I once read a study that tracked the two biggest drops in testosterone in a man’s life. The first is when he gets married. The second is when he has kids.
What Is a Dad Bod?
Let’s first define our terms here.
The dad bod always includes a slightly puffed out belly. If it is a very large belly, it is not a “dad bod” but just a regular beer belly.
If you were fat before the kids, you can’t claim it as a dad bod. This title is reserved for those men who carried their athleticism through marriage and up to the point where their wife had the baby. It usually comes as quite a shock to everyone when “Even Ken lost his six pack!”
That’s a dad bod.
You beer drinkers can’t go claiming it is because of your fatherhood.
Why Does a Dad Bod Happen?
Lots of reasons, actually:
- Lack of sleep
- Less time in the gym
- Straying from the strict diet
- My theoretical biological reason
Lack of sleep
Let’s face it. Having a baby around kills the zzz’s that you were getting. Something about the crying just tends to cut into it.
The problem is that lack of sleep kills the testosterone. Lack of testosterone kills the muscle building. Lack of muscle kills the fat burning. Begin to get fat, you will.
If you are stressed (as any father should be) then your levels of a hormone called cortisol will increase. Cortisol isn’t good if you’re trying to build muscle.
Less Time in the Gym
Well, uh, if you’re babysitting and helping with the kid or kids around the house (as you should be) then you’re not going to be hanging out at the gym with the boys as much. You might be working hard to try to catch up on your sleep.
Lots of regular habits and rituals go out when a baby comes on the scene. You should absolutely keep in your responsibilities as a father.
But you can always fit in 20 minutes for a quick warm up and exercise. Get creative, get motivated.
Straying From Your Strict Diet
Okay so now that you’ve got a baby around and you’re buying baby food at all times of the day and doing this and that that you never planned to. Sometimes it’s easier to just grab some Taco Bell.
You may not have weighed out the appropriate amount of almonds, sliced ham and broccoli to keep yourself on the Zone diet.
This is where the annoying saying of “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” comes in. Don’t just weigh out the food for one meal. Do it for the next six meals. Don’t have any other food around to munch on.
You can structure your life so that even if you do get stressed, the only thing around to eat is health food.
My Theoretical Biological Reason for This Testosterone Drop
Now, I’ve got a theory. (Haha, we’ll see how this one is received by everyone.)
Men with high testosterone levels are somewhat volatile. They want to fight, kill, run, jump and bed every worthy woman they come across.
Once you have a baby around, you shouldn’t necessarily be so “on edge.” I think that every man needs to have the strength and ability to protect his family and do what is necessary to make a living for them.
But you can’t just be Thor all the time.
I would venture to say that it is an evolutionary thing. The guy is more likely to stay with the woman who had his child when his testosterone backs off a bit. He’s made it. There are tons of examples in nature of males vying for the females to show they have “the stuff” it takes to breed strong offspring.
The women choose. The offspring is born. The man no longer has to strut his stuff.
But then he gets fat…
How To Get Rid of a Dad Bod
So my reasons above (plus my theoretical reason) are how you got into this position.
You need to get some sleep, get to the gym, get your diet in, and find out ways to lower your stress.
This is a bigger task than you would think because you’re not just handling yourself. You’re also handling your wife who’s also handling a baby. And don’t just think about yourself!
You’ve got to work out solutions for three people now and not just one.
This means that when diet prep time comes along, you’ve got to work out three diets, not just one.
You’ve got to work out three sets of physical activity, not just one.
You’ve got to work out three people’s sleep schedules, not just one.
Doing this will make you a better father. It will make you a better husband. It will make you a better person overall.
As a fitness trainer, I have had to work out entire families’ schedules and diets. I sat them down and set the rules. Only then was I able to make any progress with the father who hired me in the first place. Sometimes a fitness trainer turns into a family counselor. I don’t mind. It just surprised me that at 19 years of age I was handling people more than twice my age with kids older than me.
But if I can do that, you can definitely plan out some meals to get your six pack back.
Part of this is getting creative.
If you find yourself too tired to be creative, then look at how other dad’s have done it. Look at shake recipes, quick healthy snacks, ways to get your kid to fall asleep and for quick workouts you can do while your baby is asleep in the next room.
Don’t think that an easy and quick workout isn’t worth it. It is.
You’ll be a much happier dad if you were able to fit in 200 small workouts during your kid’s first year than if you didn’t do any.