This is Nathan writing solo again. Life is full of responsibilities and one that most people will experience at some point in their life is that of the parent. I have two daughters, who are half-sisters (that is a weird term), with one from a previous relationship (my daughter Mia) and one with my current wife (my daughter Amelia). I helped raise one of Mia’s half-brothers (Kane). Grace and I want another child in the coming years. Kids have been and will continue to be part of our/my life for some time.
Mia did not live with me, nor did Kane, but I had them about 3-4 days per week for many years. Back then, I was not self-employed, did not have the flexible schedule I have now, and had to balance things the same as you. I sometimes worked 70 hours per week, was in college, and at one time, worked two jobs. For most of those years, I focused on health and fitness. I understand the difficulties you face. It was never easy.
Today, with my flexible schedule and overall better life circumstances, things are easy, or at least not difficult. That said, balancing work, life, and kids with health and fitness is a process.
Working out with kids in tow
Staying fit with kids in tow may not be easy, but it is possible if you want to stay fit. Grace and I pay an assistant to child sit, help with the business, and to complete other tasks as needed. I complete my resistance and running training during the day while this person watches the child. Later, I coach Grace through her session while the assistance watches the child. (Grace does not need me to coach her, but she still wants to have me there during her workout.)
In that same line of thought, if you want to work out, find someone who will watch the child for an hour or however long it takes you to complete your workout. An alternative might be to workout while the child sleeps. This option might mean your workouts occur at different times each day or even for a different duration based on how fussy the little one is, but at least you will still complete a workout. You might say you can’t make this happen, but if you want it bad enough, you will. Call mom, hire the neighbor kid, or find a babysitter from a service. Alternatively, if the kid is down for 30 minutes, workout for 20 minutes, if the kid is down for an hour workout for 40 minutes, etc. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing. Perfection is not expected; honest effort is.
If you have a baby or a toddler, the approaches above may work for you. That said, perhaps you have an active child at home and cannot get him or her to the babysitter or down for a nap—consider making the child part of the workout.
For example, if you have a carrier, consider strapping the child to you during the workout. Not only is he or she in a safe place while you workout and not running around unsupervised, but you also added resistance for your lunges, squats, or other body weight exercises.
Some children just need interaction to stay satisfied. Make a game of the workout. For example, include squat jumps, lunge jumps, or a similar exercise in your program. When you jump, have them jump. They may not be able to complete a jump you do, but they can do some kind of jump.
There are many other options—for example, for older kids you can workout while the do homework or play outside—but my goal is not to list them all. Rather my aim is to impress upon you that if you want to reach your goals, you will find a way. We see people successfully navigate family, work, and fitness on a daily basis. We work with executives, business owners, doctors, and other busy professionals who also have a family. Every time there is a way to make the process work if the trainee wants to reach his or her goals. It does not mater if you are a busy mom or dad trying to fit in workouts; if you really want to succeed, you will make it work. If you don’t, then you don’t want to reach your goals.
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