By now, you’ve probably heard about the ‘Dad Bod.’ Trust us, it’s not a thing. Jason ‘Anyman Fitness,’ a dad with a bod in his own right tells us not to surrender to the hype. Any grown person has the power to choose to improve their health, regardless of how busy or hectic their day-to-day lives are.
Sometimes, it’s easier said than done, but that’s why it’s important to ignore things like the ‘Dad Bod.’ Additionally, the choices parent makes for their own health and nutrition influence the behavior of their kids, which makes it doubly important to at least try to live a healthy lifestyle.
It’s Not The Dad “Bod” That’s The Problem – It’s The Dad “Mindset”
If it’s on the internet, then it must be true, right? Isn’t that what we are lead to believe? I know you have friends like this. The ones who annoyingly drop random internet articles on your Facebook wall, and then justify those articles as true. As if we need to take everything at face value, simply because it’s basking in the electric glow of your computer screen.
The latest “internet truth” to come out was the (now) infamous “Dad Bod” article. An article which defended the lacking physique of the 25-40 male demographic. You know the type – the not too fat, not too trim, not too masculine “skinny fat” look. The “Dad Bod” is described as having “pipecleaner” arms and a “bit of a belly”. Think Leonardo DiCaprio.
The article goes on to claim that the “Leo look” is preferred by females everywhere. After all, just look at the gorgeous supermodels Leo pulls in. It MUST be attractive, right? Never mind the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is filthy rich and about as self-assured as they come. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that women find him attractive…………….
Instantly, upon reading this fiasco, my bullshit meter went through the roof. And as a response, I created my own, little “Dad Bod” post on Facebook. Take a look:
My version of “Dad Bod”. No filter. Snapped today.
Don’t limit yourself to the expectations of some shitty article.
34, two jobs, two kids under 5, wife is a professional and works 60 hours plus per week. I work the same amount of hours as her. I also pick my daughters up from daycare and make them (and my wife) dinner every single day.
But you’re too busy? How so?
Granted, I don’t watch 4 hours of TV every day, I wake up at 5 am to get shit done, and the lights are ALWAYS out before 10 to get ample rest.
You really should stop limiting yourself by making excuses.
Dad Bod – what a joke.
And while most of those who viewed my post understood the underlying message behind what I was getting at, a few missed the point.
I received a few messages – some of them a bit heated – which reprimanded me for “shaming” those who were out of shape. They claimed I was judging others for their struggles. I can completely see how this could be viewed as that. I fancy myself in decent shape (as of now). I feel rather confident. I’m busy as hell – I’m a “Dad” – but I’m also proud of what I’ve been able to do physically. I’ve stayed consistent in my quest for health, and I wanted to display a positive message – the message that no matter the circumstance, YOU are responsible for you.
Judgement of others is a nasty thing – it’s the nastiest of the nasty, to be quite honest with you. We DON’T have any clue what others are going through or feeling. And another man’s journey is just that – it’s theirs. So, allow it to be theirs. Provide support and comfort to them if they need it. But allow them to “do them” – free from your critical eye.
And while my words appear to be in stark contrast to the message of my Facebook post, allow me to clarify MY point of the post which rustled so many jimmies.
The problem with the “Dad Bod” isn’t that I’m judgmental of other’s shortcomings.
The problem with the “Dad Bod” is that the message is fake as hell.
It’s a complete fabrication. It’s a facade. It’s hiding behind a mask of lies, and a wall of bullshit. It’s proclaiming “I have a ‘Dad Bod’ and I’m okay with that” when you are actually hurting inside. Doing this is extremely dangerous to your own psyche and your ultimate goals of self-improvement.
A Call To Arms – To All The Dads Out There – YES, This Means YOU!
Alright, Dads, this is the part where I let it all out. And this might sting a little bit. You might be tempted to click off and say “f- this guy”, but I urge you to read through. It’s important. So important, in fact, that if you take these words to heart – it very well could change the shape of you, and the next generation of your family.
It’s not “good enough” to have a “Dad Bod” and to blatantly ignore your health.
It’s not okay – at all – in fact, it’s downright irresponsible.
Children are sponges. What you say to them does not matter. But what you do in their presence means everything in the world.
This is due to the fact that children are a direct reflection of their environment.
When children are in this incredibly rapid stage of development, everything you do will be taken into consideration by them – and most of it will be imitated. If you use curse words, and don’t be surprised when your child does as well. If you spank your kids, don’t be surprised when your kid gets in trouble at school for fighting. If you sit on the couch and play video games all day? Guess what junior will do. You guessed it – junior will do EXACTLY what he sees you doing, no matter how much you tell him “Do as I say, not as I do………….”
If you stuff yourself silly with a large pizza, wash it down with a 12-pack of beer and lie on the couch scratching your enormous belly (or other parts)?
Then you’ll have a little “Mini-Me” soaking it all in. You’d best believe when your child is 21, and on their own, the first thing they will do is call Pizza Hut and grab a case of Bud. Because that’s what YOU taught them to do, Pops.
On the flip side, if you start to take control of yourself, your child will notice. And it’s not too late. Teach your child about proper health and nutrition. Model healthy habits and behaviors with your meals. Eat your veggies and your whole food protein. Show your child that treats are not for everyday consumption – by limiting those treats yourself.
Attend the gym and exercise regularly. When your child asks what you’re doing – tell them. Show them how important it is to you and your wife to be active, healthy people. Get off your asses and go outside as a family. Go on a walk to the park. Breathe in the fresh air. Turn off the damn television. And the damn smartphones as well.
In 20 years, when your son is an adult, what do you want him to be like?
Would you like a self-assured, confident, take-no-prisoners man with a kick-ass attitude? A man who will shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye, and hold a solid conversation? A man who isn’t afraid to put his shoulders back, his chin up, and command the attention of the room as he enters? A man who will treat a woman right – because he realizes his strength is in his love, his compassion, and his humility?
If this sounds nice, then you need a son who is strong and healthy. And your son being strong and healthy starts with YOU, Pops.
What about your daughter? Oh, man, your daughter………….Our daughters. I have two of my own, so I know these feels. I’ll do my best not to get too weepy…………..
Would you like a strong, independent woman who loves with all her heart but is unafraid to back down? A woman whose strength and confidence radiates from within and isn’t afraid to be upfront and honest with those around her? A woman who values toughness, grit, and perseverance more than she values popularity, fame, and material possessions? A woman who isn’t afraid to say “NO” if the situation warrants it? (Not gonna lie…………that last one HURT to type……….but it’s something most women have to deal with at some point in their life.)
Perhaps most importantly……….would you like her to be a woman who won’t settle for a man who doesn’t have the same aspirations, hopes, and dreams as her?
Men…………….Dads…………..having a “Dad Bod” is not good enough. It’s not. It’s BS and weak – plain and simple. I get it. It’s easier to slosh down 10 drinks along with your 25 wings at your local Hooters. It’s easier to just guzzle the damn beer your buddy hands you instead of saying “no thanks” and opting for a water. It’s simpler to just order pizza than it is to plan, cook, and eat a healthy, nutritious meal. And it’s more comfortable to drive home after work and put on a pair of sweats than it is to lace up the kicks and get a workout in.
But it’s your duty to make sure those things happen. Get in your workouts, eat your veggies, drink your water, and be a good role model for those kids in your house.
If you don’t have kids, then whatever. Your choices are your choices and I couldn’t care less. But if you DO have kids, then you made that choice. There’s no turning back now. Teaching them about proper nutrition and exercise is your duty a parent.
And laziness and apathy are NOT reasons to be a poor example to your children.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Humans are emotional beings. There’s nothing wrong with having emotions. But being petrified of those emotions – and using a BS cover-up like the “Dad Bod” as a means of burying your emotions down deep inside of you simply prolongs the inevitable. It’s a mere fabrication of who you truly are.
It’s being vapid and elusive – since the truth hurts so damn much.
One of the most painful activities we can do is to be blunt and honest with ourselves. So instead, we make rationalizations. We chalk things up to “old age” or to “increased responsibility” or to having “less time” or “being busy”. I remember when I got married. I had a number of friends who told me I would now “get fat because I was comfortable” since I no longer had to find an attractive mate. I was “done” worrying about that since I was getting hitched.
At the time (2004), I thought that idea was silly. And now, I find that idea to be full-on bat-shit crazy.
We shouldn’t make our decisions BASED on our emotions, we should make our decisions based on the results we are trying to obtain. But our emotions can be utilized to decide which path we wish to take.
Are you satisfied with what you see in the mirror? Truly satisfied? At your core?
If you are, then more power to you. Fantastic, super, and tremendous. You should be happy and confident. And able to take care of business.
But if you’re NOT, then that’s okay. Allow yourself to be unhappy with yourself. OWN your feelings and your emotions. Allow yourself to have a desire for self-improvement. It’s a justifiable and acceptable emotion – to feel dissatisfied with yourself. If you’re embarrassed by your personal appearance, a MASSIVE step towards improving that appearance is by owning your own desires and shortcomings.
When you’re feeling like you have a bit of a “Dad Bod”, don’t hide behind a mask. Don’t blow it off as being a “fact of life” – because it’s not. At all.
Your “Dad Bod” CAN be improved.
And that’s the REAL issue – when the internal desire we should all feel for self-improvement gets completely squashed by a lame cover-up.
It might hurt now, but it’ll be better for you in the long run.
Yours in making your “Dad Bod” a thing of the past,
Jason is a coach and algebra teacher devoted to bringing quality fitness education and coaching to the everyman. Founder of Anyman Fitness, Jason uses his mathematical background to help clients achieve their goals.
This article was republished with the permission of AnymanFitness.com