T Nation

Dads - How Much Time Off Working Out After Baby Was Born?

I’m just getting back in to working out after being off for a few years due to an injury. Our baby is due in about six months and I am curious to hear from other dads about how much time they took off after the birth. I’m worried about getting proper sleep, having time to meal prep, and being able (or wanting) to leave the baby to go to the gym. I know everyone’s situation is different but I’m just trying to get a general consensus.

I took the time that we were at the hospital off. After they came home I went back to work and the gym. It’s just a matter of where your priorities lie. My children to me take priority over all. Not sure what the point of this question is really tbh. A week or two off to welcome your child into the world is beyond worth it.

1 Like

Like 1 to 2 days.

Don’t sweat proper sleep; you can get plenty strong without it.


As long as you have the time, lifting on less sleep is easy compared to parenting. I took 2 days off. As for wanting to leave the baby, an hour away from a crying newborn can be a life saver. Don’t overthink this, just lift when you can and help your wife out as much as possible so there’s no resentment when you want that hour to train.

1 Like

I didn’t take any time off for either of my kids, but I’d suggest you cut out everything that’s unnecessary for the first few months.


I took around 2 months off, did very little if any harm to my physique.

Wait until baby is here and see how it plays out, I could have got back training sooner but it was very low on my list of priorities. When little one slept, sorting the house out , cooking or just sitting down, talking and relaxing with my wife came first and was much more beneficial than lifting weights.


Let’s face it… ultimately it all depends on the mother and how she is coping and your support network. Everything else is just a matter of being a bit more efficient at things than before. I got 2 weeks paternity leave and did not go the gym during that time. After my paternity leave I went back to work and slowly phased in the after work gym sessions as per usual. But then again it all depends on the mrs…


I didn’t take any time for it’s a lifestyle for me. My wife went into labor while I was at the gym. Dr said it would be at least 10 hours so I finished my workout and got there in plenty time after her 15 hours of labor. My 2 boys are grown now and I have always worked my workouts around work, school events, coaching their sports teams etc. You must plan in advance and learn to live with less sleep but it can be done.

Well my son is still on the way, only about 5 weeks out now though. I cant say if i will be taking any time off but some of the guys here were talking about how a home gym set up is one of the best things you can do if you have the room for it. Even if all you have room for is a door way pullup bar and a few dumbbells and some bands you can still get a lot done if you find yourself not able to get to the gym.

That might be so for someone who is a high level competitor. Or someone who makes money lifting. But for most of us it’s a hobby. Something we enjoy. So to me that seems incredibly selfish. That’s not a personal shot at you. I’m just saying some things you only get to see once. You can go to the gym anytime.

No problem but I think you are missing my point. I have never missed any of my children’s events due to going to the gym. The few times I have missed have all been because of emergencies at work and there wasn’t that many. Many gyms in my area are 24/7 so there were many times when I survived on 4 hours sleep.

There will be times when you find yourself in shitty circumstances as you come into the gym. The outcome of that training is going to be infinitely better than if you didn’t attend at all.

Just do your best. If it’s 1 hour sleep and a swig of orange juice as your workout fuel, that’s better than not showing up at all.

The hardest part is working out how to give the mother a break/sleep in and still get the work done IMO. It takes a little to work out the sleep patterns.


100% agree with this.

My advice to the OP:
Get more work out “tools”. So on the days you are tired and feel like crap or the wife doesn’t want you out of the house for hours on end you have a quick work out you can attack that fits in with the rest if your programme.

I kept training normally. I had a deload week after the birth (both times).

Only thing is that you might want to have a flexible plan, since all kind of things starts to happen. First weeks are normally easier, since baby mostly sleeps/eats. But it might change. All babies are different, and you can not predict how the next weeks sleep/schedules will be, so your plans might change.

Of course your prioritizing will change, so don’t take up any too ambitious training goals for a while and see how things go.

Slight deviation, but I’ve always been less worried about training/recovery due to sleep deprivation than mental fog and decrease in work productivity.

Is this something you battle or is there a break-in period, and after which you’re operating back at normal levels?

I will say that I went through my entire undergrad AND masters having never touched an energy drink, and now I drink at least one a day. That’s been about the biggest difference. No significant mental fog, as I’m pretty used to operating off inadequate sleep ever since my wife bought a VERY co-dependent puppy in 2010 that still can’t sleep through the night.

A big part is legit fake it till you make it. I’d start recognizing the fatigue hitting me at work or at home, and overcompensate by REALLY turning on the energy.


Man I just started getting into energy drinks. New work responsibilities and new home ownership have made it into a great alternative. I have one once every few days, so once little ones arrive I can see it becoming a daily occurrence certainly.

We don’t quite have the puppy problem, however I have two cats of the same age whose cue to Sprint about the house is once we turn off all the lights.

We always called that the “cat rodeo” in my house, haha. Cats are weird creatures.


you won’t. Does this mean you wouldn’t train? Sounds like a crappy reason to me. Train through it.

the whole purpose of meal prepping is SAVING time. If meal prep is taking longer than not meal prepping, you’re doing something wrong. TBH, meal prepping should be EASIER than ever with a new baby at home. New babies sleep most of the time. You’re going to have a lot of times where you have to be home, most likely, with nothing to do. That was my experience. Just be smart with your time and you should be fine.

No way for me to know this without knowing what kind of help you have.

Overall, I ended up getting back to ‘regular life’ much quicker than I expected to. My wife at the time wanted me to stay home for like 2 weeks to a month after my son was born, and I was prepared to do that. After he was born, I stayed home like 3 full days and then I had to get my ass back to work, and out of the house. It was driving me nuts, because there is literally absolutely nothing to do most of the time.

Also keep in mind that, for many people, the gym gives a sense of normalcy, well being and order. I personally need the gym regularly to function properly in other aspects of my life. So if you want to be a good dad, and the gym is important to you, make sure you dedicate the time necessary to the gym to ensure your time with the kiddo is quality time. Nothing worse than resentment, you don’t want that to build because you’re not getting time to do things that are important to you.

Brain Candy, proper hydration and good eating habits. There’s no true substitute for sleep, but that’s a decent start.

Endless entertainment, haha. I’m totally stealing cat rodeo

1 Like