Your Dad bod won’t melt away overnight, but it’s not an unattainable dream. We speak to a Fitness Workz trainer for some fitness advice.
TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
With community restrictions lifting, borders re-opening and vacation season upon us, it’s high time to start working on getting fit to look good in all those travel photos we’ll be snapping. After all, who doesn’t want a summer bod while on that beach holiday?
Alas, achieving a trim tummy is easier said than done.
Ask any fitness instructor and they’ll tell you that losing the gut is one of the hardest goals in exercise. Not only do you need the right kind of workouts – special attention needs to be paid to your diet.
Fret not, as we have you covered. Here are some tips and tricks from a HomeTeamNS trainer to start you on your journey to six-pack abs.
BELLY FAT MYTHS
Before you begin your journey to stripping away that Dad bod, it’s important to understand some of the common misconceptions around belly fat and what it takes to lose or maintain it.
As Fitness Workz trainer Deyna Sabryna shares, a bulging belly is a common area of concern for most people – which means that when people come across a diet or fitness trend that promises quick results, most people jump on it (often to varying degrees of effectiveness).
“A common misunderstanding is that belly fat is just the same as body fat. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is accumulated deep under the skin around the organs,” she shared.
Notably, visceral fat can often lead to health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. This means that choosing the right approach to belly fat loss, backed by health science, is essential to preserving one’s health (as opposed to simply riding on the latest TikTok quick workout trend).
Ms Sabryna shares another misconception that one should “avoid fatty food” in order to avoid a Dad bod. Rather, belly fat occurs due to a variety of factors, which include having an unhealthy diet, inactivity, sleeping patterns and other lifestyle habits.
“Only by making changes in every area and practising healthy lifestyle habits will you be able to shave some inches from your waistline,” she advised.
THE ROAD TO A TRIM TUMMY
One of the first things to recognise when planning a fitness regimen to start shaving belly fat is that one cannot target weight loss at one’s gut.
“Spot targeting fat is not effective in general. If you are trying to lose body fat, a mix of strength and resistance training, high intensity aerobic exercises and a healthy diet are key,” said Ms Sabryna.
Some of the recommended exercises for those seeking to trim down a Dad bod include strength training aimed at working on your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and so on, as well as cardio training like running, brisk walking or cycling.
Ms Sabryna personally recommends joining a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class, which combines the best of both worlds of strength and cardio training for best results.
For beginners, she adds that it’s also important to start by doing some mobility and flexibility work. This is to help build up one’s range of motion and to ascertain strengths and weaknesses, and can be of particular benefit when working with a fitness trainer.
“Based on this initial assessment, I will know which part of the muscle that we can start working on. For those in their 40s and 50s, we’ll know that you will need more time to slowly work with as they can be prone to getting injured easily. That’s why we make sure our clients understand the process in order to achieve a goal that will take time and dedication,” she elaborated.
Besides exercising, it’s important to also factor in the holistic lifestyle changes you should adopt.
These include eating regular, balanced meals (don’t skip breakfast!), incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables and high-fibre food into your diet, drinking lots of water and also maintaining a consistently active lifestyle.
CONSISTENCY IS KING
According to Ms Sabryna, by ensuring you maintain your habits in both exercise and diet, noticeable weight loss and muscle changes can come in as few as six weeks.
“Notably, eating a calorie deficit is not important – you will actually need to be eating enough carbs and protein to help repair muscles. People who train and do not address nutrition will have a harder time achieving and sustaining results,” she explained.
Another note of importance is that there isn’t such a thing as a six-pack shortcut.
Ms Sabryna shares that six-pack abs are the result of a very low body fat percentage. It’s when the subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) gets very depleted that you will most likely be able to see your abdominal muscles. This can only be achieved with proper habits and nutrition over an extended period.
As a general rule of thumb, one shouldn’t expect to ditch their Dad bod immediately after starting their new routine. As with many things, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to trimming the tummy.
“There is no shortcut to losing weight. It takes time and dedication in order to achieve your goal. But if you are not quite sure about what exercises help or lack motivation, you can engage in one-to-one personal training, ask a friend to be your buddy workout, or even join group classes,” she said.
When it comes to the latter, Fitness Workz offers a range of programmes that help beginners and veterans alike level-up their fitness game. For example, NS FIT is a holistic fitness programme that offers Home Team NSmen more opportunities to stay active and exercise regularly beyond IPPT-specific training.
Depending on your needs and existing workout preferences, one can either clock NS FIT sessions at physical Fitness Workz Gyms, or sign up for Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) sessions – that sort of flexibility is key to ensuring one can maintain that long-term fitness journey, after all!