The Dad Bod

I don’t recall when the term “Dad Bod” first became commonplace. By the time I picked up on it, Adam Sandler was unknowingly flaunting his in a candid People Magazine beach pic - hair and all. At first, I was resistant to the thought. Almost feels like settling, or giving into the idea that a man in this season of life can do no better, but I’m starting to embrace the Dad Bod more for what it represents.

We fathers tend to take a common route to post-collegiate fitness...or lack thereof. The metabolism slows gradually, our priorities get seriously rearranged, and 40 hours every week we sit upon our ever-more-cushy butts.

While maybe not as image-conscious as the lady folk, we still wouldn’t mind looking more like Ryan Reynolds and less like Seth Rogen. But there are so many challenges that we battle daily, and, after all, nothing is more asterisk-laden than health advice.  

Let us begin by analyzing the gym, itself. Over the last 10 years, I have held a membership at no fewer than 4 different fitness centers around town. Regardless of venue, I tend to feel out of place. Our latest endeavor finds us at a gigantic shiny multiplex, which serves mostly as a hookup spot for chiseled 20 somethings. While I’m creating a sweat lake underneath an exercise bike, hot young singles spend hours hanging out and striking selfie-esque poses. It almost serves to have the opposite effect, as I am witness to the investment required to look that way.

Maybe it’s just me, but there is a guilt factor that accompanies lengthy workouts. I have but so many hours in the week to spend with my family, and it feels inherently selfish to instead devote that time to getting ripped...if that were even attainable. On another note, however, they say that diet makes up 75% of the equation. So maybe with a little self control there’s still a chance!

You won't find this on the menu at Planet Smoothie: Radish, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot, Kale, Spinach, Tomato, Squash & Cauliflower.

You won't find this on the menu at Planet Smoothie: Radish, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot, Kale, Spinach, Tomato, Squash & Cauliflower.

Here on Chappy’s Thoughts, we have previously delved into my efforts to eat better. In continuing with that theme, each day now starts with the preparation of a smoothie while half-naked out on the back porch. I’ll pause here for you to take a mental picture. While the Vitamix is a wonderful machine, it sounds like I’m revving a Ducati motorcycle in the kitchen at 6 a.m.

As my wife can attest, the objective with this breakfast alternative is not flavor. Think more “Will it Blend!?” rather than Food Network. Some days, choking down the concoction is a legit challenge, but I’m trying to shove as many good things into my body as I can to start the day. From there, it very well could go downhill.

Sneaky vegetables are being strategically injected into our meals bit by bit, but it is taking all I have to resist the hot bar at Publix. Seriously, somewhere in the marketing plan “blast fried chicken smell into parking lot” is a notable bullet point. You don’t realize how many temptations there are (surprise 50% off pizza coupons, late night taco bell commercials) until you attempt to shrug them.

If you are moderately obsessed, as I am currently, menus with calorie counts are both a blessing and a curse. God forbid you put cheese and sour cream on that Chipotle burrito! Now, I’m scrutinizing every condiment and topping, and annoying the Hell out of anyone who dines in my company. Pretty please don’t tell me how many calories are in a large Firehouse sub.

But hey, this is fall in Alabama. There are traditions to be upheld. On the weekends, I’m no stranger to snack pizza and beer at gameday gatherings. Coach Saban eats oatmeal cream pies for breakfast, and he’s a winner, so I’m only assuming it is sacrilege to bring a veggie platter to your viewing party.

Heaven help me if there is a Saturday kid’s birthday party featuring handheld delights. My kryptonite is the Chickfila nugget tray. If they sprang for the Large Platter, I’m in for at least 25 nugs. Don’t bother reminding me that they traditionally come in 8 and 12 packs. Logic does not apply when you are presented with a gigantic pile of tasty chicken.

For the days when I’m trying, though, it’s frustrating that the fitness tracker on my Apple Watch is not super encouraging. Pushing a stroller barely registers as actual running. I’m lucky to get credit for 10 minute mile pace. Steps count the same even if I have 35 extra pounds (with curls) hanging on me. The thing about kids - they get heavier every day. Libby is currently great for adding some umph to squats, while “Maggie lifts” are generally military press and curls.

In summary, the struggle continues daily. Maybe I’ll drop a few pounds and get off of blood pressure medication, maybe I won’t. I think reasonable goals work best, so instead I’m just going to try and do better. Looking like Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy is cool and all, but I follow that dude on Instagram, and his diet during filming was notably cringe-worthy. As long as I’m beating the Chris Pratt from Parks & Rec, then we’ll call it a victory.