The rumours are true, being a dad is amazing, but it comes with its challenges, and can be tiring! The odds of the dadbod emerging are suddenly much higher – for these two reasons primarily:
Your sleep is interrupted, and you get much less of it overall. This plays havoc on your hormones, reduces testosterone, increases the hunger hormones, impacts your recovery and reduces your energy.
You have less time. Around your work you suddenly have childcare, nappies, bottles and all sorts of new things to think about, dramatically reducing your workout time.
Ditch HIIT (for now). HIIT is hugely effective at raising your metabolism, burning fat and getting in a time effective workout. The challenge is that now you are tired and lacking sleep which affects your immune system. HIIT reduces your immune system even further, significantly increasing your chances of getting knocked down by bugs. Avoid the HIIT until sleep patterns are established and stay well.
Embrace heavy lifts and steady state cardio. Prioritising heavy lifting will spike your testosterone (which is under threat from the nights) and burn fat at the same time. It will also give you that energising endorphin feel! For Cardio, take the push chair out for long slow walks, which is easier on the immune system.
Adjust your diet. Now’s the time to be careful and prepare your food. You’re in the kitchen preparing bottles anyway, so batch cook some good food that you can go to when time is short and cravings are high. You will be tired and you will feel like you don’t have time to cook. Plan for the worst, fill up that freezer and batch cook at the bottle cleaning time!
Invest in a home barbell and pull up bar. For no more than £150 you can kit yourself out with a barbell, Olympic weights and a pull up bar. You can then get your prioritised heavy lifts (deadlifts), pull ups, press ups and squats in, at your home, garden or garage. A good heavy session should take no longer than 45 minutes. Typically, babies will sleep every 2-3 hours, so plan to get your heavy lifts in on the weekend when you are home and they are snoozing!
Enjoy it! Despite being a dad being the most amazing thing you will ever do, there are some benefits to these hormonal changes. Dads get a boost of empathy from spending time with their children, which will serve you well as you continue to push on at work to provide for the family. And remember that sleep will return! It won’t be long until you can get back to the good patterns. Heavy lifting, snoozing, walking and food prep will keep the dadbod away in the meantime with a bit of planning and dedication.
Be careful - #Dadbod could be around the corner!