November 17, 2006

Q: How/When Do You Work Out Post-Baby?

DT reader Jeff asks a question that we struggle with ourselves. It seems like the first thing to get cut from a busy schedule, where you're being pulled in different directions by work, the kid, family, etc., is the gym. I've gotten in the habit of working out late, after the kid's asleep, but my wife's often stuck trading work time against workout time, and well, guess which one wins out? Anyway, here's Jeff:

Prior to the baby, I had a good healthy exercise routine. My trick was doing it before work, so I had fewer excuses and could make it part of my "mindless" daily routine.

Post-baby, that is completely not working for me at all. I feel like I'm "stranding" my wife with the baby ( we both work) for something on the order of "personal" time, and haven't been able to come up with an alternate workout arrangement. The only obvious choices are lunchtime (very difficult for me) or after baby goes to bed (my least energized time of the day, and would require two showers a day).

Anyone have a Soloflex that doesn't have clothes hanging on it? Jogging? Yoga videos? Three sets of Doritos-to-mouth lifts followed by an hour of remote control thumb press?


For the first 9 months, I rode my bike to work, and I'd totally recommend it. I'm actually in better shape post-baby with cycling than I was pre-baby with regular exercise at the gym. The last month, though, I've added gym visits, at the YWCA here in Minneapolis, which offers free babysitting (6+ mo) for members.

My wife and I take the adult fitness swim class at the Y (it reminds me of high school swim team). I think the day care costs something like $1/half hour, and the staff is great. The kid loves it, we get some time away with each other, and we get to work out.

Let's see.. I think I've been to the gym about 2 times since my daughter was born.

My wife goes, though. Bally's has a "kids club" you can drop the kids off at when they are old enough.

Me? I get enough exercise chasing my daughter around to keep her out of trouble.

I've found exercising easier. My daughter wakes up around 5:45 each morning. My wife feeds here then hands her off to me at 6:15 and we go run for between 30 minutes to an hour. I wasn't a morning person though, so I've suddenly just found this whole extra two hours. I'd imagine if you were a morning person you wouldn't find it as easy to change your schedule.

Funny, i just recently solved this issue. Last Xmas, I set up a bike trainer in our room and would ride during the day while the twins napped. I'd usually get in a half hour or so.

Since I work two days a week, I figured I could sneak out of the house early and go to a gym next to my job and get a good solid 1.5 hours in. I feel great now, and don't feel guilty on the other three days when i spend the entire girls' nap cleaning up and cooking lunch and stuff.

as for leaving the wife "stranded". That was the major reason why I didn't start doing this until the girls were 18 months old. they now sleep fairly reliably until 7am, so she can still get up and shower and be ready for them and the babysitter.

In the evenings. After the kids are asleep, I head out to the gym for an hour. If I don't do that two-three times a week, then I go insane. There's a Concept 2 Rower in the basement, but being at home so much makes me want to get out and at least make-believe that I am interacting with people.

The posters above all seem like energetic people who would find a way to work out no matter what. I, however, am...not. To finally get some exercise in my life I bought a used treadmill and placed it in front of my television. Now after the kids go to bed it is a "treat" for me to watch tv and walk on the treadmill. I have also done the biking to work thing, which I love, but is hard for me to sustain.

It would be a good thing if someone would develop a workout routine for dads that did two things:

- first, conditioned those baby necessary muscles before the baby arrived (by 11 months, my first son was 22 lbs and my one arm carry was giving me tendonitis);

- used the baby/infant/toddler as the weight for a video of muscle toning exercises (as an example, sit down, hold your child face down with your outstretched forearms, elbows on knees, and do 20 "curls")

It addition to the opportunity to bond, it would be especially useful for those late in life dads to help condition back muscles for those forays into the back seat to drag out a sleeping toddler...


try CROSSFIT ( as you get stronger workouts can be done 20 minutes tops. the results are unbelievable.

We have a 2-year-old. For us, it was a matter of coming up with something that would give BOTH of us a vested interest in making sure we BOTH had time to work can't really accomplish it if your partner isn't willing to help facilitate. So we have a deal...we each work out 3X a week (30 mins minimum), and if one of us fails to do so, we both get punished. (My penance: no TV for a week; my husband is denied coffee for a week). So far it's been quite effective...the punishments are too harsh to ignore!

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