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5 Ways To Balance Training With Being a Parent

I'm a new father, and navigating some of the new circumstances of life have brought me great joy. However, I have strength goals that I'm after, and balancing them with being a parent is a new challenge. As I've written about before, training consistency is extremely important in creating success in your health and fitness. I can already see the ways that

each potential child I'm blessed to raise would add complexity to my reaching my goals. Here are 5 ways you balance training with being a parent to maintain your consistency hit those targets while also being a full-time mom or dad:

Holding my little guy
  1. The most important thing you can do for your training is to have a spouse that understands your goals. Communicating about your desire to train, what the time commitment will be, and making a plan for childcare is essential to continuing your progress. This is not you dictating to your spouse what your training schedule will be. This is a collaborative venture between the two of you, coming up with a list of compromises, trade offs, and scheduling needs. This means also giving your spouse the space they need to work on their passions. Continuing to train is possible if you have the support you need, but you only get the support you need if you communicate your desires and needs up front and in a way that shows your willingness to be a partner in the parenting journey. If you are not together with the other parent of the child, this obviously changes your equation here. In this instance, communicating with your childcare situation is much more complex. Whether they are babysitters you know personally or you pay for a professional service, you'll have to make some different considerations. In this case, number 5 in this list may be the most helpful.

  2. In an effort to reduce the need to rely on babysitters or childcare, shifting one or two of your weekly workouts to the weekend frees up your schedule during the busy workweek. This small change becomes normal very quickly, and gives you more freedom to see your little one in the short hours after work during the week.

  3. One way that I've been able to maintain consistency while having a newborn is making each workout take less time each day. I've done this partially by splitting off my accessories either to a separate time of day or to the next day. This is one of the primary benefits of having a home gym. I hate missing bath and bedtime for my son, so I want to be available to be there, but sometimes need to rework my training to make sure I can be present. For example, if I am training around 6:30 pm, and my son's bedtime is 7-7:30ish, I will train the main movements of the day between 6:30 and 7 pm. If it's a Bench workout, I'll train the Bench and the supplemental movement (usually Press) in that time frame. I'll then head inside, help with the bath and bed routine, then finish my accessories after. If I didn't have the luxury of doing that, I'd try to split my training into separate days, potentially adding an "accessory day" to my week to get in that extra work that I peeled away throughout the week.

  4. One of the worst things for your gym routine is doom scrolling your phone. One way to make your phone very useful is to use it to set timers. This guarantees shorter rest time, and a more efficient training session. If your gym has those fancy large timers already in it, you can put your phone away all together and blitz through your session.

  5. Among the most underrated of possible decisions is to simply bring your child to your workout or, better yet, make them your workout. Many gyms are very kid-friendly, especially if it's a small enough gym where you know other member's names. But if you are in a big box gym and that's not feeling very safe, one way to skip the gym altogether is to use your kid as your weights! Squatting them, carrying them long distances, pushing them in a stroller up a hill, or over your head as play is a great way to get a workout in, even if it's different than what you originally had in mind!

Navigating your training situation with a new child isn't always easy, but it's not impossible, either. I hope one of these ways can help you balance training with being a parent.

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