Dad exercising and generally getting fit again

Yes!!!! I am back to a sub-20 minute 5km parkrun. This makes me very happy and is something I didn’t think was going to happen this quickly. I’ve been tired for the last year and running has become a chore. I used to get nicknamed Forest as liked to run or walk everywhere. Work had taken its toll, being a dad had taken its toll and combined with some big life events like turning 40 and moving house everything seemed against me.  I got to the point where the thought of running didn’t make me happy and I didn’t want to try as felt it would only make me tired and unprepared for spending the day with Sofia. 


There is very little out there on how as a dad you lose fitness after becoming a dad. Much is focused on women and getting that pre-baby shape back. There are some articles out there on how it affects the male body. It is estimated that dads gain a stone immediately after birth of a child. Art of Manliness blog has some good words on this and the amount of time you don’t have to keep fit now a baby is present. There are some dad with baby fitness options out there such as this guy who gained 2 million Facebook views through exercising with his child. 

So what happened in my case? To be honest I have no real idea but I can attribute the following to getting fitter over the last two months

  • I am on Shared Parental Leave, the stress of work has been washed away. I feel less tired and have more energy during the day. Sofia tires me out daily but not in the same way. 
  • She is getting bigger! This means she is heavier, carrying her around is definitely improving my core and strength in my arms. It is like a mini work out daily. 
  • We walk everywhere, well not Sofia yet but I push her everywhere in her buggy, this means my step count has increased from around 12-15000 steps a day to well over 15-20000 and more on run days. I regularly top the friends step challenge and this is through being away from work. 
  • Eating better, I am possibly eating better, less snacks, more water, more fruit. I eat less at meals, sharing my food at times with Sofia. All of which has led to a slimming waistline. 
  • parkrun, we have finally started doing this on a regular basis and the distance is perfect as is the challenge of beating you best time weekly.  I have also done some other events completing my first Triathlon alongside a few 10km runs.
  • Getting to go out running with run club or alone has been a separation from Sofia and some me time. This does help mentally in enjoying running again. 

I start work again in a few weeks, so this will out the above to the test in how tiring work is and how much it affects my running. As you can see this is far from scientific but mentally and physically I feel I am enjoying running again. 

So is there anything to recommend? Well do what I’ve done over the last few months. 

  • parkrun, it is free, it is not a competition other than with yourself and there are lots of people of all ages and abilities
  • Join a fun run club, my local club is not serious. There are no track days, enforced training plans and the social element takes priority 
  • Walk and carry your baby places, seriously your fitness grows in line with their increase in size, just playing with them will time you up, crouching, lifts, squats
  • Think about what you are eating, reduce the snacks and think healthy. Eat what you want your baby to eat. Less salt, less sugar, more natural. Can’t go wrong
  • Get out with the buggy and explore your local environment. Plan some trips with walks involved. You can always have a coffee as reward for a long walk and getting your baby to sleep. 

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