It boils down to the timing of training and traveling is why I’ve been more successful in my routine than her.
(That means that bodyweight training, as anyone can do that at home, can be even more helpful to parents. You can learn how to progress with this training in The Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups, Bodyweight Squats and Pistols and my other courses.)
This also brings me to a final point. It is about prioritizing fitness. Not over the wee-one per se, but it must be up near the top to happen. It is part of the necessary “self-care.”
And not only for yourself. The question to ask is does your partner also prioritize fitness and help you to make that happen? Do you for your partner?
Reflecting back on the past year and before, I think I’ve actually been MORE consistent in my training as I switched from afternoons to mornings, despite having a baby.