First and foremost, no babies were injured in the creation of this post.
Being a dad is tough. Our little guy Cal was born a month earlier than we expected, and because of this, there was no baby class for this guy. This baptism by fire approach to fatherhood has taught me much, and one thing that I’ve quickly realized is that it takes a little creativity to stay in shape when the demands of fatherhood are upon you.
As a self-proclaimed life hacker, getting a great workout in while spending time with my guy is a fun challenge. Sure enough, it has become a fun bonding experience for the two of us as we coup up the house. In an effort to keep the neighbors from thinking that I have a few screws loose (although true), we’ve limited our workout shenanigans to inside the house. Many times, we even draw the shades. So, for all of the antsy, house-ridden parents out there, I present to you six at-home exercises for runners (or really anybody) using nothing but a baby.
Before You Begin – You’re obviously going to need a baby. Ideally, this baby has recently had his/her diaper changed and isn’t in “screaming bloody murder” mode. Sweet workout gear and retro track shorts are a bonus. With this in place, we’re ready to get after it. If you don’t have a baby, find one in the neighborhood to borrow. Things will get awkward, but it’ll be fully worthwhile for the workout you’re about to get.
Exercise #1 – The Australian Pushup
I like to ease into my workout, so beginning with the Australian Pushup is great place to begin. Why is it called an Australian Pushup you might ask? Well, because the pushup is done from down-under. Including a wild dingo in the exercise is a great cultural addition and will bring motivation. It is not necessary for your wild dingo to be wearing a Thunder Shirt as seen below.
The first step is to place your baby on your chest. Now, this alone can be a risky proposition, especially if your baby has recently been fed. Take necessary precautions. Once you’re in place, simply lift your baby towards the ceiling. Do as many as you can or until the baby kicks you in places that are not friendly.
Exercise #2 – The 52 Toy Quad Pickup
One realization that I’ve had as a new father is that no matter how hard you try, your house will begin to look like a disheveled Toys ‘R’ Us. If you’re asking yourself the question, “Wow, how many toys does a baby really need?”, know that we are on the exact same page. Also, beware that to babies, Tupperware is also seen as toys. It will only add to your mess, but will enhance the scope of your workout. Now, constantly picking up toys can get dangerous. Back problems are common in parents, and a simple solution to the problem could be found by simply convincing all of your relatives to invest their dollars in your baby’s future education rather than hundreds of toys that feel the need to talk to you at random points throughout the day. This is easier said than done. On a side note, as you perform this exercise, or any of these for that matter, there is a one in two chance that your own clothes will not match. This is due to your constant changing of spit-up ridden attire. After about a week of this, you’ll stop caring what you look like.
When you find your mess (odds are it is in the other room as you are reading this), you’re ready for the 52 toy quad pickup. Rather than bending at waist to pick up all of the toys, begin bending at the knees to feel a nice burn in your quads. Odds are, by the end of year one, your quads will be twice the size as they were when your baby was born. An even simpler solution is to train your dogs to pick up the toys for you. This idea makes one giant assumption that your dogs have the mental capacity to do this. I am not that fortunate. God love em.
Exercise #3 – The Why The Hell Did I Buy A House With Stairs Calf Raise
Ranch-style houses have never looked so nice, but if you live in a place with stairs, a wonderful opportunity to build your calves is in front of you. There are two main situations when this exercise can be completed: 1) Your baby has just left his dinner in his pants and you’ve realized that the wipes are upstairs, or 2) You have a sleeping baby and the quest to get him upstairs to bed without waking him is upon you. Both of these situations start with the same first two steps.
Step #1 – Walk to the foot of your stairs and position yourself in front of the opening to your annoying but necessary baby gate. If you do not do this, you will stub your toe or bang your knee.
Step #2 – For each stair that you reach while climbing upstairs, pause for a second, and do a simple calf raise. Balance is key, as your baby’s life depends on it. By the time you reach the top of the stairs your calves will be burning and your baby will continue to smell like a monkey cage.
Step #3 – Step #3 is a bonus step for when your baby is awake during the exercise. If awake, extend the baby towards the ceiling to get an extra shoulder workout. Humming the Rocky theme song is a great extra touch, and odds are, your baby will shoot you a grin, another bonus. If your baby is asleep, this step is not the smartest of ideas. You will probably wake the baby and will ultimately have a very upset better-half. This is not a good thing.
Exercise #4 – Ab-Focused Jazz Hands
It’s amazing how many frozen pizzas are consumed in your young parenting days, so it’s important to execute an exercise for your mid-section. The first step to this exercise is to place your baby in a sitting position on your stomach. Note that your baby’s feet will more than likely be right in your face, but have no fear. Of all the things that stink on babies, their feet are surprisingly refreshing. This is proven by the simple fact that for some reason, people love putting their babies feet in their mouth to get a reaction. Wait, that’s just me?
To complete the exercise, flex your abs and lift your shoulders off the ground. Simultaneously, you’ll want to make jazz hands and enthusiastically proclaim “Jazz hands!” to your baby. He or she will love it, and it’s important to know that you most likely only look ridiculous to your better half who is watching you with extreme skepticism. At this point in your life, this is not an issue to be worried about.
After a few reps, your baby will give you the “I got this” look and will want to participate. Place the baby directly next to you for a few tag team situps. The leg lifts will come naturally to them, but you’ll need to work on the jazz hands feature.
At this point in the workout, you and your baby will have worked up a nice lather. If you are worried about chaffing, Cal and I both recommend a fabulous product made by Boudreaux’s called Butt Paste. It should be obvious of how this can help your anti-chaffage goal. Take a few minutes to apply the product, and you’re ready to proceed.
Exercise #5 – The Baby Backpack Pushup
Of all of these exercises, this one is the riskiest. Start by convincing your better-half that everything will be fine and that your arms will eventually look amazing. Your better-half will most likely state that he/she could care less how your arms look anymore and will nervously allow you to proceed. You’ll want to tell your baby to hang on, but you’ll quickly realize that he/she has no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t let this fact hold you back.
Once your baby is in place and you are convinced that he/she will hang on, perform a simple pushup. You will probably get two or three pushups in before your baby begins to fall off. Proceed with persistence.
Exercise #6 – The Rigorous Baby Wall Sit
Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the workout. This final exercise will leave you wanting to take a nap. However, you obviously won’t be able to take one. Get used to it. The Baby Wall Sit is a perfect exercise to do if your baby is taking a bottle. In my case, Cal was not hungry, so we performed the basic wall sit. Start by placing the baby in an outward sitting position near your midsection.
Once in place, drop your butt down and hold the pose until you’re about to collapse. Rise up and repeat until your baby has simply had enough with your bonding experience.
Whew, the workout is over. Unfortunately, your baby’s energy level will still be at an unfathomable level. In an attempt to wear your baby out, which won’t actually happen, place him/her behind a large object and be a cheerleader as he/she does countless hot laps around your house.
So there you have it, six at-home exercises for runners using nothing but a baby. In no time, your former self will return to shape, that is until tonight’s frozen pizza.
Disclaimer – Any injuries to you or your baby during these exercises are completely your fault. My advice is not supported by any baby-approved institutions, nor do I expect it to be one day.