Popularised by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, the ‘Dad Bod’ is a slang term that’s best described as a middle aged, male body type that is more on the, erh, softer side. The physique, however, skews towards a positive and light-hearted tone, encouraging men to be comfortable in their own skin. Regardless, there a certain health risks that can occur later on in life as a result of a little extra cushioning, especially around the abdominal region.
“In a nutshell, it’s about body composition,” says Drew Harrisberg, exercise physiologist and Fitbit ambassador. “High body fat percentage and low muscle mass percentage. We want to swing those numbers in the opposite direction by combining strength, HIIT and LISS training.” Below, Drew shares exactly how:
“It all starts with strength training as it will build muscle mass which is metabolically ‘expensive’ i.e. it takes a lot of energy to simply keep muscle on your frame. This will lead to an increased metabolic rate,” says Drew.
“Despite simply building muscle, strength training has many other benefits. Hormonally, it increases testosterone and growth hormone production, as well as improves insulin sensitivity which ultimately increases your fat-burning capabilities.”
Drew adds: “Whether you lift weights in the gym or learn how to use your bodyweight, resistance training is key to your program. Stick to exercises that incorporate many joints and muscle groups at the same time e.g. squats and pushups. For some sessions it’s good to try heavier weights for low reps, other sessions try lighter weights for higher reps. Aim for 3 session per week of 45-60 minutes with minimal rest.”
“High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to increase rates of fat burning, long after the workout is over,” says Drew. “It’s called EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) or ‘The Afterburn’. Basically, the anaerobic by products of your short, sharp, 15-minute workout, get metabolised in the 24-48 hours after the workout is finished, which leads to higher rates of fat burning. To monitor my results and check in on how hard I’m working, I like to track calories burned as well as heart rate throughout and after my session with my Fitbit Versa.”
“You could do sprints on a rowing machine, assault bike, or run up a steep hill/flight of stairs. Aim for at least 30 seconds as fast as possible followed by enough rest so that you can repeat the process 5-6 times. Aim to complete a HIIT workout 1-2 times per week.”
“The health benefits of Low Intensity Steady State Training are very different to those of HIIT,” explains Drew. “Low intensity cardio like jogging, running, and walking, have more immediate effects. My advice is to walk every day at low intensities – and aim to build on your steps each week if possible. After meals are the best times to go for a walk because it helps to reduce the post-meal blood sugar spike and control your insulin levels.”
“Go for a light jog/run 1-2 times per week, but try to avoid very long duration chronic cardio. Chronic cardio will increase stress hormone production (namely cortisol) which will inhibit your ability to build muscle and burn fat – exactly what we don’t want. Keep your runs short and sharp. Generally, under 60 minutes is fine. It’s the 2+ hour runs every day of the week that we want to avoid. Rather replace a few runs with some strength training and HIIT.”
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