Happy Father’s Day! I am not a father, yet. However, many of our clients, friends, and readers are fathers. Many are fathers who are also killing it in their fitness routines. They do not make excuses! However, I do know being a father, especially a new father can be exhausting and detrimental to your workout routines. Sleep is choppy at best, and nonexistent at worst! Yes, my amazing 4 year old niece is a guilty reason there is fatherly sleep deprivation!
Out of all the trends in fitness, good and bad, the “Dad Bod” term is probably my least favorite. In my opinion, it celebrates mediocrity and is not exactly a healthy way of life. It is not making the worst lifestyle choices by any means, but for example, doing a 20 minute workout consisting of bicep curls, shoulder shrugs, and calf raises, while better than nothing, is not the best way to spend your time. For the nutrition end, neither is drinking two cups of orange juice and eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast or eating a side of corn on top of an already starchy dinner. There are some good intentions, but mixed results, and frustration.
However, that does not have to be the case. Now, I personally know two busy fathers who work full time, and they are competitive bodybuilders, actually two of the best in Pittsburgh. One of them has a very sedentary job on top of that, and is still making things happen! Both of them are also very involved in their kids’ lives. Now, those are extreme situations, and I do not expect everyone to follow their path, but they don’t have hours in a day to workout. The main things to prevent the Dad Bod plague from taking over your body are fast, effective workouts and great nutrition. Nutrition is one thing no matter how busy you are, YOU have complete control over! Getting to the gym can be tough sometimes, and children can be unpredictable (getting sick in school, have an event that pops up, etc) and you may not get that killer leg workout in like you planned.
The workouts you need to do to combat the Dad Bod syndrome are short, sweet, to the point, no BS, and no filler!
Here is the Anti-Dad Bod workout I did yesterday. This is more upper body focused. I do not typically do legs on a Saturday, considering I train them on Mondays and Thursdays, plus Saturdays are usually cardio focused.
Warm Up – All the way through with little to no rest
3 sets of Resistance Band Face Pulls – 15-20 reps
2 sets of Resistance Band Rear Delt Laterals- 10-12 reps (3 second hold on each rep)
2 sets of Resistance Band External Rotations – 12-15 reps each arm
2 sets of Resistance Band Tricep Pushdowns – 15-20 reps
6 sets of 6-8 Military Barbell Presses (you can also do Barbell Standing Overhead Press, Dumbbell Shoulder Press, or Resistance Band Shoulder Press) 60 second rest in between each set. You can tell my big lift focus is on Shoulders!
Chin-Ups superset with Weighted Push-Ups
4-5 sets as many as you can do with little to no break in between each set
Dips superset with Captain’s Chair Leg Raise
4 sets of as many dips as possible, and 15-20 reps of leg raise for the first set, 10-12 reps of leg raise for the next 3 sets with a pause at the top and slowly bring your legs down. Little to no rest in between each set.
Bodyweight Tricep Extension superset with Horizontal Underhand Pulls
You can use a bar or I used a Smith Machine for this. I like using the Smith Machine, because it is easy to adjust the height of the bar. The lower the bar, the tougher the exercise is for you.
3 sets of as many reps as possible. Little to no rest in between sets.
Four .25 mile running intervals. Go as fast as you can for the .25. Take a 2-3 minute break and repeat. You do these right and will FULL effort, you will be tired!
So, you get some great upper body compound exercises, training the core, shoulders, back, chest, triceps, and biceps! The Leg Raises are an effective ab exercise you do not have to leave your dip station to perform. The cardio provides many of the HIIT training benefits such as burning more calories for an extended 24-36 hour window after your workout, and it will not derail your muscle gains. I prefer programming .25 mile intervals, because most of us are not great sprinters (myself included), and we can all reach our maximal effort with the speed of a .25 mile run as opposed to having energy left in the tank after a 100 m dash. I save the quick 30 second intervals for bikes, battle ropes, boxing, lower body elliptical, and rowing machines where my speed can tire me out!
For more help with customizing plans for you, whether you live in Washington, DC or the State of Washington, check out