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Training With a Newborn

I regularly receive questions from new parents who are wondering how they can continue exercising while caring for their child (or children). I won’t claim to be the authority on the subject, but I do have two young children. My son will be 3 in May, and my daughter is just shy of 8 months.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a full 8 hours of sleep. It’s been years. Dealing with limited sleep is something that I’m quite familiar with. For several months after the birth of each child, we went through our share of sleepless nights. It’s amazing that there were times when my wife and I were excited to get 4 hours of sleep. As a man, I have no business complaining however, as I’m not the one who was up every few hours nursing the baby!

Currently, my daughter is beginning to sleep much better, although teething may have her up once or twice during the night. I average somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, which usually comes in three hour blocks. When my daughter wakes up, I wake up, which usually means that I’m up for a while before falling back to sleep.

Functioning with 5 or 6 hours of sleep is all that I know. I don’t know what I’d do with 8 hours of sleep. My wife and I chuckle when a friend or family member (without kids) will gripe about feeling tired after not getting their full 8 hours of sleep. Inside my head, I’m usually thinking to myself,” You have NO idea what tired is!”

There have been days when I’ve worked late, am up with one of the kids in the middle of the night, and then up early the next morning, which means a total of just a few hours of sleep. No, it isn’t fun, but it comes with the territory as a new parent. My children come first. Taking care of them is at the top of the priority list. If that means feeling a little tired the next day, so be it.

On the flip side, having a child doesn’t mean that your life ends. Yes, your life will change, but it is supposed to be for the better! There is no reason to fall apart physically and mentally. Considering that my daughter is getting close to sleeping through the night, I figured I should share a few thoughts while the subject is still fresh in my mind. Below are a few tips that have worked for me.

Morning Workouts

Personally, I find that morning workouts are best. I’ll wake up before the kids, which makes for an ideal training time. The way I look at it, if I’m going to be tired, I may as well get a workout in early on, as I’m going to feel tired regardless. Oddly enough, I find that morning workouts tend to wake me up. It may take a few minutes to get the blood flowing, but once I hit the zone, I forget about feeling tired and my adrenaline takes over. I then feel much better throughout the day. I rarely notice myself feeling tired afterward.

If I skip a morning workout, it throws a wrench in my plans. I always find myself busy with work during the day (and often into the evening), which makes it more and more difficult to find time for my own training. By training early in the morning, there is absolutely nothing (later in the day) that can disrupt my workout.

Morning workouts may take some getting used to, but eventually become just another part of the daily routine. I consider the morning workout similar to how I did my roadwork back in my days as an active fighter. Whenever I’d begin training for a new fight, it would take a few days to get used to the early morning runs. Within a week, it was just another part of the day. I didn’t think twice about it. I could wake up without the alarm clock. As poet John Dryden once said,

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

Make Time

Morning workouts work for me. That doesn’t mean they will work for you. You need to find something that jives with your own schedule. Be prepared to actively MAKE time to train however. Don’t expect extra time to fall out of the sky. As a father, husband, and business owner, I always have a full plate. I try to make the most out of each minute. For me, it means waking up earlier than I would otherwise. For you, perhaps it means going to bed later. Ultimately, the time is there. You just need to look for it.

Life’s Tough, Deal With It

Life’s tough, so let’s not pretend otherwise. Dealing with less than optimal sleep conditions isn’t always going to be fun. There will be days when you are tired and cranky. That’s life. I don’t feel bad for you. I’ve been there myself.

The fitness community as a whole needs to stop making bullsh*t promises. Nothing worth having comes easy. A ten minute workout is better than nothing, but let’s not pretend that it will create the next Spartan warrior. Training is like most things in life. You get what you put into it. There is no easy way. Hard and consistent work is the only legitimate training secret. Unfortunately, most people don’t want anything to do with it.

So no, I can’t promise that you’ll wake up feeling chipper after you’ve been up half the night. There is a good chance that you’ll wake up feeling miserable. Take comfort in knowing that you aren’t the only one. I’ve been in that same boat many mornings. I don’t cry myself back to sleep however. I wake up, play some loud, obnoxious music on the headphones, and begin training.

Strength

When I’m tired, I find that I perform better when targeting strength. I can always put out some quality strength work. I rarely find myself as eager to perform lengthy conditioning workouts. From a conditioning standpoint, I’ll do better with abbreviated methods (ex. a short finisher after my main workout).

Bodyweight Exercise

Bodyweight exercise comes in handy if you train at home. Yes it’s effective, but perhaps more importantly it is quiet! You can work very hard with your child sleeping in the next room. An added bonus is that the gym is never closed. You can train at any time. This isn’t to say that you should abandon free weights, but rather a reminder that there are other options available if necessary. Personally, I often mix free weights with bodyweight exercise.  If for some reason I have no equipment available however, I can always find a way to complete a quality full body workout.

Better Than Nothing

Get over the fact that you may not have a full hour or two blocked off for uninterrupted training. There will be times when parent duty kicks in and training is interrupted. It’s not the end of the world. A few sets of anything throughout the day is better than nothing. I can always manage to find time for a mini-workout at some point during the day. A few favorites of mine include the ab wheel, handstand pushups, pull-ups, a variety of isometrics, etc.

I certainly prefer an uninterrupted workout, but if for some reason it doesn’t happen, I can always find a way to accumulate a decent workload throughout the course of the day. For example, just recently I decided to do 50 bodyweight squats each time that I let my dogs out. I racked up 250 squats in what amounted to just a few minutes spread throughout the course of the day. Clearly, this isn’t the most significant accomplishment in the world, but it is better than nothing.

Goals

I find it particularly useful to have goals in mind. If I’m tired, I’m not in the mood to improvise. I need to have an idea of what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m not looking to solve any complex algorithms first thing in the morning. I need to be focused on something specific.

Keep It Fun

I work almost every day of the year. When I’m up early in the morning, I don’t want to view my training with a job-like mentality. Yes, I work hard, but the work needs to be something that I enjoy. Training needs to be fun, particularly when it is something that I’m doing without a full night’s sleep. Enjoying the work allows me to look forward to training. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. If I dreaded the training, I doubt I would do it.

Nutrition

I strongly believe that clean eating contributes to my ability to recover from less than optimal sleep conditions. I don’t believe in micro-managing the eating process, but I do believe in clean eating. My nutritional strategy is very simple. I eat real food (ex. fruits, veggies, fish, meat, etc.) when I’m hungry, and I don’t eat any artificial and/or processed junk. That’s it. I have better things to do with my time than counting how much of this or that nutrient has been consumed in this or that meal. My ancestors did pretty well without calculating zones and nutrient ratios on the abacus, so I see no reason to change. I never get sick, recover quickly from training, and feel good throughout the day. If it isn’t broken, I see no reason to fix it. Find what works for you. That’s the best nutritional advice I ever heard, so now I’m giving it to you.

Don’t Believe Everything That You Hear

I’ve had many people tell me that it is absolutely essential to receive 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night. I respond by sharing my story, and it’s as if they do not believe it could be true. How could I be doing something that is not reflected in the peer reviewed study that they read in a recent journal! It can’t be!

Well guess what, it is. I’m all for science, but at times I prefer falling back on the most basic definition. Merriam-Webster defines science as the state of knowing. I know what my body needs to function. When I read a study that suggests otherwise, my first thought is that they sure as hell didn’t study me. I continue to make gains, so I know that I’m doing something right.

And please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that my way is the only way. I’ve found what works for me. You need to find what works for you. You also need to realize that the body is much more capable than many believe. I’ve hit PR’s in the gym on mornings that followed sleepless nights. I’m not suggesting that you stay up all night before attempting your next PR, but at the same time, don’t be so quick to doubt your abilities.

I’m not perfect and I have bad days just like anyone. I always wake up and try however. And when I compare this approach to other options, it’s always an easy decision for me to make.

A Small Sacrifice

Parenthood is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t have words for how amazing it is to be a father to my children. Losing a few hours of sleep is nothing to me. I’d give up on sleep entirely if I had to for my kids.

To those who struggle with less than optimal sleep conditions, keep in mind that it does get better. My son has been sleeping through the night for almost 2 years now. My daughter isn’t far off from doing the same. Yes, the early months can be tough when dealing with limited sleep, but remember that it will get better. Also, keep in mind that it really isn’t that bad. There are far worse circumstances in the world. Take a look through the news and it won’t be difficult to find far worse scenarios. You’ll realize that losing a few hours of sleep really isn’t a big deal.

If losing a few hours of sleep is your biggest problem, you really don’t have a problem. Get up and get busy and you’ll feel much better afterward (not to mention feeling better about yourself).

Ross

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57 comments

57 Comments so far

  1. thunda_from_downunda February 17th, 2009 11:40 pm

    Ross, Im not a parent, But run my own personal training business, and training for fights. this really applies to me. I sometimes find myself waiting untill I dont feel tired to train.. but getting up at 5am this will never happen. I just have to accept it. deal with it. thats life.

    thanks ross awesome post.

  2. Corey Griffin February 18th, 2009 12:03 am

    Thanks for addressing this subject. I share your views of sacrifice for our children. I am doing my masters degree and have a 5 month old, so time is tight. I do workout in the morning, but I have to take your tip to get up earlier than my baby. This will be 4am, but so be it. I’ve tried working out with my daughter nearby watching me, but that is hit and miss. Doing WC101 or whatever is hard enough without my baby fussing and crying for me half way through.

    Boy, being a dad is out of this world though. Best thing in life.

    I’m using NG, running and yoga since they are quiet or done outside. I woke the baby up by dropping a barbell one day….not a good scene.
    I workout in the basement so I have to keep the noise down.

    I just have to set the alarm for an earlier wake up and suck it up.

    I’ll bookmark this blog entry for a reminder.

    Thanks!

  3. Aussieguy February 18th, 2009 12:08 am

    Loved this. I don’t have kids, so will forward to my brother who does, AND keep in mind for the future! Perhaps I shall try a workout in the morning (something I never do) – just for the practice! :)

    I’ve always found the idea of having kids scary; thanks for putting a positive light on it without losing realism!

    Very inspiring!

  4. Guy February 18th, 2009 12:14 am

    I have a 5 month old daughter and I am learning all about the lack of sleep thing! Ross – motivational as always and the “better than nothing” strikes a cord. I do 5 pullups on the overhang everytime I go down the stairs and then I have kettlebells in the kitchen to use when I am cooking! 20 hand stand push ups every morning and then 20 push ups everytime I go into my daughters room (she gives me the strangest looks.)She doesn’t sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time but after she’s down for the first shift at night (about 7pm)I’m out to the garage for 20-30 mins…it’s really tough but being a new father is a wonderful thing. And when I need to push that extra weight I think that I’m doing it for her…does the trick. Thanks for the share – it’s good to know that everyone goes through the same!

  5. Manveet February 18th, 2009 2:59 am

    No kids, but I thought I could share a let gem of wisdom I once read in a dusty old book.

    This is what Marcus Aurelius, former Emperor of Rome, wrote in his private journal while on a military campaign some 1500 years ago:

    In he morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present- I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm?- But this is more pleasant.- Dost thou exist then to take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human being, and dost thou not make haste to do that which is according to thy nature?

  6. T February 18th, 2009 8:07 am

    always an inspiration Ross.

    good stuff Manveet.

  7. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later February 18th, 2009 10:53 am

    Amen on the nutritional advice Ross – bang on the money.

  8. Richard February 18th, 2009 12:25 pm

    I’ve got you all beat! Last year I had 6 kids three and under, you want to talk about no sleep! My oldest is now 4 I’ve got two 3 year olds two two year olds and a 11 month old. Two years ago I thought I was gonna die of exhaustion, never slept more then 2 hours continuous.(and they complain about the treatment at Gitmo)! Was not working out either which was a huge mistake. It’s better now and I always do the 4:30 am work outs and workouts during the day. Kids are the greatest. You have to find time for the work out it’s critical to your health and sanity. Good luck with the kids Ross, great post.

  9. Troy February 18th, 2009 2:00 pm

    Absolutely awesome post. It’s nice to see someone who is so proud to be a father. I’m in the same boat. Time is the great equalizer. No one has any more than anyone else (cept when you die). It’s what you choose to do with your time.

  10. Robert February 18th, 2009 2:29 pm

    Went through 4 years of sleep deprived child raising. I was in the worst shape of my life by the end of those 4 years. So what? Now my kids are 15 and 17, and that is a distant memory. I got back into possibly the best shape of my life since then. And no regrets about the time, effort, and attention I put into my kids and work.
    For anyone who feels like it will never end, and like you are losing ground that will mever be made up, relax, do the best that you can, and remember, you’re gonna miss these days (when your kids were young).

  11. levi February 18th, 2009 8:32 pm

    see if you can write a shitty post? something no one can apply. dare you! ha.

    thanks ross!

  12. Steve February 18th, 2009 8:54 pm

    I have 2 kids – a & 7 y.o & a 5 y.o.

    I try to go to the gym 3-5 days a week and workout at home 2 days / week.

    I still get 6- 8 hours sleep per night easily and work full-time.

    I seriously think if you watch less T.V. and surf the internet less etc you can get everything in pretty easily.

  13. Ibrahim February 18th, 2009 9:43 pm

    Ross,

    you are a good father. You are there for your children.
    You are an pretty good motivator for the people who are saying: “I have little headaches, lil pain, some soreness there and here or i worked to long” therefor i can´t train.
    But like in the article before, if you are passioned about for example do some sports or working out you just do it. That´s the same with me. If i can´t train i read something about it. Or i plan my next workout etc.

    There is always a way!!!

    Thanks for the motivation Ross

  14. Scott February 18th, 2009 11:39 pm

    I guess Ross doesn’t answer replies here, but does anyone know if Ross has ever mentioned if he works out in a fasted state or if he eats prior to training?

  15. Administrator February 19th, 2009 1:03 am

    Scott – I answer replies here, or anywhere if I see it.

    As for early morning workouts, I almost always eat something light first. I feel much better with something in my body. I then eat a larger meal after training.

    Ross

  16. Scott February 19th, 2009 2:17 am

    That’s a lot Ross. I figured you did, as I myself feel and perform better with a banana and milk for example… I was just wondering if you fell out of bed and immediately began doing pull ups lol!

  17. JN February 19th, 2009 2:21 am

    Better to do some training then none.
    Also intresting comments with the eating.

  18. Supercyril February 19th, 2009 11:02 am

    I have alot to thank my 3 year old daughter for.If it wasnt for her i would still be going to the gym doing the same old crap now. instead i decided to deal with it & train at home instead. Thats how i found this site. I am now at 34 in the best shape of my life & loving training. I get up in enough time to eat,train, shower & eat breakfast before she wakes up. However i dont schedule rest days in my plan, that way when a spanner is thrown in i view it as a rest day as i may have just done 8 days training without a break.

  19. Mary February 19th, 2009 4:21 pm

    I completely subscribe to your philosophy, “I’m going to be tired anyhow, so I might as well have worked out.” I spend many weeks with only 5-6 hours per night of sleep.

    However, I do think it is important to note how much happier I am, how much better I control my eating and how much easier life if when I get enough sleep.

    In my mind, no sleep is not an excuse not to work out — but it’s important to aim for better health through proper sleep.

  20. Jeanine February 19th, 2009 4:55 pm

    Ross,

    There is no one that knows sleep deprivation more than me. My son was the worst sleeper on the planet earth. I actually hallucinated some days I got so little sleep at night in the first year of his life.

    For the first four years of my son’s life I felt sorry for myself and just made excuses not to exercise because I was too tired and depressed.

    Then I decided at size 14 that I had to get off my ass, exercise and start eating right. My family needed a mom, not a martyr.

    In January 2008, I began my journey which turned my life into one of fitness. I lost 20 lbs, started working out 5-6 days per week and exercise became a priority. Even if it meant leaving the kids with a sitter.

    It’s all about what is important to you. Make it important and it will happen.

    Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    Jeanine

  21. Gurumilang February 20th, 2009 2:02 am

    ross,i have a 16 months years old son, and this articles inspire me to doing my job as personal trainer, doing my training, and doing my responsibility as father.thanks ross, you inspire me.

    gugi

  22. Creative1 February 25th, 2009 2:46 pm

    Awesome post. I have a 9 year old and a 2 year old. Articles like this really motivate me to do even more and to spend less time complaining about feeling tired, and just getting on with it and dealing with LIFE!!!! Sometimes we can get so caught up in feeling tired, negative thoughts, etc. etc. and forgetting how lucky we really are to be able to wake up, motivate, and live.
    Thanks!

  23. Sean March 1st, 2009 4:04 pm

    Ross,

    I did enjoy your article however I have a few questions regarding sleep. As I have been taught in my physiology classes its the last few hours of sleep that are most important to memory function and mental housekeeping, at least so the theory goes.

    I find what happens to me when I don’t get my full 7-8 hours of sleep is not that I can’t do work at all, its that I can’t do tasks that require massive amounts of concentration (reading dense material, boring and dense class, etc.). I don’t drink any coffee and I don’t work out in the morning. Do you find a similar thing happens to you or does your adrenaline spike in the morning sort prevent this or do you just fight through the hazy feeling?

  24. Thomas March 3rd, 2009 6:32 pm

    Amen to this post! I have a 4yr old and we had a set of twins 14 months ago. I’m a trainer also and I would always joke to my clients saying that sleep was soo overrated! I was joking but in a sense it was true. I can’t remember how many times I made it to work on just 45 minutes of sleep for the night and worked a 12-16 hour day

    After our first child I would get up by 4am and make all my food for the day. I made a system which allowed me to do this in about 30 minutes. Then I would get my son up and change his diaper and put on his clothes then put him back in the bed. Then I would get showered and to work by 6am and work until 6pm! I repeated this for at least a year. Along with this I made sure I had my daily workouts and I was ok. From the workouts and the food everything was ok.

    If you want it bad enough then you’ll find a way and you’ll do it.

    B. Strong

  25. Mike O March 18th, 2009 3:08 am

    Great post Ross! As the father of 3 kids a little older than yours (16,11,and 8), I can assure you things get better in terms
    of time management. Funny thing is, I only need about 5-6 hours of sleep anyway and I feel fine…I might take a half hour nap during my lunch break once in a while. A Zoology professor once told me he got by on 3-4 hours sleep and that he didn’t want to sleep his life away because life was too interesting! LOL
    Life is about balance folks and a little common sense doesn’t hurt either. But seriously, being a parent is even more reason to be in good physical shape, in terms of enrgy demands and just being a role model for your kids…so there’s really no excuse for not finding the time to work out. More often than not, my own kids learn more from what I actually do than from what I say.Hey Ross,I know you like quotes so here’s a quote for you: “The test of all happiness is gratitude.”

  26. Tom April 29th, 2009 12:54 pm

    Hi Ross,

    being a brand new father myself, I was wondering… what your opinion about “training FOR a newborn”

    greetings
    Tom

  27. Tim E September 20th, 2009 9:23 pm

    Hi Ross,

    I’m a long-time reader, and first time poster here. I’m also a new dad of a one-week old. I knew that I had read an article about training with a newborn, so I searched for this, and reread it. Very helpful, thanks! Especially the ‘gains despite lack of sleep’ part. Now I feel motivated again. :-)

    Thanks,
    Tim

  28. macoelmeco October 26th, 2009 4:41 am

    i do not have kids but i still complain about the lack of time, damn this is a new perspective.. and sure it is helpful. thanks.

  29. sara December 2nd, 2009 10:39 am

    A ray of hope for the sleep deprived moms. Very helpful indeed! I inquired from my personal trainer from Carlsbad about how to handle this situation and he gave me some similar tips. Keep up the good work!

  30. Peter December 31st, 2009 11:25 pm

    Hi Ross,
    I have a soon to be 2 yr. old son. He is a handful, but in a good and tireless way. I find that regular training for cardio, bodyweight exercises,
    the standard boxer’s/martial arts workout with the bag, shadowboxing etc. can be done anytime of day regardless of how little or how much sleep you get. However, when it comes to doing heavy compound exercises with free weights, or heavy duty sparring with competitive fighters, one needs some rest, no and ifs or butts. If one is not able to get it during the night, I find that a cat nap or two during the day can make all the difference.
    For example, if one gets a 1 hr. lunch break at work, eat your lunch within
    15 minutes, take a nap in the car for 20 minutes and get refocused for work.
    Or if one gets home, play with the child, take a 15 minute nap and then lift heavy. These little naps don’t seem like much, but you would be surprised.

  31. Chad January 1st, 2010 8:59 pm

    Hey Ross,

    This is Chad H, you’ve helped me via email a few times in the past, and II has helped a lot in my training and the training of fighters.

    Anyway, THANKS for this article. We have our first baby on the way in April, and I too am running my own business plus training people.

    This article gives a good heads up, lol.

  32. Administrator January 1st, 2010 9:29 pm

    No problem Chad, and congrats!

    It may be rough initially, but you’ll adapt (just like anything else). My daughter is now a year and a half and my son is 3 and a half. Both sleep like champs (10 to 12 hours a night). The sleepless nights ended a long time ago (I wrote this last February). I now get in a solid 6 hours, which has always been good for me. Even at the worst however, I was always able to adapt.

    Peter – Interestingly enough, I always preferred heavy strength work when I was tired. I made some of the best strength gains in my entire life after both of my kids were born.

    Anyways, best of luck,
    Ross

  33. Administrator January 2nd, 2010 11:18 am

    And Chad, one more thing… No matter how bad it gets in terms of sleepless nights, it does get better!

  34. xz123 January 4th, 2010 9:16 pm

    Hey Ross,

    great article.
    I’ve only found your books in the first place because I wanted work out, but had neither time, nor the possibility to do some “regular” training at a gym. So I discovered your “Never Gymless”, and have trained with it as the foundation for all my training ever since.
    I really like the “spirit” that you communicate; quoting you (you quoting someone else): “A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn’t will find an excuse.”

    Why I’m posting this under this specific article?
    Because I’m a single father of a three year old boy, go to university, do triathlon training, strength training and Parkour. And somehow it’s possible, although time, as well as sleep (for some reason he sleeps very little, sometims it’s amazing that he isn’t dead tired all the time), are rare. It’s not easy, but if you want it – you have to try and find a way.
    Guess that’s the most important thing reading your books and blog have taught me :)

  35. T Vitiello January 20th, 2010 1:19 pm

    I also like to get up before the children. It’s a nice time of day and a great way to get the day started.

  36. Kevin January 27th, 2010 2:34 pm

    Ross,

    Great post – life will be so much better for you when they are potty trained and running around trying to follow your workouts.

    I used to substitute one of the kids for a medicine ball or dumbbell, tabata squats while holding a giggling 2-year-old, “baby-ups” to failure. They wiggle around a lot, so that really works the core, even if it does give the missus a heart attack.

    Now they tag along on my 10k runs, riding their bikes; sometimes I have to push one of them up this really steep hill, which is just the kind of crazy training I’m looking for.

    Enjoy them, I think that giving them an example of how everyone should be active is a great boon for their future.

  37. Administrator January 27th, 2010 5:41 pm

    Thanks Kevin,

    This post is actually a year old. My son will be 4 in May and my daughter has been sleeping through the night for many months now. They too enjoy playing in the gym.

    Here is a related post:
    http://rosstraining.com/blog/2009/10/08/fostering-an-active-lifestyle/

    Glad to hear that you are keeping your kids active as well!

    Ross

  38. Corey March 24th, 2010 12:20 pm

    I own FTC and NG and II is in the mail as I write this comment. Here’s the deal. I am having huge problems trying to stay fit. Even the early morning thing has become a disaster. If I get up early it ‘wakes everyone up’ even if I am very quiet. That’s just getting up out of bed. Then I have to workout like a mouse since our garage is underneath the bedrooms. THere’s insulation, but not enough for med ball slams, sledges, barbells, etc. I’ve run at lunch at work, but that results in a sweaty mess for the pm and it’s just running…not ideal. So, I then tried to work out later in the evening after the baby has gone to bed (heavy sleeper) and my wife is watching TV. But working out at 9, 10 or even 11 in the evening is bloody hard since I start dozing by 9 pm usually.

    I am exasperated and there have been HUGE fights with my wife about this subject.

    How does everyone else manage to get up so early and not catch grief for disturbing their wife or child’s sleep by the mere action of slipping out of bed softly. Does everyone on here have detached garages where they can go nuts with noise?

    I’ve feel like I’ve tried everything and have no solution. Running with the baby? Done it hundreds of times, but again it’s only running and I’m not too sutre my 18 month old enjoys it anymore. Not that she ever did, but she used to just fall asleep…not anymore. I’ve also tried sleeping in other rooms of the house for extended periods, so I could get up early without waking anyone up, but then my wife gets on me for sleeping in other rooms.

    I have a office job and I suffer depression. If I don’t exercise I get unhealthy really f’n quick. Can anyone relate? Can anyone help?

    Thanks, Corey

  39. eddy prynce April 13th, 2010 1:23 am

    Science as far as I know (and I could be mistaken) does not really know why the mind tires or why we need sleep.
    Our muscles tire from exercise or work however the mind is not in the physical sense a muscle (what is the mind ? )
    I myself hardly ever sleep for more than 5 hours without waking for a pee or just waking up to turn the pillow round to where ive not chewed the corners or salivered as I dream of sharing a famous night in the lair of a hareem of beautiful long legged women

  40. ali wyatt August 6th, 2010 10:34 pm

    It’s nice to hear your no nonsense but positive approach to fatherhood and training. It isn’t easy, I suppose you’ve just got to make time by cutting something out. In my case it will have to be television and spending time with my wife. I’m a pro boxer with a consruction job and 3 kids, my youngest now sleeps all night now which is great. When i’m training for a fight it’s essential that I’m up up at 5.30 on the roads because I have to leave the house for work at 6.30/7.00. I like to see the kids before work too. I’m in the boxing gym most nights and sometimes don’t get home from the gym till 9.30/10.00. I like to come in and spend time with my wife chilling out after a hard day, but that means staying up later than I should which then makes the next day all the more harder. I just wish there was 36 hours in a day and I’d be able to fit it all in. Don’t we all though. We’re lucky to have kids and they definately come first. The joy they bring is uncompareable. I can’t wait to be a grandad now ! I’m only 33. I just want to say what an inspiration you are Ross I wish you were my trainer. I wish I had a trainer even. Reading your articles is the next best thing though. Keep up the good work.

  41. Yves August 17th, 2010 12:50 pm

    Exactly what I needed to read at the right time in my life. We had our third child 6 months ago and maaaannn… he doesn’t sleep much that little dude! It’s not like I don’t know what sleepless nights are since it’s my third child but I have the impression that I haven’t sleep well for YEARS (my two others are 2 and 3 years old).

    Thanks you so much for this article Ross. You’re not only a true inspiration for me on training but also as a parent! Thanks a thousand times!

    @Corey March

    It’s been a while since you wrote your comment but I sure hope it’s getting better for you. One tip I would suggest to you would be to learn bodyweight training. My wife would kill me right there if I would do medicine ball slams at 6 in the morning! hahahaha I can’t even dare thinking about it! Bodyweight is THE best in early morning as Ross suggested. Also check out Roos low tech training with sliders done with moving furniture pads (somewhere on this website…) It’s as quiet as it can be!

    All the best to Ross and the great readers of this website

    Yves

  42. Curtis September 28th, 2010 1:13 am

    Thanks for posting this (and everything else on your site) Ross! Good to see I’m not alone in trying to fit a workout routine with a baby. We have an 8 month old and I can definitely back everyone up on saying that full night’s sleep is pretty much out. Maybe once they get older but not for a while. Anyway, I’ve had to get up at 3:30 am to get my workout in during weekdays. Those of us with understanding baby mommas can also talk them into giving us half an hour or so of training time in the afternoon or evening. Every bit helps.

    Best of luck to everyone and keep a positive outlook, as parents we have even more incentive to exercise. I’m sure all of us want to be around as long as we can for our kids. And when my son gets old enough I will have in the gym doing some fun workouts with his old man.

  43. ty November 20th, 2010 5:00 am

    brother, i can sincerely thank you for this post. i have a son and another on the way, i get down on myself for not training hard enough. but like you said a little is better than nothing. your words hit home for me. all i want to say is thanks.

  44. Allan December 5th, 2010 12:17 am

    Great article!! just had a 3 month old. trying to get back at it.

    thanks

  45. Gerald December 29th, 2010 7:56 am

    Great post, Ross! Really close to home! Thanks!

    I have a 3 month old son, and everything you’ve said is true — trying to be there for the little one really demands a lot of effort and time. It does take a toll on training… hehe. But just like you and the rest of those who’ve posted here, I try to squeeeeeeze in 10-30 mins of training every time I can. But, if the day is really packed and I can’t workout, I jokingly tell my wife that carrying and rocking our baby to sleep for an average of 20-30 mins when I get home and hauling all the baby stuff to and fro the car every time we go out are already my exercises for the day :)

    Thanks again and kudos to all the parents here who continue to do their best everyday!

  46. Febs January 1st, 2011 5:21 am

    Great post and great man you are.
    Just a smile on a line of yours: “I’d give up on sleep entirely if I had to for my kids”.

    I would rather give up on TRAINING if I had to for my kids :)

    Cheers mate!

  47. Dan Sullivan February 3rd, 2011 9:53 pm

    Great post mate.

    I am inspired to get back into some good habits now,my motivation is to be a role model and be around as long as I can for my babies.

    Thanks for putting my head back in the game.

    Best wishes

    Dan

  48. Amar September 21st, 2011 12:52 am

    Ross,
    We’re expecting our baby soon, but even before that I need to spend lotsa time with my wife. I would really like to thank you for your inputs, it’ll really help me set things up.

  49. Troy October 21st, 2011 2:35 am

    Hi Ross,
    Have read this before but never hurts to read again just to remind yourself the challenges in life! Last time i read this post i was married with no children i now have a month old boy – which is everything i ever dreamt of and much much more. I work 16hour shifts 5days a week but pushing to workout twice a day if possible. rest is important but so is training and both go hand in hand.
    Keep up the good work mate

  50. Vi nam October 25th, 2011 2:12 am

    You’re my superstar to me, bro. You can keep training with your newborn. It’s amazing.

  51. Chris February 22nd, 2012 9:17 am

    Ross, thanks for that inspirational read! I have a brand new little girl, and haven’t been training for about a month now. For the early morning lifting, do you train empty stomach or eat something before?

  52. admin February 22nd, 2012 3:01 pm

    Thanks Chris and congrats

    As for your question, if you scroll up, you’ll see some similar responses.

    Previously, I wrote:

    As for early morning workouts, I almost always eat something light first. I feel much better with something in my body. I then eat a larger meal after training.

  53. Amar April 12th, 2012 2:05 am

    Ross,
    I recently entered parenthood with the arrival of my little girl. She wants all the attention and I’ve been going nuts trying to sort out how to accomodate my sleep time.

    Your post has really eased out lot of my questions. Thanks a lot

  54. Iris April 16th, 2012 1:58 am

    As a female (sadly, there don´t seem to be a lot of ladies here :-( )I would love to read a little about how the kids` mother worked out during pregnancy and how she resumed working out post-partum (in case she exercises at all). If you guys think it is tough for YOU, consider it might be even tougher for the person who has carried the baby for nine months and given birth ;-)

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  56. Mark Cafiero March 2nd, 2013 11:19 am

    Thanks so much for this. My wife is pregnant with our first and I am incredibly excited… but terrified of how this will affect my training and fitness goals.

    Good call on the early AM workouts. I think I’m going to start now, 6 months before our due date, to try to get into that routine.

    I also own my own business so it’s nice to read this from a fellow entrepreneur.

    Bookmarking this. Thanks!

  57. Dave February 13th, 2014 10:50 am

    Thanks Ross! I’ve just become a father to a beautiful daughter. She is 3 weeks old and keeping us busy. I am lucky to have a little stepdaughter who is 7 so I drop her to school on my days off and go straight to the gym for 30min – 1hr which gives me the energy and focus to look after everyone for the rest of the day. Your are right – if you want something in your life you will make it work.
    Quality over quantity that’s my rule for training.

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