Too many parents, after having kids, fall into the mindset that they can’t make time to exercise and are content with a sedentary lifestyle. Are you one of these parents?
As a proud dad to an 11 month old girl, I get it, and know it’s hard to even think of doing anything for yourself when you’re constantly doing everything for your kid or kids. I see the difficulty with my one child, and something tells me it doesn’t get easier as the number increases. With that said, there’s always a way to be a fit parent, you just have to want it and make it a priority.
Most dads, aka “kings of the house”, are looked up to as the big and strong superhero in their kids’ life. But how can we be big and strong if we never make time to exercise? We can’t let our little offspring keep us from being big and strong, no way, we just need to get creative. I’ve posted several videos on YouTube demonstrating ways to exercise with or using your baby and you can check them all out below.
As you can see, exercise doesn’t have to be a structured routine, most of these can be done any time of day with little to no equipment. If you can, use weights for compound moves like squats, bench press, overhead press, and deadlift. Lifting heavy is a necessary part of strength training and vital for everyday functions, especially when it comes to lugging your kids and all of their crap toys around!
Doing squats, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, etc. with a barbell or dumbbells will have you on your way getting stronger. I know not everyone has this option at home, but if you do, bring your kids with you so they see their daddy working out. As their role model, your kids will most likely be eager for the day they can train with you. So if not for yourself, find a way to be active for your kids’ sake!
If you find yourself saying “I want to exercise, I just need to find a routine, plan, etc.”, get that out of your head right now! Don’t let your search for the perfect routine hold you back. You can always adjust and tweak your strategy as you go, just find a way to move and start going!
Take companies like Apple, for example, they’re always releasing the next update for their products. Yes, they make me want to bang my head on the wall, but if they waited for everything to be “perfect” before releasing the iPhone, they never would’ve released anything to begin with.
Check out Bodybuilding.com or Startingstrength.com for a massive selection of articles on diet and nutrition for any goal type. I enjoy frequenting the forums on these sites to learn from other people’s successes and failures and making adjustments in my training where I see fit. The forums are free to join and are filled with knowledgeable and supportive members who will happily share their thoughts if you have questions.
Don’t let yourself hold yourself back, find a basic plan you like on these sites (or elsewhere) and make it point to start today! No putting things off, just find a way and do it! If you’re not interested in following a routine and just want to keep in shape, that’s not a problem, kids easily double as workout equipment!
Pick up your kid and play airplane, chase them around the house, or get on the ground and play with them. Whatever it is, just MOVE! When and if you’re able, bring your kids with you to safely watch as you lift heavy stuff, do a workout video, or any other form of exercise. Remember, exercise can be anything that gets your blood flowing and allows you to work up a little sweat. Don’t make it complicated, just try things out to see if they work for you, something’s bound to stick.
Here are a few more ideas to get you and your kids moving and having fun at the same time:
- Bear crawl while playing with baby. My daughter loves seeing me get on the ground to her level and immediately has a huge smile on her face. Doing bear crawls only gets her more excited and she’ll even chase after me.
- No weights? Try rearranging your furniture or moving it and putting it back. Do this every day or every other day and eventually that couch will feel lighter as you get stronger.
- If they’re old enough to do it safely, do “kid curls”. They have fun getting lifted in the air, and you’re working your arms and core by keeping stable.
- Find a hill or just a safe area to do sprints with baby in stroller. Try for 10 rounds of 80 meters and walking back for recovery. Tell your kids you’re about to go into “turbo mode” right before “launching”.
- Exercise on playground equipment. Here’s a good list to get started from Greatist.com.
- Wear your baby to go on walks or do chores around the house. Here’s an article I wrote on Huff Post Parents about Why I Wear My Baby and its long list of benefits.
- Dance to music. Move your furniture as mentioned above to create a living room “dance floor” with strobe lights if you have them and your kids (and you) will be moving for hours!
- Just go for a walk. Getting outside and breathing fresh air is not only healthy for physical reasons, but mentally too! Just because we’re “at-home” dads doesn’t mean we want to be stuck in the house.
- When watching TV, use commercials to do something active. See how many push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats you can do before the commercials end. Include the kids if they are old enough and make fun names for the exercises like Power Push-ups, Jupiter Jumping Jacks, or Sa-squats.
Keep in mind that nutrition plays a key role in your fitness and overall health. The saying “You can’t out train a bad diet” is true, and focusing on real, whole foods will do wonders for your entire family. Please, for the sake of all stay-at-home dads out there, make us look good and get active for yourself and your lovely miniature “yous”.