9 Ways to Reclaim Your Dad Bod
Dad Bod WOD Founder and Head Coach of Forging Elite Fathers Kevin Torres shares tips that transform the relationship with your bod and your brood.
It happens overnight. One day you’re an active guy with a social life. You visit the gym regularly, you’re alert and well-rested and can perform complex tasks. The next, you’re a sleep-deprived zombie with nursery rhymes stuck in your head, spending the days changing diapers and packing snacks.
Becoming a father is one of the most transformative things that can happen to a guy. It molds you into a selfless caregiver and more supportive partner. Life’s trivialities become exposed for exactly what they are: not really that important compared to your new fatherly responsibilities. But sometimes it feels as though fatherhood is transpiring against you. With every perk comes a new challenge that, if overlooked, can harm your mental and physical health. And while the dubious phenomenon of the Dad Bod might be applauded in some circles, it’s important to avoid the wrong side of that coin: the exhausted, out-of-shape guy with a beer gut who no longer models healthy habits for his family.
Whether you’re a new dad, an expecting father, or a seasoned veteran, the Dad Bod doesn’t discriminate; it can come for you. Transforming from soft to superhero overnight isn’t realistic. What you can do is redefine and reclaim what it means to have a Dad Bod by making sustainable changes to your lifestyle. Here are some tips to get started.
1. Prioritize Yourself
As busy dads, we tend to put ourselves last. We prioritize the needs of our families and jobs at the expense of our own health and fitness. Carving out time for a run might not seem as vital to our family’s future as choosing the right investments or helping the kids with their homework, but that’s shortsighted. It’s time we started treating our health like any other asset. Just 30 minutes a day to recharge your batteries by exercising, meditating, or pursuing a creative endeavor will help you be a more present and supportive father and spouse.
2. Stay Ready (and Fast)
A lack of time — or the perception of it — often keeps us from working out. But even new dads can find 20 minutes to crush a high-intensity workout at the park while your kid naps in the stroller. You can have an equally effective workout in a third of the time you usually spend at the gym — if you keep it short but intense. In fact, these workouts are more effective at burning fat and building muscle than steady cardio. Be opportunistic by never waiting for the ideal time to exercise. Need an idea? Try this workout.
3. Meal Prep Made Easy
There’s a zero percent chance that you have all of Sunday to prep a dozen containers with grilled chicken, brown rice, and steamed broccoli. Instead, stick to a simple meal protocol of 5 oz of protein, 5 oz of carbs, 1-2 oz of fat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with some light snacks in between meals. Doing so will stabilize your blood sugar, thwart cravings, and turn your body into a fuel-burning machine. Combine that nutrition protocol with HIIT a few times a week, and your body will be burning fat like a speeding freight train burning through coal.
4. Daily Gratitude
Day-to-day life, especially for dads, is stressful. You likely don’t have time to stop and smell the roses and truly appreciate all that you have. Practicing gratitude may be one of the most overlooked and efficient tools we have. It has been shown to improve relationships, physical health, mental health, reduce stress, and improve sleep (all areas we can improve in). As you’re making your morning coffee, think about all the things that you’re grateful for, like your family, job, kids, and health and just say “Thank you.” It’s important to remember why we work so hard, and for whom.
5. Daily Adventures
Children thrive with routines, but sometimes routines get stale. Break up the monotony of everyday life by creating mini daily adventures for you and your family, whether that be a family bike ride, exploring a new park, walking instead of driving to the ice cream shop, etc. These are the moments that your kids will remember forever.
6. Stay Connected
In this ever-connected world, it’s still so easy to lose touch with friends. It’s so important that you keep forging strong relationships with others, even when you can’t always be physically together. Schedule a recurring virtual meeting with your close friends to stay in touch, share laughs and support one another. Online communities are also a great way to foster new relationships with other dads.
7. Chug, Chug, Chug!
More water, that is. Most men are not drinking enough water throughout the day. Water is the building block of life, and you should be proactive about keeping yourself hydrated on a daily basis whether you’re training for a marathon or sitting in an office all day.
8. Rest Days
You work hard, you party hard, you should also rest hard! Not only are you likely not getting enough sleep, but there’s a good chance you’re not giving your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of life. A rest day, even an active rest day of bike riding with the family, allows your body to consolidate the hard work you've been doing at work, around the house, and keeping up with the never-ending diaper changes. Take a break to give your nervous system a chance to regenerate!
9. Mindfulness to Make Up for Sleep Deprivation
Let’s face it. Gone are the days of 8 hours of sleep per night. Heck, you’re lucky if you’re getting 5-6 uninterrupted hours. When you’re sleep-deprived, you make poor choices: mindlessly snack, more reactive to stress, less dopamine, easily distracted, etc. This compounded lack of sleep will catch up with you one way or another, resulting in being not present in the moment, stressed, or even snapping at your loved ones. You can mitigate the effects of sleepless nights by practicing mindfulness for even a few minutes a week.
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to reclaiming your Dad Bod. To reward yourself for the work you’ll be putting in running after the kids, grab some fresh gear with Reebok’s Father’s Day collection.