Saturday, August 26, 2017

My exercise habits definitely changed with a baby, and they've continued to change as he's gotten older...

exercise after a baby

There are a lot of ways to track how the baby affected my exercise and activity level. I bought a fitbit to use for this while my wife was pregnant, but it broke a week after birth. I got a replacement, and it broke less than a month later.

Another way to track it though is to compare my exercise routines at various points around his birth. I never had a fixed exercise routine that I stuck with for years since I changed it pretty regularly, but I'll break down an example of one before the baby, one while he was still a baby, and my most recent one now that he's a toddler. Hopefully comparing these give some insight into how it can change.

Pre-Baby Workout

This was my routine about six months before we got pregnant:

Day 1:
  • light warmup
  • bench press (barbell)
  • incline press (barbell)
  • Arnold press (dumbbell)
  • squats (barbell)
  • box jumps
Day 2: Rest
Day 3:
  • light warmup
  • bent over rows (dumbbell)
  • rear delt flys (dumbbell)
  • hammer curls (dumbbell)
  • pullups
  • shoulder shrugs (dumbbell)
  • hamstring curls
Day 4: sprints
Day 5:
  • light warmup
  • cleans (barbell)
  • pullups
  • squats (barbell)
  • jog
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: jump-rope routine

I was in pretty good shape, maintained a nice diet, etc.

Workout With Baby:

With a baby, my workouts came much less often and typically only lasted 5-10 minutes. This is the routine I tried (and often failed) to stick to from the time he was 2 months old until he was around a year old.

Day 1:
  • Arnold press/curl combo (dumbbell)
  • lunges (dumbell)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: 
  • pushups
  • lunges (dumbell)
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest

The biggest issues here were sleep deprivation + time lost to feeding the baby. I stopped working out for the most part. Looking back, I think I went roughly 18 months without doing a pullup. If you check out any of the posts on our weight you can see that I lost a lot of weight during this period. I also completely stopped doing cardio.

Another issue is that we don't keep a squat rack/bench set up with the baby around because it takes so much space and can be dangerous.

I noticed I was getting really bad back pain a couple of months ago so I decided to start working out more again.

Workout With Toddler:

We bought one of those Weider cable machines. If anyone wants a review of it just ask and I'll post one, but my workout routine now (past two months) looks like:

Day 1:
  • light warmup
  • rows (cable machine)
  • squats (cable machine)
  • not sure what it's called, but it's like an iron cross only at a 30 degree incline (cable machine)
  • sort of leg press (cable machine)
  • walk with son
Day 2: walk with son
Day 3: walk with son
Day 4: 
  • light warmup
  • pushups
  • chest flys (cable machine)
  • side lateral raises (dumbbell)
  • reverse flys (dumbell)
  • hammer curls (dumbbell)
  • walk with son
Day 5: walk with son
Day 6: 
  • light warmup
  • pullups
  • pushups
  • lunges (dumbbell)
  • shoulder shrugs (dumbbell)
  • rows (cable machine)
  • walk with son
Day 7: walk with son

The walking was unexpected. I don't like being outside much. I was never much of a walker. I live in Texas and it's still like 95 degrees at sunset. None of those matter at all to my son.

At least once a day, and often two or three times a day, he gets the urge to go on a walk. He'll say 'Walk!' a few times then go stand by the door until one of us goes on a walk with him. Hurricane Harvey is going on as I write this and he's really upset with us that we aren't going on a walk right now. We've already gone on two walks in the hurricane over the past 24 hours.

I use the time to practice whatever he's working on (e.g., 'ABC song'), and we typically walk for 10-20 minutes each time. Making it more of a workout, he often gets exhausted since it's so unbearably hot, so I carry him part of the way (he's ~25 lbs now).

Summary

Having a baby definitely affected my workouts. Like most things, age, interests, etc. also played a part. However, I can say with confidence that the time spent with the baby combined with sleep deprivation severely impacted my ability to workout while he was really young. I can also say with confidence that I walk much more now because he enjoys going on walks.

As you can see in the image at the beginning of the post, he also affects it in ways that are hard to capture in that a baby kind of takes over your whole house. In between sets now, I have to wait because he tends to stand by me and then run his trucks over the equipment when I stop.


5 comments :

  1. In my experience, my workouts have definitely suffered. I'm the dad, and when I feed my boy in the morning or at night, I spend more time cleaning up than I would like. I now think twice about burning calories in the gym vs the kitchen/living room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah...I didn't get back into a routine until after he finished with bottle feeding, and even now I don't work out the same way I did pre-baby. I feel like tv and this are the biggest impacts he's had on my life in terms of things I've given up.

      Delete
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