Dad Bod

The Author Stands Pensively on a Massive Log in the Snow | Courtesy of the B. Maschal Private Collection

If bebe Breinholt’s expected date of arrival is any sort of accurate indication, I have one month to 6ish weeks to dial in my dad bod. When I mention “dad bod,” I’m not referring to the colloquial pooch and muffin-top version (I pretty much develop that naturally over the winter [visual evidence] as soon as fall marathon season is over). The type of dad bod that I’m talking about is the one that is adept to hauling a small human throughout the five boros as well as short treks into the upstate wilderness.

This may sounds a bit silly, but I’m actually dead serious. As a dude who does basically zero upper body work, aside from the occasional Catskills crossfit session (i.e. splitting, hauling and stacking firewood and/or shoveling snow) my arms are not conditioned for extended periods of toting a tot. Lola taught me this. The girl was an avid hiker in her latter years. As her little joints aged, she would make it up the mountain just fine, but needed some help coming down. After 30 mins or so of hefting our 13lb fur baby tucked in my arm like a running back holds a football, my bicep would be burning! I would try switching arms. But for anything over 1.5 hours, I would have to take a break and secure Lola in my backpack for the rest of the way. My arms would be sore the next day.

Part of me suspects that dad’s naturally develop the right dad muscles just by doing dad stuff. But most new dads seem to be a bit (or indeed, significantly) younger than me. I was much younger when my daughter was born. But I also never really had a chance to do¬† a lot of the traditional dad stuff with her when she was a youngster despite having a very capable dad bod at the time. All of that is a story for a different day.

Acknowledging that I’m not longer a strapping lad and in order to get a head start on my dad bod, I have enlisted a personal trainer. In fact, he’s a meta-personal trainer who is already a dad. It’s me. I’m my personal trainer. My trainer has instructed me to add some upper body reps to my current cardio-heavy routine. So, for the past several days, and for the next several weeks (hopefully about six), I’ll be doing a super low tech dadbodybuilding routine. My routine is typically performed in various locations throughout the living room. It includes as many sets of 10 push ups as I can do, staggered with kettle bell curls. We only have one kettle bell and it actually belongs to B. It is shaped like a dia de las muertos skull head and because of that, is the very atypical weight of 16lbs. Historically it has almost exclusively been used as a door stop for the laundry closet. But wait, there’s more…

When I was lugging Lola down the mountain, she never had any sort of bougie carrier with a handle to grip onto. Bebe Breinholt is going to have some transportation accessories that include small diameter handles and require some forearm strength to lug around for extended periods of time. As much as I would love to tote the little dude everywhere tucked like a football, apparently that is not how people do it with traditional human infants. To prepare for this, I have been working out my forearms as well, per my trainer’s advice. I have a pair of spring loaded hand grip strengtheners in my desk at work that may date back to my law firm days (when I still occasionally did some rock climbing). For my in-office days, I go to town on those things every time that I’m on a long call. I’ll admit that it messes up my ability to type correctly for a few minutes after each set. But I’m sure it will pay dividends in the long run.

Lastly, my trainer has suggested to get as much rest as possible. So I have been trying to fill up the sleep canteen. Apparently newborns require certain items during the hours when adult humans are generally experiencing REM. Science would probably tell us that this is not really how it works (pre-charging the sleep batteries weeks in advance), but I’m not taking any chances. I have been trying to sleep late almost every Saturday and Sunday (unless there is fresh snow that needs to be ridden, obv). And on the fresh pow days, I try to get in an afternoon nap. Anyway, wish me luck!


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