Thanks to Hawaiian_Mike on Urban Dictionary, we now have a definition for what a "Dad Bod" is:
In the process of caring for your child, you’ve completely forgotten to take care of yourself.
Now you need to do something about it.
Luckily, I have the solution for you.
When talking about new parents and fitness, more is NOT better. The last thing you want to do is add 5 workouts to your weekly schedule when you’re already sleep deprived, not eating well and stressed out of your mind. This will cause more harm than good.
To benefit from any kind of training, you need to be able to recover from it. Sleep, nutrition and stress levels have the biggest impact on your recovery.
Aim for 2 workouts per week to start. As your fitness level goes up and you find more time in your schedule, you can increase the number of workouts to 3 or 4. Anything more than this in unnecessary unless you’re competing in a sport that requires higher amounts of training.
Picking the Right Workouts
There are endless possibilities when it comes to picking workouts. But following the rule outlined about, you’ll be looking for one thing in particular; efficiency.
The best “bang for your buck” workouts aim at building muscle (strength training) or high intensity workouts where you go all-out for short period of times, followed by longer rest periods.
You could do a strength focused session once or twice a week, where you complete 3 to 4 compound lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, chin up, pull up, rows) each session. Building muscle will increase your resting metabolic rate, so you'll burn more fat even when you're not exercising. It will also boost your metabolism for up to 72 hours, which will help you lose that beer belly faster. You need to set your 6 pack free!
You could also do some high intensity interval training (HIIT). These workouts are extremely time-efficient. Be sure to warm up appropriately before going all out. Pick simple movements that allow you to push yourself hard without risking injuries (hill sprints, indoor rower, exercise bike, etc..). Do a short interval at 90-95% effort, followed by a longer rest period (around a 1:4 work to rest ratio). Repeat this 3-6 times and you’re done. Finish with a thorough cool down/stretch.
If you want to get some longer cardio done, put the little one in the stroller and take off for a long walk. Keep a fast pace to elevate your heart rate. This will not only increase your aerobic capacity, but will also help you recover from the harder training sessions. You don’t need to pay the gym to run on a treadmill. If you want to make it more challenging, throw some weights in your backpack before you step outside for your walk.
Fitting it Into the Schedule
Before you tell me that you don’t have time to do anything more than what you’re already doing, take 10 minutes to write down (in 30 minute chunks) what your week is really made of. Then, make the grown up decision to use “Pokemon Go time” and “Netflix time” to take care of your body.
Another option is to get a sitter and partner up with your wife. Go workout together. You don’t need to be doing the same thing, but that way you’re spending time together without the baby.
Hit a quick workout during your lunch break at work. Find a colleague to partner up with so you keep each other motivated when times get tough.
You can also workout when the baby is sleeping. Whether it’s during the mid-day nap or later in the evening, just be ready to throw down in the living room as soon as the little one goes down.
Stop the Pizza and the Beer
If you're exercising and eating real foods, you'll drop weight. Stay away from processed crap, eat your greens and make smart decisions when you're eating out.
Don't Make Excuses
Make time for it. Your health and fitness will determine the quality of your life as you age. They will also influence how well you’ll be able to take care of your children. Exercise is an investment that provides a steady return on investment when done regularly. So start investing in yourself today!
Download this free PDF with sample workouts (no email required) to get you going! Don't be afraid to email me if you come up with any questions.
Taking It One Step Further
Consider working with a fitness professional to ensure that the exercises you use are appropriate for your current level of conditioning and skill. This will also provide you with support and accountability which are key factors when it comes to changing habits and achieving long term goals!
Sean is a Strength & Conditioning Coach based in Vancouver, BC. He focuses on beginner strength training and online programming for recreational lifters and athletes. He believes in the value of hard work when applied to a smart training program. Sean has a keen eye for good movement and encourages a positive lifestyle to support good training results.