Congratulations, you’re a father now.
Welcome to the world of the sleepless, restless, and sexless. Frustrating times lie ahead, but let me tell you right now, none of that will matter to you when you have your kid in your arms.
Unfortunately, that’s about it for you now. For the next few months, it will feel like an endless loop of crying, waking up in the middle of the night, getting two hours of sleep, and seeing your wife’s hooters but you can’t get any.
A lot of guys don’t know the struggle of dads after their wives give birth. We all know that women gain weight after giving birth, but not many are aware that the husbands gain weight too. Sympathetic weight gain is real, and if you’re not careful, you’ll put on weight like a cow ready for slaughter.
You’ve gotten used to being your top priority your whole life, and now, you have to step up and look out for your family. It’s easy to get caught up in all the mess of fatherhood. If you had a buddy that had a kid before you, you’d know that men almost change overnight the moment they become a dad.
You can barely recognize the guy anymore. When you become a dad, the time you used to set aside for yourself is now spent on your responsibilities as a father, and for most of us, that means no more gaming, late night out with the boys, even Monday Night Football. Of course, that means no gym time or dieting too. How else could you survive the swift change in your lifestyle?
Most guys have their kids at their prime, and even when you’re supposed to be at your physical peak, you feel tired and weary. There’s no such thing as free time anymore. Once you have a kid, every second counts. Every minute of sleep is like water in the desert; you take it every chance you get because you’re not sure when you’ll get the chance to take it again. In every bit of effort you churn out to be the perfect father, you give up pieces of the things you used to want for yourself. Who doesn’t want to be fit and strong? But if it means getting your kid to sleep, regardless if it takes an hour or more, you do it, because that’s the kind of dad you want to be.
But here’s the good thing; you’ll eventually learn how to make time to do other things, and when I mean “make”, it’s like pulling it out of thin air. You learn how to multitask. You disinfect bottles, pre-heat the milk, and carry your baby in one arm – all in one go. You get to pick up on subtle cues, like when your kid is about to feel sleepy and you prep everything you need to get them to sleep. All of these things add up to time – time that you can spend doing things you gave up when you became a dad.
How you spend this time is all up to you. Whether you go for a series marathon, watch sports, listen to music, or just enjoy the quiet around you – it’s all up to you. While you’re at it, the personal time you gain by saving time all day could be used more productively. You can try to work out a bit, just enough to get you going. At first, it will feel like your first time at the gym all over again. It will hurt, you’ll feel exhausted, but at the end of the day, it will all be worth it.
If you think about it, there’s a lot of material for women to read up on and learn about the changes they would encounter once they enter motherhood, but for us guys, there’s just a handful – and I’ll be damned if it was not written by a woman. It’s not a stretch to say that most guys who enter fatherhood head-on would have some similar experiences, and letting themselves go is probably at the top of the list of the things we have in common.
It’s normal to go through drastic changes in your physique once you become a new dad, and the simple explanation is because you’ve gone through a drastic change in your lifestyle, and that’s okay. How you get your physique back takes time, dedication, focus, and planning. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
To start, sneaking in a workout while you take care of your kid shouldn’t be that complicated. The first few months of fatherhood require all your focus, but as your kid grows, the more time you’ll have to spend on yourself. You’ll eventually have time to do a full workout, but until that time comes, you can make do with what you can get.
It’s all about strategy, timing, planning. While it would be nice to have the time and energy for a full workout, it rarely ever happens that you have time and energy at the same time, so you do quick workout bursts whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Let’s say you’re in the kitchen preparing your kid’s bottle. Setting the bottle sanitizer, reheating mom’s milk, and putting other bottles in the dishwasher takes up about 5-10 minutes of your time, with most of your time spent waiting for the timer to click. Why not do a quick push-up on the living room floor while you wait, or do pull-ups on your garage? Even with just 5 minutes to work out, you’re getting work done. You’ll get plenty of chances to sneak in your workouts every day, and everything adds up to more than a full workout.
You may not realize it, but a lot of the things you do every day are spent watching and waiting. It’s mentally straining, but physically, it’s the equivalent of living a sedentary lifestyle. Case in point, I’m sure you’ve never seen a heavy guy become ripped just because they became a dad. You can squeeze in time to do your workouts when you’re just watching and waiting, and who knows – maybe in a few months, you can get back to the gym and actually do a full workout.
What I’m getting at is, you don’t have to wait until your life changes again just so you can make time for yourself. What you have today could be enough to just get you by.