Post-natal training… for Dads
Post-natal training for Dads is all about how to structure an exercise programme around the individual circumstances you find yourself in.
I was under no illusions I’d be back in the gym within days of my son arriving in February, but not cancelling my membership was wildly optimistic! Once we were into a routine, and as the weather started to improve, I planned how I would fit exercise around parenthood. My goal was to regain a good level of overall conditioning as a platform for returning to more intense resistance training.
Here’s a summary:
- Travel time to and from the gym was not an option so I based my workouts outdoors. Fortunately I have a garden and a local park around the corner
- Having had 2 months away from any serious training, I began with 15-20 minute sessions in circuit format (2 min runs with bodyweight exercises such as squats, press ups and pull ups in between)
- As my days with the little one begin at 7am and I’m not an early riser, I opted to train at night after he was in bed and I’d had dinner. So 9.30-10pm was workout time!
- After 4 weeks I introduced sprints and dug out my PT equipment from the garage, including a couple of weighted bags, and a medicine ball
- I also attached a pull up bar to the wall and found an old car tyre – perfect for throwing around, flipping and lifting!
- I had a maximum of 30 minutes to train, so as I progressed the workouts by adding sets and reps, they got too long to do. I therefore split my sprints and circuits into different days
- I also sneaked some activity into my ‘daddy time’ by challenging myself to do 20 squats everyday holding my son. It gives a natural progression as he gets heavier although I’m sure one day it’ll have to stop!
- Over the summer, the light evenings meant I could do hill sprints in my local park, and I also climbed trees – if you can get over the embarrassment of being spotted it’s a great mobility and strength exercise!
- My sessions now last 25-40 minutes, including warm up and cool down
- As an example, on 2 days week I do 4 x 2 minute fast runs, with a minute’s rest in between, plus 3-4 short, steep hill sprints (15 seconds each) with a walk back down for recovery
- On the other 2 days I do a whole body circuit with exercises such as press ups, woodchoppers with the tyre, weighted bag squats, pull ups, medicine ball slams and weighted bag lunges. 4 rounds of 15-20 reps per exercise
- I’ll start and finish each session with a full-body mobility routine
As for what’s next, all being well I’ll be rejoining the gym in the next few weeks to start lifting some bigger weights and get back to using some of the kit I’ve missed for the last few months, like the adjustable pulley and Olympic bars. Although with the little one teething and not sleeping well in the evenings I might need to bit the bullet and train at 6am before he wakes up in the morning!
Tell us your new parent stories – how soon did you get back into training and what did you do?