Battling Dad Bod
After 9 months of waiting, preparation, doctor’s appointments, weird cravings and midnight snack runs, your little bundle of joy has blessed the world with their presence. Congratulations!!! You’re officially a dad. If one were to poll any number of fathers in the U.S. as to what the proudest moment of their life was, it would be hard to argue that the moment they first held their child shouldn’t top that list. It’s a moment that has such a level of magnitude that it is truly incomparable with anything else.
In the months/years to follow, your life truly changes. Your daily routines regularly get altered, your plans and purpose completely change; and you undoubtedly experience multiple levels of jubilation on a regular basis as your little one grows and develops. The joys, realities and requirements of fatherhood completely alter your focus, as it is no longer simply about you. It’s not until you finally reach that moment where you catch a glimpse of a side profile while walking by a mirror, and you realize it happened…..You officially have a Dad Bod.
While this realization is often treated as a common moment of acceptance that “this is just how it’s going to be”, it does not have to be. I’m going to give you 5 simple pieces of advice to help you regain control of your health & fitness, and start your battle against dad bod.
- Own It. “I have been too busy…There is not enough time…It happens to everyone…” Regardless of which excuse you choose, remember that it is still an excuse. Utilizing any excuse for your own condition is the same as transferring ownership. Acknowledge that your health & fitness just has not been a priority. By taking ownership of where you are, you’ll be much more likely to commit to the process of getting to where you need to be. Why? Simply because you have broken the cycle of blaming it on someone else.
- Set Daily Goals. Start with 2-3 activity goals per day. Write them down and keep them either with you, or in a place where you must see them multiple times throughout the day. When establishing these goals, do not try to set the world on fire from day one. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your body. So develop 2-3 S.M.A.R.T. activity goals for each day (see below). Each time you complete a goal, physically cross it off of the list. As men, we are definite creatures of routine and habit. This will help you to establish a routine of physical activity that will lead to sustainable success.
- Specific: A definitive goal with a definite target. (i.e. walking around the block 3 times)
- Measurable: Completion of the goal must have tangible results. (i.e. I walked around the block 3 times)
- Attainable: The goal must be something that CAN be completed. (i.e. walking around the block can physically be done)
- Realistic: The goal must be something you are physically capable of doing. (i.e. running a marathon after 0 physical activity for 6 months =unrealistic…completing a 15-20 minute walk=realistic)
- Timely: Each goal must have a designated completion time-frame. (i.e. I will walk around the block 3 times by 4pm.)
- Meal & Snack Prep. As a personal trainer, one of the most common struggles I hear from my clients (active and potential) is with the convenience of nutritious food choices. In fact, the single and most consistent saboteur of a healthier lifestyle is convenience food. In particular, the convenience of not-so nutritious food options. So how does one make healthy eating more convenient? Simply put…be your own fast food source. What I have discovered is that when you have options within reach that you personally spent time preparing, you are much less likely to spend your money elsewhere (<–There’s that ownership thing again).
- Make Your Own Plate. So you may not be the chef in your household. Your significant other may even insist on ensuring you have good home cooked meals, and won’t let you near the kitchen. I get it. If this (or maybe you just can’t boil water) is your situation, then there is a solution for that as well. Start making your own plate. What better way to ensure that you are getting the proper portions than to put the food on the plate yourself (<–one more time for the fellas in the back…ownership). This way, your significant other gets the satisfaction of preparing the food, and you get the control of how much goes into your body.
- Start Training. This is the last thing on this list, and for good reason. Along with establishing a routine with what you take in, you MUST establish a routine for what you put out. And by put out, I am speaking of the calories you burn. If you refer back to tip #2 above, you will observe the reference for incorporating activity goals. The purpose of this is to increase your daily activity level from being sedentary (sitting on the couch), to getting up and moving around more. This is necessary to keep your metabolic fire burning throughout the day. When it comes to specified training (working out), make this a separate goal. Once you have checked in with your primary doctor, it is time to start putting in the physical work. Implementing a training regimen that is designed specifically for you and your goals, is essential for your success. And it is import that I emphasize “DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU AND YOUR GOALS”. While you may want to jump into the gym and sling around a bunch of weight, it is very likely that this will not work in your favor. It is best to put the ego aside, and reach out to a professional for proper guidance to get you on a proper plan, and on the right track toward achieving sustainable goals and preventing you from injuring yourself in the process.
As you can see from the information presented above, it is definitely possible for you to get back in control, and successfully battle that new “dad-ish” figure. And while the steps above won’t guarantee that you will transform yourself into the next Hercules, following them will definitely help you to get back on track, and set you on your way to improved health & fitness.