Sunday, 19 October 2014

Training with a new born

Some of you reading this may have heard that very recently I have become a father to a baby boy. The past year has been a whirlwind, last October I found out I was going to become a father and a month ago my son, Isaac, was born. A new-born has a huge impact on your life, and I knew my training would have to change with less sleep, less time to eat and generally less time to do anything! It's not about you anymore, you always have to put the baby first and so I am going to tell you how I've changed my training to keep myself fit and maintain the strength I have built up since starting to train 5 years ago, whilst raising a baby with my partner.
Previously before becoming a dad, I had enough time to train 5 times a week and play basketball once or twice a week. I love training and have come far since starting when I was 18. With a new-born, you will have less sleep and find it hard to keep your nutrition intact (I've tried my best!), therefore you will have less energy to train regularly. So I knew I wouldn't be able train as much as I used to. I've reduced my training frequency to 3 times a week and if I have time I add a 30 minute cardio session. It's built around compound lifts and is split into a push day, pull day and leg day, with abs at the end of 2 or 3 days for 10-15 minutes or so. Here is what I do:

Push day:
Flat/incline/decline bench press 4-6 reps x 4 sets -  change each week.
DB Shoulder press/barbell push press 6-10 reps x sets
Tricep extensions/skull crushers/narrow press ups - tri set 6-12-25 x3

Pull day:
Deadlifts/stiff legged 4-6 reps x 4 sets
Pull ups wide/narrow 6-10 reps x 3 sets
Lat pull down/one arm row 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Seated DB curls/Z bar curls/Cable curls - tri set 6-12-25 x3

Leg day:
Barbell front squat/back squat 4-6 reps x 4 sets
Good mornings/negative hamstring curls 6-10 reps x 3 sets
Walking DB lunges/leg extensions 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Sprints/Prowler sprints 25-50m x 5 sets

Cardio (optional):
Treadmill Interval training- 30 second sprint, 45 second rest. 10-15 minutes.
Keiser bike- 15 minutes.

So there it is, as you can see it's built around heavy compound lifts such as the bench press, shoulder press, deadlifts and squats. This is to maintain or even stimulate muscle growth and strength, depending on my sleep patterns and nutrition. The rest is a mix of strength and hypertrophy. With some exercises I will go to failure on the last set, on one arm rows or leg extensions for example. In terms of abs, I will set up a mini circuit of 3-4 ab exercises (e.g. hanging knee raises, leg raises, bicycle crunches, ab wheel rollouts) of 10-20 reps on each exercise and complete 3-4 times, with a rest time of 90 seconds in between circuits. I will do this 2-3 times a week at the end of a workout.

Not only do I think this is a great 3 day split for my situation and others in it too, but it's also a great training plan for newcomers to weight training. It gives you a full days rest in between each training day to recover, so you can put 100% into each workout without feeling too tired or over trained. E.g. Monday (push), Wednesday (pull), Friday (legs) and Sunday (optional cardio). Once you feel you have plateaued on this plan then add in another training day or come up with a new split, as there are tons of different ones out there. I have been doing this for 4 weeks now and feel great on it. I haven't lost much of what I have gained at all and I have even increased my deadlift weight. Once Isaac starts sleeping through the night and I finally get 8+ hours sleep then I will increase my training days again, but until then, this is working fine!