Once we become fathers, it’s common to find that a bit of weight gain sneaks up on us. The main reason why dads gain weight is that we get busier, we don’t have as much time for sports and we don’t move as much as we did in our 20s. The other reason is that we often have the same food intake as when we were in our 20s.
As someone who has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 18 years, I’m normally pretty good at maintaining my routine and keeping my weight in check. But with the recent arrival of our third child, there has been a lot more post-dinner snacks; and before that, it wasn’t just Snezana who succumbed to those pregnancy cravings! Earlier this year, for the first time in my life, I could feel that abdominal weight coming on – the stubborn ‘spare tyre’.
As a health and fitness expert, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
I took my own advice and I got my dad-bod back on track by making better food choices (aka not a ‘diet’) and by working out smarter, not harder.
If you’re struggling to get rid of your beer belly and you’d like to get your energy and fitness back in time for summer, and I’m going to show you how I’ve helped so many dads (myself included) take their ‘Dad Bod’ to ‘Dat Bod‘.
P.S. And if you’re up for it, I’d love you to join me on my dad bod challenge!
Is ‘Dad Bod’ a real thing?
Yes! Although I saw many of my friends lose their way in terms of fitness and health once children came along, it really wasn’t until my 3rd daughter, Charlie Lane, arrived that I understood and accepted that the danger of ‘Dad Bod’ is very real.
How to start your dad-bod transformation
My message to dads (and men in general) is this: don’t worry about where, how or why the weight gain happened, it’s in the past and the past can’t be changed. The only thing you can change is your actions moving forward, from right now.
First, get your mind right, and your body will follow.
Taking the time to get fit and healthy isn’t really about looks or ego (although a bit of pride isn’t a bad thing). It’s about vitality, energy, productivity, and being able to avoid injury so you can move and play with your kids. It’s about being conscious of your health and being a good role model as a father. As a dad, I believe we owe it to them AND to ourselves, to live an active, healthy life, and be the best versions of us that we can be.
How to turn “dad bod” into “dat bod”
The key to having the best dad bod, and get in the best shape of your life (no matter your age) is to improve three specific areas:
If you implement my steps to transform your dad-bod that I outline below, you WILL see results.
RESULTS: dad-bod transformations
in 8 weeks
Feeling better at 53 than I did at 20! Incredible improvement in happiness and health, with positive lifestyle changes for our whole family.
in 8 weeks
I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost! I now have a healthy, positive relationship within myself and my family is benefitting from my happier mindset.
in 7 months
My shape has improved dramatically. I’ve never been this size in my adult life. Shirts I’ve gone from an extra-large to a size small.
in 8 weeks
I took the challenge and followed the 28 diet. With the help of the coaches and some hard work, I lost 7kg.
The message for Dad Bods is simple – don’t worry about where or when it happened, the past cannot be changed. What you need to understand is that eating real food and getting your body moving is not about what you look like.
Getting on track with your health and fitness is about being a good role model to your children; having more energy and being able to move and play with your kids as they grow.
You might retire from the sporting field, but you really can’t afford to retire from taking care of your health.
How do I get rid of my dad bod belly?
An expanding stomach area (aka the dad bod beer belly!) is a common problem for men, especially as we get a bit older and we’ve perhaps let our fitness and nutrition slide a bit.
The good news is that when it comes to getting in shape and staying in shape it’s not about the volume or length of your workouts. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. Variety, intensity and consistency will always beat volume.
There are simple training tips that all dads can do (at home or in the office), to get that muffin top melting and that dad bod back into shape, faster than you think!
WORKOUT: Swap your beer belly for a 6 pack!
If you want to lose the beer-belly and get your trim, toned midsection back, try some of these simple exercises. All dads, at all fitness levels, can do these, either at work or at home.
Exercise #1: Leg lowers
This one goes out to your lower abs! Lay flat and straight on your back and raise and lower your legs.
Exercise #2: Side planks
Lay on your side, and lift your hips off the ground and hold and feel the burn in those love handles. Switch to the other side after 1 minute.
Exercise #3: Cable resistance crunches
Torch the top of your abs by holding onto a rope and crunching.
Exercise #4: Swiss ball planks
Take your plank to a whole new level by placing your elbows on a swiss ball and hold, feeling it in the deep of your core.
Exercise #5: Back extensions
When we’re doing any exercises that target your troubled belly area, it’s so important to keep your back strong and supported. Lie on your stomach and lift your chest in the air, holding for a count of three.
Dad-Bod Tip #1: Train smarter, not harder
I get it – life is frantic. Being a father and husband is my favourite job and time has never been more valuable. We are all looking for ways to streamline our lives and our fitness commitment is often the first to go when we are overscheduled. How often do we hear the catch cry ‘I just don’t have time to exercise’?
For the average man who wants to transform their dad bod and get fast results, it’s not about training more, it’s about training smarter.
How to keep your abs working all day, every day.
Swap your office chair for a swiss ball. Stay mindful of your posture as the day goes on, so keep your core muscles active… and no slouching!
Want to get more out of your workout in less time?
I’m a believer in quality over quantity when it comes to training. My 28-minute workouts are designed to get results, fast. I can guarantee, if you push yourself physically, 28 minutes a day is more than enough time to get incredible results.
28 is the magic number for a dad-bod makeover.
28 minutes. It’s just 4% of your day, so there are no excuses about not having the time to train. And if you need even more reason to start, the results I’ve seen in my 28ers are undeniable.
Geoffrey lost 15.6kg
“I found a confidence, energy and happiness I thought had died in my teenage years! I feel calmer/mindful. This lifestyle transformed my mind/body beyond my aspirations!“
VIDEO: My beer-belly crushing, fat-burning workout!
Get ready for these simple fat-burning moves.
- Bench Hops
- High Knee Sprint
- Squat Jumps
- Split Lunge Jumps
Dad-Bod Tip #2: Create & maintain a consistent routine
I like to tell my 28ers to put their workouts in their calendars. Consider your workout as an important appointment with yourself. Put it in your diary and don’t double book. You wouldn’t cancel at the last minute on a colleague or friend, so don’t cancel on yourself. Find sports or activities you enjoy and you’ll find the job’s half done for you, just so long as your endorphins are firing.
If you’re training right, 28 minutes a day is all you need to get results. But, here’s the bad news: it doesn’t matter how much you train if you’re not eating right.
The saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is true. Whenever I tell people how much exercise they need to do to burn off that 3.30pm chocolate bar, it usually comes as a shock.
If you want to lose that spare tyre and uncover your best dad bod, whatever goes in, must be burnt off. And that means we need to get your nutrition in order.
VIDEO: Hughesy ditches his dad bod with Sam Wood
Check out this before and after from my good mate, Dave Hughes.
Dad-Bod Tip #3: Get your nutrition on track
At the end of the day, abs (and hot dad bods) are made in the kitchen, so while it’s important to build and strengthen your core it’s also essential to get rid of the spare tire that’s covering your soon to be 6-pack.
When it comes to nutrition & weight loss, simple changes make massive differences.
Start making a conscious effort to cut back on processed foods and sugars. Focus on your increasing your protein intake and increasing the good fats, and reducing the bad carbs. Remember there’s no need to cut carbs out completely, not all carbs are bad, it’s simply about fuelling your body with the right nutrients to get your metabolic engine revving again.
When you stop thinking of food as a number and start seeing it for its nutritional value you’ll realise there’s no need to count calories or skip meals. When you think about food differently, you’ll automatically choose better options and you’ll naturally start cutting out the crap.
My rule is ‘everything in moderation‘. So if you really want to, go ahead, have a burger, a beer or a bar of chocolate, but just make it a ‘sometimes food’.
Why real food gets real results
My philosophy when it comes to nutrition is ‘Just Eat Real Food’ or JERF as we refer to it at 28. I’ll never tell you to swallow raw egg whites or slam down some kind of magic shredding pill or potion. I just want you to eat real food, that’s the best way to get sustainable weight loss and a bangin’ dad bod.
Incorporate these healthy-eating tips into your routine and watch that not-so-manly muffin top disappear.
Make healthy swaps.
Sub out your usual breakfast cereal with a healthy dose of poached eggs and avocado, ditch those diet soft drinks for water and chuck that Kit Kat out for a protein bliss ball instead.
Lose the booze.
Try to ditch the drink for a while. Or aim for at least 5 alcohol-free days a week if you can’t go completely without, especially while you’re trying to trim your belly down.
Perfect your portions.
As hungry dads, we all too often feel the need to lick our plates clean (and the rest of the families too, for that matter). Don’t let your eyes get too big for your stomach and watch how much you’re piling up your plate. If you’ve given yourself too much, don’t feel the need to finish it all.
RECIPES: banish that dad-bod beer belly!
These are some of my favourite “dad-approved” recipes taken from my 28 program’s eating plan. I would love for you to try some for yourself, they taste so good, you’ll probably forget you’re eating healthy!
Who said you couldn’t have carbs while transforming your dad bod?
If you’re a keto-diet fan, try this bunless beef burger for a big punch of protein and good fats.
How to lose your dad bod in 28 days
28 minutes a day, for 28 days is all it takes to start to see real changes in your body. The good news is that you don’t need to go hardcore on the intensity every day. You’ll get the best results if you work smarter, not harder, remember?
For the quickest dad-bod makeover, you should balance your fitness routine with high-intensity and low-intensity activities. During the week make sure you do your daily 28-minute high-intensity workout and then, on the weekend, change it up!
From a fitness perspective, your weekends should be about active-recovery, which means gentler activities to keep your body moving, that will improve your mobility and flexibility. Spend some play-time with the kids, go on a bike ride, kick a ball… keep moving.
Aim for 5 high-intensity workout days during the week and then, on the weekend, change it up!
JOIN: The Dad-Bod Challenge!
Are you ready to get rid of that dad bod and get into great shape? My program, 28 By Sam Wood, is Australia’s #1 fitness & nutrition app for a reason: it gets results!
Once you’ve joined the 28 family, keep your eye out for my daily ‘Sam Cam’ (you’ll get a notification on your phone when I’ve uploaded it). I record these every day, in real-time, to help you get on track, but more importantly, so you can stay on track.
Are you up for the dad-bod challenge?
For less than $2 a day you’ll receive all the workouts, tools AND support to help you get on track, and STAY on track. No ongoing contracts. All you need is your phone and 28 minutes a day. It really is that easy!