Training as a soon to be new parent

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  • #77862

    We just found out my wife is ~8weeks pregnant. I am 39 and am already feeling the lag in recovery/performance. Just recently linked together some solid training blocks after recovery from RED-S/OTS. I have a demanding job as a general surgery resident and soon to be trauma fellow. I was curious what tips people had for maintaining or at least not completely losing fitness in the lead up to birth and in the early months of a new baby. For a little background i have broad interest as a mountain endurance athlete; trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, gravel riding, backcountry skiing etc. As a former football player I still lift a lot and have a fully stocked garage gym. Despite being told I wouldn’t be able to as a medical student and resident. I’ve been able to maintain a pretty consistent 8-14hrs a week of training. That will obviously drop off, but would be very interested in how to maintain any semblance of fitness as a physician, new parent and mountain athlete.

  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #77875

    Hi Tyler,

    First … congratulations to you and your wife!

    That is a heavy load for you. I have no direct advice to offer, but until others chime in, you might find something useful in these two previous threads:

    New Fatherhood and Training


    Jane Mackay on #77876

    New Parenthood and Training

    mark.f.rosebrough on #78477

    Congrats! I am a father of two kids under 3 and a full-time attorney. It all depends on your priorities and the agreement you come to with your partner, but the days of 10-plus hours per week are probably behind you for a bit once the baby arrives. I’ve found success with getting exercise when I can, how I can. These days that means a lot of 45 minute lunch time runs from my office so that my mornings and evenings are available for family time. If you’re an early riser, that’s a great option too. Try to maximize your off-days with bigger efforts (but give your partner the same time away). FWIW, having my first kid motivated my fitness to new heights – I ran my first 50k – but the second has made obtaining fitness harder than ever. My overall advice would be to enjoy this new time with your child and partner, and be gentle on yourself when you’re inevitably too exhausted to do strenuous exercise.

    hafjell on #78479

    “The workout you do is better than the workout you don’t do.” -S. House somewhere on these forums to an overworked, under-resourced father

    I think Mark and Jane nailed it and you already know what follows but it’s worth saying out loud:

    1. Your priorities are about to completely change.
    2. You can and should continue to train meaningfully.
    3. Don’t be too rigid. It won’t work with your wife, your kid, your body, or your job. Your household is about to experience new levels of illness and you cannot get sick from over-training. Again from Steve, better to work out at 95% than 100% and get sick.
    4. Do whatever feels right and connects you to the outdoors or your friend groups, BUT, I ditched the bikes once my wife became pregnant with our first. Cycling is so dangerous (it is, deal with it) and so time-inefficient (see first parenthetical.) Imo, nothing beats running for time-efficiency. Trail running > road running. Mountain trail running > trail running. I could not be the father I want to be and still ride meaningful hours on my road bike. Admittedly, I was an addict with 200-300 miles / week. (Caveat, I had a friend who built in a couple of workouts each week by commuting on his bike. Need to be able to handle the weather if that’s your strategy but it’s doable.)
    5. Buy a good, reliable headlamp that you really like (even if it’s a bit spendy) because you will be using it more than ever.
    6. Congrats. Best thing that ever happened to me by far. Wait until you get to watch your children do the things you love.
    7. That home gym will be a blessing.
    8. Without being a jerk, try to plan your vacations and weekends in the mountains. You both get access for exercise and your children grow up with that connection.
    9. First couple of months post-partum, there’s not a whole lot for you to do except change diapers, feed and deal with sleep deprivation. Make dinner, clean the house. If your wife is breast feeding, she’s going to be doing most of the heavy-lifting. Neck strength comes into play at 6-8 months? Before that, you may have some time to meaningfully train. They start to crawl at 10 months? You have a year before all hell breaks loose.
    10. I bought a 24 month training plan from UA. If you skip 2 workouts in a single week, they ask you to repeat the week. I repeated 4 weeks. Felt like a bummer but at the end I was very strong and fast.

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