A recent study revealed that men who have children are about four pounds heavier than men of a similar age, without children. Whilst this isn’t necessarily that shocking, we’ve all heard the term ‘dad bod’. Did you know that the extra weight comes from chemical shifts rather than sleep deprivation or junk food cravings? It all comes down to your hormones, creating a response in a father to bond with their child.
So, what exactly is going on in your body once you’ve had a child? Read on to find out more! Plus, we’ll drop you a quick, no-hassle workout routine that can help you to tackle that dad bod.
Drop in testosterone levels
Research has shown that men living with their pregnant partners can experience a 20-30% drop in testosterone, which only starts to rise back to normal levels around six months after your baby is born.
This short-term drop in testosterone can trigger Couvade Syndrome, aka sympathetic pregnancy. Couvade Syndrome affects 30-60% of men, with the most common symptom being an increased appetite.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but it’s understood that living together is part of the reason. Seemingly, the pheromones given off by your pregnant partner can decrease a man’s testosterone levels, driving men to want to ‘nest’.
Increase in oxytocin
Whenever we engage in physical forms of affection, like hugging or kissing, it attaches us emotionally to other people. According to a study, new fathers experience increased oxytocin levels after interactions with their babies, and Oxytocin being released helps a man bond with their child.
Did you know that once you’ve had a baby, your brain has been re-configured to hear a baby’s cry much more quickly than men who’ve not had a baby? There’s even research that shows that fathers could recognize their child’s cry as much as mothers can.
Also Read: 4 exercises to banish dreaded manboobs
However, these shifts in your brain circuits only happen when you’ve got a close relationship with your child with the opportunity for frequent contact, meaning that paternity leave is also essential for fathers to bond with their babies.
How to tackle your Dad bod
Becoming a father is a truly fantastic feeling, although there’s no doubt that it can take up time and leave us with little time to dedicate to healthy eating and exercise. If you’ve been feeling a little sluggish and you’d like some help banishing the dad bod, then we’ve got you.
Below, we’ve laid out a weekly workout schedule involving three 30-minute workouts and no weights, equipment, or gym.
Day one: upper body
Bridge: Repeat three times
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, your arms should be by your sides with your palms facing down.
Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes, keeping your abs drawn in, so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and return to the start.
Push-up: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Start with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Engage your core and extend one leg out, then bring the other to meet it, keeping your weight on your toes. Keep a straight back.
Lower your body down to hover off the ground, forming a 90-degree angle from the shoulder, elbow to hand as you inhale. Ensure to engage your core throughout and keep your elbows tucked close to you.
High plank: Repeat three times
Start on all fours on the floor with your hands flat on the ground directly under shoulders and knees bent and stacked directly under hips.
Extend your legs out, resting your weight on the balls of your feet. This will lead to a high plank position. Actively squeeze your heels and glutes together and draw your navel into your spine. Hold for 1 minute or as long as possible.
Quadruped limb raises: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Get on all fours with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep the back straight so that your body forms a line from your head to your hips.
Raise your opposite arm and leg straight out, keeping your abs braced, stomach in and your whole body in a straight line from head to foot. Hold for a few seconds and lower to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite arm/leg.
The Superman: Repeat three times
Lie face down with your arms and legs outstretched, make sure your neck is in a neutral position.
Exhale as you slowly lift your arms, legs, upper back, and head off the floor. Keep arms and legs straight but not locked. Keep your knees and chest from touching the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat.
Bodyweight tricep dip: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Start with your hands on a secure surface behind you, such as a step or on the edge of your couch. Keep your feet together, with your knees slightly bent.
Initiate the movement by bending your elbows. Continue ‘dipping’ until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Pause for a moment or two, and then push yourself back to the starting position. Allow a slight bend in your elbows. Engage your core and glutes to keep your legs from swinging.
Day two: lower body
Bodyweight squat: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes slightly outward and engage your core.
Push your weight back into your heels. Bend your knees and put your arms out straight in front of you for balance if needed. Keep your thighs parallel with the floor and allow your torso to flex forward – press down on the midfoot to straighten your legs, bringing your hips and torso upward simultaneously.
Bodyweight lunges: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Take a large step forward with one leg, allowing your back leg to bend until your knee touches the floor. Take most of your weight on your front foot. Drive your strength through your front foot to allow yourself to return to the starting position.
Calf raises: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Stand up straight with a flat back and your core engaged. Keep your hands by your sides or use a wall to help maintain balance.
Press your weight into the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the ground. You’ll feel a strong stretch in your calves. Hold the position for a moment, and then lower your heels back down to the ground, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles.
Lying L Sit: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Lay on the floor on your back. Keep your knees bent and tuck your feet close to your buttocks. Keep your arms by your sides with your palms facing downward. Tuck your tailbone under to keep your lower back flat to the floor. Engage that core!
Extend your legs overhead, pulling your toes back towards you. You’ll feel an intense stretch in your hamstrings. Keep holding this position for 30 seconds, and make sure your lower back remains tight to the floor.
Day 3: Core
Plank: Repeat 3 times
Lay face down on the floor, with your elbows under your shoulders. Keep your hands flat and engage your core.
Keep your forearms and knees on the floor while slowly raising yourself upwards until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your head. Hold the position for one minute or as long as you can.
Bodyweight sit-up: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Start by laying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet either firmly on the floor or tucked under something secure (your couch or a step is perfect).
Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your head without pulling your neck up. Allow your core to carry your upper body up until you reach your knees. Hold for a second, return to start and repeat. Try slow and controlled sit-ups if you want to make these more challenging.
Reverse crunch: Repeat 6-8 times for three sets
Lay down on your back with your legs extended. Keep your arms by your sides, with your palms flat. Move your legs so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your feet are together.
Also Read: Seven tips to boost your energy levels
Inhale as you pull your knees towards your chest. Roll your pelvis backwards and raise your hips and upper back off the ground. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then exhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat!
Time to smash your goals and take control of your Dad bod
Leave around 40 seconds to a minute between sets; as you improve, you can reduce the time between sets to make it more challenging. Ensure that you alternate your workout days so that your body has the chance to rest, recover and build muscle.
Repeat this workout routine for around four weeks and see how it feels; then, you can start to mix up the sets, rest time and add in any weights.
If you’ve got a little one on the way, or you’ve just had a baby, and you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a bit sluggish, or your motivation is a bit flat, then you might need a helping hand to boost your T levels.
Testogen can safely and naturally increase your testosterone with just four daily capsules. Reverse the signs of low testosterone with Testogen’s 100% natural ingredients, and experience more energy, heightened libido, and enhanced muscle growth.