How Long Does the ‘Dadbod’ Last For?

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It was March 2015 when Mackenzie Pearson wrote her piece ‘Why girls love the Dad Bod‘ which was widely credited as the invention of the meme after going viral, since then the media explosion has taken it to the extreme with pictures of Leonardo Dicaprio shirtless on the beach sporting some very impressive moobs.

I’m sure hundreds of the fathers reading this page can identify with the Dad Bod ethos, to qualify (according to the article) you need to be striking that fine balance between being overweight and in shape, the kind of guy that after a 10k run will celebrate with a pizza and 2 bottles of Coors light. Becoming a father for the first time last summer meant I immediately qualified, I was rising through the ranks of our local cycling club with murmurings of me signing up for some amateur level racing, I was 36 years old and in the best shape I had been since school but by no means an elite athlete, certainly no six pack because despite my love of cycling I had an equal passion for cheese, steak and whisky.


Keeping active had been something myself and my wife had enjoyed together, we had early in our relationship lived above a Chinese take away with the predictable impact on our love handles but in recent years we were reformed characters.

Close to Remembrance Day 2 years ago we took part in a charity run for the Royal British legion the very same day we discovered that we were pregnant, after the run we made a pact that we would compete again the following year.

Our little boy was born in June last year giving us just 6 months for the run, complications in labour meant baby H was born C section which clearly made this a huge challenge for my wife but for me I naively said to myself “it’ll be no problem for me I’m still in shape” but wow how wrong could I have been? Harrison was born perfectly fit and healthy, by all comparison to some of the horror stories I have heard he is an easy boy to look after but nothing at all could have prepared me for the impact having a baby has on almost every aspect of our lives, the first few weeks looking back were just lived in a kind of sleep deprived haze, we had zero down time so my fitness levels plummeted almost immediately. Weeks quickly turned into months and training for the run had been little more than a couple of power walks.

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Just 6 months of fatherhood and I had put on a Stone in weight and added 3 inches to my waistline, it’s incredible how it can take months to shift a couple of pounds sometimes but you can easily pile a few on over a bad weekend.
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65.3% of UK men are either overweight or obese, men are living in a world today that unfortunately does not help with this grim statistic and I’m sure many of the men on the Dad network can testify that becoming a new dad can certainly send us down a slippery slope to becoming a statistic ourselves.

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November arrived, my wife and I completed our British Legion run maybe not at the same blistering pace as the year before but this time waiting with Grandma at the finish line was our son, I’ve never before felt so proud, the hurdles my wife had crossed to achieve this I’m sure us dads will never fully understand but I just hope that I helped in some way.

So a year after the invention of the ‘Dad Bod‘ and it’s already old news but it’s my mission never to let the world forget, as new fathers we owe it to our families to get old in the best shape we can, I know for most of us that perfectly toned body is just a pipe dream but let’s not just give up and be happy being one of those 65%, ‘Dad Bod’ is perfectly achievable so over the next few articles I will share my progress with some tips on exercise, gadgets and food.

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  1. Alex Morley

    My wife and I are both keen runners, and were determined to stay in shape after our first child was born. I was signed up to take part in an ultramarathon approximately 4 months after her due date, and as I was in great shape leading up to the birth, figured I’d be fine.

    However, much like you, the realities of parenthood came as something of a shock to my training plan! My energy for extra-curricular activities was absolutely through the floor, and (like your partner) my wife had a C-Section, so we were both having to work very hard during her recovery.

    Needless to say, I had to pull out of the ultramarathon, as I was nowhere near being in shape. However, both myself and my wife were back in shape for a half-marathon seven months after the birth. As with you, it certainly wasn’t quick, but we managed to get into shape by working together, taking turns with training (we live hundreds of miles from our nearest relatives/regular babysitters) and prioritising our getting healthy over some other social activities (do new parents even have social activities?!)

    Over the three years since our daughter was born, my wife and I have taken it in turns to train for one event or another (me training up to ultramarathons again, her up to a marathon last year), and have loved balancing our fitness with our parenting. It’s not easy though, and takes a lot of negotiation and understanding.

    Now that we’re hoping for a second child in the near future, I’m under no illusions that we’ll be able to carry on simply as we have to date though – I think a lot more negotiation and understanding will be required in the near future!!

    • Al Ferguson

      Kudos for even entering it buddy. Ultra marathons are a whole other level. Babies do get in the way of training etc, no doubt about it. Thanks for your comments.

    • Marc Dewhurst

      I agree with AL, Ultramarathons must be one epic undertaking and require a level of fitness some of us can only dream of. I think as parents we have a huge responsibility to look after ourselves, in whatever sport or hobby my boy chooses to do I would love to be able to share in that with him and I know looking after myself will give me the best chance of being able to do that.
      Keep us updated on the Ultramarathon training.

  2. Grace Olivia Susan

    This was such a great read. You and your wife sound like a right team, at times probably eachothers enablers. Myself and my boyfriend, we are on our little ‘get fit’ journey but we both seem to fall into ruts where chocolate ends up screaming our names and we give in. Not great but we are working on it!

    • Marc Dewhurst

      Be strong Grace, bumps in the road are a massive part of it. You are right working together as a team is key, chocolate isn’t the issue in our household it’s the dreaded take away!

  3. Jason

    I’m a confirmed dadbod… I drift out of it into the flabby-looking-like-crap phase from time to time but I know it’s the love of a pint and a take away that causes it. A little discipline and a few smart choices (cycle or run to the station rather than drive, no sneaky lunchtime pint etc etc) and I’m back to the chunky but healthy size… Good luck in what you do, J

    • Marc Dewhurst

      Jason, we all let it slide sometimes but for me I find a marker in the scales that signal “enough is enough” really helps, I make sure the scales always start with 11 stone something, the moment it gets close to 12 stone emergency measures have to be taken. Glad to meet a fellow cyclist, it’s become an obsession for me sometimes but helps so much with battling the dad bod.

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