3 Training Misconceptions From Dadhood – Elite FTS

After the age of 30, many of us have become parents. While the twenties were overwhelmed by the amount of training and intensity with which they glorified us, a sudden new decade may have crept into you quickly, especially if you became a father.

The biggest mistake many of us make is trying to match or compare ourselves to what we used to do in terms of training. From a personal point of view, I learned the hard way how two newborns under two years old can be a sudden change in your fitness routine…

So write down these training misconceptions that need to be brought to reality by:

1. Matching your training frequency

This makes me chuckle even more, quite frankly. I hear new dads all the time telling me how they’re going to train the same way and work out just as hard when they become parents. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Parenthood brings more responsibility, more stress, and less sleep. Let’s say how it is, you will get tired. Any father telling you differently either has a saint for the wife or takes more naps than the children themselves.

Read: The dark side of personal training

Your training days should be intense, but they won’t be often. Expect to reduce the duration to three to four days per week if you are present for six days. I’m not saying here that you can’t train for six days, but the effort and intensity that will be spent on these additional workouts will do either of two things:

  1. Increase the stress and inflammation response for your already exhausted body, making your life more stressful and less help with other dad duties (believe me, you don’t want to slouch in that area for your spouse’s sake).
  2. Adding unwanted volume will create more regular fatigue that will make your recovery more difficult.

You can prove me wrong if you wish, but I lived to tell the tale. I might get six great workouts in a week, but I’m either not on the support side for my wife or the productive side of my job. Most of us don’t have a life we ​​can slack off in any of these areas, so you can go lightly with your choice.

My suggestion:

Five-day splits are not practical or sustainable. Parents do not have time to stay in the gym for an hour or more than five days a week. I’ve found that shorter workouts work better, and a 2010 study did some research on frequency and muscle growth and found that frequent bouts of resistance work lead to better protein synthesis. This means that shorter sessions of hitting parts of the body more than once per week can be a better time and growth solution for us parents.

Additionally, training a lagging muscle group more often can help activate motor units that can help things like posture and performance on larger lifts. If you have the time for three to four longer exercises, you can work on that, so work with what’s best for your body and your ability to recover. If you find an hour-long session that leaves you pinning on the couch at night when demands are high on Dad, then order again. Shocking the system with more frequency can be a great way to get more work done in less time. In the end, the biggest mistake you can make is convincing yourself that you can train at the levels you want. The sooner you can recover, the more you will be able to build muscle and become a happier parent. You read that right!

2. A new PR setup in the gym will happen as planned

As we lift to get stronger, we must also remember what is important in terms of our health. Pushing your body to break new records after becoming a new dad is not something you should pursue. This race can end so quickly that you either get injured or get burned.

There is nothing wrong with maintaining or building muscle, which can be done without chasing numbers on the bar. Some days you’ll feel good in the gym, while on other days, you may want to get back up and crawl into bed. The reality of the situation is that you need to adopt the term ‘Minimum Valid Dose’.

What that means is getting as much exercise as possible in the least amount of time.

My suggestion:

Train with intent. Cut off the size of the litter. All you need is one or two warm-up sets. While doing them, I like to focus on slower eccentrics, pauses, and even rep and a half. Next, focus on two sets working hard to push the reps into a range of six to 12 reps for multi-joint exercises and 10-15 for more isolation work. The key is MVD, where you get in, get the work done, and then you get out.

Work in super sets or circuits and aim to keep your heart rate a little elevated, especially if you’re doing shorter sessions. I like to add cardio during exercise in load-bearing forms, cycle runs, kettlebell swing, or medicine ball work because cardiovascular health is largely overlooked for men as we age. The maximum attainable heart rate for a man decreases by about one beat per minute per year, and his heart’s ability to pump blood declines by five to ten percent every decade. This is why a healthy 25-year-old heart can pump a quart and a half of blood per minute, but a 65-year-old heart can only pump a quart and a half.

My point is, heart disease is important! Increasing muscle mass is one thing, but if you don’t have the conditioning for the added muscle support, poor blood flow can be exacerbated. The more muscle you have, the greater the need for blood circulation.

3. The gym is always ‘me time’

I hate spreading the news, especially as I am an avid fitness junkie, gym owner, and self-trainer, but routine days and assigned sessions each week just wouldn’t be possible.

Instead of trying to fight it by demanding time at the gym and fighting with your spouse, embrace the inevitable and learn to adapt. On the weekends, I train at home where at any moment my son or daughter comes to the gym, my workout should transition into a family-style session.

Now, not all of your newborn’s exercise will be under your supervision, but learning to be flexible is key. There are times when my wife needs help, and what’s planned at the gym gets pushed, delayed, shortened, or swapped. The key is not to get upset about it, but rather to embrace it and understand that it is part of the journey.

My suggestion:

Practice early in the morning, before anyone wakes up. I find this is the time to have it uninterrupted, and it can also be a perfect start to your day in terms of productivity.

If you choose to train when the family is around or awake, be prepared to drop things and adjust to whatever comes along. Believe me when I say anything! If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that all things that I think could never happen to us come to an end.

How you react determines how committed you are to your new regime in the long run. Don’t be alarmed by lost training days or circumstances beyond your control.

Being a father brings with it new physical and mental barriers that must be understood. There’s a reason a dadbod dreads looming over most men once they know they have little humans entering the world. Our alpha state can become errant if we are not careful. There is a reason for the 20 percent drop in testosterone in men today compared to the 1980s. Additional stress, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition are all factors in our ability to feel like we’re in the prime of our lives. Just five nights of poor sleep can lower testosterone levels by 15%. Poor sleep raises your cortisol level, which is then boosted by your training.

Once you start adapting your training to fit this new lifestyle, you will see that your results improve with less.

Below is a sample of the exercises

Playing sports groups/actors comfort
a. Mobility:
3-5 minutes max on lagging areas
3-5 minutes max
B. Warm up:
Cardiovascular work (optional) or the world’s largest mobility flow
C1. RDL 2 x 6-8 30s
C2. leg curl 2 x 12-15 2m
D. Bulgarian Split Squat 2 x 8 60 seconds
E. Circle x 2-3 rounds

high heels squat cup
AB wheel rolling
KB swings
Copenhagen Blank Press (30 seconds per side)

12-15 reps 0

Demonstration exercises




  1. West, Daniel W.D., Phillips, Steward M, “Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle.” Search portal. October 2010. Physician and Sports Medicine. 38 (3): 97-104 DOI: 10.3810/psm.2010.10.1814
  2. Travison, Thomas. “Population level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men.” PubMed Central, 2007.

Mike Offer is a NASM Head Coach and owner of Over-Achieve Fitness in Pennsylvania. He works with hundreds of gym goers and athletes every day of all levels.


Leave a Comment