What Causes The ‘Dadbod’ (And How To Reverse It)

What Causes The ‘Dadbod’ (And How To Reverse It)

Ah, the “dadbod”. A recently-coined term, it describes the body of a man whose belly suggests that he’s had a few thousand beers during grand final season. Now, he’s not “fat” by any means. In fact, his broad shoulders suggests that he balances his pizza intake with bench presses and curls. So how does this body occur and how do you undo a “dadbod?”

The dadbod first came into light because some women actually found the dadbod “look” hotter than ultra-ripped types. Many people agreed, some disagreed, and the entire fitness world went into a tizzy. Basically, it was the black-dress-blue-dress of physique preference.

But let’s say you, the once-fit-and-now-ageing fella, have found yourself with this particular body type and you want to get a bit more in shape. What do you do? Rest easy: You actually have it easier than most.

How Fitbods Turn Into Dadbods

Many who gain weight over the years blame their metabolism. With dadbods, however, metabolism usually isn’t the issue. We’ve explained before that your resting metabolism (the amount of calories that you burn just living) accounts for 70% of total calories. On top of that, 85% of this number can be explained by fat free mass, or more simply how much muscle you have.

Sure, metabolisms do decrease as people age, but only if there is an accompanied loss of muscle a condition known as sarcopenia, in which you lose muscle mass each year after the age of 50. The signature of a dadbod is that there is undoubtedly a good amount of muscle underneath the “flab”. So how do once-athletic bodies turn into dadbods?

There are three possible explanations:

  • You’re burning fewer calories. Sure, we’ve talked about the fact that exercise is probably not a great means for weight loss. However, if you were a former athlete for example (which many dadbod-wielding folks are) and keep your original caloric intake while no longer playing sports, weight will start to creep on.
  • You’re taking in more calories (due to your environment). Let’s face it. When many people get older and have more disposable income, that income gets spent on food. Social events too revolve around food, and there’s a lot more imbibing that occurs.
  • You started lifting and there’s muscle under that flub. It’s possible that someone at a higher BMI started a lifting regimen, made no change to diet, then developed more muscle. While it looks like they deteriorated into a “dadbod”, it might have actually been an upgrade over what some would call “skinny fat”.

Basically, the dadbod has nothing to do with changes in metabolism, and everything to do with changes in life as you age.

How To Reverse A Dadbod

This part is easy. Dadbods have the ultimate advantage. They are men with a good amount of muscle tone, which means that they have a higher metabolism. Out of any single persona, the dadbod is physiologically the easiest when it comes to weight loss. If you have a dadbod and feel like weight loss is difficult, try being a 160cm 80kg woman then get back to me.

Really, all dadbods have to do is use determine the number of calories they need every day to lose weight — which will still be a lot — whilst simultaneously keeping their protein high. Of course individuals may encounter particular difficulties. Perhaps mindfulness is an issue, for example, but I am being terse here for a reason. You have it easier than anyone else when it comes to losing weight.

Obese individuals, those who can’t even develop a dadbod, and pretty much all women have it dozens of times harder. Of course, perhaps you enjoy your dadbod and don’t want to change it. That’s OK too. But if you do, you are at an elite echelon of weight loss candidates, so don’t take that for granted.

This story has been updated since its original publication.

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