The Dad Bod…

Urban Dictionary defines ‘Dad bod’ as…

a male body type that is best described as “softly round.” It’s built upon the theory that once a man has found a mate and fathered a child, he doesn’t need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.

Whilst many fathers might be content with this new phase of their lives and may relish fulfilling the stereotype, for others, the Dad bod is a real concern!

Rightfully, we as physios spend a lot of time educating the importance of exercise during and post pregnancy for all the new Mums out there. However today, being Father’s Day, I thought we take a look at some practical tips for the Dads (especially first time Dads, whose world has just been turned upside down with the arrival of their new bundle of joy and are getting next to no sleep) on how to maintain some form of normality with their fitness regime.

First and foremost, time is valuable. Remember spending hours on the golf course followed by a few refreshments on the 19th hole? Remember spending a couple of hours at the gym then going for coffees or brunch with your buddies? Forget it! Times have changed. Some of these luxuries may return once the kids get a little older (no promises though), but it’s highly unlikely in the short term. Your life as a dad is going to be consumed with spending as much time with your kids as possible and trying not to drown in the endless amounts of dirty nappies. In all seriousness, when you do have some spare time, you need to make the most of it. The following are 5 practical tips to create time for exercise in your day and make efficient use of your leisure time…

Tip 1 – Set up a home gym

Consider purchasing some gym essentials and transform your spare room or garage into your own home gym. Whether it be a treadmill or rowing machine to get in some cardio, a set of dumbbells/kettlebells, resistance bands, a bench or even a chin up bar, a small amount of equipment can go a long way – you don’t need to spend thousands, just get a bit creative! Having a home setup not only means you save time travelling to the gym and you can train at whatever hour of the day you like.

Tip 2 – Jogger prams, bike baby seats and bike baby trailers

“Being able to exercise and entertain your baby isn’t possible” I hear you say? Wrong. Buy a jogger pram. These are prams with specialised suspension, that safely allows you to push them whilst you jog and not give your baby concussion at the same time. Your baby will love it and you can keep your Dad bod in check. Similarly if cycling is more your game, try purchasing a baby bike seat or trailer, and attach it to your bike. Although you may need to be a little more cautious with your ride, at least your Strava account is still getting a workout!

Bike Riding Baby Seat - The Dad Bod - Revive Physiotherapy and Pilates

Image credit: bikeradar.com

Tip 3 – Supersetting

What is a superset? You may have heard the term superset at your local gym. Basically, it is when one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of a different exercise, without rest between them. Once each superset is complete, then rest for one and a half to two minutes to recover. Since you’re performing the sets back to back, you’ll finish your workout in a fraction of the time. In addition to saving time, supersetting your workout can keep your heart rate elevated for longer periods of the workout: so you’ll burn more calories! Common superset examples are biceps and tris, chest and back, quads and hammies. Just keep in mind that due to the shortened rest periods, it is recommended you use lighter weight when supersetting, as opposed to standard sets.

Tip 4 – Change up your program

Some activities obviously take more time than others. So it might be an idea to rethink your activity of choice. Maybe reconsider activities like rock-climbing, surfing and kayaking etc. where you may need to travel far for your activity, set up, pack up, and clean your gear. It will leave you little time to actually do your activity. Have you thought about cross-training? Try using weight or rowing machines at home or at the gym. If surfing is more your go, consider swimming laps at the pool in your lunch break at work. I know it’s not the same but at least you can avoid losing all your gains, and still keep your body in check for when you eventually manage to get back on the board or the ropes.

Tip 5 – Ditch the car

Depending on how far away from home you work, ditching your car for your bike will allow you to get in some serious kms to and from work. If you work too far from home, maybe consider public transport and riding? Or even drive half way to work and ride the rest? You could save money on parking too! This plan works best when your work has somewhere to freshen up prior to clocking on for the day. The last thing you want to do is be that guy everyone at work avoids getting too close to because of unpleasant body odours! Similarly, pack your running gear and make your lunch hour a productive one. You will probably avoid that post-lunch slump and find yourself being more alert for the rest of the day!

Hopefully these 5 Tips have given you some ideas to work with to revive your weekly routine. Remember that once you become a parent, “free time” is precious – you just need to be efficient with it and stop making excuses! If you require anymore advice on cross training, gym programs or getting yourself moving again, speak to your Physiotherapist today for a full assessment and action plan.

Happy Father's Day - Revive Physiotherapy and Pilates