Flow Athletic’s Ben Lucas offers some guidance to escape the dreaded ‘dad bod’.
Ah, the dad bod — the muscular yet soft-around-the-edges body type that Leonardo DiCaprio made famous and women apparently go drool over. But unless you possess Leo’s swagger and a bank account carrying more weight than your burgeoning beer gut, a more svelte physique is probably going to win you more admirers.
Ben Lucas (below) — former professional footballer, owner of Sydney gym Flow Athletic, and most importantly, a new dad — knows all about the extra kilos that accompany fatherhood, and he’s identified the three things that are causing your less-than-toned dad bod . . . and how to tackle them.
Less control over your routine
When there are little ones running around, there’s no doubting who’s in control of the day’s proceedings.
“You may be sleeping at random hours, skipping the gym, messing up your meal timings, skipping meals or eating whatever you can find as opposed to what is good for you,” Ben explains.
“I’ve found that having a strategy, including go-to meals and take-out options, has worked for me. For example, once a week I plan out everything that I’m going to make that week, often I eat the same sort of thing every day to pair down the decisions. If I get bored of that or I’m out and about and need to eat, I have my go-to cafes and takeaway spots where I know I can get something healthy.
“Training wise, I’d suggest having a few free weights at home and/or a go-to body weight workout that will take you 20-30 minutes to complete. That way, no matter what, you can still train, even if things have gotten in the way so you can’t make it into the gym. If you are doing a shorter session I suggest HIIT training. Start with 40 seconds of hard work and then take a 10-15 second break for the duration of your workout for results.”
Throwing away a game plan
You’d expect a man who used to play professional rugby league for a living to appreciate a strong game plan, which is even more important when kids chew up your time and pile on the responsibilities.
“With your fitness goals, I suggest taking time out every two months to assess where you’re at and where you want to get to. Everyone can find one or two hours every eight weeks, it’s very doable,” Ben says.
“If you’re really struggling with it, see a personal trainer or join a gym so you can have an expert program a routine for you that you can just follow. It takes the guess work out of it and is extremely effective if you’re short on time. If you’re struggling with your diet, I would get a nutritionist to help you. It will only cost a few hundred but it may be the answer to your results.”
All that added stress
Your kids might be a dream but they’ll still make you pull your hair out from time to time — so the key is to make that stress work for you.
“Most people need a little stress in their lives as it helps them become more productive, in fact most people thrive on it. Others let it control them — don’t let that be you,” Ben says.
“Sure you have more to do, but you can work with it. Just come up with contingency plans so that if Plan A doesn’t work you have a fall-back plan.
“For everyday things such as eating and training, try to turn them into habits. Even if you can’t perfect the timing, your habit can be what you’re eating and what you’re doing in the gym. Give that a go and if it doesn’t work, seek the help of a professional.”
Hear more from Ben Lucas at flowathletic.com.au