A clutch of pints clinked in the air as a guy at the end of the bar made a loud toast: “Here’s to Dad Bod!” More beers—and many rounds of nachos and chicken wings—followed.
At first, the viral sensation of “Dad Bod” looks like the best thing to happen to men since the launch of ESPN. Six-pack abs and rapid weight loss. are out—six packs and ribs are in! Goodbye, Hugh Jackman, hello Jack Black!
But what at first looks like a Get Out of Jail Free card is, in reality, a trap. While we love that men are feeling good about their bodies, abdominal fat isn’t just something you hang over the top of your swimsuit and store belly lint in. Belly fat is a hormonally active fat that invades your internal organs and substantially increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And the more visceral fat you have, the more likely it’s sabotaging your muscles as well. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that the hormonally active molecules released from visceral fat actually degrade muscle quality—which, again, leads to more fat.
So, while everyone else is enjoying this fat fest, you should use this time to make sure your body is never described as a Dad Bod. Here are 6 ways to rock a Mad Bod—and flatten your belly for good. And to get your stomach supertight, don’t miss these 30 Foods That Melt Love Handles!
Exercise in Intervals
You see plenty of Dad Bods hitting the weight room or slogging along on the jogging track, and it makes it seem as though the Seth Rogan look is inevitable. That’s because neither weights nor cardio can completely move the needle on their own. Interval training is the best way to shed pounds, increase your metabolism, improve your cholesterol profile, and improve insulin sensitivity. At the gym, sign up for a HIIT class, or turn your favorite aerobic exercise, (running, biking, even walking) into an interval workout by adding periods of intense speed (start with 30 to 60 seconds) followed by periods of rest (normal speed) for the same amount of time. Do this six to 10 times to complete a fat-slashing workout. As you get better, slowly increase the amount of time of increased intensity. (And pair the workouts with these essential protein shake recipes.)
Eat Protein for Breakfast
Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and keeps your energy high all day. And the heartier your first meal is, the better. In one study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over four years. Those who ate zero to 11 percent of their calories in the morning gained nearly three times as much. Your best choice: Eggs. High in metabolism-boosting protein, they’re also the best dietary source of choline, a B vitamin that helps prevent the accumulation of belly fat. Eggs are a key part of Zero Belly Diet and the new Zero Belly Cookbook. Test panelists lost up to 16 pounds in 14 days!
Order the Chili
Chili is the ultimate Dad Bod Buster thanks to its mix of vitamins, minerals, protein and, especially, its beans. Think of every bean as a little weight-loss pill. One study found that people who ate ¾ cup of beans daily weighed 6.6 pounds less than those who didn’t even though the bean eaters consumed, on average, 199 calories more per day. The magic is in the perfect combination of protein and fiber: studies show that those who eat the most fiber gain the least weight over time, and that eating fiber can rev your fat burn by as much as 30 percent. Aim for about 25 g a day—the amount in about three servings each of fruits and vegetables. And blast even more fat with these 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast!
Know What’s Sup
If there’s one supplement most Americans should be taking, it’s vitamin D. It’s essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue, but researchers estimate that a measly 20 percent of Americans take in enough through their diet. While you can nail 90 percent of your recommended daily value (400 IU) in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon, a daily supplement makes a lot of sense. Other good dietary sources: tuna, fortified milk and cereal, and eggs. And if you’re really looking to turn that no-pack into a woah-pack, avoid these these 22 Worst Carbs in America!
Double Your Drinks
Another word for Dad Bod: Metabolic syndrome, a dangerous slowing of the metabolism that results in wasting muscle and a bulging belly. But the answer to rebooting your burn may be, literally, on tap. All of your body’s chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. Researchers at the University of Utah monitored the metabolic rates of 10 adults as they drank varying amounts of water per day. In the study, those who drank either eight or twelve 8-ounce glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than those who had four. The scientists reported that you may burn 2 percent fewer calories if you’re dehydrated. That may not sound like a lot, but a moderately active man will burn between 1700 and 2000 calories a day. A 2 percent drop means—which means between 34 and 50 calories a day, which means somewhere between 3.5 and 5 pounds per year.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Drink green tea, as part of the 17-Day Green Tea Diet. Its metabolism-boosting compounds, called catechins, increase metabolism and speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. Blast fat in record time on Eat This, Not That!’s brand-new THE 17-DAY GREEN TEA DIET! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds!
Say Goodnight to Colbert
It’s been a good run with Dave, but now it’s time to start getting to bed earlier. A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and discovered that in each set of siblings, the twin who slept less had more visceral fat. If you do nothing else differently, just getting an extra half hour of shuteye will make all the difference. Now that you know what to eat, keep the fat burn going with these essential 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!