A New Father’s Guide to Building a Rock Solid Body and Life | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

A New Father’s Guide to Building a Rock Solid Body and Life

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Having a newborn baby can really change your daily routine.
  • Poor diet and inadequate sleep are examples of habits that may start to form due to the much-needed care for your newborn.
  • Knowing how to plan your day, cook healthily and efficiently, staying focused, and keeping yourself accountable are ways to ensure a good fitness and health level when taking care of your newborn.

You may recognize this guy. He stumbles out of bed feeling as though he hasn’t slept. That’s because he really hasn’t. He doesn’t have the time for a real breakfast so he hits the drive-thru for a breakfast McGriddle.

By 3 p.m. he’s ready to face plant on his desk. He resorts to a designer coffee or a cola from the vending machine hoping for some energy.

He plans to hit the gym after work, but by the time he leaves the office he’s exhausted and starving. His wife is just as exhausted, so he picks up some Chinese take-out and heads home.

In the last two months, he hasn’t had a shower that lasted more than five minutes or slept for more than four hours straight. He used to curl 80 pounds, but he’s down to curling ten – however many reps it takes to change a wet diaper.

Yep, he’s a new father. You may even be him. Becoming a dad is absolutely incredible. However, nothing can prepare you for it. A newborn can really shift your regular daily routines which can result in habits that are unhealthy. Lack of sleep, poor diet, and inadequate exercise are a few common dilemmas that happen once a newborn baby arrives.

Being the father of a newborn is incredibly challenging. If you’re also trying to gain or maintain lean muscle and eat healthfully, it’s even more so. But being a new dad doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own health and physique.

Stress and sleep, diet, focus, and accountability are four challenges that you need to understand and be aware of to not fall into the trap of resorting to things that may weaken your health and fitness level.

In fact, by understanding these challenges and incorporating the necessary changes into your life, being a new dad may be one of the best things that could happen to your fitness goals.

Exercise will always be an important component of your overall health. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

Challenge #1 – Sleep and Stress

Guys, stress, lack of sleep and the stress caused by lack of sleep will wreak havoc on your hormone levels and throw them completely out of whack. When that happens, you’ll be fatigued and can start to gain fat because of high cortisol levels. Your testosterone levels will be too low to continue adding muscle.

Unfortunately, in the first weeks or even months after the baby is born, sleep is going to be a prize, not a guarantee. You may be one of the lucky fathers whose baby starts sleeping through the night almost immediately, but the odds are better that you’ll be getting up at least once a night to either change or help feed the baby.

We all understand the importance of getting enough rest as it relates to muscle recovery and fat loss, but lack of sleep will do a lot more damage if you don’t take steps to get more rest.

At the same time, you can’t let your wife deal with the late nights on her own either or else she’ll have a mental breakdown. Accept that you’re going to have interrupted sleep and irregular sleep patterns for a while and try to counter it by getting to bed earlier, or even getting up later if your work allows it.

Challenge #2 – Diet

Eating a healthy diet and hitting all your macros is challenging at any time, but even more so when you have a new baby in the house. If your wife usually does most of the food shopping and cooking, she’s probably not able to do as much as she used to. She shouldn’t be expected to either.

Even if you usually share the kitchen duties, time is at a premium and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of ordering out or nuking your meals. But this is a dangerous road to fat gain and poor health. You should incorporate cooking in bulk to save time and the risk of eating unhealthy.

You can cook up to a week’s worth of food at about the same time you cook days worth of food when life is really busy. This is why cooking in bulk can not only be cost and time effective, but it can lead to a more consistent and healthier eating regimen. You can cook healthy meals in bulk so that you are consistently eating clean throughout the week.

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Challenge #3 – Focus

Staying focused is a constant battle for some people. For others, it’s fairly easy because they’re driven. But if you’re a new father, you’re going to have a lot of obstacles to staying focused on your personal bodybuilding goals.

Things are chaotic at home, there’s a lot more to do to keep everything functioning for your family and you have your hands full with a new baby. Staying focused is a challenge, but there are things you can do to help yourself stay on track and still get everything done.

Creating a set schedule to follow every day can help you stay focused and have structure. Sometimes sheer willpower is hard to come by, especially when your tired and busier than usual.

Decide what you must get done each day to stay on track and take care of your family. Write a schedule that allows you to get the most important things done first, then commit to that schedule.

Challenge # 4 – Accountability

Needing and using accountability is nothing to be embarrassed about. Some people find they do better with accountability at all times. Other people just need it during particularly challenging times. That accountability might be something as small as having a buddy at the gym to run sprints with you or hiring a personal trainer.

Even utilizing ways to hold yourself accountable can help. For example, you can enter a transformation contest with a deadline or follow a program designed by someone you look up to. You could even spend a few bucks on a program so that you put some money at stake.

Challenge #5 – Time

Time. You used to have a lot of it. Now you don’t, plain and simple. Even if your schedule was already jammed before you had a newborn, now it’s completely covered up. Aside from focusing on what’s important and creating a schedule that reflects that, the best thing you can do for you and your family is to get some help.

No matter how amazing your wife is, she’s not superwoman. Don’t expect her to be able to take care of the baby and everything having to do with your home life as well. Your wife very well may be working outside the home, just as you are. Do whatever you can to help each other, but don’t be afraid to get help from others.

Even if you can’t afford to pay for a cleaning service or help with the yard or whatever else, maybe you can find ways to barter for it. If you’re an accountant, maybe you know a guy who can maintain your yard in exchange for help with his taxes.

Maybe your wife’s a hairstylist and knows someone who would gladly clean one morning a week in exchange for free haircuts or color. Let the in-laws and your parents or your friends help out when they offer. It’s temporary and it’ll save your health and your sanity and keep your marriage healthy as well.

Take steps to make sure that you stay on track so that you don’t have to start from square one when it’s over. Most importantly, remember to cherish every single moment with your newborn and family as these are moments you’ll never get back.

Having a newborn can make finding an exercise routine difficult. If you are looking to build a routine, look no further. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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