POLITICS

Is the ‘dad bod’ just a dressed-up beer belly? – Toronto -

Is the ‘dad bod’ just a dressed-up beer belly? – Toronto Sun

What the heck is a ‘dad bod’?

With Father’s Day imminent, it seemed wise to investigate this odd phenomenon and find out if men with children are less fit than men without.

Luckily, the New York Times found out for us.

Turns out fathers are generally about 10 pounds heavier than non-dads of the same age.

The debate rages as to whether or not men with a bit of flesh on them are more attractive; we’d argue that men interested in child care and cooking are the really attractive ones, but that’s probably another story.

Personal trainer Nico Alfieri sees plenty of dad bods and is entirely sympathetic.

And helpful.

He compares the onset of dad bod to the ‘freshman 15’ weight gain that sneaks on at college.

It’s all about big life change.

Alfieri is a fitness and nutrition coach and works hard to make it all stress-free for his clients, especially parents.

“Everything is geared to their abilities and their goals,” he says.

We spoke to him last week about fathers and their figures.

How does dad bod happen?

Most of these men tell me that when their kids were born, they didn’t make any time for themselves, their schedule blew up in their face, they became less and less a priority to themselves. As a parent, you’re in charge of someone else. You’re no longer thinking of yourself, you’re totally focused on your new child. Your schedule changes, and this often leads to poor eating choices. You eat when you have the opportunity and you’re choosing based on convenience. That usually means high sugar, high salt, high fat prepared food. Or hitting the drive-through. Then there’s lack of sleep, so there’s no way you can exercise. You don’t have the energy … and it’s all about having a regular routine. If you’re a dad who didn’t work out before becoming a parent, you didn’t have a foundation of good habits to start with. Anyway, it all manifests with a weight gain of about 40 pounds after the first two years.

Is this generation of dads more involved with child-rearing?

Yes, guys now are changing diapers, doing the babysitting. They want to be with their kids. They want to be there for all the special moments …  You can incorporate working out with your child — moms do it. There are lots of Mom and Baby classes, but not many for dads.  I’ve trained a lot of new moms, and they bring the baby with them to the workout. You can do body squats holding the child. You can do abdominal exercises while holding your child. With guys, there’s less support, ‘cause we’re supposed to have it all together. Men are not  inclined to reach out, especially in that department. I mean, guys don’t ask for directions. [Laughs]  Women do.

How do you help get rid of dad bod?

I help them plan, help them stay accountable and give them new ideas. And kind of, take that stress away. Everybody thinks a workout has to be like two hours long, but it can be half an hour — they can be efficient in their workout and efficient with planning meals. It all comes back to habits … Just a matter of rethinking it and understanding what healthy eating is, and what healthy movement is.

So, Dad bod: Good? Bad?

I don’t think it does anyone a service. Guys can have a dad bod without kids. We all know what a dad bod is — a beer belly. And we don’t want you looking like Homer Simpson! We all struggle with something when it comes to our fitness and health goals. People want to maintain normal body fat and improve cardiovascular fitness, have more energy and be stress free. And look great naked. A new child, that’s new incentive to take care of yourself. You want to be around as long as you possibly can for that child. We need a healthy culture. We need to be kinder to one another. That’s where I stand, with any man or woman who comes to me for help. I treat them with kindness, as if they were family.

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