I’ve never been one to sit still. I’ve competed in the CrossFit Games eight times, own and manage three CrossFit ONE Nation gyms in the greater Boston area, and am head trainer at Reebok CrossFit ONE, Reebok’s headquarters gym. For as long as I can remember, my days have been full.

A coach is checking the body position of a weightlifter while lifting in a gym. work-life balance, family, business, productivity, prioritization, fatherhood, career, Reebok, GamePlan A
I’m always looking at ways to improve the athletes I train and having a clear plan of what we want to achieve together is now more important than ever.

Then, in September of this year, I had my first child, Haley. A lot of people will say, “I didn’t know what busy was until I had a kid.” But for me, becoming a dad wasn’t so much about my life changing as it was about my perspective changing. Seeing my wife become a mother – in pregnancy, in birth and once Haley was home – made me understand women in a way I hadn’t been able to before.

I want to be the best father I can be, and that means setting an example for my daughter. I want her to see me continue to pursue my passion for fitness, but I also want to ensure I am providing for both her and my wife.

In trying to find the balance, I’ve learned a few things:

1. Be more efficient with your time

You might not have as much time as you’d like to do any one thing, so be smart about the time you do have. For me, that means being smart about my workouts. If I only have a few minutes to warm up, I’ll do something that doesn’t require a lot of progressions, like rowing. It’s about doing more with less!

2. Have a plan

I always schedule my workouts – always. By writing them out and planning them in advance, I can go to the gym and jump right into my workout instead of moving between machines and equipment thinking about my next move. I also use this strategy for my business meetings. I create agendas and set clear goals ahead of time to make my discussions as productive as possible. This goes back to being more efficient with your time – plan what you want to accomplish and move through it.

3. Know your priorities

Fitness is a top priority for me; it’s my career, and, more importantly, it’s my passion. As a father, a business owner and a coach, I don’t have a lot of free time, and when I do, I prioritize fitness. It may mean working out at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m., or in a hotel room instead of your preferred gym. Bottom line:

A group of CrossFit athletes running during a workout. work-life balance, family, business, productivity, prioritization, fatherhood, career, Reebok, GamePlan A
In the past I thrived working out with my core team but I’ve had to be more flexible and get my training in whenever and wherever I can.

4. Manage your expectations

Lack of sleep may make fitting fitness in harder – whether that means finding the motivation to work out or the workout itself. The reality is not every workout is going to be a great one. You need to change your expectations. Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish today? It’s ok if it’s ambitious, just make sure it’s attainable within the parameters you’re working with.

5. Find your support system

My wife is my number one fan. She knows how passionate I am about fitness, supports me making time during the day to work out and is always asking about my training. Having someone who is supportive of your passions makes all the difference.

Father, mother and baby daughter selfie in the gym. work-life balance, family, business, productivity, prioritization, fatherhood, career, Reebok, GamePlan A
Having my home fan base double in size is the best motivation in the world!

I’ve learned two things as a father. First, that time is a commodity now more than ever before. If I am going to do something for myself, I want to make sure it is adding value. And second, that being a father gives you more focus. I can’t multitask the way I used to; when I am with my daughter, I am 100% focused on her. Both have led me to be more thoughtful about how I spend my time and do so in a way that makes an impact.

How are you juggling being a first-time parent while working and keeping up your fitness routine?

I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.


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by Liz 08.01.2019
Thanks for sharing your story, Austin! Your motivation & commitment - both to your family & to your personal health and wellness - is inspiring!
by Chris 08.01.2019
Thanks for the great insides. I am more or less in the same situation even so sports or fitness is not my number one priority due to not being an athlete any more. I have become a father in September an still trying to adjust my schedule for being in the office, at home to see m little boy and doing my workouts. Have not figured it out yet but priorities is a really good point. ;)
by Austin Malleolo 08.01.2019
Thank you very much for the support! An Honor to be a part of the Reebok Brand!
by Calvin Chandler 08.01.2019
I became a father a few weeks after joining the adidas group so I’m still seeking the grasp of balance of father/fiancé, career & fitness. I don’t go a week without working out somehow whether it’s pick-up basketball, running, jump rope and heavy bag or gym. I’m not on a workout schedule but it’s more than none. The older my son grows the more it’s becoming easier to leave him home with mom and hit the gym/workouts. Cheers to you Austin Malleolo and the rest of the dads reading this! Thanks for the motivation 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽
by Austin Malleolo Calvin Chandler 09.01.2019
Love this! Thank you! Keep it up and set the example!!!
by Desire Treski 09.01.2019
Congratulations on becoming a Dad! Great article.
by Austin Malleolo Desire Treski 09.01.2019
Thank you!! I hope you are well!
by ZOSIMO LOPEZ 09.01.2019
In 2013 at 43 years old, when my daughter was 2 years old, I came to the conclusion that the only available time for a fitness was waking up early so my routine should start at 6am. It was not easy o start but once I did it, I started to enjoy it, to know new people to see the energy at this time of the day it was really great and motivating experience. I had the opportunity to go to the gym in my 30´s after mid day or in the evening, but believe me the environment in early makes difference. So, as a result of this "small¨ change, after 5.5 years I have the habit to start my routine at 6am, which allows to enjoy the evening with my daughter and my wife in much more efficient way. I 2013 I started to do a small gym routine and to run 1 or 2 km. after 5.5 years, I have participated in 28 run races, including 2 marathon 7 half marathon, and one Ultra Trail of 25k. I have ran more then 5000km, currently my routine includes swimming, bike/sppining, yoga, trx, and GYM and it last 2 hours from 6 to 8am and 1 hour run every Sunday morning. It is my experience and it has been really enjoyable to see the sunrise almost every morning.
by Austin Malleolo ZOSIMO LOPEZ 10.01.2019
That is awesome! Fires me up!!
by Matt 10.01.2019
Thanks for this article Austin, it's encouraging to hear that top athletes are still facing the same challenges as us mere mortals. When my daughter was very young I used to take her for walks in the pram and set my Olympic rings up in the park whilst she slept. Keep up the good work.
by Austin Malleolo Matt 10.01.2019
Heck yea! Love that - Thank you!
by Roy 10.01.2019
I agree with everything you are saying but fitness should be your 2nd priority. Once you become a dad, that is top. I get what you are saying just didn’t like the comment that “Fitness is your top priority”. Maybe add outside of being a loving husband and father.
by Austin Malleolo Roy 10.01.2019
For me, I can not be the best husband or dad - thus Fitness being a top priority allows me to be best husband and father I can be, which is the most important - It will allow me to set the example that we need to take care of ourselves in order to properly take care of others!
by John 11.01.2019
Great article and great advice. Also, a pleasure meeting you Austin. Congrats once again.
by Austin Malleolo John 13.01.2019
Likewise! Thank you!
by Neelish 13.01.2019
Like you I became a father for the first time in September - this article resonated with me, thank you. It's great to know other fathers have the same concerns I do!
by Austin Malleolo Neelish 13.01.2019
Heck yea! Love that, and congrats to you! Keep it up and set the example!
by Rob Felt 22.01.2019
Bravo! Love the perspective Austin is advocating. It's good to see strong role models for fatherhood. I'm the father of four (two girls / two boys) and they have helped me shape my life and priorities over the last few decades.
by Michael 22.01.2019
Last year at 32, my wife and I had our first child. Just 7 weeks after my daughter's birth I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable liver disease that caused a localized cancer all of which required intense cancer treatment and a liver transplant. I have been active and moving my whole life, but since the past 5 months I work out everyday for a different reason, to be stronger and improve my chances to live. I share this short version of my first fatherhood experience because we are so much more capable then we think. I am the same person as 7 months ago, same body and brain but once the situation changed it completely transformed my everyday simply because I changed my mindset. If we made every goal in our life "do or die", couldn't we achieve the same results?

Find your drive, study mental strength as much as physical strength and you will achieve far more than your expectations if you put in the daily work. Wake up everyday and get it done, - NO excuses - NO short cuts - NO BS.
by Austin Malleolo Michael 12.02.2019

I love this, fires me up! This is what it is about, setting the example in more ways than one! You are a true inspiration! Thank you for sharing!
by Marcello 24.01.2019
In my experience Time Management led me to a better work - life balance. Planning your day is the mot clever action you could do. I plan my training sessions during my son sport activities, so that I don't waste time bringing him to the jim e waiting for.
by Luis 27.01.2019
Great history and learnings! Thanks Austin for the openness. I’m not a father but I already follow some of the ideas that you’ve shared. I always find a spot to do my workout and that’s also what I’m trying to teach to my team. That’s probably my main challenge. And with this simple methods I will be able to show them that is possible!
by Tim 06.03.2019
Spot on adivce - and this isn't just solid advice for fitness - but pretty much anything in life you want to excel at.
by Debbie Yusella 06.03.2019
Thanks for sharing, Austin! I met you on WOW in January and was impressed with your enthusiasm in helping others during our WOD's. I have no doubt that you will be a tremendous role model for your beautiful little girl. Keep your passion strong for CrossFIT and FAMILY!!
by Terry Careswell 07.08.2019
My daughter is now 8mths old (first child) I'm 46yrs. I start work at 06:30 Mon to Friday, I get out of bed at 4am to do my workouts so when I get home it's all family and house chores time
by SYED AHMAD 08.12.2019
Nice article on the topic.