The Fit Parent Chronicles: Thriving In The Newborn Phase

I have a fundamental belief: Your kids should be why you workout and take care of yourself, not the reason you don’t.  They will follow your example.  Make it a good one.

Now that Abby and I have brought our daughter Ada Rose into the world, it’s time for me to practice what I preach!  Below I dive into what will be an After Action Report (AAR) of the first month of parenthood, and a little about how I got in the best shape of my life during the 9 months that we were waiting for Ada to arrive.

Overall I feel well prepared for fit parenthood!  I have been personal training for over 10 years and most of my clients have been full time working parents.  Even before I started living it myself, it has always been understandable to me why parenthood can knock people off track.  The stresses, sleep loss, and additional responsibilities are a lot to adjust to, not to mention the immense physical toll motherhood takes.

I have also seen the terrible cost of too many years of neglect.  I know that sacrificing your health never ends up being worth it.  I have never talked with someone who was glad they did it after 20 years of poor diet and no activity.  I have never met any child or adult that was mad that their parents stayed active and took care of themselves.

Parenthood creates legitimate challenges, but it’s not a get out of jail free card.  Generally speaking folks that are always “too busy” never seem to have trouble making time for netflix, hulu, and lots of screen time on their phones.  Even though fit parenthood requires a different approach than a youth with no responsibilities, some fundamentals certainly apply.  Managing priorities is one of them.  As always, show me your credit card statement and your screen time report, and I will show you your values.

The real benefit of my training experience is that I have seen a lot of winning and losing strategies.  I have used that to inform my personal choices.


Priorities will be different for Moms and Dads during the pregnancy.  Moms should try to stay active as best as possible, try to eat as well as possible, and be gracious when survival of a particular phase is the best you’ve got.  That’s all you need anyways.

In my opinion, Dads should not let their wife’s pregnancy be an excuse to get out of shape.  Dads should get as fit as they possibly can during the pregnancy to prepare for when the baby comes.  Fight the dad bod!  Just because the person who is building the human inside of their body can have as much ice cream as they want, that does not mean you get to.  You’ll get fat.  Yes, her hormones will wear off on you so you’ll have some cravings too and yes, you’ll have more “junk” food in your house.  The cookies, crackers, mac and cheese, ice cream, or whatever else is for HER and the baby.  Support her and YOU eat fruits, veggies, and lean meats.

To keep this article from getting any longer, I got in the best shape of my life by doing what I tell my clients to do.  It started around the same time that I was training to hike Mount Kilimanjaro (check out that article HERE).  I just continued to build on that momentum.

I increased my strength training to 4 days per week (upper body and lower body splits) and I rucked (weighted walks) for 60 minutes on my non training days.  Whenever I had the time, I would even try for some extra unweighted walks on my training days.  Nutritionally, I was strict about zero alcohol during the week and only have a drink or two on the weekends.  Some weekends I would skip booze entirely and I also did a couple 30 day no booze periods over the course of the pregnancy.  Even though there were more sweets in the house, I did my best to fill up on fruits, veggies, and lean meats so that I could keep my desert consumption to once per week.  It turns out when you lift hard (at your level), walk daily, and eat real food you get in killer shape and feel awesome!


During the pregnancy, my routines were prioritized for getting in better shape.  Once Ada arrived, my routines shifted to prioritizing my daily energy and just maintaining my fitness.  This is an important shift.

Here is my “wow I don’t feel that tired even though I have a newborn at home” routine:

  1. No PM caffeine.  Even if I am dragging, any coffee after noon will definitely compromise my ability to get to sleep as early as I’ll need to.

  2. At 8pm, I take half of an On Target Nutrition Deep Sleep gummy (check those out HERE).  This ends up being a very small dose of melatonin to help me fall asleep and stay asleep during the “first shift”.

  3. 9pm-4am Abby primarily takes care of the baby wake ups.  She’ll wake me up if she needs help with a truly torched diaper or needs me to get her something but otherwise, I just try to get my sleep.

  4. 4am-7am “second shift”.  I get up and take care of Ada while Abby sleeps.  The things I do during this time are KEY to having decent energy all day, despite light and interrupted sleep.  I put Ada in a chest carrier, drink 30 ounces of electrolyte water, and go for an hour walk if the weather is good.  When I get back I take a multivitamin, fish oil pill, vitamin D, probiotic, and a greens powder with a light breakfast.

  5. Once I have an opportunity to hand Ada off, I take a 4 min cold shower.

  6. Workouts: The schedule and sleep is still chaotic enough that I am not back on the same workout routine.  I am lucky if I get 3 strength training days, that are usually not full effort, and a handful of other walks.

  7. Alcohol and sugar consumption are good enough to maintain my body composition.  I am not really moving forward or backwards overall, which is winning right now.

While this routine may seem like a mini Huberman lab podcast, it’s working!  I’ve been feeling pretty decent despite the massive life change and sleep disruption.  If you look closely, I am using more than just caffeine to help give me more energy throughout the day.  I started this evolution by getting in shape.  Extra weight is an energy drain.  The hydration, cold water, and movement all help give me more daily energy.  This helps me not overdo it with coffee, which further disrupts restful sleep, which makes you need more coffee, etc.


When you are ready to get your fitness, nutrition, and routines working FOR you instead of AGAINST you, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page and I will be in touch : )

Serving Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community, we help people finally get in shape, feel confident, and have all day energy, even if getting everything done is a constant struggle.


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