Parenting is one of the most rewarding things in life, but it doesn’t have to take a toll on your body. How many dads out there have traded in their six pack for a large gut? Don’t worry, this isn’t something that is just affecting you, most dads are suffering
Why is this? Well most guys will tell you that their metabolism has slowed down, or that gaining weight is just something that happens as you get older. While both of these statements are often true, there is no reason for this to happen.
Your metabolism is a measure of the number of calories your body uses during the day, this can be affected by a number of things. But one of the biggest influences on your metabolism is … well … you. Guys who exercise more are generally more active will have a higher metabolism than guys who are sedentary.
In this article we are going to attempt to transform your dad bod into a rad bod that will get you noticed (in the right way). We will look at diet, regular exercise, and ways to stay active while still crushing it as a dad.
Transforming your physique from flabby to fit is much more about what you do in the kitchen than what you do in the gym. This bit of advice is often greeted with disappointment when told to dads. It seems that guys like the idea of exercising more than they like the idea of cutting up veggies.
But the number of calories you consume each day has a huge impact on your weight. You could do absolutely zero exercise at all, and still lose weight provided your diet was on point. So no more excuses
The first thing you will want to do is work out how many calories you should be consuming. You can use this weight-loss calculator to work this out (it’s surprisingly accurate). Once you have entered in your details, the calculator will tell you how many calories you need to 1) gain weight 2) lose weight or 3) maintain weight
We’re looking to lose weight, so choose this option. You will be given a calorie number which you are supposed to stick to. Let’s say that your target is 2,000 calories per day. What you will need to do is download a calorie counting app (my fitness pal is a well known one) and start logging in your food each day
Do this for one week and try to eat what you usually do (rather than aiming to hit the target). The reason for this is that you want to get a rough idea of how many calories you are currently eating. If you are eating 3,000 calories per day (on average) then the 2,000-calorie target may be a bit unrealistic.
Remember, you are looking for your average across a week. Most dads tend to eat okay during the week, but it’s the weekend (Saturday night in particular) where everything falls apart. If you are eating 2,000 calories five days a week, and then 4,000 calories on Saturday and 3,000 calories on Sunday, then your average calories is around 2,400.
Once you have worked out how many calories you are currently eating, and you have your calorie target. Analyze your current diet. What meal are you constantly overeating? What snacks are too high in calories
We’re looking to make small, easy changes that will have a long term effect on your weight. Too many dads make the mistake of trying to overhaul everything. That leads to complications and often the dad in question becomes overwhelmed.
But if you can easily cut down the calories by making simple food swaps (using a lower calorie bread for your sandwich, or switching from regular coke to diet for example) then your routine will be pretty much the same.
Obviously if your current diet is way too calorific, then you’ll need to make some extreme changes. But for most dads, their diet is mostly fine, but some small adjustments will make a big difference.
The gym is often the first thing dads think of when they think about losing weight. There is good reason for this, resistance exercise (lifting weights) is one of the best ways to build muscle, boost your metabolism, and lose weight. But it is not the only way to go about it.
Organized sports are an enjoyable way to burn calories. Joining a local basketball club, or an athletics club, or even a weekly golf game will all help you to build muscle and burn fat. You can also find sports that you and your kids can do together (depending on their age) to earn extra dad points while still losing weight. Why not go swimming with your kids once per week
The important thing about regular exercise is that it is well … regular. You need to find time in your agenda each week. No, it’s more than that. You need to MAKE time in your agenda each week. Schedule in exercise like you would schedule in a trip to the dentist or a business meeting. It’s as important as both of those things.
If you are going to a gym, why not consider hiring a trainer? Or attending a class. Something that you need to book in advance, it will hold you accountable. Same thing with a sports team, if training is every Wednesday then you will soon find that Wednesday practice becomes a part of your weekly routine. Once your family and friends get used to it, you’ll find that there are less and less scheduling conflicts arising.
Also known as irregular exercise! Most of the calories that you burn each day have absolutely nothing to do with hours spent on a treadmill or chasing a ball. Even sitting down and reading this article is burning calories.
Dads should look at ways to increase the number of calories they burn while NOT exercising. Walk more, do more housework (your family will LOVE this one), take the dog out (if you have one), mow the lawn, wash the car, run around after your kids
This is known in scientific circles as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and the higher your NEAT the more calories you will burn, and therefore the higher your metabolism. As we age our metabolism can slow down, but only if we allow it to. If you maintain or even increase NEAT, while also exercising regularly your metabolism should actually increase
Raising your metabolism through exercise and NEAT while lowering your calories in through diet will create a calorie deficit (where you are burning more calories than you are eating). When you have a calorie deficit your body will burn stored energy (fat) to create a balance between energy in and energy out. This is how you burn fat
So all you need to do is consume less calories, move more often, and be patient. Eventually you will have dumped the “dad bod” and built a rad bod of your very own.