T Nation

Just Back to Training, Looking Bigger?

*Skip the “Background” paragraph to get to my actual question – as a father of a little one, I find my personal time to work out fleeting, so I wanted to ramble a bit in the hope that others in my boat will sympathize :slight_smile:

Background: we had a boy (our first child) in December of 2011. It was difficult to maintain a gym schedule over the next 8 or 9 months, but I managed to keep up reasonably well (probably dropped from 3-4 days per week to 1-2, although there were many days I was almost falling asleep on the bench). It helped that the gym was basically on my way home. At any rate, we added a move to a new house to our plate last September – needless to say, between a busy 9 month old and a new home (with a project list a mile long) that also happened to add 15 more minutes to my already 30-45 minute commute, my gym schedule officially died.

At this point I haven’t been back to the gym since September, but late last Fall I DID take the necessary steps to purchase a cage, bench, and a few hundred pounds of weights. We’ve got a makeshift gym setup in the basement now, but between finding the time to play with my son, and trying to avoid banging weights around when he’s napping/gone to bed, I’m really only able to lift once a week on a Sat. or Sun. Other than that I fit in some pushups, pullups, dips, etc. here and there during the week.

So at any rate, I’ve had a few people at work mention to me in the last few weeks that they thought I looked like I had put on some muscle. I don’t feel any stronger than before I left the gym but it sounds like, somehow, being away from the gym has caused me to build a better shape? Has this happened to anyone else after an extended break period? Maybe my body’s T levels are finally starting to rebound after baby-induced sympathy weight and sleep loss?

Could more pushups and pullups in smaller, daily doses actually be more beneficial for my body than a few hard days a week at the gym? Prior to this radical changeup in my schedule, I had been on pretty much the same path for the last 5 or 6 years – is it possible I had fallen into a rut and didn’t realize it? If it’s related to becoming a father, are there others out there who also experienced odd physiological occurrences like this in the 2-3 year span between pregnancy and toddlerhood?

[quote]tenguzero wrote:
Could more pushups and pullups in smaller, daily doses actually be more beneficial for my body than a few hard days a week at the gym? [/quote]

I can’t comment on the fatherhood stuff, but in my opinion in terms of building appreciable amounts of muscle, then no, the push ups and pull ups won’t really be as beneficial as proper hard weight training.

That said, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing it, and it’s a million times better than nothing so if it’s all you can do then by all means do it. There’s ways to progress pull ups and push ups to make them more challenging so you’ll be able to get a decent workout, it just won’t deliver as much in terms of muscle mass as a proper free weight exercise routine. It’ll keep you in shape though, for sure.

Just lift weights when you can. Having a rack and stuff in your home at least means you can snatch and grab workouts whenever you get a chance. Even if you can only get a half hour every other day, it all adds up.

In the meantime, I guess you just have to accept that your priorities are different now and having a kid means less time for stuff you like ;). I hear that it’s usually a pretty rewarding experience though so I’m sure it’s not all bad…

Try to see if you can set yourself a goal of training three days a week. Perhaps both weekend mornings and then one day in the middle of the week.

That really should be manageable most weeks for anyone. I have friends who work crazy hours and still can find time to train for an hour three times a week most weeks. Just see if you can make that work. If you can, then honestly for you doing some form of total body training might be the most advisable if you’re really that slammed.

longer term, you’re just going to have to learn to manage time better, tbh. Long-term, everyone should have some form of physical regimen just to promote general health, and if you can’t do that then you need to get a handle on things imo.

Not trying to be a jerk, but just saying that for long-term health, you should be able to devote three hours a week to exercise.