No More Excuses: The Return of the Dad Bod

by Michael

I have to face facts: I’ve run out of excuses and I’ve let the ole dad bod start creeping back in on me.

Excuse 1: My back.

This all started right at about a year ago when my back finally caught up with me.  I backed off from hitting the gym like I had been and took a few weeks off to rest it and start physical therapy.  After those few weeks, I slowly started hitting the weights again.  I had missed lifting, but rather than going 4-6 days a week, I was going 2-3.  It crept back up to 3-4 days a week for a few weeks after the holidays, but I was a steady 3 times a week hitting the gym coming into February.  Then everything with COVID started, and because my gym was associated with the local hospital, it was closed to nonpatients in the first few days of March.

Excuse 2: COVID 19

By mid-March, I like many others, started working from home.  I went from a job where I was out on the road going to a different location nearly every day, traveling 3,500-5,000 miles a month, to sitting at home, giving technical support remotely, unable to visit the offices I support.  With my job keeping me grounded, and no gym to go work out in, I suddenly found myself barely leaving the house except on the kids’ weekends.  I went from averaging +4,000 miles in a month on the road, to traveling just over 2,000 in total from the beginning of March to the end of June.  I fully admit to getting a little down.  Unmotivated.  If it wasn’t for my wife, I’m not sure how low I would have gotten mentally, but I still got down that rabbit hole a little way. It sucked. I went from planning to do daily workouts at home to being completely unmotivated and the only exercise I was really getting was push mowing my yard once a week.  What tone I had started to fade.  Clothes started fitting just a little bit different as I slowly gained a pound here and there. Despite my claims of effort, my discipline had walked out the door big time, and that gradual climb was there, and the weight gain with the lack of physical activity wasn’t helping my fragile back.

Excuse 3: The best excuse (but still an excuse)

Eventually, around mid-June, I started getting my head on straight.  I can’t say if it was from fear that I was going to let myself get to where I once was, or boredom from the monotony of every day essentially being a carbon copy of the day before, for the twinges I’d get in my back once in while, or all of the above.  Regardless of the cause, I finally made a decision: I was done just sitting around and I was going to get myself back into shape. I was going to be smart about it, and start with strengthening my back and core. I was going to start doing Yoga at home before my wife got home from work.

That’s where DDP Yoga came in.  I started with the original YRG DVDs and started feeling better within 3-4 workouts.  My back was slowly feeling better and better, and I was starting to feel that rush of working out again.  Then, we found out my wife was pregnant, and things started shifting yet again.  Not only diet because I found myself eating with my wife and putting on a few sympathy pounds, but my mental focus.  Things slipped a little, away from self-improvement and onto things in our near future. Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, but I can admit it happened. It was maybe a half step backward after I had finally made a tiny stride forward.

Finally Making Progress

Shortly after our realization, we were going to be having a baby, our family took a small road trip for a week, where my back made me near miserable the entire time.  I made myself a vow that once we got home, I was getting back on the workout horse and getting myself into better condition.  Not only for myself, but for my family, and the fact I was going to have a new baby.  I couldn’t let myself be overweight and out of shape.  I wasn’t going to let it be that way.

Once we returned home, I made good on my promise.  I started hitting DDP Yoga daily, sometimes multiple times a day for at least 6 days a week if not all 7.  I started getting that rush again, that rush of working out, that satisfying feeling. I also found the return of another old friend: that guilt if I happened to go a day without working out. I didn’t consider it a bad thing, it was a good thing. I started to see real progress.  I was getting in better shape. I was getting more flexible than I had ever been, even back when I was playing sports in high school.  I was finding ways to surprise myself with what I was starting to do, and I was starting to trim back some of the COVID weight I had gained over the spring.  I was getting there.

Restrictions started lifting and I was able to travel for work again, so I started hitting the road.  I grabbed myself a set of DDP Yoga 2.0 DVDs and hit it hard nearly every day once I got home from work.  The workouts were flat out whipping my ass, and I was loving it.  Between being back out on the road traveling and getting some workout time in, I was finding my balance again, even without a gym, and with our little guy on the way, things were good.

Excuse 4: The House

With our new guy on his way, we knew we were going to have to find a new place to live.  Our current home wasn’t going to be big enough with our new addition.  A few months ago, while looking for a new place and failing, my wife and I were approached with a house that fit our needs. The caveat with this house was it needed some pretty solid cleanup and renovation if we were going to move in.  We were going to be trading in a spacious kitchen and dining area for a small, nearly galley sized kitchen and small dining area for a 4th bedroom and a large finished basement.  We set a goal to be moved out of our current house and into this new house by the end of November.  Not only because of wanting to be settled in for Christmas and before the risk of winter weather but also because we assumed that was about as late as we could get with my wife being able to help with the move and/or packing at all.

So here I find myself with a house that needs to be completely repainted, a kitchen that needed updating, floors that needed repairing, sinks and plumbing that needed to be replaced, carpet that needed to be pulled and replaced, and a ridiculous number of small random things that needed to be done, all before we could start moving furniture. The window of time wasn’t huge, so I started putting the work in nearly every evening once I got home from work.  Then around this same time, I started getting some freelance graphic work for a wedding magazine, and it was welcomed income as I could just turn and put that money into the new house, so I had to take advantage of it. My days were now full: day job during the day, working on the house in the evenings, freelance graphic work at night.  At this point, working out just went out the window as I felt like I couldn’t even spare the hour.  I was getting home at 4-5 in the afternoon, turning around and going to the new house and working anywhere from 8-10, coming home and working on graphic work until 1-2 in the morning, waking up the next morning and doing it all again.  I was definitely feeling like I was burning the candle at both ends.  I was exhausted and found myself just not caring about diet or discipline.  I was eating dinner anywhere from 8-11 at night.  Still snacking on popcorn or something else at midnight while I worked. While in the midst of it all, I never questioned the necessity of it.  I wanted to get us out of the current house and settled into the new one in time to decorate for Christmas after Thanksgiving so my kids could have a bit of Christmas spirit when they were with us on their weekends. Any time I considered taking the time to do a quick workout, I felt guilty because I was taking time away from something I could be working on, delaying that, and delaying my chance to spend, even just a few minutes, visiting with my bride that evening.

End of the line for excuses

We’re now approaching the end of the month.  The freelance graphic work has dried up for now, and the carpet and plumbing will be finished by Thanksgiving.  We may be missing my mark just a tiny bit, but within the next 2 weeks, we’ll be spending our first night in the new place. You can probably guess what toll all this has taken though; (hint: it’s in the title of the post) my weight and waistline have crept up just a little bit more than I would like and comfortable with.  I’m starting to deal with constant heartburn and tinges in my back, hips, and abdomen related to what I’m guessing is a combo of my back, my weight gain, and the tightening of muscles and ligaments that I had started to gain flexibility in. I’ve just about let myself get into the worst shape I’ve been in since I dropped all my original weight 5-6 years ago.  I’m not very happy with that, or myself.  It’s gotten to a point where I’m embarrassed I’ve let myself get to this point, a point I told myself I never would be at again.

No More Excuses: A new regimen

After Thanksgiving and we’re moved (ok, maybe one last tiny excuse), I’m hitting my regime again.  I’ve tried a few times recently, but the lack of doing any DDP Yoga in the last 6-7 weeks is really apparent.  I can’t do what I was doing before, I’m essentially going to have to start over again.  So I’m essentially back to ground zero, where I was five or so years ago.  I’m going to get my bloodwork done because I’m fairly confident a few of my levels are back to where they are or close to it. I’m hoping I don’t need to be put on any temporary medications, but I’m not ruling that out. As luck would have it, a new 24/7 gym is opening up the week after Thanksgiving, just down from where we are moving.  So you can probably guess: Michael is going to be hitting that place up soon!!  I don’t plan on just hitting the weights and cardio machines though; I plan on keeping some yoga incorporated into my regimen. I truly could tell a difference and well, I was finding benefits in my newfound flexibility we shall say. Plus, I have that finished downstairs now with tons a room, I’m taking advantage of that!

So it sucks.  I’ve let myself slip back to a spot I told myself I never would again.  I’m mentally fighting hard against those dark shadows creeping in and being really down and fed up with it all.  I’m mad at myself because I know what I need and I know how to be disciplined, it’s just not been there in the last year. I have four months until my little guy is here.  I may not be in the best shape of my life when I cross that 40 threshold next month as I had wanted a year and a half ago, but by the time our son makes his grand appearance, I’m going to be in substantially better shape, mentally and physically than I am at this moment.  I’ll continue to improve and do my best to minimize any more regressions because even being in my 40s with a bad back, I plan on being that Dad that’s in the floor wrestling and is there for his son.

I’ve been using excuses this entire year.  The time for excuses is over.  It’s now time to step up and shut up, and get this dad bod back into shape and knowing who is boss.

Watch me go!  Going to turn the below then and now, on its head.


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