My wife and I are now the proud parents of two. To all of those out there who are parents, I have immense respect for you. For those who have two or more kids, I am learning new ways to have new respect. This puts us with a 2 year old daughter and a 1 month old son. For a guy in the midst of a multi year betterment journey, which is spearheaded with a weight loss endeavor, this new parenting reality has had some friction with the plan. The first week of baby boy was in the hospital, the second I came home and tried to crush some workouts after being so sedentary. The end of week two and start of week three was a wakeup call, and the end of week three and week four seemed to have me finding some balance. What have I learned over the past month with maintaining a health plan and also balancing the needs of a newborn and toddler? I have tried to boil it down to 4 main points below.
- You may need to alter you expectations of how much time you can devote to your exercise AND the intensity of those workouts.
I came home and realized quickly that I simply could not do a 30-45 minute workout 5 days per week. There simply was not time as the infant needed a level of attention and now my toddler needed more attention too, as she was/is navigating her new normal. On top of that, when I did get time to work out, I came out swinging and was doing heavy and intense work. This came crashing down on me because I was not sleeping as much. My body simply could not handle the same level of exertion that I formerly could do. It became clear I needed to adjust the frequency of my workouts and the type of my workouts. Fewer HIITs and more low impact. Fewer climb rides and more endurance. It is still a victory that you are getting this done for yourself!
- Consistency and discipline with food is even more important now.
Since I was not working out as often and not burning nearly as many calories, my discipline and consistency with eating became more important. I used to be able to hide some bad eating habits by working out longer and harder. Not so anymore! With fewer calories burning, I have fewer calories to eat. I have become more conscious about what I am eating and the macros… to try and treat myself right.
- Set different goals and give yourself grace
It is clear that I can not initially do the fitness routine that I had before the baby came along. So I need to set new goals and give myself some credit. It is okay, because what are our priorities!? I have a beautiful new boy. Of course I should be spending time with him instead of on a spin bike. So I need to set goals that still keep me moving on the path I want, but also are real to my new reality. They respect my priorities and they help me do better at the important things in my life.
- Prioritize rest
You cannot pour from an empty cup. You are not doing yourself, or anybody else, right if you do not take care of yourself. Staying up too late to work out when you have to be up in 2 hours to feed a baby… probably not the best idea. I realized this for myself. Getting as much sleep as possible is more important than squeezing in a mediocre workout. It allows my body to respond better to the activity I have time for and plan, as well as helping me to function better as a loving spouse and father.
Obviously, everything is different depending on who you are and what your situation is. Despite that, I hope these points above make sense and resonate with you. Some sound common sense, but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t struggle with them anyway.