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Advice on not over training and still progressing with limited & sleep as a new dad

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Advice on not over training and still progressing with limited & sleep as a new dad

Old 01-24-21, 03:09 PM
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ChrisRob01
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Advice on not over training and still progressing with limited & sleep as a new dad

Hi Guys,

I hope everyone is safe and well

Iíve recently become a new dad (8 months) and now Iíve got through the early months (with little sleep) Iím starting to pick up my training again.

Everything is closed due to the lockdown in the UK but Iíve got a garage gym, watt bike and squat racks.

Ive been trying to train like normal and burning out with family commitments and the 50hr week job.

I was trying to do 4-5 sessions a week but cannot recover.

I wanted some advice on the minimum sessions I could do whilst trying to progress but not over train due to schedule.

I was thinking 2 watt bike sessions and 2 lifting sessions, any thoughts or guidance at all?

Re the bike sessions should I hit it harder as Iím doing less frequency?

thanks for any guidance I want to keep my hobby going for me 😊

thanks

ChrisR
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Old 01-24-21, 07:34 PM
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Be careful to get decent recovery as that is where the true gains come from. Do one hard day and one recovery day, rinse and repeat, but make sure that recovery is beneficial and not just junk. IMO with so little free time, I would stick to the bike for all work, strength and fitness. You will get far more bang from your limited buck that way. If you want to keep the upper body strengthened, then throw some upper body work in right after a bike strength session. Weight training is all well and good if you have the time to do it and the bike together, but from what you said you just don't have that available time right now
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Old 01-24-21, 08:50 PM
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This can be really tough. My son was born just a couple of years after I got into track, so I was also loathe to take time off and tried to keep training hard. I never really stopped, but eventually it was necessary to radically reduce my training time, and that lasted for years and has since influenced how I go about training in general-- and really, after you have a kid I think it's safe to say you PERMANENTLY will have less training hours thenceforth.

Gym becomes really important, but even in gym sessions I found I had to really cut the fat and just do what was necessary. I learned to get in and out of the gym in an hour or so. Bike work too, long road rides are basically forever gone. If you can get most of your bike stuff done on the watt bike and the rest at track sessions that would be my recommendation. But basically be ready to do a lot less. Caring for your family, getting your day job done, training and getting enough recovery time is a really tricky balance.

In terms of progression, in the two years after my son was born I did go backwards, which was really frustrating. Eventually I found a rough way of approaching training and racing that worked, and I've been progressing pretty well year on year since then (except of course 2020 for obvious reasons...). I guess my take-away is to expect to step back a little in order to keep a balance in the overall picture of your life.
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Old 01-25-21, 12:59 AM
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@ChrisRob01, just know that it's not gonna happen.

You mention that you are a new dad. Congrats!

At 8 months, you aren't out of the woods yet. Yeah, your baby doesn't need to eat every 2 hrs, but it's still exhausting. At that age, between taking care of baby, mom, and work, you'll have very little time for you much less your hobbies for a couple more years or more. Seriously. You are probably still on a very short leash. You'll be fighting to find time for sleep in general, much less time to train and then enjoy the deep hours of sleep that you need to recover from training.

Young children require a lot of attention. Now that the baby is sleeping through the night this also means that when the baby is up...the baby is up. When the baby becomes mobile...GAME ON. There is a sweet spot of a few months when the baby is just crawling and content in a small area...and really cute. Enjoy it. The elastic arms will arrive soon enough.

It's great if you have the grandparents on hand to help. But if you don't, then whatever you don't do, your wife has to do. And speaking from experience, she may be going through more than you are aware of dealing with all of the changes she's been through, too (not trying to get in your business, just offering advice from a guy who's been there).

I say all of that to say this: "Disappearing"* for 8, 10, 15 hrs/week to train just may not be feasible unless you are pro and this is your day job (and it's hard on those families, too). *(By "disappearing", I mean you not being available to help with the baby outside of you at work making money.). You may spend more time training than you realize. Here is a relevant thread on how many hours amateur/masters athletes train to be competitive. 75% spend more than 10hrs/week training: https://www.bikeforums.net/track-cyc...ng-racing.html

As others have noted, fully expect to slide backwards in fitness. Your goals at this point are pretty simple:

- Don't overeat and get fat.
- Watch your stress. It's there whether you are aware of it or not.
- Sleep is your friend right now. Intense workout plans require more than average rest. You may not be able to get it if you wanted.
- If possible, focus on the home gym (remember, you are on a short leash) and gather whatever pieces you are missing.
- Getting enough volume and intensity to get a training effect from lifting weights can be achieved in fewer and shorter sessions than riding a bike (even a spin bike). Like 30 minutes of squat and bench press may yield results similar to a 1-2 hr road ride in terms of fitness. Lifting for intensity causes muscles burn calories when lifting as well as recovering. Cardio rides only burns calories when you are riding.
- Lower your goals from "competitive athlete" to "fit dad".
- (trying to word this properly): After the ordeal of pregnancy and childbirth (which is utterly amazing), some women aren't happy with their decline in fitness. Carefully invite your wife to join you in the gym and maybe even trim down your routine so that you two can do the same things (just with different amounts of weight). She may welcome the encouragement. You are her partner.
- Again, trying not to be in your business (but, hey, you asked right?). Learn from the mistakes of others: Be careful not to appear selfish by spending x hrs/week pursuing your hobby.

Doing all of the above will have you ready to slowly introduce more frequent and longer workouts in the next couple of years (yeah, years) and have you ready to turn up the volume and intensity and spring into action...with a new fan in the stands shouting, "Dadeeeee!!!"
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Old 01-25-21, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisRob01 View Post
Hi Guys,

I hope everyone is safe and well

Iíve recently become a new dad (8 months) and now Iíve got through the early months (with little sleep) Iím starting to pick up my training again.

Everything is closed due to the lockdown in the UK but Iíve got a garage gym, watt bike and squat racks.

Ive been trying to train like normal and burning out with family commitments and the 50hr week job.

I was trying to do 4-5 sessions a week but cannot recover.

I wanted some advice on the minimum sessions I could do whilst trying to progress but not over train due to schedule.

I was thinking 2 watt bike sessions and 2 lifting sessions, any thoughts or guidance at all?

Re the bike sessions should I hit it harder as Iím doing less frequency?

thanks for any guidance I want to keep my hobby going for me 😊

thanks

ChrisR
One thing I've found through finally paying a coach is that my gym volume was entirely wrong (ie, far too much volume, with too little intensity).

I've been thoroughly surprised just how little volume is actually required to get stronger, which is the actual goal.

One massive benefit of this is that DOMs isn't really a thing 90% of the time unless doing specific hypertrophy.
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Old 01-25-21, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Be careful to get decent recovery as that is where the true gains come from. Do one hard day and one recovery day, rinse and repeat, but make sure that recovery is beneficial and not just junk. IMO with so little free time, I would stick to the bike for all work, strength and fitness. You will get far more bang from your limited buck that way. If you want to keep the upper body strengthened, then throw some upper body work in right after a bike strength session. Weight training is all well and good if you have the time to do it and the bike together, but from what you said you just don't have that available time right now
thanks for the advice, itís appreciated. Sounds good, Iíve done this when tired and actually felt my best. I will try this approach cheers again
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Old 01-25-21, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
This can be really tough. My son was born just a couple of years after I got into track, so I was also loathe to take time off and tried to keep training hard. I never really stopped, but eventually it was necessary to radically reduce my training time, and that lasted for years and has since influenced how I go about training in general-- and really, after you have a kid I think it's safe to say you PERMANENTLY will have less training hours thenceforth.

Gym becomes really important, but even in gym sessions I found I had to really cut the fat and just do what was necessary. I learned to get in and out of the gym in an hour or so. Bike work too, long road rides are basically forever gone. If you can get most of your bike stuff done on the watt bike and the rest at track sessions that would be my recommendation. But basically be ready to do a lot less. Caring for your family, getting your day job done, training and getting enough recovery time is a really tricky balance.

In terms of progression, in the two years after my son was born I did go backwards, which was really frustrating. Eventually I found a rough way of approaching training and racing that worked, and I've been progressing pretty well year on year since then (except of course 2020 for obvious reasons...). I guess my take-away is to expect to step back a little in order to keep a balance in the overall picture of your life.
great advice and I recognize things have changed forever in terms of my time. I know I will have to step back and itís nice to hear Iím on the same page about cutting back on all of the accessory stuff and just focusing on big lifts and the bike.

Last edited by ChrisRob01; 01-25-21 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 01-25-21, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
@ChrisRob01, just know that it's not gonna happen.

You mention that you are a new dad. Congrats!

At 8 months, you aren't out of the woods yet. Yeah, your baby doesn't need to eat every 2 hrs, but it's still exhausting. At that age, between taking care of baby, mom, and work, you'll have very little time for you much less your hobbies for a couple more years or more. Seriously. You are probably still on a very short leash. You'll be fighting to find time for sleep in general, much less time to train and then enjoy the deep hours of sleep that you need to recover from training.

Young children require a lot of attention. Now that the baby is sleeping through the night this also means that when the baby is up...the baby is up. When the baby becomes mobile...GAME ON. There is a sweet spot of a few months when the baby is just crawling and content in a small area...and really cute. Enjoy it. The elastic arms will arrive soon enough.

It's great if you have the grandparents on hand to help. But if you don't, then whatever you don't do, your wife has to do. And speaking from experience, she may be going through more than you are aware of dealing with all of the changes she's been through, too (not trying to get in your business, just offering advice from a guy who's been there).

I say all of that to say this: "Disappearing"* for 8, 10, 15 hrs/week to train just may not be feasible unless you are pro and this is your day job (and it's hard on those families, too). *(By "disappearing", I mean you not being available to help with the baby outside of you at work making money.). You may spend more time training than you realize. Here is a relevant thread on how many hours amateur/masters athletes train to be competitive. 75% spend more than 10hrs/week training: https://www.bikeforums.net/track-cyc...ng-racing.html

As others have noted, fully expect to slide backwards in fitness. Your goals at this point are pretty simple:

- Don't overeat and get fat.
- Watch your stress. It's there whether you are aware of it or not.
- Sleep is your friend right now. Intense workout plans require more than average rest. You may not be able to get it if you wanted.
- If possible, focus on the home gym (remember, you are on a short leash) and gather whatever pieces you are missing.
- Getting enough volume and intensity to get a training effect from lifting weights can be achieved in fewer and shorter sessions than riding a bike (even a spin bike). Like 30 minutes of squat and bench press may yield results similar to a 1-2 hr road ride in terms of fitness. Lifting for intensity causes muscles burn calories when lifting as well as recovering. Cardio rides only burns calories when you are riding.
- Lower your goals from "competitive athlete" to "fit dad".
- (trying to word this properly): After the ordeal of pregnancy and childbirth (which is utterly amazing), some women aren't happy with their decline in fitness. Carefully invite your wife to join you in the gym and maybe even trim down your routine so that you two can do the same things (just with different amounts of weight). She may welcome the encouragement. You are her partner.
- Again, trying not to be in your business (but, hey, you asked right?). Learn from the mistakes of others: Be careful not to appear selfish by spending x hrs/week pursuing your hobby.

Doing all of the above will have you ready to slowly introduce more frequent and longer workouts in the next couple of years (yeah, years) and have you ready to turn up the volume and intensity and spring into action...with a new fan in the stands shouting, "Dadeeeee!!!"
thanks so much for taking the time to write such an in-depth response. Totally happy for you to give me the facts as you have as clearly you have been there and done it.

Everything you have said is spot on and Iím trying to follow this approach.

Can totally see what you mean about doing too much and annoying my wife. That would be bad for me!

I was thinking how to structure things as a newbie track sprinter ...

2 bike days

2 squat and olympic lifting days

this seems to be my limit

not sure whether to get a coach or just put something together simple and do what I can.

But will keep trying and will certainly consider everything.

thanks again, very greatful!
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Old 01-25-21, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ruudlaff View Post
One thing I've found through finally paying a coach is that my gym volume was entirely wrong (ie, far too much volume, with too little intensity).

I've been thoroughly surprised just how little volume is actually required to get stronger, which is the actual goal.

One massive benefit of this is that DOMs isn't really a thing 90% of the time unless doing specific hypertrophy.
thanks, Iím thinking a coach maybe the way to go, I know less is more sometimes and Iíve always beasted myself
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Old 01-25-21, 04:34 PM
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As much as I advocate for people serious about the sport hiring coaches, in this case, you probably won't be able to stick to the most basic program assigned to you. Every program that I paid for took about 15-20 hrs of my week (including travel time, setup/breakdown, etc...). And, believe it or not, most basic to intermediate coaching programs are copy-paste for the coach to assign. It's nothing special. And being that your situation provides less time for training than a normal aspiring elite or master, you'll not be able to follow the 5 or 6 days-a-week program to the letter.

There are no shortcuts. If you are training 2-3 days/week and your competition is able to put in 5-6 days/week, you won't be able to keep up at the big events unless you are uniquely talented.

So, at that point, you will be paying money for a watered-down program that simply amounts to: "Do whatever you can when you can"...which you can manage to assign yourself.

If you want to be a sprinter, know that strength is the foundation for everything. It takes the longest to develop (over several cycles over months and years) and it's the component that takes the longest to decay. So, when training time is limited, that's where I'd spend all of it.

Next is power (which is a function of strength). Then comes endurance (cardio). Then top speed.

Further, you don't need much endurance as a sprinter unless you are trying to go deep in into a sprint tournament, riding keirins, or kilos. But, if you want to ride Man-1 in team sprint for giggles in local/regional events, you can do that off of pure strength lifting with the occasional track session to stay familiar with the curves at speed. That's almost entirely anaerobic.
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Old 01-25-21, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
As much as I advocate for people serious about the sport hiring coaches, in this case, you probably won't be able to stick to the most basic program assigned to you. Every program that I paid for took about 15-20 hrs of my week (including travel time, setup/breakdown, etc...). And, believe it or not, most basic to intermediate coaching programs are copy-paste for the coach to assign. It's nothing special. And being that your situation provides less time for training than a normal aspiring elite or master, you'll not be able to follow the 5 or 6 days-a-week program to the letter.

There are no shortcuts. If you are training 2-3 days/week and your competition is able to put in 5-6 days/week, you won't be able to keep up at the big events unless you are uniquely talented.

So, at that point, you will be paying money for a watered-down program that simply amounts to: "Do whatever you can when you can"...which you can manage to assign yourself.

If you want to be a sprinter, know that strength is the foundation for everything. It takes the longest to develop (over several cycles over months and years) and it's the component that takes the longest to decay. So, when training time is limited, that's where I'd spend all of it.

Next is power (which is a function of strength). Then comes endurance (cardio). Then top speed.

Further, you don't need much endurance as a sprinter unless you are trying to go deep in into a sprint tournament, riding keirins, or kilos. But, if you want to ride Man-1 in team sprint for giggles in local/regional events, you can do that off of pure strength lifting with the occasional track session to stay familiar with the curves at speed. That's almost entirely anaerobic.
Agree. Unless you have money to burn and enjoy burning money as an activity unto itself, I wouldn't bother with a paid coach for a while. For me, this period was all about experimenting with the tiny amount of time at my disposal and seeing what gave the best return on investment. I think Carleton's advice about getting strong and staying fit as goals is spot on.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisRob01 View Post
thanks, I’m thinking a coach maybe the way to go, I know less is more sometimes and I’ve always beasted myself
Just realised what I had written, it hadn't meant to read as a recommendation to get a coach. Low hanging fruit n all that. My kids are both a couple of years older now so it's more feasible now.

My comment was more around the progress available with focused training. Like unless in a specific strength/hypertrophy block, my gym is only twice a week, and within those sessions generally there is only one heavy top set of whatever the focus is.

It's a world away from my old tired assumptions of 3x10 etc.

There is almost an equivalence between junk gym work and junk miles on the bike. And that focus helps reduce unnecessary load and recovery times.

Last edited by ruudlaff; 01-26-21 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 01-26-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
As much as I advocate for people serious about the sport hiring coaches, in this case, you probably won't be able to stick to the most basic program assigned to you. Every program that I paid for took about 15-20 hrs of my week (including travel time, setup/breakdown, etc...). And, believe it or not, most basic to intermediate coaching programs are copy-paste for the coach to assign. It's nothing special. And being that your situation provides less time for training than a normal aspiring elite or master, you'll not be able to follow the 5 or 6 days-a-week program to the letter.
This is something I take issue with, though I am deviating off topic a bit. Any good coach should adjust the training regimen around the individual's other life demands. If you are not getting a plan tailored to your needs and designed around your schedule, stop working with that coach and find a different one.

In fact, I would think given your new life demands, a coach would be an ideal solution to help you maximize your training given your limited schedule. (This assumes you have a definable schedule or the ability to commit x hours on y days per week, which you may not yet be able to do.)
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Old 01-26-21, 08:35 AM
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Genuine question with limited time...why not just ride sweet spot and rest or recovery rides when you can no longer hold it in that range?
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Old 01-27-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Genuine question with limited time...why not just ride sweet spot and rest or recovery rides when you can no longer hold it in that range?
yeah I see the point, good advice thanks 👍
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Old 01-27-21, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
This is something I take issue with, though I am deviating off topic a bit. Any good coach should adjust the training regimen around the individual's other life demands. If you are not getting a plan tailored to your needs and designed around your schedule, stop working with that coach and find a different one.

In fact, I would think given your new life demands, a coach would be an ideal solution to help you maximize your training given your limited schedule. (This assumes you have a definable schedule or the ability to commit x hours on y days per week, which you may not yet be able to do.)
yes totally agree, it should be specific to the needs of the person. Thanks for the guidance, appreciate it
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Old 01-27-21, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
This is something I take issue with, though I am deviating off topic a bit. Any good coach should adjust the training regimen around the individual's other life demands. If you are not getting a plan tailored to your needs and designed around your schedule, stop working with that coach and find a different one.

In fact, I would think given your new life demands, a coach would be an ideal solution to help you maximize your training given your limited schedule. (This assumes you have a definable schedule or the ability to commit x hours on y days per week, which you may not yet be able to do.)
How much personalization of a program you get from a coach is a function of money.

To get personlaization, you need a coach to use his/her skill and time to analyze the rider's past and current states (in depth) in order to adjust and assign for maximum progress during the next period. Skill + time = more money.

This is why many (read: all) coaches and coaching collectives have tiered programs (e.g. bronze, silver, gold, platinum) with services ranging from simply assignments emailed to you every Sunday with no other contact with the coach to "nite-nite" stories and warm glasses of milk at bedtime daily...and the fees scaled accordingly.


At this point, there are 2 options for OP (in my estimation):
- Pay medium to top dollar for a custom program to "min-max" his way to gains. (min-max: Do the minimum required for maximum results.)
- Pay minimum dollar for a budget program and received a series of assignments that are copy-pasted from a program that the coach has on deck for such clients. These have no personalization.


Here's why I think coaching, at this point, isn't worth it:
It doesn't make sense for a person who may not be racing soon to pay medium to top dollar for a custom training program when we all know what it takes to excel in this sport and OP's availability is likely severly limited (for great reasons) and OP is breaking entirely new ground in both track racing and fatherhood. There are more unknowns than knowns (from his POV).

All of the budget programs will be pre-canned workouts from a handful that the coach has in their library and, while effective if followed mostly to the letter, their effectiveness is most likely due to a couple of factors:
- Any new racer will likely experience tremendous gains under just about any basic program.
- um...that's about it.

But, if OP isn't able to complete a 5-6 day program, then that'll just add more stress from the added work and even more stress from training guilt (the guilt one feels from missing workouts or failing to complete them).


So...it's a lot...and likely not worth it.

IMHO, OP can still stay fit and have fun in the sport by simply working out 2-3 days/week in his home gym and maybe trading one of those days for a few hours at the velodrome as pack fodder if/when his local velodrome safely reopens for racing.
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Old 02-09-21, 11:11 AM
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Just writing to say congratulations, dad !
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