With just a few short months until the warm weather, this is how you can make real world fat burning results that’ll see you reclaim your youth and making an epic dad bod transformation to dad god. Kevin Kearns is a nutrition consultant, author of Always Picked Last and a top strength and conditioning coaches in the world of MMA.


Just because you rocked a classic beach-bod in your 20s and 30s does not mean you still can’t have one when you are a dad. Who am I to say that? I’ll tell you who: I’m a 51-year-old father of two who works his butt off just like you, though I’ll admit that I’m a little ahead of the curve because I’ve been an strength and conditioning coach for 25 years and have been working out for 37 years. That said, it still takes work at 50 to be 170lbs and 9% body fat, but it is completely worth it.

In general, most guys have little to no trouble staying in relatively good physical condition in their 20s and 30s. There was the time, space and energy to work out as long as you needed to. Then something interesting happens: life! It gets in the way when you achieve the big job, marry, have kids and get the house you always wanted.

Suddenly, the gym plays second fiddle to work meetings, kids’ activities and mortgage payments. Next thing you know, you’re 50 years old and your 30-inch waist and 46-inch chest has reversed.


Why things get harder as you age

The good news is that it’s not all your fault, though you may have to own some of it like the pizza and beers. From an exercise science prospective here are the two snippets of bad news…


older man in the gym performing a lateral raise


1) After the age of 35 you gain a pound of fat and lose a half a pound of muscle each year if you do no exercise.

2) As you get older, you either have decrease calories and maintain activity or increase activity and maintain calories

Now, before you reach for that beer and the quart of ice cream, there is good news. There is a way to slow the process down. That’s why you’re reading this, because exercise is the way.


STEP 1: Embrace commitment and consistency

These are the biggest killers for all exercise routines. When it’s a routine, it’s consistent, hence the commitment. Sure, you’re busy but we all are. What helps is if you make an appointment with yourself in your calendar. You are your most important client.


STEP 2: Maximize time management

You are in the gym to train, so train. If you want to sink a pint, do it with lads on Friday night; do not spitball in the gym on Saturday morning when you told the wife you be back in 90 minutes.


STEP 3: Use compound functional movement

That phrase means you activate as many joints and muscles as possible while you are in the gym. Use this example of weighing up bicep curls against dumbbell uppercuts. Both work the biceps great. But what if I told you that you could get those ‘sun-guns’ while working your core at the same time?

That’s what moves like upper cuts do for you over and above isolation moves like the bicep curls. It’s because you’re working in multi-planar and multi-directional movements.

This is one of the big keys to learning and burning. Most movements you learned in the gym were and are in the sagittal plane of motion (forwards). That burns fewer calories and activates fewer muscle groups. We move in 3D! We move in the frontal (laterally) and transverse (rotational) planes of motion every day. If you want to burn more calories, maximize your time and recruit more muscles.


STEP 4: Be effective, efficient and safe

Whether you are 20, 40 or above, you need to start thinking in these terms. This will keep your longevity in the gym high and reduce your chances of injuries dramatically.

Let’s face facts: the older we get, the more our joints, ligaments and bones get brittle and our synovial fluid dries up. The wear and tear on our bodies starts to rear its ugly head from a lifetime of training. The more effective, efficient and safer you can train today, they better off you will be years from now.

I’m not saying to not go for the max squat or run a Spartan race. What I’m saying is you should listen to your body and try some different twists on your current exercises. I like box jumps, too, but how about trying them on a mini trampoline so it’s less punishing on your knees? While flat benching is great, try a few warm up sets using dumbbells on a stability ball. This way you work your core, lower back and chest.

Also, try some new training methods that you thought weren’t as cool. Yep, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, ballroom dancing and the like. You be surprised the benefit you gain from new a new activity. Not to mention your wife or girlfriend will love the fact you want to try yoga or dance.


two older gentlemen in the gym


Make time, not excuses to work out

When: Monday and Friday

This will be a rotating circuit. The trick with this is that when one muscle group is resting, the other is working. Total time in the gym should be 45 to 60 minutes or less. Your reps and sets goals are the following: Set 1: 20 reps, Set 2: 12-15 reps, Set 3: 8 – 12 reps. Keep moving your body, not your mouth.


Compound lift

Set 1 and 2: Single leg deadlift with kettlebell.

Set 3: Straight barbell deadlifts.


Push motion

Set 1 and 2: Dumbbell chest press on stability ball.

Set 3: Straight bar flat bench press.


Pulling motion

Set 1 and 2: Suspension (TRX) trainer rows.

Set 3: Pull-up bar.


Core rotational motion

Set 1 and 2: Standing Russian twists with a medicine ball.

Set 3: Standing Russian twists with a 25lb weight plate.


Compound lift

Set 1 and 2: Standing dumbbell push press.

Set 3: Straight bar push press.


Bi motor lift

Set 1 and 2: Standing on one leg biceps curl to shoulder press, alternating.

Set 3: Standing bicep curl to shoulder press.


Core functional lift

Set 1 and 2: Medicine ball wood chops.

Set 3: Heavy medicine ball slams.


Core rotational

Set 1 – 3: Dumbbell uppercuts.


Deloading days

When: Tuesday and Thursday

After a heavy strength day you should look towards using resistance bands and bodyweight moves to unload the stress on your muscles. Do the following in a circuit fashion, stopping to do 20-30 reps over the course of 1-3 sets.


Bodyweight squats
Bodyweight lunges
Chest press bands
Band rows thumbs up
Chest flyes bands
Band pullaparts
Body weight rotational push-ups
Band twists
Band upper cuts
Band smacks downs
Bench dips
Ab bicycles


Explosive power day

When: Wednesday

To keep your body guessing and add some much needed explosive power in, we are going to do a circuit style plyometrics. For the following workout you’ll need a medicine ball, fitness trampoline and/or a Bosu ball. Complete 1-3 sets for 20 to 30 seconds each.


Box jumps on Fitness trampoline or Bosu
Lateral bound with bodyweight
Explosive push-ups on trampoline or sprawls with Bosu
Overhead medicine ball slams on wall
Rotational medicine ball toss
Chest pass with medicine ball
Overhead medicine ball back toss
Fast alternating step-ups with Bosu
Explosive chin-ups on low bar or suspension trainer


Color outside the lines

When: Saturday

Try something new. For me, it was starting yoga eight years ago and I have not looked back. Try hiking, Pilates, kickboxing, Tai Chi, dance, swim and or anything! Do something you have not normally done. You will be surprised how sore you may be the next day and, fortunately, Sunday is rest day.