Having a dad bod is no joke

This is a post I recently came across on Instagram. I didn't laugh. I cringed.

This is a post I recently came across on Instagram. I didn't laugh. I cringed.

I love to laugh. Who doesn't, right?

And being a dad, we get plenty of chances to make our children laugh (until they get old enough to the point where they just think we're weird) or we get to laugh at the hilarious things our kids do.

For instance, my soon-to-be 8-year-old son has recently taken to making the goofiest faces he can to get my wife and I to laugh. He'll just walk into the room with a silly face, then walk out.

Some of my favorite comedians deal specifically with the never-ending wealth of hilarity that is "dad life." It starts with Jim Gaffigan — the guy is absolutely brilliant with his comedy. Brian Regan is another all-time favorite. And if you don't know Trey Kennedy and his "When your dad tries to" videos, you're missing out.

But one thing I and many other dads I know in the fitness industry do not laugh about is how much of a joke having a dad bod has become. Which is alarming considering the ways having a dad bod is essentially killing men.

For many guys my age — in the 30-55-year-old range — it is a time when we focus on our careers and making money and "hustling," and also when we start to become fathers. In fact, the average age of a first-time dad in the U.S. is now 31 years old.

Because of this intersection of life happenings, I notice many men feel like making time for fitness is a chore, and its also common to hear new dads believing it is OK — even laughable — to have kids and start "growing a dad bod." A dad bod is worn as a badge of honor and is often portrayed as a necessary side effect of performing the noble task of providing for the family.

Contrast this mentality with the pressure women face to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. In both instances, it usually leads to unhealthy situations.

Look, there's no denying how exceptionally busy you are when you become a dad for the first time. For the first 6-12 months, the baby consumes a lot of your time and energy. With the lack of sleep and the time and energy that goes into raising a child, it's easy to slip away from your health and fitness.

However, this is no excuse for accepting the dad bod as an inevitability. It is absolutely possible to implement simple changes to your schedule to optimize your day and get the benefits of a half hour of exercise. You can weave these things into the structure of your day to ward off the dad bod and also help keep you mentally sharp.

Time management is the key.

As a 34-year-old man with a wife, two kids, a full-time job, and a side hustle, as well as other hobbies and interests, I value my time immensely. Time management is an absolute must if I want to accomplish all the things I have on my plate each day.

Look at it this way: 30 minutes is 2 percent of your day, and you can get in a great workout in 30 minutes.

Get up 30 minutes before the baby wakes up in the morning and go for a jog or do an at-home bodyweight workout. When the baby is down for a nap, spend 30 minutes working out, then spend another 30 minutes helping clean up around the house while your wife/partner takes a nap. During your lunch break at work, take 30 minutes to get in a workout or, at the very least, a walk, and then use the other 30 minutes to eat lunch.

And don't skimp on your nutrition!

Eventually, life will calm down, everyone — baby included — will settle into a schedule, and you'll be able to adjust your routine to include more time for fitness and exercise.

Bottom line: your health and fitness is nothing to joke about, and men should view a dad bod as a serious threat to themselves and their families.

Michael AshfordComment