How to maintain your warrior physique and fight off the wolves during your children’s infancy.
This is a fluff statement. That’s a bullshit headline to inspire some inspirational feeling during the precious little apocalypse that has been brought into your home. Truth is, working out and eating right feels damn near impossible. But, have no fear, lets talk about how to adapt and overcome, because that’s what having a kid and still keeping your head above water is about.
First off, let me state that I’m not an expert. This is trial and error that I’ve experienced, and I hope that you as my fellow soldiers on the battlefield of fatherhood can benefit from my wins as well as my fuck-ups. Some of you fellas may have no problem carrying on with whatever health and fitness lifestyle you have. Well aren’t you special? This article is for the rest of us.
To give a little background, I’m kind of a Neanderthal when it comes to fitness. To me, running is the equivalent to having sex with a porcupine. But I love lifting heavy shit, boxing and hiking. I’m a proponent of yoga and pilates, but I don’t have the attention span or patience to do it myself. If you do, mooseknuckle those yoga pants with pride.
The Enemy of Health
Gentlemen, in the new era of co-parenting, we are jumping into the trenches with the mother of our children. Whether it’s because you care about your wife, your child or your sex life, this is going to be the result: fatigue. The reason that this is such an important factor for the concept of health and fitness is because fatigue is a great enemy of health.
Let me explain. Fatigue leads to taking the easy road in decision-making regarding two important factors in health: what foods you eat and whether or not you exercise. This, in turn, may take you down a shitty postpartum spiral of self-loathing and despair without the proper preparation. But, as your brother-in-arms, let me give you some info that I didn’t learn until the second time around.
I’m gonna break up physical fitness pre and post childbirth into three stages for you, split up for a total of 15 months.
3 Months Before Apocalypse: Prepare for Battle
If possible, prepare for the birth of that bundle of mayhem like you would a physical competition. Work your ass off beforehand so, when the time comes, your loss of any type of GAINS (insert bro-stereotype here) will be negligible. Whatever type of shit you like to do, make it your bitch.
Moment of Joy/Pain to 6 Months After: Forget the Gains, Just Maintain
In general, the average infant doesn’t sleep through the night during the first 6 months (just remember, they might be assholes, but they’re our assholes). During that period, particularly for weightlifters, the potential for overtraining due to fatigue (not to mention the resulting frustration), increases dramatically. Not to worry my fellow barbarians, you should still work out. In lieu of weight training, however, do easy to moderate bodyweight training to retain the twisted steel and sex appeal that resulted in fatherhood. Since I believe this to be the most difficult and important stage, here are some suggestions of things that worked for me:
All Day Workout – pick a different bodyweight exercise to do every day, and throw in some reps whenever you can. I don’t recommend having an end goal for number of reps. Reason being if you don’t make your goal, it can fuck with your head. You can, however, make a goal of sets; just not reps. For example: 15 sets of air squats. It doesn’t matter if you did 5 reps or 50 reps per set, or if you started with 20 per set and ended up doing 2 reps per set. Just get the sets in.
Deck of Cards
Set a different bodyweight exercise per suit and draw a card whenever you want during the day. Example: Hearts = pushups, Diamonds = squats, Spades = pull-ups, Clubs = sit-ups. Now, normally when not in times of war we would have corresponding reps per number drawn but, our goal is just to get in the sets. Again, it doesn’t matter whether it’s 2 or 20.
This is just a nice alternative to change it up. Look up TRX online and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Also, you don’t have to buy the name brand shit. I got a generic set on Amazon that works awesome.
Yoga or Pilates
This crap is good for you, don’t be ashamed to do it.
Jogging (possibly pronounced “yogging,” I don’t know if the J is silent)
If you like doing this heinous activity, whip out the jogging stroller. Some air is good for you and the kid.
6 to 12 Months Post result of your demon seed: Get back into it!
Pick a program, and stick with it. That sounds oversimplified, but that is really all it takes. The key phrase is “stick with it”. Consistency is key, and it’s the hardest goddamn part.
As for the program, you’re a grown-ass man and you can make your own decisions! There are so many different kinds of programs and fitness lifestyles out there for all body types and interests. It doesn’t matter if it’s powerlifting, crossfit, rhythmic gymnastics or alligator wrestling, just pick one.
How to Eat: Keep it Simple and Plan Ahead
Diets suck. That’s this man’s opinion, but diets suck harder postpartum. During this time, unless you’re some sort of masochist, don’t worry about going for a six-pack. My two cents on the subject is make-ahead meals. It doesn’t have to be ground turkey and brown rice for every meal, just try to make a couple of things that you can toss in the oven and walk away. I think the healthiest lazy person dish is pretty much anything you can put in a casserole dish and continue to eat for several days.
On top of that, can you imagine the dirty sexy-time potential for making a shit-ton of good food for your recently pregnant wife that she didn’t have to cook?! In conclusion, take 4 hours out of one day a week, look up some recipes online that are generally healthy and easy to put together, prep them and toss them in the freezer. BOOM! Mind blown.
Brothers, I applaud your willingness to undertake the savage path and wish you good fortune in your crusade.