I can recall when my father was still a relatively young man, he had serious Popeye-like forearms. He was solidly put together, even though he had never completed any strength training in his life. He worked hard and was relatively strong, but as men age unwanted changes inevitably come to their bodies.
The Effects of Lower Testosterone
Research shows that as men age testosterone levels begin to decrease, often significantly. Side effects like a lower sex drive and a loss of muscle mass and bone density soon follow.
When testosterone diminishes men can also gain an alarming amount of weight (not the flattering kind) unless they do something about it. It didn’t take long at all for my dad’s arms to shrink in size and his waist to expand dramatically.
Unfortunately, this is why many fathers have a “dad bod.” They may try to be as active as they used to be, but their testosterone levels are tanking, and their body is showing the effects of that hormonal change.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to accept flabby arms and a protruding gut. Strength training could be your answer to how you are going to get in the best shape of your life - and kiss that dad bod goodbye.
Starting From Scratch
Maybe you’ve never really done any strength training at all. Or maybe you did some back in the day but you did it without a plan, just randomly hitting various strength training machines and throwing in some cardio. That approach simply will not work. If you are going to spend a few hours in the gym every week, you need to make it count. It is time to attack this smartly and with a plan.
Decide Where You Will Do Your Strength Training
You have some decisions to make. Your first decision is whether you want to get a yearly membership to your closest gym or if you would rather turn your basement, garage, or spare bedroom into a home gym so you can train any time.
Building up your home gym will take an initial investment at first compared to a $30 monthly gym member. I spent a little less than a thousand dollars on my first garage gym and I only had the basics. But I loved that I could workout early in the morning, late at night, didn’t have to travel back and forth, there was no dress code, and I was the “Member of the Month” every month.
However, by that time I had been a personal trainer for more than a decade already, so I knew exactly what I was doing. If you aren’t sure how to do strength training correctly yet, it might be a good idea to get your feet wet at your local gym.
Find a Partner to Keep you Motivated and Accountable
If you have no clue what the difference between a chest press and a military press is, don’t worry about it. Find someone that can take you under their wing so you can learn. This might mean hiring a personal trainer at first. Or, if you want to save money, just train with a buddy who knows his way around the weight room. We all know a guy, right?
I had two guys who were 20 to 30 years older than me take me under their wing the first time I walked into a gym. Since then, I have done the same thing a dozen times over, and seem to have a new training partner every year. Training with someone will push you to quickly eclipse personal bests in no time and will make you more committed to training hard and often.
Schedule Your Strength Training Workouts the Right Way
We have all seen the guy in the gym that just trains arms and chest every single workout. Leg day doesn’t exist for this guy. This approach does very little when trying to transform the whole body. Furthermore, your individual muscle groups need a few days off to heal and grow. When you over-train and don’t allow for recovery you actually stunt your growth and hinder your gains.
I break up my strength training workouts by muscle groups (except I always finish with a leg exercise). To give you an example, my schedule for most weeks is listed below. Understand that I don’t train every single day, but every other day, and I still get great results. I end up only working out for four to five hours a week. Quite a few guys stick with three sets and ten reps for everything, but I change up the number of sets and reps pretty frequently.
Muscle Group Workouts Example
Flat barbell bench
Pec Deck Machine
Incline leg press
Biceps and Triceps
Hammer dumbbell curls
Back and Shoulders
Shoulder side raises
Vertical leg press
What Results Will Strength Training Get You?
Strength training has many benefits besides just helping you lose the dad bod. For instance, it will raise your testosterone levels a bit. Who knew that lifting heavy things could give our hormones a boost? It must be the caveman in all of us.
Your muscles will start developing once again and your bone density will improve as well. You will literally feel years younger. This also means that osteoporosis will not make its presence felt quite yet. Your dad bod will be a mere memory and before long, everyone will be taking notice.
If that wasn’t enough, those new muscles will act as fat burners and will have you dropping some serious weight. Muscle continually burns fat, even while sleeping, so the more muscle mass you accumulate, the better your waistline will be.
Don’t expect to become a pro bodybuilder overnight, but with continuous strength training, you will see improvements to your dad bod whether you are 25 years old or 60 years old. Take it one day at a time at first, and stay with it. After a while, it will become a habit that changes your entire outlook and lifestyle.