How to keep in shape when time is short

I have a second baby on the way, which is very exciting. It will be great fun to do the ‘baby’ thing again as P is growing up very quickly.

It will also mean that time will become even more stretched and my ability to recover from exercise will be reduced (sleep is overrated anyway – right?). So, I’ll have to rethink my approach to exercise for while.

There are three general principals I will follow:

1) Don’t stop
As much as it would be unreasonable expect to make massive progress in the gym at the same time as something as life changing as having a baby, it is important to keep doing something. It will be much easier to get back on track if I’ve maintain strength levels. You lose it fast when doing nothing.

2) Be realistic
My sleep will be massively effected. Between a newborn feeding through the night and a toddler occasionally waking I could be looking at 3-4 hours some nights, and still have to go to work and do a reasonably pressured job in the daytime. Attempting to carry on as if I was getting 8 straight hours a night is asking for trouble*. Something will have to give, best to be realistic about what I can do from the off.

3) Go minimal
I will pick exercises that have the biggest return for time invested. Compound movements are the way to go, the more muscles that are involved the better. Sessions that last around the 30 minute mark will give enough time to get in some good work but still be easy to recover from.

My approach
I currently exercise after my two year old goes to bed, three times a week. I haven’t yet decided exactly what I’ll do when the new baby arrives, if the evenings are fairly settled I’ll stick with my current times but change exercises to get a lot of work done in a short period of time.

I’ll probably alternate between these two sessions, which should both take less than 30 minutes including warm up.

Session 1

  • A1: Handstand practice – 5 mins
  • B1: Ring routine – Muscle up, L-sit, back lever, front lever row, front lever x 3-5
  • C1: Pistols

Session 2

  • A1: Staggered towel chin ups – 5 x 2-3
  • A2: HeSPU – 5 x 2-3
  • B1: Glute ham raise – 2 x max

Both cover pretty much everything. Gymnastic rings come into there own here as you get pulling, pushing and support work all done at the same time – ace!


*I actually can’t remember the last time I got 8 straight hours sleep, but anyway…


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