I’m guessing you’ve all heard of the trend that was sweeping the nation a few months ago called “dad bod,” which basically implied that dads have a specific body type best defined as “softly round,” according to Urban Dictionary. I fit the definition of this phrase to a T.
When Nolan was born back in April 2011, I was still coaching college baseball and living a very active lifestyle—running, working out most days, pitching in practice when we needed live looks. I was actually throwing batting practice before our doubleheader when I got a text from Linds telling me she was in labor. (Fortunately, we were playing at home.) I ran to the gym, back when I could run somewhere. Not to say I’m a big bag of milk now, but I’m clearly not in the same shape I was in five-plus years ago.
The first few months of a baby’s life are pretty stagnant as they can’t really move around, which means a lot of motionless time for you as a parent. Thankfully, we were living in the Bronx, and there were parks, trails and bike paths everywhere. Not to mention we were only a 25-minute subway ride away from being in the heart of New York City. We walked and went everywhere with Nolan in tow—breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour (you know you did it too, don’t judge). Key word: walked. It was easy to walk everywhere when you live in the best, most accessible city in the world.
Around October, we moved to a town in Connecticut close to Linds’ new job and near a few parks and hiking/running trails for me as I entered into the realm of at-home parenting. It was easy as pie to get out anytime I wanted. I’d strap him in his child seat on the back of my bike and go for miles or put him in the stroller and take an hour walk around town. There was also a gym we belonged to that was literally 35 steps from our apartment.
A year later we moved again, to a more remote and rural part of the state, a place where walking for an hour only got you a few blocks, and it took you 15 minutes each way to get milk. We were very reliant on car travel, though biking around the hills of town was my mode of transportation with Nolan, a few miles every day the weather allowed. We were squatting at my MIL’s house as it was vacant and on the market. There were no gym memberships involved.
You’re sensing a trend here? Active. Biking. Exercise. Not softly round.
We’d just finished moving (again!?) just before Graham was born. Although it’s not as rural as the previous place, it’s still farm country, but we’re more easily accessible to things. Despite this, car travel was the main mode to get from here to there.
Both Linds and I carved out time most days to go for a run, but with two kids (a 3-year-old and a newborn) it was tough—and we were exhausted. Eventually, it whittled down to a day or two a week; soon enough I was out of the game, no more running, still no gym membership. We did go for family walks around the block (~1 mile loop) and sometimes circled twice, taking turns pushing the stroller and wearing the other.
Fast-forward to now, three kids (a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old, a newborn), and neither of us spends time exercising unless chasing Nolan around the house, coaching little league, pushing Graham on the swings, or changing a butt-load of diapers and wrestling a newborn into his outfits counts.
I texted a friend of mine who happens to be a fitness coach/trainer, and he gave me the name of a workout that requires no weights. (Though, I do have a kettlebell.) It’s called Primal Movement. It’s more of an athletic movement workout than a muscular, weight-training workout, but mixed in with some cardio and general child-raising exercising movements. If nothing else, it should help limber me up because presently, at the age of 35, I feel at least a few years older.
Between sticking to this workout, going for a run a few times a week, and spending the summer with our three boys—two of whom never stop moving—I think a goal of feeling and looking like I’m in better shape is certainly within reach.
Now if I could only wrestle this 1-month-old into his diapers on a regular basis!