Training with Toddlers
Do you remember a time when you had all the time in the world to train? Then, you started out in your career which demanded more of time. Maybe you began a serious relationship which took more time away from your training. Some couples enjoy training together, while others prefer training alone. Some of you have even come home from the hospital one day with a new addition to your family and all of that free time you use to have to train quickly vanished… or at least you think it did.
You love your kids more than anything else in the world. However, there are times you wish they could just go 5 minutes without needing something. Toddlers are very demanding and can suck the life out of you if you let them. Their moods constantly change in a matter of seconds and if you turn your head on them too long you will find that your living room just got redecorated by Crayola.
Having kids doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on you. You still need to train if you want to live a healthy life. Your kids should be your driving motivation to keep training as you want to be able to play and be active with them forever. You should be able to move, bend, twist, and run without any pain or limitations just like your kids.
The number one reason why you should keep training is to be a role model for your kids later in life. You are your kids’ biggest role model and they want to be just like you when they grow up. If they see you constantly training and eating healthy then they will do the same when they get older. Otherwise, if all you do is watch tv and order out all the time then that is what they will do when they grow up. Every action you do now is what your kids will do when they become older. That is why your training is so important if you want your kids to live a long healthy life. Be a leader and set the example.
Alright, that sounds good and all, but between getting the kids ready for preschool, driving them around, naps, making meals, getting them ready for bed, where do I find the time? The simple answer is to train with your kids. Now you have the option of getting up at 5 am to train or waiting until 9 pm to train. Most don’t like getting up before the sun to train and at the same time by the end of the day, most are too tired to train. You can change your mindset and make that 5 am or 9 pm a reality or just train with them.
Now when you train with your kids, it is not going to be the same as was when you were training prior to having children. The rest breaks are going to be longer because you will need those to entertain or break up a fight. The equipment that you are using at home will determine what exercises you can do around your kids. I have just basic stuff like rings, sandbags, kettlebells, and the barbell. Although you really don’t need equipment at all other than yourself. Calisthenics is and will always be a superior method for becoming incredibly fit.
Timed sets are not usually a good choice as well. Something usually comes up taking you away from the time format. I have tried it a few times and you basically play a game seeing how long you can go on the timed sets before you have to intervene. I used to get frustrated and panic trying to quickly get caught back up, but now I just don’t worry about it and either pick back up where I left off or avoid timed sets altogether.
The training sessions will not be that long as well, because little minds can only last so long before they see the next shiny object. I keep my training sessions to a one-hour maximum. Most sessions are around 30-45 minutes. When I train with my kids sometimes they are only 15 minutes. Don’t think you can not get a training session done in 15 minutes? Just pick one exercise and go at it hard for 15 minutes.
Safety is a big thing especially with heavy weights and your daughter wants to ride circles around you on her bike. Before I pick up the weights I always tell them to stay back and play over in an area away from me. If they get too close I put weights the down or just hold on to them until they have left the area which I am in. Toddlers still don’t know what can hurt them yet so I constantly have to remind of the dangers of any situation. Doing handstands with your kids is fun as they will get right up close to you as you are trying to hold or bang out some push-ups. Every now and then I will have to tell them to move so I can lower my legs.
The fun thing about doing handstands is that they will want to do it after you. They will attempt to mimic you for a lot of the movements that you do especially bodyweight stuff. My kids enjoy trying different jumping and crawling movements along with deadlifting kettlebells. They also enjoy playing on the rings. Something I recommend everyone to get they are really inexpensive and you can use them anywhere.
Like I said earlier the rest breaks will be longer because they will need you for something or one is bashing the other over the head with a monster truck. During that, you may need to cut your reps a little short to take care of that incident. Even if you take a lot more breaks it’s fine you still can get a good training session. Just go hard during your sets and play hard with the kids during your rest. It is normal for me to do clean and press for 5 reps and then go play hide and seek real quick and then go back to clean and press. The reps are usually on the shorter side than the longer side, although sometimes I am able to get 20 or more reps in if that is what I have planned for the day. Like anything, every day is different especially with toddlers.
Here is an example of what a typical training session looks like with my kids:
- Start off joint mobility work with stuff like push-ups, squats, bridges, lunge twists, down dog, up dog, bear crawling, etc. I would do this for like 10-15 min and the kids join in sometimes.
- Set 1 – Double clean and press for 5 reps followed by Swings for 20 reps. Before I pick up the kettlebells I always say to my kids go play over there because dad is lifting now.
- Rest – pretend to be a dog
- Set 2 – Double clean and press 5 reps Swings 20 reps
- Rest – potty break or poopba (yes we call it poopba)
- Set 3 – Double clean and press 5 reps Swings 20 reps
- Rest – play hide and seek
- Set 4 – Double clean and press 5 reps Swings 20 reps
- Rest – clean up peas that magically end up on the floor
- Set 5 – Double clean and press 5 reps Swings 20 reps
- Rest – take away toy who hit other kid with it and console both kids they as they are both crying and get them to make up (usually a long rest period)
- Then if time remains I might try and do something like 5-10 min of plyo push-ups and side shuffle. The kids usually want to hop in on this one. That is a typical training session for me with the kids and usually lasts between 30 – 45 mins.
You can train with toddlers and still make progress. 15 minutes a day times 365 days adds up to be a lot more hours than just training one or two times a week. Consistency is the greatest component of becoming better at something and getting results. The training will not be that intense training with toddlers, but you will still be exercising and improving your health. What’s most important is that you are going to have lot’s fun training with your kids. A smile is one of the most contagious things there is and that is what your kids will remember training with mommy and daddy.
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