Training for the marathon of fatherhood. The real Dad Bod is about strength and stamina.
The Dad Bod. Most of us picture the physique of a middle-aged man who stands over the barbeque and swigs beer, hitting the gym when it fits their schedule, but not obsessed with six packs and diets. But Gareth Nock, an active father of a young daughter and team training coach with GoodLife Fitness, thinks we need to reframe the idea of the Dad Bod to focus more on function. For fathers, it’s about working with your body to ensure it delivers the strength and stamina needed to be an active, involved parent. The role of the father is evolving, research shows millennial fathers spend more time with their children than any other generation. Being a dad means you need to have the strength to do an ‘underdog’ on the swings, carry car seats, give shoulder rides and push strollers. As kids get older, it also means lots of driving, cooking, late nights and help with homework. As men age out of their 20s, there are common things that happen – both physically and mentally. Men tend to lose muscle mass and their metabolism slows after 40. At the same time, heart health becomes more of a concern and stress levels rise, as men juggle the responsibilities of parenting, work, home ownership and more. Exercise and healthy eating can help address these factors and help build stamina for the parenting marathon. Here are some ways to build the best version of a Dad Bod for some key parenting jobs.
Piggybacks, pushing swings, carrying car seatsPiggybacks and pushing swings, as well as carrying car seats and cribs all require a solid core, stability in your shoulders and back and strong arms and legs. Bodyweight exercises like planks, squats, push-ups, and deadlifts can help you build your strength in all the right places. Best of all, they can be done during naptime. Yard work, climbing laddersClimbing ladders, wielding a whippersnapper or pushing a mower around the yard takes stamina. For this, Nock recommends building in 20-30 minutes of cardio several times a week to build up your cardiovascular capacity. Not only will yardwork get easier, but you’ll be able to keep up with your kids and you’ll burn calories. Driving to practices, sitting on the sidelinesParenting isn’t all action. It also means a lot of sedentary time as you drive kids to practices and games, watch them perform and stand by during naptime. Here are a few tips to work in some extra movement:• Keep a comfortable pair of sneakers in your car so you can walk or jog for 30 minutes during the game or practice. • If all else fails, stand instead of sitting at the game. You can burn an extra 50 calories an hour, plus you’ll feel better after sitting all day at work. • Coach the team or take classes with your kids – instead of just watching the Tae Kwon Do class, try joining for a fun family activity. Fewer hours of sleepBabies and young children can wreak havoc on a regular sleep schedule, leaving parents feeling tired, stressed out and prone to illness. A quick run or brisk walk can help wake you up in the morning and reinforce your immune system, while a strength training workout can be great for venting stress and clearing your mind. More stress, less time for youBeing an involved father means juggling work, home, time with kids. It’s tough to make time for social life and exercise often takes a back seat. Managing multiple priorities can cause stress levels to rise, making exercise even more important. Try to find time to be active every day, whether it’s walking to work, a quick run at lunch, or a group fitness class or strength training program after the kids are in bed. Getting your heart rate up and lifting some weight can help blow off steam, improve your mental health and help you sleep. Fitness experts and fathers in your city are available to talk more about exercise recommendations for a functional Dad Bod, emphasizing common health changes and fatherhood tasks. Please let me know if you’d be interested in arranging an interview soon.