MANY women are accused of ‘letting themselves go’ when they start having children, especially as they become more consumed with child-rearing. Less talked about though, is the fact that some men are guilty of this too, and as they age it becomes more noticeable.

They gain weight in undesirable places, and grow flabby tummies and hanging love handles — a physique that is somewhere between lean and overweight, that is commonly referred to as the “dad bod”.

Men, if you want to make sure that you don’t fall into the “I’m approaching 40” trap, or want to somehow escape it, check out the recommendations shared by fitness expert and personal trainer Gisel Harrow, below:

Stop making excuses to avoid exercise

Chances are, as you get busier you will have less time for the gym, but you want to make sure that you keep mobile. “If you have minimum time then the recommendation is that you go for high-intensity workouts. So find 30 minutes in your day to devote to physical activities,” Harrow advised.

Change up your lifestyle

While exercise is important, it’s not enough. You can do other things to ensure that you are exercising your body. “Play with the kids, and not just a pillow fight in the house, take them into the backyard and get sweating,” Harrow said. “Don’t just jump into your car when going to the corner shop; walk instead and do it for as many errands as you can.”

Don’t eat junk

If you are serious about keeping your dad bod at bay, pizza should be the last thing on your mind. “With your metabolism getting much slower, you don’t want to have to deal with more calories. Eating well would mean that you have supplied your body with the required amount of nutrients,” Harrow said.

Reduce the beer intake

“It’s so easy to consume a lot of calories without realising, especially when you are out having fun. When you drink all that alcohol, what really happens is that the liver burns the alcohol and not the fat and many men often store the fat in their waistlines.”

Try to reduce stress

Few people realise the correlation between stress and weight gain, but stress has been found to increase cortisol levels in your body. Being extremely stressed consistently can cause elevated cortisol which can lead to excess weight gain and poor nutrition.

Don’t just replace water with other fluids

You will need plenty of water, so don’t just drink other fluids, even if it’s fruit or vegetable juices, in place of water. Not only do you need pure water to flush toxins, but you also need it to help trim the fat as well.

Rest up

As a daddy, there will be some sleepless nights — whether you will be changing diapers or the little one just won’t sleep. But even if the recommended eight hours of sleep are not possible, then aim for at least six, and catch up when you can. If you don’t rest your body can’t recover, and in the absence of adequate sleep you will also realise that you will have difficulty shedding fat and adding muscle.

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