It was probably the fifth night my baby girl was wide awake, her preferred state of rest being
closely embraced by a parent. Comfortable for her, but not the most productive way for my wife
and I to live.
I couldn’t help feeling antsy knowing there was an early morning gym session planned, gingerly I
went to move my arm around her resting sweet head to gain a glimpse of my watch.
It had just passed midnight.
My thoughts focused on calculating how much sleep I could get, if only I could get her down in the
Moses basket within the next half hour.
Of course, I could fall to temptation and switch the alarm off, but despite the change in my life
impacting sleep, I was more determined to power through to keep up with my other interests.
Regardless, it was inevitable whenever my head hit the pillow it wouldn’t be an optimal amount of
sleep to perform the most ideal workout, but then again as a father when is the best time?
She continued suckling away at the 4oz of milk in what felt like a lifetime until she dropped into a
Lifting her up, I rested her stomach just off the top of my shoulder, a sweet spot for burping I’d
discovered through painful trial and error, giving the quickest and most effective way of winding my
Within the minute she let out a belch which seemed quite enormous for such a little person,
followed by little cluster burps.
With the built-up bottle air released from her system, she gently snored on my shoulder as a
smattering of milky sick dribbled out of her gaping mouth onto the pink muslin draped across my
The girl was out… finally and to some relief it was nice to know I could actually go to sleep rather
than having to wait for my wife for the early morning change over.
But I dreaded that alarm going off for the gym, but I had to go… I wanted to go… didn’t I?
On my first daughter’s birth everyone said
“When you become a father, you won’t have time for the gym anymore”
Driven partly by determination to prove those people wrong and a fear to note
lose the progress built so far, I pressed on.
There is no harm in missing a session at the gym now and again, it won’t make you unfit in the same
way having a day pigging out on chocolate won’t make you fat.
But it meant much more to me – if I made an excuse to skip one session for not getting enough
sleep, that would mean I could create an excuse to skip future sessions.
There is no such thing as the perfect situation where you are fully rested, energised, but the greatest
challenge with the gym, father or not is the ability to be persist, stick to routine and not make
excuses to skip out on sessions.
Consistency is what creates results.
The birth of my first daughter did create difficulties, a complete shock going from a nice, quiet life
with no responsibilities, doing what I wanted – sacrificed for someone dependent on your every
Once I start to get used to the change, I adjusted with a renewed commitment to my passion.
For an outsider, this dedication may appear baffling, when I posted a workout video on my
Instagram an ex-school friend commented
“How do you manage to find time to go to the gym, when you have a child!”
I’m not sure if it was a dig or a genuine question, but the irony was the same person posted pictures
a month later of him enjoying a stag weekend in Vegas.
Since founding this role there has been no greater force in the world than the drive to spend time
with my children, therefore I pass-up a lot of social events as I want to utilise every opportunity possible.
My fitness is an investment, enabling me to be an active and supportive father and if that means
sacrificing 6 hours a week before work when my children are typically asleep, it’s a something I’m
prepared to make.
An important lesson I learnt when I became a father was remembering – just because there is now
someone else who is a part of your life, the other parts of your life – your passions, interests,
relationship should not be cast aside for your precious little one.
Being a fully involved dad is important part of my values and balancing this with other goals is always
But it’s essentially for me to keep grinding away, whether in the gym, writing or other projects to help my chidren understand the importance of ambition and doing what you love.
I discuss the challenge of being a father with other goals in my post The fatherhood / ambition balance
3 thoughts on “The Gym Dad”
“Different fathers, different priorities.”
I’ve just learned to force myself to work out when the kids go to bed as long as it’s not TOO late. I tried waking up early to work out, but I ended up just waking up the whole house, which defeated the purpose.
Love reading posts like this!
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Thank you very much!
It gets quite frustrating at other parents judging the lifestyle to care about personal health & fitness, yet have no doubts palming their own kids onto grandparents when it suits to have a weekend drinking endless alcoholic beverages!
With working out it’s getting that space away. With covid it’s meant child jumping on backs and workouts cut short to handle tantrums.
Space away has benefits!
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Space away does indeed have benefits. And it is absurd to mock parents who make time to work out instead of drinking to oblivion. How dare you!
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