Emigration is very exciting.
But when I arrived in Brazil a few months ago, I was not only confronted with a new environment, a foreign language and a completely new culture, but also a newborn baby!
A lot has changed since the birth of Lara. My original daily routine has been completely overthrown and my habits have changed.
The new phase of life as a young father certainly comes with some new challenges.
My fitness and gym performance lifestyle suffered a little when I adapted to my new lifestyle.
Yet, I refused to accept a “Dad Bod”!
A new family member is no reason to get lazy, after all.
In this article I would like to share my experiences as a young father to show you how I maintain my fitness despite work and family.
“Dad Bod” is out – “Fit Dad” is the name of the game!
A Fit Dad needs to be flexible
Do you want to meet a colleague at a certain time in the gym?
Eat dinner as planned at 8.00 p.m.?
Start the weekend with a slack jog in the park?
Anything that used to be possible without any problems and things that were even part of your daily routine are suddenly not so easy anymore.
My only a few months old princess Lara is now determining my schedule.
Whether in the morning, at noon or in the middle of the night – Lara’s needs always have priority.
Only when my baby fell asleep and is fed and has received enough attention, it’s daddy’s turn to make some plans.
As a father, you are limited in the things you can do, and at what time you can do them.
And this is something that I personally have to struggle with.
It will probably still take a while until I get used to the new circumstances.
But sooner or later I’ll have to come to terms with it.
And to be honest, this is not as bad as it sounds.
Instead of working out with my gym buddy, I’ll just work out by myself – or with whoever I happen to meet at the gym.
Instead of a jogging session in the park on a Saturday morning, I’ll do a cardio session during Lara’s afternoon nap.
Instead of eating at exactly 8.00 pm, it now varies between 7.00 pm and 11.30pm – sem problemas!
Fight Your Lack of Sleep With Caffeine
Every family man knows the consequences of sleep deprivation.
A newborn baby requires attention and time.
Lots of it!
To get up for your little one in the middle of the night is one thing.
In fact, even nights without any sleep are not uncommon.
At least during the first few weeks after birth.
Sleep deprivation has a marked effect on your performance.
Not only at work, but also in the gym.
Caffeine, such as a calorie-free energy drink or a pre-workout booster usually helps against fatigue.
But an energetic workout after two consecutive nights without sleep?
Even three espressos won’t help you there!
The fact that sleep has an effect on my Gym Performance is nothing new to me, of course.
But the way a sleep deprivation affects my mood and energy levels has been one of my biggest learning experiences of the last few months.
My tip? Skip your workout and treat yourself to a good rest! In my opinion, an intensive workout every other day is more effective than daily gym sessions with no energy.
By now, my girlfriend and I agreed on a bed in a separate room – the ultimate luxury solution!
Many thanks to my girlfriend at this point.
And even if she will not read this article due to the language barrier: I appreciate your understanding.
Maximum Intensity in Minimum Time
I’m sure that everyone has been asked before whether they would like to have children in the future.
Just two years ago my answer was, “I work full-time, I work out daily, I coach gym performance clients and I want to enjoy some free time – how am I supposed to manage all this with a child?”
Today, this hypothetical situation is my new reality.
I still have my job. I still run my online coaching service. I can also be found regularly in the gym.
There is even some time for Netflix & Chill almost every day!
Admittedly, it is anything but easy to find a good balance. Certain areas have suffered, at least temporarily, such as the promotion of my side hustles “Gym Performance”.
A baby requires time and patience. Spending several hours a day in the gym (and producing content) is something I don’t want to do since that would mean an even greater load on Lara’s mother.
This makes it all the more important to use any time available effectively.
I personally like to increase the intensity of my workout with drop-sets, super-sets and circuits. This allows me to keep the training sessions short and still get the maximum out of them.
If a visit to the gym is not possible due to lack of time, you can do bodyweight workouts anywhere and at any time, without any equipment or machines.
An example is the Full Body Crossfit Workout. Perfect for a Fit Dad!
More Exercise Thanks to Your Little One!
Spending an afternoon alone with your baby does not mean that you need to stay in the house.
In fact, a father-daughter afternoon can be very sporty.
A walk outside is not only an experience for the baby, but also an effective way to burn calories.
Pushing the stroller on a road with a steep incline is known to raise the pulse rate quickly. Depending on the speed, this can even be just as effective as jogging.
Personally, I like to listen to a podcast while walking. And if the sun shines, I don’t want to get back home at all.
Thanks to Lara, I even claim to have taken more steps on average than ever before!
Spending time with your daughter and getting fit – check!
When the Fit Dad Loses Control
Discipline and persistence are among my strengths.
Whether it is a specific diet over several months, learning a new language or a 30 miles march in the army – I have often shown a strong will.
But Lara presents me with a completely new challenge.
The combination of little sleep, irritable mood, frustration and a screaming baby at 03.00 in the morning even led me to lose control.
For the first time in my life I experienced an uncontrolled ravenous hunger attack, reached for the candy drawer and ate whatever was in it.
About 5.000 calories and a huge amount of sugar in less than 10 minutes – just gone.
Of course I didn’t feel any better.
On the contrary: only a few minutes later I felt guilty and questioned my behavior.
What is a completely new situation for me is a familiar problem to many of my Gym Performance customers.
Over and over again, I hear stories that have caused a loss of control that lead to ravenous appetite attacks.
Although the situations vary greatly from client to client and also differ from my story, the cause of uncontrolled cravings is always the same: STRESS!
I cannot describe the experience as particularly positive.
Yet, it helps me to understand my clients better, to learn to deal with the problem and to optimize my coaching.
Fit Dad or Dad Bod – The Choice is Yours
My conclusion of the first months as a family man: Fathers need to be flexible.
A baby comes with many new challenges and requires some drastic changes in your lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the new situation is a great opportunity.
Not only the child learns from it, its parents, too.
Basically, my daughter is a first class personal trainer for me and my girlfriend.
She teaches us to set priorities and how to get the best of our free time!
My fitness and my online coaching business may have suffered a little, especially during the first weeks after the birth.
But to get lazy and to quit on your workout just because of your offspring?
I will still be active and follow my passion.
You want to be a role model for your own child and exemplify a sporty lifestyle, after all.
And since many fathers use the new life situation as an excuse and reason for gaining weight, a fit dad can be all the more proud of himself.
One thing is clear: As a family father you want to take responsibility as a parent and be there for child and mother.
Keeping up with your fitness level may be a challenge at first.
That’s why it’s important to make the most of your time, be active and keep it rolling!
Fit Dad is a title to be deserved, after all.
PS: If you’re a father who wants to get from “dad bod” to “fit dad” , make sure to join our awesome fit dad community on facebook! 👇