On average, dads are 5 to 10 kilos heavier than non-dads, they’ve got an extra two inches on their waist and their bellies stick out an extra one inch. The dad bod can ideally be described as moderately fit with extra layers of cushioning.
A college university student wrote an essay about the dad bod and how it says that they go to the gym occasionally, but they also drink heavily on the weekends and sometimes eat up to 8 slices of pizza at a time. Some people consider this a good thing because it makes a person more relatable. What we have to say here, is that it’s not the pizza and the drinking that’s giving you a dad bod, it’s your mentality. The dad bod results from a lack of focus when going to the gym and prioritizing comfort and easy living over healthy and fit living.
Image of Aamir Khan (Body transformation in Dangal)
So Why Do You Get A Dad Bod In The First Place?
So here you are, another year and another belt size bigger. It happens to everyone especially as you approach your forties. Your metabolism starts slowing down, you produce less testosterone, and generally, you become less active. As a result, visceral fat begins to pile up, increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Not to mention that visceral fat actually degrades your muscle quality. A study showed that the hormonally active molecules released from visceral fat actually degrade muscle quality—which, again, leads to more fat.
There is a bellyful of studies which prove the trend of men growing a paunch as they get older, as evidenced by almost everyone over the age of 35. Many men have chosen to simply accept this. It’s often called “dad bod” and has been attributed to excessive beer and bad diets, as well as the natural loss of muscle and subsequent puny metabolism as we get older. Science even has a name for it: age-associated waist circumference increase.
So Do You Have A Dad Body?
Let’s take a moment to find out that you do have a dad bod in the first place before we start discussing how you can beat it and get started on the path to a leaner, stronger and fitter you.
Q1. What Is Your Age?
If you’re above the age of 30, then you would fall into the age-bracket of men who are slowly becoming less and less active and are starting to gain a paunch because of their slowing metabolism and decreased testosterone output.
Q2. What is Your BMI?
Although BMI isn’t the best indicator of health fitness, a BMI between 25 and 29 seems to suggest you have a dad body, which is neither underweight nor too heavy.
A dad bod is pudgy, but not outright fat. In medical terms, it’s overweight but not obese. BMI isn’t always the most accurate measurements someone with a lot of muscle mass will also have a high BMI, but won’t be pudgy or fat.
The belly paunch isn’t that readily visible in those who have recently become fathers but is far more evident in those dads who have teenagers or adolescent kids at home. It seems as fathers relax into fatherhood, their waistline relaxes with them. Obviously, the soft, round look doesn’t work for everyone and isn’t something to aspire for. So here’s a list of ways by which you can lose that weight fast and add a bunch of years to your life, and also life to your years. Of course, you would want to be alive and in good health for when your kids grow older.
1. Strength Training
Image credits to Sundried
Time and again, it has been proven that weight training is the best way to decrease belly fat, even more so than cardiovascular and aerobic exercise. Extensive cardio will help you maintain your physique and not put on additional weight, but it will not help you spot reduce belly fat. A 2014 Obesity study, tracked the waist circumferences of 10,500 men between 1996 and 2008 and found that the top factor for keeping belly size was weight training.
It might surprise you to learn that weight training is more useful for burning gut fat than cardio. The mystery lies in the fact that whenever you lift weights or do strength training, a phenomenon called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) takes place. What this means is that even after lifting, your body continues to burn oxygen at an elevated rate for about 48 hours post your workout. Thus a lifting workout not only helps you burn calories during the workout but also keeps burning calories even after the workout.
The older you get, your body tends to store body fat while your muscles get progressively saggy. Thus it is absolutely imperative you do keep working your muscles so that they stay firm and lean and not get replaced by body fat. As a dad, you probably don’t have a lot of time left over after work, after your commute and after spending time with your wife and kids. Fortunately, you don’t HAVE to hit the gym to lift weights as you can do it in the comfort of your own home whenever you get the time. Of course, you can always use your little children as weights and put them on your back while you do your push-ups. Who says weightlifting can’t be fun for the whole family?
2. High-Intensity Interval Training
Image credits to ecoparent.ca
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s tried, tested and true. Interval training is the best way to shed pounds, increase your metabolism, improve your cholesterol profile, and improve insulin sensitivity and a whole host of other problems which come with increasing age.
At the gym, sign up for a HIIT class, or turn your favorite aerobic exercise, (running, biking, even walking) into an interval workout by adding periods of intense speed (start with 30 to 60 seconds) followed by periods of rest (normal speed) for the same amount of time. Do this six to 10 times to complete a fat-slashing workout. As you get better, slowly increase the amount of time of increased intensity.
Increasing heart rate for a short period of work, say 30-60 seconds, and following that by active rest, usually ends up in more total calories burned compared to steady state cardio. And the best thing about HIIT training is you don’t need to spend a lot of time on it either, leaving you with more time for your wife and kids.
Out of all the various cardiovascular activities, you can do (like jogging or walking), swimming is the only exercise which provides a whole body workout. Since it’s very hard to spot reduce fat from your belly, the idea should be to remove body fat from all over uniformly. However, while swimming, you need to swim at a particular frequency, intensity, and duration. Hence, you need to consistently swim laps instead of lounging around or playing Marco Polo.
The freestyle is the easiest swimming stroke and thus, the most popular one. As long as you swim at a moderate to high-intensity level, all strokes will help you lose weight but the butterfly stroke which mimics that of a dolphin burns the most calories out of all the different strokes. Water is about 800 times denser than air. That is why each kick, push and pull in the water is like a resistance workout for your entire body. Swimming also works really well for your core, arms, glutes, hips, and shoulders. An easy, relaxed swim burns around 500 calories in an hour while a rigorous one may burn up to 700 calories.
So, while swimming, you do not only burn calories but also build lean muscles. These lean muscles boost your metabolism which in turn helps you burn even more calories in the longer run. Also, most children go crazy when they see a swimming pool which makes it a perfect activity for the whole family.
So now that you know how to get rid of that dad bod, how do you sign up for a HIIT class, a gym and a swimming pool without burning a huge gaping hole in your pocket?
This is where Fitato comes into the picture.
Fitato is your single access pass to the best gym and fitness studios in your city. We’ve got more than 400 partner gyms in Hyderabad and Pune a whole host of fun activities like Zumba, MMA, Swimming, etc.
Download the Fitato App.