Millions of men across the UK will identify with starting to put weight on and getting out of shape after becoming a father and it is often put down to a natural part of ageing or a declining metabolism.
However, the reality is at this stage of life many men simply become less active and the pressures of family life mean a Dad’s own personal fitness becomes less of a priority says Dan Fallon, author of Start with ONE THING: The Dad’s no BS approach to fat loss and fitness. If you are a dad like Dan who has lost the reigns a bit, or you’ve let the waistline grow without even realising it, here are Dan’s top tips to start 2020 right and get back on track:
Start with One Thing
If you think you are going to get straight into the gym routine you did when you were 18 years old and not suffer the consequences, think again. Start with something as simple as walking. Power walking can burn up to 350 calories per 30 minutes if you are going at a good pace (13-14 minute miles). Do this for 10 days and that is 1lb of body fat gone. As you build momentum then you can start adding extras. Keeping it basic and mastering the fundamentals is critical for long-term engagement in fitness.
Win the morning
Most parents are time poor. They feel guilty if they sacrifice any time with the family for anything other than work. That’s why mornings are the best time of the day. Most people go to bed around 10pm and wake up at 6.30am. That’s 8.5 hours of sleep. Evidence suggests that we can survive very well on 7 or 7.5hrs, so sacrificing an hour in the morning to burn some calories is a good trade off. My tip is to put your alarm on the other side of the room. As soon as it goes off, go straight to the bathroom and brush your teeth. This stops your brain negotiating.
Keep on your feet
Most people think that fat loss is achieved by doing 45 minutes in the gym. The reality is that although this has huge benefits to your health, it’s not wholly necessary. You just need to keep moving – it burns energy and energy is calories. This is called non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Get geeky and track your steps. Once you have started to walk regularly and consistently, you are likely to notice that your mood has elevated. When we are in a better state of mind, we tend to make better choices in what we eat.
Get support from friends, family and online communities
Accountability is really important when you are trying to lose weight and get fit. Get your friends and family involved so they can support you, when the going gets tough you will need them. Look for online groups to join where you can compare notes and get advice. Not wanting to let people down is a powerful tool for staying on track and it can be the most important ingredient for a successful long-term fitness journey.
Do epic stuff
After Dads have been encouraged to start with one thing, they often get the wind in their sails. They start believing in the super versions of themselves. Many go on to challenge themselves further by dedicating their blood, sweat and tears to a bigger purpose. They start doing their bit for charities and raise awareness for research projects that can help fight critical illnesses. This is super motivating and can ignite the drive to train harder.
If you want to go from being a fat dad to a fit dad, just start with one thing.
You can be a fantastic role model in your household in 2020 and really inspire your kids to value their health and fitness too.
About the Author
Dan Fallon is author of Start with ONE THING: The Dad’s no BS approach to fat loss and fitness (Rethink Press, £12.99) and founder of the Super You Project, the Dad’s online fitness community.