‘Dad Bod’ – Just a Lame Excuse

by Addie Kelzer

While “middle-aged, overweight, used-to-workout guy” doesn’t have the same ring to it, it more appropriately sums up who we’re talking about here. Many guys who fit these criteria also happen to be dads and I believe this is how the term was born.  It’s creator, Clemson University student, Mackensie Pearson, coined the term and defined it. “A dad bod”, she wrote for her university’s paper, “is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.'” See the original creation of the ‘dad bod’ here.

The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’

My problem with ‘Dad Bod’ is two-fold.

1.  Dads are getting a bad wrap.

Not all dads have beer bellies and slam beers and pizza for dinner. Where’s the term that empowers fathers to be healthy examples for their kids and reflects their ambitions to hold onto the athletic body they had at 20? While they may not be the majority, plenty of dads are working diligently to avoid a beer belly and in some cases to avoid looking like their own ‘Dad Bod’ Dads. THIS should be the norm. THIS should be the popular, sexy new buzzword that everybody’s talking about!  I’m all out of creative ideas for a catchy name that encompasses the strive-to-be-healthy dad! However, I would love to see your ideas in the comments section below!

There’s no real connection between “Dad Bod” and being a dad other than what’s implied. There IS a connection between “Dad Bod” and being overweight, however. While I know most articles written on the topic are done somewhat in jest, there’s a clear message here that you don’t get the title of “Dad Bod” without being overweight. The Washington Post solidifies this point for me. The graphic here can help YOU determine if “Dadbod” applies to you, and more importantly, what it means in terms of BMI.

2.  Being a dad does not earn you a pass on being overweight.

By calling it “Dadbod” there’s an insinuation of, “because I am dad, I have this body”. For example, an “Athlete’s Body” or a “Yoga Body” can mostly be attributed to the former activity. By participating in said activity and eating in line with those activities, their body becomes a physical representation of those activities. “Dad Bod” suggests that through the act of being Dad, you get this body. Sorry to disappoint, but it doesn’t work that way. To help make my point, let’s consider Moms for a moment.

Moms, by participating in the ‘activity’ of pregnancy, go through thousands of physical changes. Each change is a direct result of the act of nurturing and growing another human inside of her. These changes can affect a womans’ hormones, weight, muscles, breasts, hips, thighs, etc, etc. depending on the case. There’s no arguing that a Mom’s body at one point and sometimes forever is changed through the birth of her child. Dads, I’m sorry, but it’s all lifestyle on your end. Because no physical changes are actually required on your end in order to become a dad, I feel confident in saying (although it may not be a popular message) that your lifestyle is the reason behind any body changes as you become a dad.


I don’t mean to sound inconsiderate toward the difficult realities of parenthood. Many of our clients are motivated parents who do their best to avoid this slippery slope of unhealthy lifestyle tendencies that create an uphill battle for parents everywhere.

Here are some of the real-life reasons dads (and moms) struggle to maintain a healthy weight:

  • Stress, a lot of it
  • Insufficient sleep and recovery
  • Insufficient “me-time” to recharge or do self-care
  • Complete change or elimination of routine
  • Frequent illnesses introduced to the household
  • Little humans need to be supervised almost 24-7
  • Slightly older humans have a million and 1 activities and places to be

Oh, and I can’t forget the overarching idea that parents are consistently putting the needs of someone else in front of their own for a minimum of 18 years.

Being overweight is a common side effect of all these things but by no means is it inevitable. Parents: work diligently to reduce your stress, carve a little time for yourself, prepare healthy foods to meet the demands of your ever-crazy schedule and you can prevail! Prevail over parental weight gain, prevail over the “Dad Bod”!

Looking to defeat ‘Dad Bod’?

Here are 6 easy tips to being slimmer and trimmer, dad or not.


And now, the lighter side of ‘Dad Bod’.

Thanks to Urbandictionary.com, we have these hilarious definitions to consider as well.

Dad Bod

1) A guy who has kids and was once in shape and still has guns that can crush beer cans but also with a belly that says I drank those beers and I can eat 6 slices of pizza in one seating.

Dad bod

2) “Dad bod” is a male body type that is best described as “softly round.” It’s built upon the theory that once a man has found a mate and fathered a child, he doesn’t need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.

2a) If human bodies were cuts of meat, the dad bod would skew more marbled rib eye than filet mignon; or, if human bodies were sea mammals, dad bod would be more like a grazing manatee than a speedy dolphin. The dad bod is more mudslide than mountain, more soft serve than sorbet, more sad trombone than clarinet, more mashed potato than skinny fry. The dad bod is built for comfort.

And my personal favorite, complete with real-world example:

Dad Bod

3) You have a job, responsibilities, and enough money to nod in approval when someone tells you Guacamole is extra.

Would your dad bod like Guacamole?




Addie Kelzer

Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.







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