It’s time to ditch the Dad Bod
For many men, noticing an ‘extra layer’ beginning to form around their stomachs as they grow into fatherhood often feels like it snuck up on them out of nowhere. It’s as if change isn’t happening until one day — BAM — a magical beer belly appears.
You think, how did that happen?! I still workout and eat my greens. Must just be a natural sign of aging.
In your frustration, you figure that since it showed up unexpectedly, it will probably require a ton of work to change… and you’re a busy dad now, you’ve got stuff to do, diapers to deal with and kids activities to drive to, so you shrug it off as your new reality and carry on as you were.
Fast forward with this complacency and the belly grows into bigger problems beyond what just seems superficial. You become at high risk for serious health conditions like heart disease and the lack of energy makes playing with your kids feel like a challenge. Your victim-like attitude compounds as well, leaving you feeling like everything is happening to you, as if you have no control, which ultimately takes a toll on your overall happiness.
It’s a slippery slope and a storyline we’ve accepted in American culture for a long time, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
The truth is, you have way more of a choice in your life and control over your health than you might think.
What actually is often behind ‘Dad Bods’ is less to do with aging and more to do with the fact that your life has just dramatically changed. You’re busy and overwhelmed with all the new responsibilities of parenting and to deal with it you opt for quick fixes like extra dessert, more booze, and breaks from exercise.
And while we are all for rest and recovery, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking bad health habits are providing any sort of real relaxation long term. Instead, here are seven realistic ways busy dads can take care of their health, ditch the Dad Bod and still have plenty of time left over.
1. Focus on quality over quantity
You could spend two hours at the gym with minimal results if you’re not working out strategically. Keep them short and laser focused by planning ahead or by trying structured classes like our 30-minute Grit Team Training classes.
2. Take care of your mindset
Many of us often don’t bother prioritizing our own mental health until we’re burnt out wondering how we got there. Go for a walk, do yoga, or give yourself some phone-free time in the sauna. Remember this saying: you can’t pour from an empty cup! In other words, you can’t show up for your family, friends and work if you don’t take care of yourself first.
3. Change up your workouts
If you’ve been recycling the same workout over and over for as long as you can remember, odds are you’ve plateaued and could benefit from something new. For example, if you always do a weightlifting circuit, try tackling a Tour10, KettleRow or BodyCombat class.
FP member Willis C. shares his experience with trying group workouts in this short video:
4. Workout early
When life gets busy, going to the gym can start feeling like a luxury you don’t deserve or a nagging chore you don’t want to do, which of course, are both just stress talking. Committing to an early workout helps you get it done before your excuses find you, plus the endorphins give you a boost to start your day feeling great.
5. Get a workout buddy
Connecting with other dads and fellow gym members at FP can help motivate you to actually show up for your workout when you’re feeling tempted to bail. Make plans to meet at a specific time or sign up for a group class — hello accountability!
6. Bring your kids to the gym
Knowing that many of our members have young kids and deal with similar challenges, we created a staff-supervised Play Kids Area inside our gyms so you can workout and keep your kids entertained too.
7. Share your plans to prioritize your health
Tell your partner, your kids and anyone else who needs to know that you are on a mission to improve your health and fitness habits and you need their support. Share the details of your plan (you can even use it as a moment to educate your kids on health) and ensure everyone is on the same page. Knowing you have support will reduce any sense of guilt and dial up the accountability to follow through!
Ready to take action? There is no better time than now. Start by picking one thing from this list that you can do right today. What will it be?
Remember, we’re always here to help give you the push you need.