So here you are. Another year and another belt size bigger. It happens, especially as we approach our forties.
Our metabolisms start to slow, we produce less testosterone, and generally we are less active. So yea, fat starts to creep all around our bodies and we continue to buy bigger and bigger pants to accommodate it.
It sucks but it doesn't have to happen, so let's figure out how to stop it.
Helping fat dads become fit dads is what I do. Over the last 19 years as a fitness coach, I've seen so many guys sporting the dad bod and wanting desperately to change it.
But they don't know how.
As we age, our bodies struggle more and more to keep their shape and our muscle mass slowly dissipates. It's part of life but there are things we can do to combat this.
We don't have to be overweight just because we're in our 30's or 40's. We don't have to settle for having no energy or feeling exhausted all the time.
But we have to do things differently than we're doing now. Change is the only way.
My goal is to help each one of you shed fat, get lean, and be in the shape you want to be in. This not only translates into a leaner, stronger, and fitter you, but can add years to your life and more importantly, life to your years.
Here are 10 Rules to fight the Dad Bod
1. Train With Weights 3-4 Times Per Week
There is absolutely no better way to burn fat and get lean than by training with weights. Overloading your muscles is a requirement for growth and will help to increase testosterone, increase bone mass density, and is the only way to get stronger.
While 3-4 days is probably ideal for most men, you can certainly do it less often if time is really an issue for you. Just make sure you adhere to the following guidelines:
- Challenge yourself each workout. Strive to push yourself a little more each time you step into the gym.
- Focus on compound movements.
- Change your program every 4-8 weeks.
- Increase/change the variables frequently. That's sets, reps, weight, tempo, rest, etc.
- Have a plan, be focused in your workout, and give it your all. Intensity is key!
2. No Junk Food, Fast Food, Fried Food, or Soda
This should be obvious, but you are still doing it. A lot.
By simply avoiding these few categories, you will save yourself thousands of unhealthy calories each week. Believe me, it adds up and fast.
Soda is probably the sneakiest of them and one of the worst things you can put in your body. Make the choice to stay out of Wendy's and Burger King for the next month and see how it affects how you feel and how you look.
I ran a 30 day Facebook challenge with these simple rules and the results were astounding!
3. Don't Forget to Foam Roll and Stretch Daily
As we get older, our bodies take longer to recover from exercise and longer to adapt to the stress we put on it. One of the most common things overlooked is stretching and it's super important if we want to be able to move freely in twenty years.
Also, foam rolling is such a great tool for flexibility and injury prevention and if you aren't doing it, you need to start today. Here's a short video on how to do it.
And just as important is doing a proper warm up before training. 90% of men don't do it and when you're in your forties, it can mean the difference between getting hurt and living to train another day.
4. Remember That There Will Be Times When You Want to Quit. Don't
Getting started on a training program is hard, but staying on one is much harder. For those of you who don't love exercise (or even like it), like I do, it can be a daunting task to get started and stick with it.
The key here is remember why you started in the first place. Was it to be a good role model for your son? Was it to avoid the heart attack that killed your father at age 50? Was it because you are so sick of being fat that you just can't stand looking in the mirror one more time?
In order for your life to change, you have to be consistent. You can train hard, eat perfectly, and do all the right things, but if it's only for a week, a month, or a year, it's not enough.
This is something that will be part of your life for the rest of your life. Remember that.
5. Honor Yourself
This is something many guys have a problem with. They feel selfish for taking time (or wanting to take time) to exercise. I get it, you have commitments, obligations, and things that must be done.
You have to take care of your kids, work two jobs, and pay all the bills. You put off the gym because you might see it as selfish but in all reality, the selfish move is not going to the gym.
By taking care of yourself, getting fit and healthy, and all the other benefits related to physical exercise, it's a disservice to you and your family if you choose not to exercise.
You are not selfish for taking an hour to train each day. You are not selfish for wanting to look better. You are not selfish for wanting to have more confidence.
Your life (and subsequently your children's lives) will be better for it.
6. High Intensity Training is Your BFF
Call it whatever you want: HIIT, metabolic conditioning, interval training, or circuit training, these are all forms of high intensity, low rest period training styles. And they all work. If done properly.
What progressive strength training is to building lean muscle tissue, high intensity work is to burning fat, raising metabolism, and increasing muscular endurance and stamina.
In addition to your weight training (3 days minimum), add two days per week of HIIT style training.
7. Never Sacrifice Long-Term Results for Short-Term Gratification
Driving by McDonald's when you're starving is a temptation too many of us cannot resist. Getting invited to a BBQ at a neighbors house and having ice cold beers and delicious wings at your fingertips is one too.
This is where you make the choice between remaining a fat dad or working towards becoming a fit dad. It's waaaayyy too easy to justify one doughnut or a slice of pizza and it often takes an iron will not to eat them.
The thing to remember is that there is no way you will ever get into the shape you want by continuing to make poor choices in the short-term.
You must constantly remind yourself why you are doing this. Let that be the motivator that allows you to skip that extra serving of mashed potatoes. You are not getting any younger and if you want to live the rest of it with as much energy, vibrance, and happiness as possible, keep the big picture in mind.
8. Get Your Sleep and Drink Your Water
I can't stress enough how important proper sleep is. Without adequate amounts of sleep, you are going to have a very hard time losing fat and adding muscle. Yet every day I hear from someone who says they just can't get more than 5 or 6 hours per day. That's bullshit and it's killing your progress.
Listen, I know what it's like to work 14 hour days. I used to get up at 4:45am to train and work until 5 or 6 at night. I had responsibilities at home, children to put to bed, and work to do after that. But I still got 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Don't fuck around on this one, it's that important.
On that same note, drinking plenty of water is incredibly important as well. It will help with a number of things, including aiding in your fat loss efforts. For a more detailed breakdown of why water is so important, watch this video.
9. Kill Your Stress
Listen, stress is part of life and as busy dads, it's a BIG part of our lives. There is never enough time to do it all and there always seems to be more bills than paychecks.
I wrote a post called How To Avoid A Stress Induced Heart Attack and it addresses the issues we face and how to reduce stress to a minimum.
Not only can stress kill us but is kills our ability to lose fat and add muscle. And here are few other negative effects of stress:
- Increases cortisol levels
- Increases cravings
- Can cause insomnia
- Can cause a lack of appetite. Undereating is just as bad as overeating.
- Can increase your hunger response
- Can raise the levels of fatty acids and triglycerides in your blood
10. Being Fat is a Choice. So is Being Fit. Choose Wisely.
Unless you have an actual medical condition, being fat is a result of your choices and your lifestyle. You can blame it on your job, your lack of time, or your lack of money, but it's all an excuse.
If you really, truly wanted to be fit, you would be. Period. If you aren't, it's because fitness is not a priority in your life.
Does is have to be?
If you want to change your life and get healthy, then I believe the answer is a resounding YES.
Does that mean shirking your responsibilities or neglecting your kids? Of course not, but there is always time if you're committed.
If you're ready to start making changes one step at a time and want a proven path to getting fit, check out our 90-Day program, The Fit Dad Blueprint. You won't regret it.
One More Thing...
The 11th rule is "Get Off Your Ass And Do It Now."