Zia Hassan

Best Piece Of Advice For Expecting Parents

While my wife and I were expecting our first child, I often asked a question to parents that I would meet: what is one thing you wish had been told before the birth of your child, and one thing that you were told very often that didn’t end up true for you?

The answers were interesting and definitely will be the subject of an upcoming video or post, but I’m now being asked by the same people what I would say if I was giving advice to expecting parents.

There are quite a few things I could think of to say to an expecting parent. I’d tell them not to worry about the carseat/stroller debacle, because most of the models are quite similar. I’d tell them not to Google anything that their child is doing and find a pediatrician they trust. Actually, I’d tell them not to trust the internet in general when it comes to children (see previous post on The Internet’s Baby). All of these are things people had mentioned to me before having a child.

But one piece of advice I wish I’d gotten?

Work out.

Yes, work out, for months in advance so that you are prepared for the physical burden of having a baby. It is not easy to carry a growing thing that starts at a meager few pounds but grows a little every day.

There is a benefit to the fact that your child grows just a little every day, which is that there is some scaling built into the plan. If I’m used to holding a 7lb baby for instance, I won’t be shocked when I’m suddenly holding a 7.1lb baby in a few days.

But other than that…

Lifting a baby out of a crib is the exact movement you’d do with a Romanian deadlift, or even lifting a barbell off of a box.

Pushing a stroller requires quad and arm strength. Pushing exercises like push-ups or chest presses would mimic this motion.

I do squats all the time while I’m holding the baby and trying to pick something up off of the floor.

He usually hangs over my left shoulder when I’m carrying him, so I do shoulder presses to train.

Doing exercises that promote a straight back, like a deadlift or squat, is useful since you’ll be wearing your baby on your chest sometimes and you don’t want to hunch too much without realizing it.

I’m not the strongest person, naturally. I started working out so that I could lose weight and be ready to chase my kid around, and I’m sure cardio skills will come in handy eventually.

But for new parents, I recommend lifting weights. A great program is “The New Rules of Lifting” by Lou Schuyler and Alwyn Cosgrove. I’ve used it for years and have never tired of it.