Avoiding the ‘Dad Bod’

WAG fitness guru, and new daddy, Giovanni Roselli tells us how to balance parenthood and exercise.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live.  He lived and let me watch him do it.” – American writer Clarence Budington Kelland

I am proud to announce that on May 29 of this year, I became a father for the first time and eagerly celebrated Father’s Day in June. Becoming a father has been an indescribable experience. I feel completely blessed, but on the other hand, I understand I have added responsibilities, stress and obligations.  

With this new world, will I be able to care for myself and continue doing what is important to me? Being in the fitness industry, I know I need time for my exercise routine and keeping up with my health. How do I do this without falling off the track?


Despite America’s effort to push the “Dad Bod” as the latest trend in pop culture — think chubby-muscular — I’m not going to pursue that route.      

With less time to take care of ourselves, the fathers of the world like me who don’t particularly want to be known for the Dad Bod need some guidance. We want to be fit, but we just don’t have the time or energy. We tell ourselves that someday, we’re finally going to get it together. Unfortunately for many, the time either never comes or doesn’t last very long.  


Below are three different exercise strategies the busy dad (and mom) can incorporate into their routine.  

The Full Workout — You’ve gotten enough sleep. Your gym bag is packed the night before. Your spouse is home and can watch the baby. All the pieces are in place. You have the time to get to the gym so be as efficient as possible. Use equipment and weights that you can only access at the gym. For example, pushups can be done at home or anywhere for that matter. Instead, while at the gym, do some type of barbell or dumbbell chest press and take advantage of what the gym has to offer.    

Home Workout — You still have most of the pieces in place but maybe you need to stay home. Perhaps you need to watch the baby. Perhaps you don’t have time for the commute to and from the gym. Maybe it’s the organization of what you need pre-, during and post-gym that adds time so it’s a better and safer bet to do your workout at home. If you don’t have equipment, you can exercise effectively by performing the basic bodyweight exercises — pushups, squats, lunges and planks, also including some dynamic warm-up exercises and active mobility stretching.        

Quick Workout — The baby is sleeping and it’s your only opportunity. Your spouse ran out to the store. You have a limited window.  It’s now or never.  It can be as little as five minutes. If you have a treadmill or exercise bike, try this example — two-minute walk, 15-second sprint on incline, rest 15 seconds, repeat four times, one minute walk.        

Also, simply modify the workouts, with more challenging or less challenging exercises, depending on how you’re feeling that day. 

To make continual progress, it’s important to do one thing to make each workout more challenging every time you do it. For strength workouts, this means doing additional repetitions or reducing the rest time between rounds. For cardio workouts, this means increasing the incline, the speed or the number of repeated sprints. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you do one thing more than the last time.


The main takeaway is this: You are always doing something rather than nothing. Let’s face it: The gym and exercise are usually the first things to go when we get busy. Have a strategy no matter what life throws your way.  

This is my plan and I’m confident that my daughter, Juliet, will be proud that I chose a healthy lifestyle over the Dad Bod.   

Reach Giovanni on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli and at his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.

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