Here at Mind Body Fitness we know Dads, and we know how hard
it is for dads to make time to exercise.
They are usually (not always!) the ones with a more demanding work schedule,
and they often don’t feel the same pressure as women to uphold a certain
standard of physical attractiveness. Maybe
this is society’s way of saying “yes, men, you are the ones who have to bring
home the bacon, and therefore you are not required to do anything else?” I
couldn’t disagree more.
Last month everyone seemed to be talking about the “Dad Bod.”
If you are not familiar, an essay written by a sophomore at Clemson University declared
that girls prefer the Dad Bod, a body that says “I go to the gym occasionally,
but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza
at a time.’ Why America is so quick to embrace the
sentiment of one random college student is beyond me…None the less, I am here
to encourage men to say NO to the Dad Bod.
Why is sporting a mild beer belly such a bad thing? It doesn’t even have to do with your looks,
it’s your overall health that is at risk.
Your abdomen is most dangerous place to carry fat. If you start with a
small beer belly at age 30, it will most likely turn into a large gut by age
40. This can lead to heart disease, high
cholesterol, decreased lung function, and diabetes. These are huge risks that men, especially dads,
should not be putting on themselves or their families.
Am I suggesting all men should have a 6 pack? No way! There is a way to strike a healthy
and realistic balance between Meat Head and Dad Bod. My husband is a prime
example of a man who leads a healthy lifestyle while maintaining a full work
schedule, AND also enjoying life’s indulgences. He works out moderately (cardio,
strength, or yoga) 3 or 4 times per week, eats predominantly healthy foods Monday
through Friday, and allows himself beer and pizza in moderation. He is by no
means a gym rat, but he knows that staying active is good for him. And yes, he
wants to look decent in a bathing suit… Which he does! No pot belly or flabby
arms… and no 6 pack either. Just a
healthy, toned physique, and hopefully the longevity to go with it.
My suggestions for Dads who want to avoid the Dad Bod?
- Start slow if you’re a beginner. Just aim or 2
or 3 days per week to start. Some
exercise is better than none!
- Work out with the family. Take the little one
out in a jogging stroller or bicycle on the weekends. Play some soccer or a game of Frisbee.
- Start by eating healthy on weekdays. Avoid
refined sugars, processed foods, and alcohol as much as possible Monday through
Thursday. Then let yourself indulge a
little on the weekend. But maybe 4
slices of pizza instead of 8?!
- Do it for your family. They need you to be
healthy and happy. Keep in mind… to your kids, you are a hero! Superheros don’t
typically have beer bellies. :)
With only about 6 more weeks to go in my second pregnancy, I
thought I would share my thoughts on maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle
this time around. So far I have managed
to keep up a moderate fitness routine, eat healthy (with some exceptions…ice cream),
and gain only the minimal amount of weight (19lbs in 34 weeks). It probably
goes without saying that there are many challenges, maybe even more so than the
first pregnancy, but there are also positives that come with experience. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on both…Hopefully
my insight will be comforting to some!
The challenges lie mostly in the time and energy
department. Having a toddler is
demanding (to say the least). Chasing your
strong willed two year old around while picking up toys and old raisins from
the floor is tiring. Add a work schedule to that, and you find yourself tempted
to skip basic household chores, much less fit in a workout.
It is not one sided though… While there are hurdles to
overcome, there are also some pros to the second pregnancy that actually make
it easier to stay fit. Confidence is helpful for sure. After you have lived through one pregnancy
and a few years of motherhood, you gain a new resilience and an inner strength.
You worry less, feel more confident in your choices, and may even want to do it
better than you did with the first. Not
to mention trips to the park, tickle fights, and endless piles of laundry tend
to keep one in shape.
My advice on staying motivated for the second pregnancy? Do it for your baby, and do it for you. Mothers who stay active throughout their
pregnancy gain less weight, are less likely to develop gestational diabetes,
and are thought to have easier labors. More importantly, they have healthier
babies with better heart rate variability and birth weights. Exercise can also
cut down on everyday fatigue. Also, keep in mind that there will be less work
to do post baby if you haven’t been sitting around for 9 months!
Try to make exercise part of your everyday routine. Shoot
for 30 minutes of light cardio 4 to 5 days per week, plus 2 strength training workouts
per week (weights or yoga). Make sure to keep it moderate. You should always be
able to speak a full sentence without taking a breath. Also, stay hydrated, and
listen to your body. If you choose a nap over a workout here and there don’t
beat yourself up. It may be just what your
body and baby needed in that moment.
Some practical tips…It helps to get the workout in during
the day time hours, otherwise it may not happen. Your child’s nap time is prime
time to work out, if it still exists. If
you need to include your little one into the mix try taking a long brisk walk
with the stroller, or have a dance party in your living room, OR try some
parent/child yoga. Some exercise is
better than none, and it could be a fun activity for both of you. Lately I find myself savoring the alone time
with my daughter… pretty soon my attention will be split! Keep in mind I know
of some really awesome personal trainers who can help you on this journey if
need be. Good luck and stay strong!
*Photo Credit: Jess Murphy