Summer is nearly here (hopefully). With the sun comes the usual conversations of body confidence, exercise and diet. Hell, we’ve already seen something called the ‘dad bod’ make a large, fat bloke-esque splash into the pool that is the mainstream media.
It always astounds me what people will do to look good. There’s some pretty bat-shit crazy ways of trying to lose weight and get into shape. Be it things like the Atkins diet, Zone diet and Raw Food diet to the downright weird such as Fletcherism (chewing food to get the goodness out, prior to spitting out the ‘waste’) or swallowing tapeworms in the hope that they’ll eat the food inside your stomach.
As ‘fun’ as most of these things sound, I reckon I’ve actually come up with a pretty fool proof way of getting fit. So throw away those Spanx, stop counting those Weight Watchers points and cancel your gym membership. The only thing you need is a baby (preferably yours).
I can sense that you don’t fully believe me, after all, why have you never seen Shaun T or Jillian Michaels with a sprog in their exercise DVDs? But all I ask is for you to bear with me and give me five minutes of your time…
For that, I’ll show you how you can revolutionise your fitness regime and get the body you want for summer. And I’m offering you all of this for the special price of $19.99. But wait. That’s not all. I’m also going to throw in…oh, wait. Sorry, I got caught up in my marketing spiel for the infomercial I’m filming at the moment. Back to this post…
If you don’t believe me that babies are the best form of exercise ever, then check out the five points below:
Having a well-balanced diet is critical to being healthy, looking good and feeling confident – this means, among other things, eating right and controlling your portions. Fortunately, babies are really useful at reducing the amount of food and drink that you consume. As a newborn, you’ll be lucky to have three meals every day, and will be even more fortunate for any of these to still be warm. This means less calories!
Things only get worse when your sprog starts weaning though, as they again impact your calorie intake. Babies will ‘helpfully’ eat a good proportion of your food and attempt to steal your drinks, which thoughtfully means that you’ll be taking in less.
Looking forward to that sandwich? Then be prepared to only eat three-quarters of it. Salivating over that Wispa Gold? The best you’ll get is the chewed-up, melted leftovers of that once fine bar of chocolate. So considerate of them to think about your diet so much.
Moving around, increasing your heart-rate and getting sweaty are key to getting in shape. That often means you’ll need to put on your dusty trainers and do a bit of cardiovascular exercise. Whilst some people may go for a jog, get on their bike or jump on the cross trainer, I reckon they’re all missing a trick. Just have a baby.
A mobile baby burns more fat and calories than any other exercise known to man. If you reckon you sweat a lot doing Bikram Yoga, then you’ve obviously never spent the majority of your day chasing a nine-month old baby around your living room. The little buggers just don’t stay still, which means that you are constantly on your feet.
By the end of the day when the little one has popped off to the Land of Nod, you’ve probably done the equivalent of three full marathons. And Eddie Izzard thought he had it tough with 43 marathons in 51 days!
You’re unlikely to ever have the arms of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell tickets to your very own gun show. Rather than use the machines at the gym or a set of dumbbells, the best thing for those flabby arms is a baby.
As babies are lazy, they spend the first year and a bit of their lives on their back, front or arse. This means that you’re forced to hold, carry and pick up your little bundle of joy, which does wonders for your biceps and triceps.
Babies are also the perfect size and weight to start building those arm muscles and eliminating those bingo wings – with a good, solid grip of your little one, you can do plenty of different arm exercises including bicep curls, bench press and shoulder press, both in the home and when you’re out and about. If you’re lucky enough to have twins, then you can even do both arms at the same time!
We may not all possess legs as sexy as Cameron Diaz or as muscley as David Beckham, but that doesn’t mean that you can skip ‘leg day’. Luckily, having a baby means that ‘leg day’ can be every day. Owning a sprog means you are continually on your feet using those pins of yours. Even when your baby is asleep, you’ll find that you’re still standing up as you try to do all of the jobs you were unable to do with a sprog clinging to your person.
Similarly to the arms, a baby can be used as a substitute dumbbell – or mumbell (yes I just went there) – for working your legs. Whilst holding the baby, you can easily do squats or lunges to build bigger and stronger quads. Your calf muscles also get a pretty generous workout too – you’ll find that you walk further, move quicker and bounce higher as you try every possible method to soothe a crying baby.
If you want to mix things up and have a proper workout, just strap your baby to you with a baby carrier and attempt to walk up a hill. Man, those legs will burn! Within only a few weeks of this, your cankles will soon return to ankles.
Everyone wants the perfect six-pack. Unfortunately though, getting a ripped stomach is pretty difficult. Until now, that is – simply have a baby and you’ll have a midriff that looks like the offspring produced if Jessica Ennis’ abs and Taylor Lautner’s abs had sex.
A baby means that you will continually be getting up. Babies are pretty crap at communicating, so will cry at anything and everything. Hungry? Tired? Bored? Lonely? Needs changing? Who the hell knows! That means that whenever your baby begins to wail, you’ll be forced to get up from your comfy sofa or soft bed in order to try and figure out what the hell is up with them. Although all of this getting up may be a royal pain in the arse, it is pretty great for the abs.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve got up from a sitting or laying down position more times in the last 10 months than I did in the previous 10 years of my existence. It’s therefore no coincidence that whenever I have my shirt off people mistake me for Channing Tatum. [Hayley’s edit: More like Jonah Hill]
There we have it, The DADventurer’s five-step fitness programme making use of the tiny human(s) in your life. I told you it was revolutionary. Now I’m not suggesting that you have a baby *just* to stay in shape. After all, the act of making a baby can also have it’s fitness benefits!
How has your body been affected by having a baby? Are you in better or worse shape since becoming a parent? How do you try to balance exercise with family life?