T Nation

Training with a Newborn/Kids


The better half is due with our first bub in November. Extremely excited about becoming a father, but have considered the impact this will have on my training (would you expect any less on this site?).

So for those who've been there, any advice with how to get your training/eating etc in, how to adjust etc? Particularly in the early weeks/months? And beyond as well, of course.

Not really looking for motivation - I got that and then some. (In fact I'm more driven than ever, to be a jacked dad.)

Just lessons learned, that kinda thing, that you can share. Don't have anyone else in my 'real' life who's into training as much as I am. Most around me just look at parenthood as the ultimate excuse to let themselves go.



Have you discussed this with your s/o? Situations vary dude. My first was easy for me because my wife stayed home the first 3 months. It was expected that the night time stuff was her job since daddy had to go to work in the morning. That changed when she went back to work, but by then the little thing was sleeping 4-5 hours at a time during the night.

When we had our second everything was a lot harder.


Just keep doing full snatches with your newborn in a chest harness. Works for crossfitters


Yeah should have mentioned that the wife is totally on board. She'll also be home the first 6-12 months. Which should make things easier of course.

And I should also say, that I'm planning to cut back on training to a bare minimum during the first 2 months post-baby. Maintenance pretty much, just so I don't regress too much.


The first 2 months post baby are the easy part, my friend. Honestly, they don't do much for the first few months which means they don't require a lot of attention and you can still get as much time as you want with them whenever YOU have the time.

I'd actually recommend going full speed ahead with the training during the first few months, after that, the older your child gets, the more attention they'll need and the more you WANT to miss out on training to stay home and play with them.

That being said, Steel is right, every situation is different. You and your wife seem like you've talked about it which is the most important part, IMO.

For myself, my wife stayed home for 2 years, which was great because it meant my son could sleep late every morning and stay up a bit later every night. So I'd come home from work, head straight to the gym and still have a few hours with my son before he went to bed. If we had to wake my son up at 7 every morning to take him to a baby sitter/daycare, he would be going to bed at 7pm and I'd have to wait until after that to hit the gym (which would have been much harder than going straight from work).

You'll figure it out, just remember what's really important. :slight_smile:


Nutrition wise, I would say IIFYM might be your new lifestyle for a while.


Like Lanky said, kids don't do much besides eat and sleep for the first 2 months. As long as your wife is going to be home with him/her and she can handle the fucked up sleep schedule you shouldn't suffer too much.


My son is about 1.5yrs old now but in that time I would say training has had to take a back seat a few times. In the beginning, I think I took a week or 2 off to help momma and make sure we were good to go. She stayed home with him for 3 months or so so I would go after work but I decided I was getting home too late- he was in bed within a half hour of me being home. I couldn't pull going after he fell asleep b/c my lady and I wouldn't get any time together.

I changed my lifting to be in the morning and we rotate days. Luckily, I think I've had maybe a couple handful of nights were he DIDN'T sleep all the way through so for the most part I've had it easy in that regard. Currently, I go to the gym T, Th, Fri following 5/3/1. The other days she goes and I get to hang out with little man in the morning and then take him to the nanny. So far, this seems to be pretty optimal.

Nutrition wise- no real changes. In the beginning he just ate off the nip-nip so we could eat however we wanted. Then we started to make his food by boiling it and using a magic bullet. It's cheaper than most store-baby food so we ate the same there too. Then he started to want our food so it has forced us to clean it up even more (I already eat pretty well) so that he pretty much just gets a portion of our food.

Little dude loves his organic chicken nuggets, avocados, and tomatoes so those are automatic backups for fussy nights. In case you like to dine out, for the first year or so it's pretty easy to do it since he will sleep or nurse a bottle. For the last 1-2 months or so he has been throwing things and acting out so we are severely limiting our meals out.

You can't really plan any of this out. In the beginning I think it's all about being able to adjust yourself to how things are and then you will eventually re-establish a pattern. Good luck and congrats!


I agree, you have to figure out your schedule and work around that. You're eating shouldn't change much, but it's much harder to be disciplined about it when time is a factor. I would suggest keeping a healthy stock of protein bars and ready to drink shakes around. Those are a God-send in a busy schedule with little time to prep.


I'd imagine having a child with your own gym would be to everyone's best bet. I took my nephew out in the garden when he was 1 years old and he did nothing but watch me stretch and do random things.

Having your kid watch you in a gym setting would be ideal, you;re doing what you love and the kid is fascinated by it all.


Before kids, I trained after work. After my first was born, I needed to revaluate. My wife was a stay at home mom and she needed a break in the afternoons, plus I wanted to just see my kid. Afternoon/evening workouts were history. So, I started getting up at 4 AM and trained before going to work.

Bought enough equipment for the garage to train when I could not make it in the mornings. Took a while to adapt to this but it's now a habit. Still do it even though my kids are well past newborn stage. Lifting early allows me to train martial arts in the afternoons now.

Just got to work on your sleep deprivation.


I am going through this right now, my boy is 7 weeks old. Mom is off for three months and I am working full time. I still get to the gym 3 days a week, but there are times when I have to cut it short. very short, to get home to them. Just know these days will arise and go with the flow... is my best advise.


When you're home for an extended period of time, grease the groove with big bang for your buck exercises.


You'll figure it out.

It can be a pain in the ass though, as your personal interests are trumped by the needs of your kids and wife/girlfriend.


Thanks for all the advice fellas.

Yeah I figured a lot of it would be me having to go with the flow. And of course the baby is priority #1, 2 and 3. Then (in order) my wife, my job, and last of all my training. But still want to get it done.

I'm thinking early morning sessions might be the go. But will play it by ear.

Funny thing, always been motivated to train - obsessed many would say. But after finding out my kid is going to be a boy, motivation just got multiplied by 10. Just want my kid to be able to say that his dad's a fucking badass!


This one by Dan John addresses a few of your concerns:


Think of it as a back up plan for the tough periods.


My thought process as well


As a female weighing in on this, my experience has been that kids and relationships will fuck your training and diet into the ground so hard you need a back-hoe to get it back out. It take a high level of mental toughness to push through it, as if you're not already exausted enough by all the demands and lack of sleep.

There is hope. Don't give up, it eventually gets better. Finding a way to do some of your workout at home will help tremendously if your'e like me and do pullups, pushups, sprints and HIIT.


I should say that this is typically true for women. In my age group (late 20s), it seems all the women that have had children seem to fall off the lifting/health wagon if they were on it at all. I think the hormones get out of whack and i wouldn't be surprised if it has to do with the rate at which they are thrown back on some sort of birth control or how there is no regard for how their body is reacting post-birth. I have been consistently surprised at how 'willy-nilly' the docs are to throw a gambit of different hormone pills without any regard for the patients well-being longterm


Have noticed this with some of our female friends who trained seriously (not lifting - mostly running, cardio etc) and were in good shape prior to having kids. Took most about 1-2 years to get back to where they were.

Was thinking (and what I've read so far on here confirms it) it'd be easier for the men though. Hormonal changes and sleep deprivation hits mums hard. Well done on getting back on the wagon BTW.

Re home workouts, I actually have most things I need at home - weights, heavy bag in the garage. Not a perfect set-up, but I can get a decent workout.

Again, thanks all. Looking fwd to the adventure :slightly_smiling: