It's been an interesting few weeks trying to strike the balance of training with a newborn. Before the arrival of Erin, (and when gyms were open), I would have been in the gym for 6 am and have gotten my training done for the day all before work.
Even if the gyms were opened now, my new sleeping arrangements and night feeds would make it very difficult to drag one's self to the gym at 6 am before a day at work.
Training or keeping fit for me is hugely important for my physical well-being and my head. So, I want and do make the time in my week to get it done. I know I can't be alone in this thinking so I thought I'd share a few things I'm doing in regards to training with or around a newborn.
What time to train at?
At this moment in time, my general aim is to train immediately after work. That's the aim anyway but the rule of thumb I'm going with is "train if & when I can".
You'll need to be flexible with when you get to train. Somedays you'll be able to do a workout or run at the time you planned. Other days it might be later or earlier and sometimes you won't get to train at all. Also on this, should the opportunity present itself to do a workout, say your other half is visiting family with the baby, take advantage of it.
Personally, I have found the best time to train is not long after feeds for a newborn. They generally go to sleep after a feed and are usually out for the count long enough for you to get a workout in.
What I'll do is have Erin in the basket or chair so I can keep an eye on her as I train and this also allows Ruth to have some time to herself. Sometimes Erin wakes up and is actually happy to watch me train as there is a lot of movement, colours from the weights and stimulation for her. Win-win really, I get a workout and she gets some stimulation.
How many workouts per week
I would find it highly unlikely that you would have the time or a partner patient enough with you to be able to train 7 days a week with a newborn. So, figure out what you want to get out of the week training wise as a minimum. Everything after that is a bonus.
For me, at this moment, it's 4 workouts. That's 4 workouts to fit into 7 days. This allows, like I mentioned above, some flexibility. I can do 4 days in a row of training, a day off in between workouts, 2 days in a row followed by a day off etc. You get the drift.
The 4 workouts are;
Chest & Triceps
Legs & Core
Back & Biceps
Shoulders & Core
Nothing groundbreaking here by any means but in these 4 workouts, I'll cover and hit everything I want. Don't go trying to reinvent the wheel here lads. This is more about maintaining my level of fitness or physique (on top of gyms being closed too) than trying to kill myself or get a PB.
It's worth noting, I'll be tired after these workouts but not shattered. I don't want to be so wrecked I can't help with Erin, help around the house or later that night.
Length of the workout
Short, sweet and to the point. I will aim for 60-minute sessions. Now, these may run over a small bit sometimes or I may even have to stop halfway through for 5 minutes to grab something for Ruth or Erin.
That's something to bear in mind is that you may have to pop away from the workout for a few minutes at times. It's all part and parcel of having a baby, you may have a longer break between sets.
Essentially, I try and keep it to the hour mark.
Bang for your buck
In my workouts, I try to do exercises that engage the core or hit multiple body parts. I'll throw in plyometric stuff too. Skipping. Shorter rest times. It's just something that increases the intensity of the workout and raises the heart rate.
Also, shorter rest times means you might be able to get an extra exercise in.
Whatever your workout or training looks like. Try and see if you can add in exercises like this, it will also help with reducing the length of the overall workout.
And if you think all I do is weights and no cardio. I keep my runs or cycles to under an hour too. No more than 10km for a run for example.
Training with no music
I've never been the type of person that needs certain music for training. You will rarely see me wear headphones in a gym or while doing a workout. Also, I feel they get in the way. The only time I'll wear them is for a run or cardio and again I only use them to block out the sound. Most times I'll listen to a podcast on a run.
However, this trait of mine comes in handy when training with a newborn as you can't have music pumping while you train and you can't really wear headphones either (if you're keeping an eye on the baby as you train) as you'll need to keep an ear up in case they stir and what have you.
It might take some getting used to for some.
Now I know some people won't see training as a bonus at any point in their life. I refer to any extra workout or training after my 4 workouts as 'Bonus Training'.
Life if I've found myself with energy and some spare time after cleaning the house, running errands, walking Indie, writing blogs etc. to go for a run or something along those lines.
Should I find myself in this situation I'll do a core workout followed by a run, a run with Indie maybe or hopping on the turbo trainer out in the shed. Again the aim is to keep it within 60 minutes and get a small sweat.
When Gyms do Reopen
Working out from home like working from home has had its advantages with a newborn. Able to keep an eye on Erin while I train. But I'd be lying if I said I don't miss the gym. So when the gyms do reopen in a few weeks time, I'd like to go back and my plan will be to stick with my goal of 4 workouts per week. I know it's going to take a bit of extra planning and flexibility with the time I train and the extra time needed not only to drive to & from the gym but also the time the workouts will take with moving weights, wiping down machines etc.
I'll keep ye posted on how I get on with it.
Last thing I'll say on this, doing something is better than doing nothing. Get moving, you'll feel better for it.