4 Ways to Avoid Dad Bod

Your buddies warned you that your physique was going to slip when that kid of yours came into the world. As much as you hate to admit it, they were right. Read this article to prevent further damage and recoup the muscle that you’ve lost.

When your child was born, you had no idea what to expect. There were so many moving and changing variables that it was hard to focus on anything that didn’t involve that little creature that couldn’t hold their head up.

There were diaper changes, swaddling, feeding (even if you don’t have the breasts, you’re involved), their health, safe sleep, how they cut into your sleep…it’s the ultimate crash course because as everyone tried to tell you: you’ll never really be ready. You just tried to figure it out as you go.

But with all of that focus and attention centered on the new human that took over your family, you slipped up in a few areas:

• Your nutrition.
• Your workout consistency.
• Your workout intensity.
• Your sleep—but that’s not really on you.

Your health took a backseat so that you could prioritize the health of your new little baby. Nobody would fault you for it because it’s pretty much par for the course. But when you look in the mirror, you’re not thrilled.

The combination of fewer workouts and metabolism that doesn’t quite keep up with the quick and easy fast food stops has eroded the physique that you once knew. Before things go off the rails and your Dad Bod comes into its own, we’re here to help. The following 5 tips will help you avoid a body that has doomed fathers for far too long.

Anything. Anything at all. The trouble with health and nutrition is that so many people believe–subconsciously, in most cases–that if you can’t do it right, you shouldn’t do anything. If you can’t get to the gym for an hour and a half, what’s the point of going at all? If you can’t find time to make healthier meals, what’s the point in trying to avoid the stack of takeout menus on the counter?

The point is this: something is better than nothing.  Working out for 30 minutes is far better than working out for 0 minutes. Don’t get caught in the trap of comparing your new workout schedule to your old one. You are living in a different world now.  Making a healthy meal a couple times a week is a huge improvement over eating greasy takeout every single night. Don’t discount the effort to clean up your diet just because it’s not what it used to be.

If you can manage to work out a little bit here and there while mixing in some healthier food choices when you can, you’ll have a better starting point–mentally and physically–when your son or daughter starts giving you some more of your time back. Starting from nothing is hard, so by keeping some of your routines in place,  you’ll be ready to rock and roll when the time comes to raise the bar.

Since you don’t have hours and hours to workout like you may have had in the past, you want to get the best bang for your buck in terms of time. The most valuable use of your time, then, is incorporating some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

You can work up a sweat in just 10-15 minutes if you’re pairing quick bursts of exercise with short sections of rest. This will also get your heart pumping at the same time, so you’ll be showing some love to your body and your heart. You can use dumbbells, machines, or just the weight of your body to challenge your muscles and get your blood pumping. Whatever you do, keep it short, sweet, and sweaty.

The weight room is the optimal place to create a physique that is strong and cut, but we’re not trying to look like a Greek god here–we just want to fit in our clothes and not be embarrassed to take our shirt off.

If you can find a way to workout in your basement or your living room, the time that you used to spend driving back and forth to the gym can be used toward a HIIT workout that will make you sweat and keep you within earshot of a crying baby or a stressed partner.

It’s a win-win.

You and your partner just brought a human into the world. Trying to maintain the lifestyle and level of fitness you once had is a stressful and anxiety-ridden path to walk as a new dad.  The best thing you can do for you (and your family) is to adapt to your new circumstances, do your best to embrace the imperfection of your workouts, and improve when and where you can.

Dad Bod isn’t a necessary step into fatherhood. You can be healthy and in shape while also pitching in and helping your partner raise your baby. You don’t have to give up on yourself or your fitness, and I hope that these tips help to keep things in perspective as you work to stay in shape.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.