You already knew that your life would never be the same, but with the sleepless nights and busy days, you may be wondering exactly how you’re meant to find any time at all to stay fit.
Luckily, new dad, Danny is on hand to share what he’s learnt since becoming a dad on the best ways to stay on top of his fitness and find time for himself.
It’s a life changer
Most people will agree there’s little that can top becoming a dad — something that Danny most definitely agrees with.
“Becoming a Dad for the first time is and will always be one of the best experiences of my life. After what seems the longest 9 months ever, our world was completely transformed as I’m sure those who have kids too will agree.”
While it’s an absolute blessing, there’s no doubt that a little one arriving into your life flips everything on its head.
“I mean, you can read all the books and guides you like but nothing will prepare you for what is to come. But it’s actually not just having a baby you need to adjust to, it’s all the other stuff too.
The lack of sleep, the change in priorities, the relationships you need to make sure you still pay attention to, the compromises you have to make, your own wellbeing and also that of those around you, to name just a few. They were right when they said, ‘Your life will never be the same!’”
There’s no room for selfishness
Taking care of an actual human being that needs feeding, changing, and just about everything doing for it means that your own personal priorities are going to take a back seat, so the sooner you come to terms with that, the better.
“Unfortunately, having a baby is a team game so you can’t approach fitness with the same selfishness streak you were once able to. This is where experimentation comes into play in the beginning phases as you adjust to the somewhat fluctuating energy levels caused by a possible lack of sleep.”
Exercise while they sleep
Danny admits that he’s been very lucky that his little boy loves to sleep, but knows most parents aren’t likely to get a full forty winks. Even so, his training time has changed dramatically.
“There is no “one rule for all”, you simply have to find what works best for you. I have always been quite a late–in–the–day kind of trainer but what I’ve found works best to accommodate my new lifestyle is going to bed a lot earlier and getting up before the madness begins.”
Danny explains that getting it done before the house wakes up has meant he’s had time for so much more.
“Not only do I not then feel the pressure of having to squeeze in training somewhere into my day, it also enables me to help out and have some much–needed quality dad time.”
Get creative with your workouts
Looking after a tiny human means you’ll be more active than you think, but Danny’s got some extra ideas for staying active while you’re looking after your little one.
“I’ve never done as many laps around the living room on my hands and knees so I’d say looking after a baby is a workout in itself for one! A personal favourite of mine is simply long walks as not only is it a change of scenery but also fresh air to help you both to unwind.”
If it’s not the best weather for walking, then Danny’s got some tips for powering through their power naps too.
“Those midday power naps open the window of opportunity to get a quick home workout in, just make sure the music isn’t too loud.”
Be a team player, but take time out
While we’ve mentioned you can’t be selfish, taking care of yourself so that you can be there for your new family is also incredibly important, so Danny’s big on team spirit.
“This is a team game. Communication is key so speak with your partner about when you were wanting to work out so you can find a mutual time which works for all parties.”
He also emphasises the positive impact that taking time to recharge has on his mental health.
“My view in life is that the happier and more fulfilled I am as a person, the more use I am to those close to me and the more I can give. Thats why for me, my fitness will always play a massive role in my day-to-day life.”
Widen your fitness horizon
With your whole life turned upside down, you may notice that your goals change too. Whether it’s that the dedication it takes to look a certain way is no longer sustainable, or that you’ve found moving in a different way makes you happier or gives you more time with your family.
“I’ve also started to explore other avenues in my fitness journey such as meditation and yoga, which have both helped massively with helping wind down and keeping mentally strong, especially during lockdown. Remember to always look after the brain as well as the body!”
Nail your nutrition
Whether it’s to combat the lack of sleep, or to make up for a reduced workout schedule, getting your nutrition right will help you be there for your baby in the short and long term. Danny’s realised the importance of his own nutrition more than ever.
“We commonly know that a lack of sleep is inevitable throughout parenthood so nutrition is a major factor in helping combat this. Whilst some things are out of our control, nutrition is something we can most definitely control and can help contribute towards that extra energy our bodies are craving.”
Danny’s also big on using the time you have wisely and planning ahead with meals so that he’s not left high and dry when time’s short.
“Preparation is paramount but make life easy for yourself. Small adjustments such as cooking bigger portion sizes so you have some ‘lunch’ for the next day helps keep you on track.“
For Danny, it’s all about making it as easy as possible, so having ready-made snacks on hand is a must.
“If protein bars and snacks weren’t life saving enough prior to parenthood, they soon will be. Whether you’re staying in or going out, a stash of protein bars is vital!”
If you want more from Danny, give him a follow — @dannygibbons90
Take home message
While there’s no doubt that having a baby will throw a spanner in the works when it comes to your workouts, Danny’s shown that there are awesome ways to embrace the change and discover new ways to stay happy and healthy while you take care of your new family.