T Nation

Life/Work Balance?

Just had new baby and finding it hard to make time for the gym. How does everyone balance family and training?

I hit the gym at 6:00 or 6:30…AM It’s not so bad once you get used to it.

For me it is sufficing with bodyweight exercises when I can not make it into the gym. The good part is that as they grow you can add increased resistance to your bodyweight exercises e.g. I have my daughter sit on my back as I do pushups. Also you can use “play” time as training time, for instance I’ll have my daughter get ahead of me then sprint towards her in a game of chase, grab some DB’s and chase her around the yard, or swing her up in the air like a pull through. Be creative but remember the greatest importance is spending time with your child, there will be time soon enough for training.

I work second shift, and both my kids are in school. Mama takes 'em to school, so I can sleep. I get my training in when I get up, before I go to work.

FAMILY FIRST, training lower down on the list!
Get up earlier
Train while baby is napping
Do 15-20 minute workout - get the most bang for those 20 minutes for your buck!!! Choose exercises wisely!
Get a jogging stroller and get your cardio that way…make sure baby is WARM & TOASTY.
If you have steps/stairs in house, fill a backpack with books or whatever and go up and down stairs…put baby in papoose and go up and down stairs.
Use your imagination & be inventive.
GOOD LUCK!!!

My kids are both grown so I don’t have to worry about that. My wife doesn’t get off work at night til 10:00PM so I’m usually at the gym in the evening. Some gyms have baby sitting facilities now, too. The gym I use does and it’s a pretty good facility. Don’t know if they have them in Jersey but almost all 24/7 fitness centers have them.

Focus on diet. You still make time to eat and drink, right?

I’ve got two little ones. It’s not easy. I do my best and don’t be myself up if I have to miss a day.

And like QuarterTonner implied: you got new priorities. And that’s ok.

I’m the father of 3 year old twin boys. Here are some concrete suggestions:

Workout during naptime. This goes without saying, you have to stay committed to having the child nap. If needed, I would read the book “Baby Wise”

Workout before work. This is tough if you’re not used to it. However, if you can do it, the workout is done for the day

Make the workout priority number 3 (after the wife and kids). This means that if you priortize other items during your freetime (watching TV, surfing the internet), you will miss workouts

Communicate with your wife and help with the child. If your wife feels you’re supportive, she will support you when you go train

Hope this helps.

You just have to do what you have to do.

When I lived in LA, I had to leave the house before 5:30 or my drive jumped from 30 minutes to 2 hours. So I started getting up and lifting at 4:00 am. I tried lifting after work but it was hit or miss because of traffic and how wiped out I was after work and just scheduling stuff with the family. So it had to be before work and it had to be early. At first, my lifts suffered pretty bad but after a while, I acclimated and started to get my strength back.

A few years before that, I was taking a train to work and with all the scheduling stuff, the only time I could work out was early evening. So, I just fit things so I could sneak my workouts in. At the time, I was doing Westside, so I moved 2 workouts to the weekend so I only had to fight with 2 workouts during the week.

NOW, I work from home and have everything I need here to work out. I work out every day before lunch and it’s easy.

So, you just have to find ways to make it fit or find a way to change your workouts or WHERE you work out so that you can get them in. Can you spend a couple of grand and buy the equipment you need and put it in your house? Or something?

i work out every AM at 4. only real time i have to spend on me. being a single parent is tuff sometimes - after work there is no time - homework, make dinner, prepare my own food for work - so i more than happily gave up TV to hit the sack early to start it up all over at 4AM the next day. any extra time is spent poring over training books.

i work out with the oldest sometimes, and am getting the youngest one started by having him haul my weights from room to room.

have to take of self if you wanna be around for a good long time to take care of the kiddies y’know…

A Question for those working out before work. I’m thinking of trying this myself once my garage is fully converted into a gym/rec room.
What do you do as far as pre meal?
Not sure if I can eat my usual oatmeal w/protein and then go hit the weights.
Maybe though…
It would be nice to get it out of the way first thing.
Would free up my time after work.

[quote]migman40 wrote:
A Question for those working out before work. I’m thinking of trying this myself once my garage is fully converted into a gym/rec room.
What do you do as far as pre meal?
Not sure if I can eat my usual oatmeal w/protein and then go hit the weights.
Maybe though…
It would be nice to get it out of the way first thing.
Would free up my time after work.[/quote]

When I was doing it, I was just waking up and hitting the gym. I wasn’t eating a pre-workout meal. But a pre-workout meal isn’t a regular part of my routine even when I’m not getting up early.

So, just allow for the time for your preworkout meal as part of your schedule. If you need to get up, eat your meal, wait a few minutes, and then workout, just add that time to what you need for your workout.

[quote]ghost87 wrote:
I’m the father of 3 year old twin boys. Here are some concrete suggestions:

Workout during naptime. This goes without saying, you have to stay committed to having the child nap. If needed, I would read the book “Baby Wise”

Workout before work. This is tough if you’re not used to it. However, if you can do it, the workout is done for the day

Make the workout priority number 3 (after the wife and kids). This means that if you priortize other items during your freetime (watching TV, surfing the internet), you will miss workouts

Communicate with your wife and help with the child. If your wife feels you’re supportive, she will support you when you go train

Hope this helps. [/quote]

EXCELLENT. DITO ON THIS ADVICE!! And may I add, ask the wife what kind of “alone time” she may need too. It is all very hard my friend but very possible. Best of luck Daddy.

like most of you I work out early,
Mon - Friday 6am - 30-45mins running

and then use the gym near by during my lunchbreaks for a 30min head down full on weights session.

On that tip does anyone have any suggestions on how to maximise these weight sessions to achieve my goal (develop a leanish mens health cover model type torso)?

mmm should also ad, that I keep weekends free for family time, but if I can manage an ‘at home’ core/flex I take it, but family first on weekends

I have 3 kids and a demanding job. My only way to make training work was to load up the garage and train at 5am while everyone else is sleeping. Tough in winter and summer conditions but I’d imagine being a weak fat ass might be tougher. BTW, watching pro sports went out the window after second kid.

Get a pull-up bar that attaches to an inside door. Get some dumbbells or tension bands. Every thing I post on “need for speed” can be done in the home. This is the P90X workout and it is NOT!! for the weak. You will burn and even increase your physical abilities. One hour every other day, with cardio on the alternate if you’re into cardio.

Like the other posters stated, spend time with the little one. The more time you spent now will make everything that comes later easier. Mine daughter is seventeen now, and I am so happy I didn’t waste those early years on other things, we’re best friends. This can be the best time of your life, good luck Bro.

I would agree with Colin. I get up at 3:30 in the AM and make the 50 mile drive to my gym for 60 to 90 min. worth of training before work. But I always make time for the kids and the wife. It is always important to make Mom happy with her alone time whenever possible.

Working out during my lunch hour during the week has the benefit of not taking me away from the family, and I have found substantial advantage in shorter, more-focused training sessions.

Good luck in striking your own balance in terms of whatever framework you can establish.

Lots of good posts here already. Not sure I can add more. Streamline adds good ideas of home work outs. I have 4 children, and have bitten off many projects over the past 17 years we have had children : started and then sold 3 businesses, published author, coached 2 seasons of basketball, return to medical school at age 40, graduating medical school, now getting ready for family medicine residency, earned my 6th degree black belt in Jujutsu and 5th degree black belt in Kempo. In that time I doubt I have missed more than a week of training, although my training has shifted.

I don’t tend to need as much sleep as some, so I can go to bed at midnight or 1 AM and still be at the gym at 5:30. I swam for an hour every morning for a year at 5:30 training for a state contest that was important to me.

Home training can have a lot of variety : weights, I really like kettlebells, the pull up bar as mentioned. If you are into martial arts training there are alot of home exercises : stance training for the legs, dynamic tension forms like IRON THREAD from the Hung Gar system of Kung fu that can build some upper body mass. Dynamic tension (Charles Atlas or Hung gar kung fu) have been shown to build decent strength.

Many gyms have day care. When our first child was born my wife and I went together to the gym, and brought the baby. He was only a few weeks old and sat in his car seat while we did treadmill etc.

When the baby goes to sleep that e a good can be a good time.

I think the main things are to be determined, have a plan but be flexible, talk to your wife and make sure she supports it,and be happy with whatever progress you can make