Having a family, keeping a job and holding desperately onto any social life is an uphill battle as a parent. When someone mentions you probably need to get the gym and make a fancy meal afterwards you are not sure whether you are laughing or crying from exhaustion.

Since becoming a parent, I have a new found respect for ALL parents! If you have multiple of the little terrors, you are either mad or you need to get a TV. My training has definitely reduced (and I have a gym at my house!), my food choices are a little more ‘flexible’ and time is a lot more limited. I have put together a few tips to help any parent.

Adjust Your Goals

Immediately after your wife pops the baby out (I’m fairly certain that’s how it works), may not be the best time to take on a huge body transformation. We only have a limited amount of resource. This can be in the form of time, energy and effort. If you are pouring most of your energy into your family and your work, you may not have much left for fitness.

This doesn’t mean you can just sit on your arse and accept your fate of the dadbod taking over. You can still make progress, but you may need to be more realistic in your timescale. If you are looking at losing weight or gaining muscle, this may take a little longer than normal. Also, remember that maintaining your current body shape can also be a goal. You don’t always need to be making drastic changes to be making progress.

Be Flexible

I’m not talking about be able to do the splits in a unicorn tutu ,because I could nail that, I’m talking about being flexible in your approach. I think having a time based goal is important. For example, I want to lose 3 inches from my waist in the next 10 weeks. Instead of being rigid in your plan, add in a bit of flexibility to cater for inevitable down time.

Sleepless nights, the dreaded nursery plague and a running nose that could fill a bath. Just a few things that normally throw the metaphorical spanner in the works. When we have less sleep, more stress and less time, we tend to make convenient choices that tend not to be the best for the long term goal.

Instead of your original goal your could put in a bit of wiggle room. You could have a goal of losing 2 -3 inches with 10 -12 weeks. This will give you a few more weeks if things don’t go to plan and cater for your limited resources.

Do More With Less Time

I look back on the time before I had a child and I laugh/cry at all of the time I wasted. Time wasted scrolling through my phone, lazing around the house on a Sunday or not making use of every available minute. I will be lucky to have a shit on my own without my son sitting in his walker watching me. Whilst I like to moan about the ‘joys’ of parenthood, there are many moments that are brilliant and far outweigh the negative.

The one skill most parents learn is being efficient with your time. Cooking lunch, trying to stop my son eating crayons and feeding the cats at the same time seem like a normal day. You need to use this skill and apply it to your fitness and eating habits. Instead of a 2 hour workout at the gym you may have time for a quick home workout, some press-ups/sit up circuit, a walk with the family or a game of football in the garden.

Whatever you can do, just do it more. If you only have 10 minutes, then do something with it. 10 minutes is still better than nothing. Be active, be strong and be a good role model.

Make It Fun

If you don’t enjoy the gym, then don’t go. Repeatedly lifting heavy objects is not the only way to get fit. There are thousands of opportunities to stay fit from rock climbing, volleyball, walking or horse riding. The more your exercise of choice makes you smile, the more likely you are to keep doing it.

This is your chance to act like a child, be silly and have fun with your kids. Make up games, roll around in the garden and chase them around the park. Exercise doesn’t have to be a prescribed 60 minute session on a spin bike, it can be anything you make it. Enjoy the process of getting fit, otherwise you are unlikely to enjoy the end result.

Get Everyone Involved

Get the whole family involved with your sport, or get involved with their sports. If they go to football practice, organise a run with a few of the other parents around the field. Go for nice family walks on a rainy Sunday before a roast dinner. Jump in the puddles along the way and have some fun! Get your bikes out and see how far you can get before they start moaning about their legs aching. Most of my childhood memories are doing simple but fun things with the whole family.

Get creative and spend quality time together and get fit in the process.

If you need help with getting fit, staying accountable and sticking to your plan, get in touch and let’s have a chat. I offer one to one and online coaching to help you become a super parent in a flexible and achievable way.