As warmer weather arrives, so does the desire to shed layers of clothing and exchange jeans and flannel shirts for shorts and t-shirts. For dads, the next step often will be occasions when you want to shed the t-shirt as well — at the pool, playing volleyball at a picnic, or when mowing the lawn, for example.
But those occasions may draw your attention to the fact that you’ve “let yourself go” a bit since last summer! You’re not alone in this, of course, but you might feel alone as you peel off that shirt and display your “dad bod.”
Ideally, you should experience no shame for not being fit and toned. However, few dads possess that level of self-confidence. So, what can you do? Take action!
7 Proven Tips for Getting Fit and Feeling Healthy
The good news about going from dad bod to “beach bod” is that you’ll start feeling improvements almost immediately, and you’ll see improvements soon thereafter. Follow the proven tips below to reach the point where you can say goodbye to the shirt and hello to enhanced health and confidence.
1. Talk with your doctor, if appropriate.
If you have concerns about your ability to exercise regularly, you should have a conversation with your doctor. They may recommend that you get a physical exam first or provide some guidelines for your workout program.
2. Make note of what’s motivating you to get fit.
Maybe it’s the beach vacation you’ve planned. Or it might be an upcoming family reunion. Whatever it is that’s motivated you, you’ll want to refer back to it if you feel your fitness commitment failing.
3. Exercise every day.
You don’t have to exercise with the same intensity or duration every day but getting some type of activity daily can help you maintain your forward momentum.
4. Know and respect your limits.
Trying to increase your activity level too much too quickly greatly increases your risk of an injury or of simply “burning out” and discontinuing your exercise program. If you exercise right up to your limit regularly, that limit will increase naturally. If you can only jog for three minutes today, then do that until one day you realize you can go for five minutes, and then seven minutes, and so on.
5. Improve your diet.
If you’re like most dads, your dad bod is the result of not getting enough exercise and not eating a healthy diet. If you don’t know what qualifies as a “healthy diet,” a little online research or a conversation with your doctor or nutritionist will help you understand what to eat and how much to eat to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass. A meal log is a great resource that you can look back at as the days and weeks go by to track your progress in eliminating unhealthy foods and portions and replacing them with healthy foods and portions.
6. Get plenty of sleep.
Your activity level is an important factor in getting fit, but so is your inactivity level — specifically, the amount of time you give your body to rest and recover. Every person has different sleep requirements, but eight hours is a good rule of thumb. Your body needs downtime to mend damaged muscle fibers, replenish energy stores, etc.
7. Pay attention to your mental/emotional health, too.
Physical health and psychological health go hand-in-hand. Don’t “beat yourself up” when things don’t go as planned. Celebrate your successes and be kind to yourself on the days when you don’t achieve your goals. Remember that fitness should be “graded” on a spectrum, not as pass/fail!
Learn More About Weight Loss at Baptist Health
Losing weight not only can help you get your beach bod, but it can also reduce your risk of the many serious health conditions associated with obesity. You can identify your risk factors by taking our bariatric health risk assessment. And if you’d like to talk with a doctor about your health and fitness, find a primary care or bariatric care provider near you.
Next Steps and Useful Resources: