Exercise. Ugh, that word, exercise, always seems like it’s accompanied by a groan (at least in my head if nothing else).
But when you’ve got a gut like I do–affectionately referred to by my wife as a “papa belly”–and you want to get rid of it, exercise is a necessary thing. If you’re not familiar with the majesty that is the dad bod check out my previous post about it.
Anyway, if you’ve got a dad bod and want to do something to get rid of it, there are probably two main things you need to change in your life: diet and exercise. I’ve heard it said that losing weight is 90% diet and 10% exercise, but I like to eat, so I put more of an emphasis on exercise.
Now look, I know that neither of those things are really fun, but they’re honestly not that bad. Diet doesn’t mean you’re only eating kale, spinach, and rice cakes. (I’ll talk about the diet part another time.) And exercise doesn’t mean you’ve got to be a slave to a gym or something. Believe it or not, exercise can be enjoyable, and I was as shocked by this as you might be, you might find that you actually look forward to exercise once you get into the habit of it.
Here are some things I’ve learned about exercise in my effort to dissolve my dad bod.
Dad Bod Exercise Tips and Thoughts
- When you’re just starting out, take it easy. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, your body isn’t going to be ready to run any marathons right away, nor is it probably going to be ready for a 5K either. Start off gradual and build up to stronger/longer/faster workouts.
- The weight isn’t going to melt away overnight. It’ll take some time. Don’t get discouraged. Just remember that every time you exercise you’re doing better than if you sat around watching TV or playing a video game.
- Getting used to the exercise will take some time too. When I first started working out I tried to run. I figured running sounded like a good way to burn some calories. I couldn’t run for three or four minutes without feeling that my heart was going to explode out of my chest and my lungs were going to combust. I switched to a stationary bike for a while after that.
- It doesn’t take a lot of equipment or expensive equipment to be able to get fit and lose some weight. I was able to work off some of my fat butt with just some simple stuff (I’ll get to that in a bit).
- Having a way to track your movement and activity helps keep you aware of how much (or how little) you’re moving around. I track my general activity with the Fitbit Flex. I’ve found the weekly challenges you can participate in with friends on the Fitbit app is a good way to get motivated to move.
- There are also plenty of apps that will help you track your exercise and have a ton of exercises built into their databases with approximate calorie counts. The one I’m using is My Fitness Pal.
- There are a lot of different exercises to do and it’s good to change what you’re doing from time to time. Your body will get used to the same exercise over and over and it will become less effective over time.
Dad Bod Exercise Equipment
As I said above, it doesn’t take a whole lot of expensive equipment to be able to lose weight. Lately, I’ve been using a step platform and some hand weights.
I use this stepper and do a half hour of stepping up and down with a movie or whatever show I’m behind on to help pass the time. I have a couple of 10-pound hand barbells and I do some curls with them while I’m stepping and by the time a half hour is done I’ve worked up a pretty good sweat. Occasionally I add in some leg weights to change up the stepping routine.
Other times I’ll change it up and get on an exercise bike. A half hour or so on that can burn a good number of calories too.
Other times I’ll put in a pair of earbuds and go for a little run.
Exercise, it does a Body Good
The thing is, I think you’ll find, like I have, that aside from helping you get in shape, exercising really makes you feel good. After a run I feel really great. Getting done with a workout and being covered in sweat you feel more like a Superman and it feels great. I’ve also found, that I start to look forward to exercise. I know I’ll feel good when I’m done and it helps me clear my head. Getting the blood pumping is good for you in a bunch of ways.
If you do start down this path like I did, there will be ups and downs, and it’ll take time to get to your destination. Keep that in mind as you go. There will be hurdles in the way and there will be the occasional setback, but what is important is reaching your goals, even if it takes you more time than you would have wanted.
It may be frustrating at first, but if you think about it in the long term and work at it, little by little you’ll get to where you want to be. If you have a setback, it’s important to not get discouraged and stop what you’re doing. It’s better to understand that this is a process and that you need to keep moving forward.
Exercising Around Kids
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have kids. The kids make finding the time to exercise a little harder. I work during the day and my wife works nights, so going out to a gym or somewhere to exercise isn’t really ideal for me. This leaves me two options, getting up early to exercise (that ain’t gonna happen) or exercising after the kids are in bed. I usually start my exercise routine between 9:00 and 9:30 once the kids are in bed. That way I know I won’t be interrupted, I can watch what I want while I work out, and I don’t have to worry about little people getting in my way. I could (and sometimes do) work out after the toddler is in bed but before the other two kids are in bed, but then I have to listen to something obnoxious like Teen Titans Go! or Spongebob while I do so.
I try to exercise for a half hour at least 3 times a week (5 is better) and generally do more cardio than anything involving a lot of strenuous weights. I’m also fortunate enough to live close to the office so that I can walk to work whenever my schedule and the weather allow. It may not seem like it, but even going for a walk can help burn calories.
Motivation is also a big factor when it comes to exercising. My kids keep me motivated to get healthier. I don’t want to kick the bucket early on so that I miss seeing the important events in their lives. I also want to try to set a good example for them so they can see that, if you’ve let yourself go like I’ve done, that it’s possible to work at it and turn your dad bod into something more streamlined. Whatever motivates you, there’s nothing wrong with doing something to try to make yourself a little healthier, a little slimmer, or a little stronger. I’m not saying everyone should be supermodels, but there’s nothing wrong with a little self improvement. It’s never too soon or too late to get started either.
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What do you for exercise? Let us know in the comments!