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How To Get Rid of the Dad Bod For Good: 5 Fitness Hacks

How To Get Rid of the Dad Bod For Good: 5 Fitness Hacks

Nicollette Guido |

How To Get Rid of the Dad Bod For Good: 5 Fitness Hacks

The dad bod has become a popular slang term meant to point out body changes that often occur after men have children, but can happen in other stages of life as well. Many men develop dad bods at some point, but maintaining a proper fitness routine and eating habits can help to maintain a muscular physique.

While dad bods are common, that doesn't mean you have to live with yours. If you're feeling out of shape and unhappy with the way you look because of your dad bod, you're not alone. Here are some tips to help you get back into shape and turn your dad bod into a muscular, toned, and healthy body that will help you get through whatever life hands you.

What is a dad bod?

The term "dad bod" typically refers to the body type that many men get after having kids. Dad bods are typically still somewhat slim in nature but are not as toned or muscular as they used to be. Many men with dad bods have an excessive amount of body fat around the waist and stomach in what is often known as a beer belly. Dad bods are typically seen in men who used to have more muscle tone and less body fat, but whose sedentary lifestyles have made maintaining that appearance more difficult. Not all men with dad bods are overweight, but all have an excess amount of body fat that can be unhealthy.

It is important to note that a dad bod is not the same as gaining "sympathy weight" during a significant other's pregnancy. Typically, sympathy body weight gain is a result of eating larger meals or eating more frequently with a pregnant partner, who may need more calories to help the pregnancy thrive. When men gain sympathy body weight, they can usually lose it rather quickly once their eating habits return to normal.

Another body type that is similar to the dad bod is referred to as "skinny fat." Men and women with this figure will often look thin and healthy, but lack muscle mass or muscle tone and have an excess of body fat. While this sounds similar to the dad bod, the dad bod is characterized by excess fat in the belly area, leading to an overweight look depending on the amount of belly fat or visceral fat present. Both of these body types can become more muscular and toned with the right exercises and diet changes.

What causes a dad bod?

Despite the name, dad bods are not directly caused by having children, but the lifestyle changes associated with having kids often contribute to developing a dad bod physique. Men without kids can also get dad bods if they have significant lifestyle changes that lead to less time working out and poor eating habits. Dad bods are typically caused by a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. A man that may have once had a lot of muscle mass and muscle tone will slowly lose that definition and begin to hold on to fat in the belly region. He may or may not appear overweight, but an excess amount of body fat can still be unhealthy even if someone appears thin.

Why do men get dad bods?

Men typically get dad bods because of significant lifestyle changes, such as having kids, getting a new job, starting college, and more. These body changes do not happen overnight and are typically the result of less physical activity and more unhealthy eating. Men who may have once worked out 5 times a week may find themselves going to the gym less often in order to take the kids to soccer practice or to finish an assignment for work or school late at night. As a result, the body slowly loses muscle definition and holds on to excess fat.

How can you avoid the dad bod?

Avoiding developing a dad bod is all about adapting your eating habits and workout schedule to fit into a new lifestyle. Significant life changes can make staying on top of previous routines difficult or even impossible. Instead of trying to stick to your old routine and failing, create a new routine that fits into your new lifestyle in order to stay on top of fitness and healthy eating.

For example, if you have activities with your kids in the afternoon, switch to a before-work morning workout to dedicate time for yourself during your day. If you typically cook your dinners but have found yourself with new responsibilities at work, picking up fast food for dinner may seem like a convenient option, but try to avoid it.

Instead, consider meal prepping on the weekends or choosing to make dinners that require less prep time, but are still nutritious. Making sure you carry over healthy habits into new lifestyles is the key to avoiding the dad bod.

What are the best workouts for getting rid of the dad bod?

So, how to get rid of dad bod? Workouts aimed at getting rid of a dad bod will need to involve both cardio and resistance training. One of the most beneficial exercises for men is weight training, which can help to build muscle. 

Building muscle can help to increase the number of calories you burn when you're not working out, helping to reduce body fat more quickly than cardio exercise alone. In fact, weight lifting can often be more effective for weight loss than cardio because it provides an effective calorie-burning workout and helps to build muscle. However, you shouldn't skip cardio entirely.

Considering the benefits of cardio training, aim for at least 3 days of cardio a week in addition to weight training to keep your heart healthy. When it comes to eliminating the dad bod, here are five tips to keep in mind when creating an exercise routine:

1. Incorporate weights into bodyweight exercises

Weight training for men is an essential component of losing those lbs and toning muscle. Adding weights to your workout moves can increase resistance during workout moves, helping you to build muscle more quickly. For example, you can carry rubber-coated dumbbells or neoprene dumbbells while performing lunges and squats to make these exercises more challenging.

2. Perform cardio after resistance training

In an effort to balance cardio and strength training, some people enjoy doing cardio as part of their warm up, but too much cardio before lifting weights can actually have a negative effect on your workout. This is because when you are done with cardio, your body may start to feel too tired to effectively perform your weight lifting routine. You'll get a more effective workout if you perform a short warmup, do your weightlifting routine, and then do any cardio last. Following your weightlifting routine, hop on an air-resistant exercise bike with a fan wheel or non-motorized treadmill to close out your workout.

3. Don't skip leg day

As tempting as it can be to focus on only arms, chest, and abs, including a leg day in your weekly routine is an important part of reaching your fitness goals. Your leg and glute muscles are the largest muscles in your body. Building them up will lead to burning more calories during sedentary times of the day and while you sleep, increasing your fat burn over time. Incorporating leg day once a week into your resistance training can go a long way toward losing your dad bod and looking muscular and toned again. Just make sure before you go all out.

4. Eat more protein on days you work out

Protein is essential for muscle development. Increasing your protein intake, especially on days when you are working out, can help your body to build muscle faster, improving your appearance more quickly. Eat lean proteins like chicken, fish, and nuts, and consider consuming protein shakes before or after your workout.

5. Increase your water intake

Hydrate is important for bodily functions and is especially important while working out. When you work out, your body uses up some of its water in the form of sweat, which will need to be replaced by increasing your fluid intake. Increasing water consumption has also been linked to weight loss, as the stomach will feel more full when it is properly hydrated, leading to a decrease in overeating.

How long does it take to get rid of a dad bod?

Remember, dad bods do not appear overnight, they are the result of steady lifestyle changes. This means that getting rid of a dad bod will also take steady lifestyle changes. Eating healthier foods, adding more weight lifting to your workouts, and getting a healthy amount of cardio per week will all work together to help you reach your fitness goals.

Keeping in mind the main cause of dad bods is changes in lifestyle, so making sure to continue eating healthy and working out regularly can help to minimize changes in physique whenever big lifestyle modifications arise. At Tru Grit, we can help you achieve your goals of ridding the dad bod for good with our collection of weight lifting, conditioning, and cardio equipment meant to last.


  1. Mayo Clinic (how men gain belly fat)
  2. Healthline (skinny fat definition)
  3. National Library of Health Medicine (study on using resistance training to build muscle)
  4. National Library of Health Medicine (study on largest muscles in the body)