Waking up Saturday morning at 10am and thinking hmmm what should I do today? Go workout, go for brunch, do a run in Georgetown, bike the W&OD? So many options....
And then one day...
You're having a baby..
Fast forward a year and a half. You're filled with love. You've never been happier. You can't imagine your life without this little human.
Unfortunately you've never been so out of shape either!
Why does this happen? Well it's not some metabolic disorder that only effects adults who watch Barney and Teletubbies. Life changes. Your stress level is high. Your quality of sleep is low and you seem to have a never ending supply of mac & cheese, cheddar gold fish, and Annie's organic fruit snacks at your finger tips.
I know because I've been there and I'm still fighting my way out. In the process I've learned somethings that can help you keep the back fat and muffin top monster away...
I'll share them now. You can thank me when you're snapping those selfies on the beach this summer 🙂
1. What's Yours Is Yours. What's Mine Is Mine
Kids are picky eaters and sometimes you're forced to buy things you'd never have in the house if it was just you, cheddar goldfish would be a perfect example. Keep all that stuff in one or two cupboards or in a separate closest. Dedicated certain shelves in the refrigerator to kids food. Now make that off limits for you. Put up little sticky note stickers or whatever you have to do to stay away.
2. Done Is Better Than Perfect
I geek out over program design. I love to overthink periodization I would put together some brutal 4-5 day programs for myself. I'd do triphasic training, conjugate method, wave loading, and french contrast all specifically tailored to my body, my injuries, my weaknesses etc... That was all well and good, but I realized something once I had kids... I couldn't train like I used to. For one I didn't have the energy, so although it looked great on paper, it wasn't happening. Two, I was missing training days because of emergencies, sickness, parenting schedule conflicts etc.. I needed a new strategy. That's when I decided to just make it a goal to get daily exercise in. It didn't have to be perfect. It didn't have to be at the gym. I just had to make sure my heart rate got elevated every single day and it didn't even all have to happen at one...
We use cluster sets in the gym to build strength. It's when you take a heavy (near max) weight and do 1-3 reps, rack the bar, weight 10-30s and do another set of 1-3 reps. This way you can accumulate more reps (volume) with a higher intensity (heavy weight) than you'd be able to otherwise. They're awesome to do and I highly recommend using them in your training, eventually.... For now lets just cluster our workouts. Sort of the same concept. We're breaking up the workout into smaller more manageable bites. With kids you don't have an hour at home just to do a workout. But, you might have 15 minutes 4 times during the day. Here's a simple 15 minute workout that you could repeat 4x or 5 if your kids decide to take a nap.
Jumping Jacks x 30s
Air Squats x 50
Mt. Climbers x 30s
Air Squats x 40
Plank x 30s
Air Squats x 30
Burpees x 30s
Air Squats x 20
Seal Jacks x 30s
Air Squats x 10
Substitute The Air Squats With Push ups (knees or incline would be fine)
Substitute The Push ups With Total Reverse Lunges
Substitute The Reverse Lunges With Squat + Overhead Press ( use dumbbells or anything with a little weight to it )
4. Make A Promise
Warning: This Is Evil.... I did this one to my wife and she hated it, but it worked like a charm. She was doing whole 30 a couple months ago and she was trying to not eat any sugar. At that time my son also became obsessed with Batman and wanted a Bat mobile. We weren't about to go out and just buy him a bat mobile, mainly because the next week he'd probably like Spider-man and want whatever he drives around... Anyway... I came up with the brilliant idea that mommy would promise to buy him a bat mobile if she didn't eat sugar for 30 days. Every day after that my son would check in and make sure mom didn't eat any sugar that day.. You can't lie to your child and when you really do want to give them something that they want so bad.. win-win-win... 30 days later she didn't have sugar and he had a Bat Mobile, which now sits in the garage because he's obsessed with Power Rangers.
Nutrition is the real challenge not only for parents but for everyone struggling to lose a few lbs. I've food prepped, counted calories, counted macros, done the ketogenic thing, the paleo thing, the carb back loading thing, the meal planning thing, the intermittent fasting thing etc.. The one THING that they all had in common is they were all impossible for me to keep up with long term. The one strategy that I've used that's easy and effective is carb cycling. You could over think that too if you choose but I like to K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid). One day you have carbs the next day you don't. It's that simple. Now the way I do it now is I have carbs on strength training days and I go no carb on conditioning days.. If you want to dig deeper into this method that works you can download the recharged E-book on the right hand column.
6. Smarter Not Harder
To some people an hour on the treadmill ie hamster wheel seems like a good idea, not to me, but to some people. I recommend you throw that strategy away with the dirty diapers. Instead work your way over to the free weight section or if you're home get some dumbbells and do complexes. This is a quick and effective way to maintain strength ( or even improve it depending on your fitness level) work capacity and shed fat.
Choose 3- 5 exercises you can do with dumbbells or a barbell. The ones I like best are...
Bent Over Rows, Pendlay Rows, Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Cleans, Front Squats, Squat + Press, Back Squat, Overhead Press, Push Press
Now that you've selected 3-5 exercises that you're comfortable performing choose a protocol.
6x3,3x8,and 4x6 are my personal favorites.
Take 1 minute rest between rounds.
Let's take the 6x3 example. Here's how you do it... Do 3 reps of each of the 3-5 exercises you selected without putting the bar or dumbbells down in between exercises. So 3 Rows, 3 deadlifts, and 3 front squats x 6 rounds with a 1 minute rest in between.
Your heart will be on fire. Your muscles will burn and you will be hating life... If you're doing it right.. The good news is it doesn't last long and IT WORKS.
Sometimes those little ones just push you to your limits. Fear not, have an extra cup of black coffee in the morning. It's OK! Quality coffee ( My Favorite Being Ethiopia Yirgacheffe ) is loaded with antioxidants. It's proving to be good for Alziemers, Parkinson's, and colon cancer, but more importantly for this blog...fat loss. Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boos metabolism 3-11% and increase fat burning by up to 10-20%. Now just don't go do what most people do and take that to mean it's ok to order a grande double frap double whip etc etc Just black coffee!
Here's one more tip parents.. It's not a fat loss tip but just a general one. Don't be so hard on yourself tip... This parenting thing is tough. Give yourself some permission to mess up and credit for your successes. Set realistic goals and remember sometime just maintaining is progress worth celebrating..
PS We've revamped our Fit Mom program and we'll be doing a test run with 10 moms in May. If you're not a current member at UA and would like to be in the pilot program you can apply here