It has not been easy, but I’ve found an answer: detachment.
I love trail running, I teach yoga for a living, and I love it. I love mountain biking, ocean swimming and of course, I love to throw in some P90X, 22 Hard Corps or one of the other Beachbody fitness programs, to keep myself in fairly decent shape. However, my wife and I had our first baby just under a month ago and one thing I noticed, besides the beautiful cuddly little being called my daughter, is that my schedule has essentially been flipped on it’s head. Of course, my wife’s even more so.
I took one full week off of work completely and since have been basically working part time to help my wife. If you’re a parent, you already know the following. I’m no longer sleeping my wonderful 8 hour stretches and sometimes I’m lucky if I get 4 or 5 hours of cumulative sleep., Thankfully though, our baby does have her stretches of 4-5 hours of shut eye every few days. Those are the days I have to take advantage of and on the other days I piece together my workouts.
The first few weeks have been tough, but now we’re hitting a bit of a stride. I still can’t workout as much as I used to, but I can find my windows and I must choose to exercise. I recommend you do the same to keep your sanity.
Here are my top 9 ways to stay fit as a new dad.
Just do it. The more you think about it, the less you’re actually going to do it. Do it if it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes or 90 minutes. What ever you can do, where ever you have room, make yourself sweat. You will feel better and balanced!
Don’t let the little one take over your life. So many people lose themselves when their children are born. I love our little nugget, don’t get me wrong, but in order for me to have some balance in my life I have to exercise. Thankfully, my wife understands this and allows me to hit the trails once or twice each week. I do my best to give her a break from completely being attached to our little one.
Climb the steps, in your house that is. I’m lucky enough to live in a duplex. I take our little baby in my arms and walk her up and down those steps. It soothes her and I get in a little exercise myself.
Do yoga. All you need is a mat. You really don’t even need a mat. Make sure you move your body and breath with those movements. Yoga has been a huge part of my wellness over the years and continues to be the perfect medicine for my mental and physical well-being. All it takes is 20 minutes of moving and breathing to get centered.
Do bodyweight activities. So many of the Beachbody workouts I mentioned only require your own body weight. Do some push ups, do some squats, do some crunches. It doesn’t take much to keep yourself in shape, just a commitment.
Chunk your workouts. If you can only get in 10minutest do it! There is a great 7 minute workout and Advanced 7 minute workout on the NYTimes website. If it took you an hour to get in three 7 minute workouts you will have given your body more than nothing!
Walk, walk and walk some more!
Adjust your diet. I’ve noticed that since I’m not burning as many calories, I’ve had to hold back on some of my intake. I am eating smaller salads, limiting my deserts, and consuming very little carbohydrates. It’s really a scaled down version of how I eat. All you have to do is tone down the calories, eat mostly plant based foods and you’ll maintain, if not loose weight. I’ve noticed I dropped a few pounds and I’m sure it’s because my nights are being broken into much 2 or 3 naps instead of an entire night sleep.
One final thought, everyone has said not to miss those special moments when our daughter is so young because the time goes by so quickly. “Soon she’ll be in college,” some friends will say. I pass that advice on to you as well. If you’re a new dad, stay fit, get in your workouts when you can, but don’t miss the moments. You will never get them again.
Find me on the twitter-sphere @teddymcdonald