A new dad’s guide to fitness

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There are many stages of life when weight loss becomes difficult. One of those is definitely fatherhood, what with the stress of keeping a small human alive and a child’s total lack of respect for sleep. If you’re a new dad, honestly I don’t blame you for diving head first into the biscuit tin (in secret, I hope, as kids are known vultures). 

So what can you do to regain your grip on fitness? We asked Dan Fallon, an author with a refreshing no-BS approach to fitness, to fill us in with a new dad’s guide to fitness. 

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 that at this stage of life many men simply become less active when the pressures of family life mean a dad’s own personal fitness becomes less of a priority.

If you are a dad like me who has lost the reigns a bit, or you’ve let your waistline grow without even realising it, here are my top tips to start 2020 right and get back on track with my new dad’s guide to fitness.

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. Instead, 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), so do this for 10 days and that is 1lb of body fat gone. 

As you build momentum then you can start adding extras, but keeping it basic and mastering the fundamentals is critical for long-term engagement in fitness.

dad's guide to fitness

Win the morning

Most parents are time poor. They feel guilty if they sacrifice any time with their family for anything other than work. That’s why mornings are the best time of the day – sacrifice 30 minutes or an hour in the morning to burn some calories and it will set you up for the day. 

My tip is to put your alarm on the other side of the room, and 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 a day 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, and when we are in a better state of mind, we tend to make better choices in what we eat.

dad's guide to fitness

Get support from family, friends 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.

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 www.facebook.com/superyouproject.


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