If you’re a parent, you know raising kids and all it entails is almost a full-time job. You may have wondered (at one time or another) how could I possibly get or stay in shape when I have to care for others before myself?
- planning and cooking meals
- school and after school activities
- earning a living
and existing, you haven’t much time left to take care of yourself. And it’s not time that’s the only issue, it’s also a matter of energy and how much of it you have in the tank.
You’ve heard all the clichés on how you need to make time for fitness, re-sort your priorities, double down on the time you do have, or you have to suck it up buttercup if you want a hot bod.
However, none of this helps. You still haven’t any time or any energy to spare and you feel stuck. And that sucks.
Now you’re probably thinking, what does a middle-aged male personal trainer like me know about raising kids while getting in shape? It’s because I’ve been there.
I was a stay-at- home father to two boys (above) between 2004-2009. And because my wife had crappy benefits from her employer, she was back at work in 3 weeks with both children. I was the sole caregiver (during the work day) to a 3-week-old and a sixteen-month-old boys.
Do you think I had a lot of time or energy to get sexy? Ah no.
Exhausting days combined with my wife and I getting up to take care of their needs at night, time and energy were a premium for both of us. The burning the candle at both ends is what you do as a parent because that’s part of the job.
However, it gets to a stage when you look in the mirror, before coffee and with your kid screaming that you realize you need to take better care of yourself before you go insane. Because if you don’t, how are you going to take care of your little ones?
Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers but what I do have is experience and what worked for me during my stay-at-home parent days. It’s not perfect, however it will give you and idea on how to take better care of yourself, so you can outrun your kids occasionally.
So, you can catch them, not run away from them. 😊
1. Enlist help
My wife realized after a while I was going bat shit crazy being stuck in the house with two boys. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my boys but my brain and body with starting to turn to mush.
So, I suggested to me wife that I’d go to the gym once she got home from work and she was all for it. This happened two-three time per week and my mind and body were better for it.
Now if you don’t have that luxury, enlist other family and friends for help a couple of times a week. Then if they need help too, you can do it for them. Like a quid pro quo dea
It’s a deal where you and the kids win.
2. Go to a gym that has good childcare
Yes, this does cost a little extra but if you don’t have the option of friends and family helping then this is another avenue.
My family was lucky enough to afford a gym membership with childcare when my kids were babies. This got everybody out of the house (a chore in itself) and it gave my kids a chance to play with other kids. Something they didn’t get at home.
However, hearing my kids cry when I left them there was tough and I felt like a selfish prick at times. But I reminded myself I was doing it for them as well as me.
3. Misery loves company
It’s hard doing it on your own. If it was left up to you, you wouldn’t leave the house at times because of the energy it takes to get you and the kids out of the house.
However, if you exercise will a buddy or attend a group exercise class at your gym, there is someone to hold you accountable or someone who will miss your presence. This could be enough to motivate you to get your butt in gear when you don’t feel like it.
Because the hardest part is getting there and once you’re there, the rest is easy.
4. Buy some equipment for home
When you have kids, all best laid plans will become unstuck. They will get sick, you will be unwell or nobody in the house gets a wink of sleep. Then having even 30 minutes to yourself to exercise will vanish into thin air.
To get around this problem invest in some cheap fitness equipment. Having something portable like adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands will allow you to do something and keep you moving forward. It beats moving backwards every time.
I started out with a two 20-pound adjustable dumbbell set (which I still have till this day) which allowed me to simple exercises like shoulder presses, squats, biceps, triceps and rows. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than nothing.
5. Stick to full body routines
You look in the mirror and your waist is expanding, arms have lost some muscle, or your butt doesn’t look good in those pants anymore, it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of attacking body parts at the cost of the rest of your body.
When you had more time to exercise or to do anything for that matter, this wasn’t a problem. Because what you missed today could be done tomorrow. However, with kids (as you know) your tomorrow could be blown to smithereens with something unexpected.
This is why full body trainings work best when you’re a busy parent. Full body routines combine compound movements like squat, rows, lunges and presses that work the entire body but still train those problem body parts mentioned previously.
These exercise train the most muscle and help you more burn fat and calories, so you can look better those pants, like what you see in the mirror and feel better about yourself.
However, don’t be afraid to flex when a mirror is handy.
Being a parent is the best job in the world but caring for someone at the expense of yourself will get taxing. This is why exercise, will help you put your health first, so you can better care for your young ones.
When your kids come at you, you’ll be ready.
If you need assistance getting in shape while your kids are running you ragged, you can contact me here.