According to recent studies,


Men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index, according to a new, large-scale study that tracked more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period.

The findings by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine were published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

According to Craig Garfield, a Northwestern associate professor, fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage.

The study shows that first-time resident dads experienced an average 2.6 percent increase in their BMIs over the study period. Non-resident dads experienced 2 percent increase. That translates to a 2kg weight gain for a 6-foot-tall dad who lives with his child and a 1.5kg weight gain for a non-resident dad.

Given the fact that this is referring to BMI, we could safely say that the increase in body fat percentage is higher than the weight increase states as the gains are most probably due to lack of physical exertion, leading to a decrease in lean muscle mass/density. It may not seem like much, but this is an average over 10,000 individuals which means for a few of us, its a hell of a lot more.

What should scare you most is that your weight can also influence your children’s health outcomes. Thats right.. Lazy lethargic unmotivated dad is more likely to equal lazy lethargic unmotivated children.

Garfield also says, new parents have new responsibilities. When you have your kids, you may not have time to take care of yourself the way you once did in terms of exercise. Your family becomes the priority.

Here’s my take on Garfield’s findings. His observation on exercise priority may well be right, but moving exercise down the list of priorities, is not.

If your family becomes the priority, logic would state that getting off your arse, and attaining the best condition of your life, mentally and physically, IS making your family the number one priority. 

Parenting is like a life long endurance event. If your fit for it, you’ll cruise on through the finish line in your later years unscathed. If your not.. You’ll cross the line in pieces that are too broken to put back together.


For those dads that have hung up their boots or are planning to..

You did not go through 9 months of hormonal and physical changes, Sacrificing your body’s structural integrity for another soul.

You definitely did not push an object the size of bowling ball through an orifice over a 10-20hr+ period, or have a surgeon cut through layers of skin, fascia muscle and womb to have a  baby wrenched out the side of your torso, so you sure don’t need the extra energy and rest to heal any physical damage inflicted on your body from the trials of labor.

You are not breastfeeding. You have no need to store fat for two.

To sum it up, you have not earned the right to gain a surplus of  body fat and “nest”.

On the contrary, you, the father or secondary carer, need to be on point. Fitter than you have ever been to cover your fair share of night shifts, baby changes, cooking, excess washing, burping, doctor’s appointments and overtime.

The last thing a woman or primary carer needs after giving birth is a fully grown adult not pulling his or her weight around the home. Becoming a sedentary sloth is the best way to make yourself useless at the time you’re needed most.

So we know it happens.Why does it happen and how do we go about preventing it from happening or undoing it?

Below is a list of some of the pitfalls and solutions that, once implemented, allowed me to keep making training gains AND ramp up my daddy duty productivity during my children’s first years on this planet. I will continue to use them for the rest of my life..  



Lack of sleep means lack of recovery time. You can’t make gains without sleep.

Set an evening alarm so you hit the sack early. Wind down with a book instead of tv or ipad. You need all the sleep you can get. 

If you’ve got a nocturnal critter that parties at night, try doing shifts rather than the two of you burning your selves out together. Its an easier way to spread the load and allows your body time to heal from your training sessions on the nights you have off.


Nothing sucks up more time than kids. NOTHING. What used to be a quick trip to the corner shop, is now more similar to prepping for a one day hike.

Get organized. Goal set and plan out your week. Every minute counts. If you waste time fart arsing around on menial tasks, something important like your training will suffer immensely.


Kids equal stress. It doesn’t matter what age. Stress leads to all things bad when it comes to making gains. How much of that stress  you choose to take on, is up to you. Break this approach up into two steps.

– Mitigate excess stress. Anything in life that’s increasing stress levels, either get rid of it, him, her or fix it so it’s no longer a stress factor.

-Practice gratitude.

Become an early bird and allow yourself time in the morning before everyone gets up. This gives you time to have a quick COLD shower, give the house a clean, giving your loved ones a happy start to the day, prep your food for the day, have some quiet time to express gratitude for all you have and focus on your goals. Write them down. This couples well with an early night.  

What you do first thing in the morning will set your mindset for the day. No matter how tired you are, this approach is much easier on the system than sleeping an extra 45 minutes and sprinting out the door with no breakfast feeling sorry for yourself.

Its easy for men to manifest a bunch of scenarios that lead to financial RUIN. In reality, newborns take up very little of your budget.

Don’t get sucked into the baby consumer market. Speak to someone with LOTS of kids. They will tell you exactly what you need. Remind yourself that you live in one of the richest continents in the world. We have an amazing support network and as long as you and your family have food shelter and health, your winning.


With all your new responsibilities, food starts to take a back seat. You need nutrient rich foods to continue making gains.  The below approach has served to allow me to continue making gains, spend quality time with my family and now that my children are a little older, educate them on healthy eating.

Use your Sunday afternoon to food prep. Me and my wife usually do a big pot of healthy food, using up the remainder of the veg in the fridge that can be consumed throughout the week. We then cook a separate dinner that night. Something quick and easy like fish and salad.

This gives you a couple of nights up your sleeve during the week where you won’t need to Take Away/drive thru,  through necessity. If you pack enough into it,  You can get through half a week and if you freeze smaller containers, you’ll have lunch for a month.. Not having to cook every night takes a huge weight off the shoulders and carries over to mitigating stress. It is also the key to getting lean.

Many of us think we understand nutrition. If you are carrying excess body fat, the chances are, you are nutrition illiterate. Believe it or not, you can eat your way through delicious food to attain a lean physique.

If you lack the knowledge and are not sure how to eat to make training gains, reach out and contact us. We run an on-line nutrition program.



Most of us spend way more time in the gym than necessary. The less structure you have, the more time you waste. The less time you have, the more structure you need.

Work through the list below to get yourself on the right track.

-Set your goals. Be realistic. Remember, its for life. Don’t get dragged into some 8 weeks to abs bullshit. Training is a lifestyle and should be ingrained into your daily routine.

Change your attitude toward goal setting. Get off the road to glory and jump on the road to vitality. Instead of counting how much weight gets thrown on the bar or how fast your times are, look into goal setting perfect technique, increasing mobility, feeling more energised, being pain free or increasing movement complexity. That body of yours needs to last the rest of your life. Treat it as such.

If you are still stuck on the same program you were using in high school, its time to evolve.

If you’re struggling with training structure, we can help program around your new lifestyle. Contact us and enquire about our distance programming or come in for a consult.


-Set your training times and stick to them. Even if its only half an hour a day, set them. Training in your lunch break or in the morning are great options for people short on time. My sister and brother in law have three children all under five years of age.They attend every 6am class in shifts at Jungle Brothers Strength and Movement. It can be done.

-Deal with the niggles. You need to stay pain free. Once you get injured as a parent, everything stacks up against you when it comes to rehabilitation. With access to all the quality information out there,  if you get injured due to poor technique, you deserve it. 

Putting the work into fixing that dicky knee or working on getting that shoulder back to its natural range of motion should be at the top of the priority list.

If you don’t know how to go about it, drop us a line. At jungle brothers strength and movement, we specialise in making bodies bullet proof.


-Stay consistent. Do not give yourself the opportunity to take the day off. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, get in there and do something. Even if its a half hour of low impact mobility work. You will never regret training. You will always regret skipping training.

-Do not lose sight of the big picture. Know that you’re doing this not just for yourself, but for your loved ones. Train for them. Heres some motivation I draw upon now and over the years to come:

-I want to pick my kids up and throw them in the air! Even when they hit their teens.

-I want to chase my kids round the playground.

-I want to be able to carry all the HEAVY shit around the house for my family.

-I want to kick my kids arses in a running race.. Always.

-I want to hike, rock climb and mountain bike with my kids.

-I want to dance with my daughter at her wedding.

-I want to lift with my kids in my gym when they are well into adulthood.

-I want to do all of the above with my grandchildren.

Being a first time dad or even a seasoned parent, you cannot afford to become less capable. You need to step up to the challenge of fatherhood, do your share and help the primary carer who, in reality, has the hardest job on the planet.

The best way to do this is to become the most physically capable you have ever been.

It took a couple of years of trial and error to come up with what I feel is a sustainable approach to making training gains throughout parenthood and because of it, I reap the benefits every day. I am moving into my 40’s and I am physically and in turn, mentally the most balanced I have ever been. It feels amazing and it has saved my marriage. 

So what are you waiting for.


Teora Ward


Director/Head coach


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  • August 23, 2016
  • Blog

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