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New Dads Put on Pounds

Many women gain more weight during pregnancy than is recommended. And female-oriented postnatal fitness programs are big business, partly
NDS for that reason. But perhaps there’s a different postnatal market that could use help: first-time dads. A new report published in the American
Journal of Men’s Health
(2015; doi: 10.1177/1557988315596224) has found that new dads also put on some “baby weight.”

Researchers tracked BMI data for 10,253 males from 1994 to 2014 as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (participants were aged 12–21 at the start and 24–35 by the end). The scientists wanted to know of any weight changes that occurred when a first child was born. They learned that BMI increased in new fathers even
if they didn’t live with the child, whereas nonfathers saw a decrease in BMI across the length of the study.

Are you working with men who are expecting or have recently welcomed their first child? Adam Wright, personal trainer and owner of Wright Way Fitness in Irvine, California, and recently a first-time father, offers his tips for warding off postpregnancy weight gain.

  • Work out, even if you have had only 3 hours of sleep. “After Harper was born, my wife and I would take 3-hour shifts caring for her,” says Wright. “When it was my turn, I would still hit the gym, but with a much lighter and less intense workout—not to set records, but to keep my sanity.”
  • Set goals. “I wrote physical goals down prior to Harper’s birth. Those goals kept me accountable after she was born.”
  • Destress. “Find time in the morning to be alone, because you need to think and reflect on how your life has changed.”
  • Get a buddy. “After you have a child, your schedule can become more rigid (feeding, changing, playing, etc.). If you have a lifting buddy, utilize him! I lift with a coworker or friend at least two to three times a week.”
  • Work out for 30 minutes. “Sometimes, between finishing a client consultation and feeding my daughter at the gym before bringing her home for the bedtime routine, I had to quickly [fit in some exercise]. It usually involved Olympic lifts, sprints, push-ups and pull-ups done quickly.”

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