T Nation

Family/Work/Training Balance

I dont know if this is the right place to be putting this…but here goes.
I found out that i am going to be a dad. My wife is about 9 weeks along…so it is on the early side to be announcing much of anything still. But as far as my question goes…to those of you who have or have had kids, how did things change training wise? How did you find balancing things out? Or did you have to take a break from any serious/focused training while your kids where really young? Any information or experiences are welcome, thanks


I already had a home gym, but I started training at 0500, so that I’d have more time with the family in the evening.

Also, I did all the late night feedings, and sometimes, after I was done with that, I’d just go get my workout in and get back to bed. I figured I was already awake.

If you don’t have a home gym, it’s a worthwhile investment.


Thanks. I do have parts of a home gym. Im missing a bench press and a squat rack, but i can deadlift, row, do dips/pullups and so on. Wouldnt take much for me to be out of the commercial gym all together

Nail down your goals (“maintain” is certainly acceptable as a short-term goal), be ruthless with training economy (choose exercises based on need, not want), and determine a realistic training frequency and volume - like, can you consistently train two days a week for an hour each or is 20 minutes four days a week more doable?

Also, congrats.


Thanks man. Appreciate your input. One thought that ran through my mind(its just a rough idea) was something like during the work week get some of the smaller sessions and accessory work done and save the big lifts for the weekend when i would have more time. But obviously until i actually get there i dont know if something like that would be doable schedule wise.

Also…i know that i need to keep up with doing what i call prevantative work. The line of work i am in is notoriously hard on the shoulders and has the tendancy to pull them forward…so to try and counter balance that i try to do upper back/rear delt work multiple times a week. And…as i am the main provider…i need to stay healthy so i can keep making money.

But… not everyone needs accessory work. Especially if we’re talking about just a couple of months.

Prehab stuff is a separate issue. Keeping a band bedside for pullaparts as soon as your eyes open or before going to sleep is an easy solution. But if all you did was (for example) front squat, barbell row, and dip, you wouldn’t regress much overall. Likewise, a complex hitting 5 or 6 big movements is another way to focus on bang-for-buck.

In this kind of situation, you’ve got to figure out your goal and then decide, “Gun to my head, what do I really need to do in the gym and what can I live without. So, push press for heavy sets of 4 or laterals for sets of 10?”

Charles Staley talked about training economy for 2 day-a-week programs here, and Thibaudeau’s Layer System (one exercise a day, five days a week) is another way to focus on big lifts without specific accessory work.

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Thank you again. I know i read the layer article some time ago but i will definatly re read it again and the other one. But i understand/appreciate what you are saying for sure.

Like others have said a home gym was the answer for me. I remember lifting in the garage with the little fella in his bouncy chair thingy.
Now the kids are older I still love it, come home from work, disappear for just over an hour, then back out into the house

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Yeah im getting the idea that i may need to buy or build a couple things i am missing so that i dont need to go to the commercial gym for anything.

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I don’t have a home gym but I go to a gym close to me. I wake up at 400am to get there. Ive considered training during my lunchbreak but that takes away time from my kids and the early wake up doesn’t.

If I were to go in the evening, after theyve gone to sleep then that would take time away from my wife…

… damn! I’ve been doing this all wrong!


echoing what others have said, training early in the am and efficient exercise selections are clutch. I’m at gym when it opens 5am, done by 6:30 before anyone is even up for the day and your workout is done.


While getting up at 4 AM and putting in a solid session is an option that has worked for many here, let me suggest another method I often used when the kids were little and both time and sleep were precious.

Get a pull up bar (one that attaches to the door frame), a good ab roller, and good band. At work/before breakfast/while watching TV: Do sets up push ups. Do sets of pull ups. Do one leg squats (to a chair/bench). Do ab roll outs. Do lots of band pull aparts. Accumulate volume. Shoot for personal best numbers throughout the day.

To me, this was less stressful than trying to get to the gym early and putting in a full session. If I had 5 minutes, I could crank out 4x25 push ups. Or 3x10 pull ups, etc…


My boys are adults now at 25 and 28 but I was training before they were born I never missed a workout after they were born. Now this took a tremendous amount of pre planning and always asking what if? I always had a plan B. I coached little league baseball and football and worked a retail management job at 45 hours a week plus. But since I am the boss I could work a lot of things around my schedule. I also belong to 3 major gyms so there was always one near where I was. It helps if the wife trains also so you can switch off with each for childcare while the other works out. The only thing I ever missed was sleep. It came at a premium. My motto is we always find the time to do whats most important to us.
What’s amazing now is that my boys are starting families now and they also work out and they are constantly asking us how did we do it all.


Thanks for that suggestion man. Sounds like a good option as well

I have 9 year old twins and never stopped training, but I always made sure family came first. Like most people have suggested here, early workouts and training at home help out a ton. You can also look at how your training week is set up. 3-4 days/week can be plenty and some have even made progress on twice/week. They’re only small for a short period of time and before you know it, they’ll get older and you’ll find more time to train. I think the important thing is not to stop, thinking you’ll pick it back up when they’re older. Do that and the next thing you know, you’ll find yourself the average, out of shape, middle aged guy.


Had my first 18 months ago and second on the way.
I pretty much did what Antiquity said. I also did a lot of calisthenic from the ground (planche push ups, l sits). Now that O have a bar and weights I will be running 5/3/1 Widowmaker. Hit your 5/3/1 weights, including PR set, then throw a Widowmaker on afterwards. I can knock that out in 15 minutes I think.
I also do not have a rack, so just focusing on heads and possibly front squats.

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Definitely invest in a home gym. Our baby is 7 weeks old now and I purchase just a bar, squat rack/bench and some weights a few months before he got here for this exact reason. Sometimes I still find it hard to get a workout in, between helping with the baby, spending time with the wife and going to work. Just keep your diet on point and when you are able to lift, go balls to the walls and you will continue to make gains. It’s working for me so far!

This is what I’m dreading when my missus pops one out in January.

I don’t have room for a home gym so I think the only viable option is a combo of kettlebells, chin/dip station and solid running regime (5k, 10k, long ass runs).

For me it’s a case of just getting shit done.

The physique goals can take a back seat for definitely. What’s the point? It’s not like I’ll be trying to score some more pussy :joy::joy:

I bought a Bowflex after my first kiddo arrived. I’d take the baby monitor the garage and train.

I go to a family gym with a Kid Zone. For a little extra money I can drop my kids off for two hours a day as long as I stay in the building.

I also work a crap schedule. I’ve moved to day shift but I’m off Monday - Wednesday. My wife is a teacher and works “normal” hours. I plan my workouts so that I have my big days on my days off.

Check out @ActivitiesGuy 's log. He trains for like 15 minutes a day most days and he’s doing fine.

Two boys 3 and under here…

When/how often/if you can train will be based on a lot of things. Your home dynamic (For example, will you wife take care of the baby 95% of the time or will you be up rocking him/her to sleep at 3AM?) Energy. Time. Work schedule. Etc…

For me personally, the first couple of months was very difficult with our first boy. He was a difficult baby… We also moved when he was about two months so training took a big-time back seat until he was probably 6 months. My wife and I both work, she did most of the heavy lifting when it came to him (thank god), but I was still only getting maybe 5 solid hours of sleep.

When he turned 1, I start lifting at 5:30AM. This was good for a while, but I found I didn’t have the energy to play with him as much in the evenings and had almost no energy after he was in bed (7:30ish). It just didn’t work for me.

Then #2 came along and he was a way better baby in terms of sleeping through the night. I also took a month off to be with him, which made a huge difference, imo. I started lifting at night 4-5 days a week after the boys go to bed so around 8 or so. Tbh, it kinda sucks because that’s literally all I can do on those nights. I finish, eat, shower, and then usually read for a bit and then sleep. on the flip side. I’m not waking up until 6:30ish and energy has been better (losing weight has helped here as well).


Lift when you can. Kids change your life and you have to make adjustments that fit your lifestyle and home dynamic.