Longtime fitness writer and frequent Muscle & Performance contributor Jon Finkel became a new father a year and a half ago, which presented him a challenge that parents have been facing for ages: staying in shape when your life suddenly revolves around an infant. In response to this challenge, Finkel (1) became very resourceful in squeezing workouts into his already busy schedule and (2) wrote about this impressive resourcefulness in his new e-book The Dadvantage: Stay in Shape With No Sleep, No Time and No Equipment. We recently caught up with Finkel to talk about his new book.
What inspired you to write this e-book? Was it that you were starting to get out of shape or were you seeing other new dads letting themselves go?
It was definitely a combination of both. I’ve spent my career writing for magazines like Muscle & Performance, and part of that is living an active, fit lifestyle. I don’t think I was prepared for the drop-off in free time and workout time that came with having a baby (naive, I know). For me, I planned on taking a week off of exercise to get used to being a dad, but between being up all night, eating whatever food was easiest and feeling like a zombie during the day, one week quickly became one month.
The interesting premise of this book is that you’re showing dads how to get workouts in without going to the gym. How does that work exactly?
No. 1, time is the one thing new dads who work simply don’t have. That’s why the book is short and meant to be read in one or two sittings. No. 2, blocking off even a half-hour a day for exercise just isn’t feasible for most new fathers — there always seems to be something that comes up to sabotage you. Knowing that, I took a long, hard look at my day-to-day schedule and the schedules of a few of my buddies with young kids and I found dozens of wasted minutes throughout the day. It’s during those minutes that you can start burning calories or building muscle. You add up the push-ups, bodyweight squats, car-seat curls, burp lunges (you’ll learn about the last two in the book) and all the other stuff I came up with as one-minute exercises that you can do and it’s totally possible to get in a good 15- to 20-minute workout that fits seamlessly into your schedule.
What diet guidelines are you recommending for new dads?
When guys are tired, stressed or feeling rushed, the first thing that suffers is their diet. It’s just so easy to eat garbage. Plus, garbage food is comforting and tastes good. Stuff like burgers, pizza, soda. It’s quick, easy and it fills us up. And it’s addicting. I recommend guys keep their diet very simple during this time. Drink only water (or unsweetened tea). No white carbs. Only have dessert on the weekends. Keep easy, healthy snacks like green apples on hand. If you’re dying for something sweet, a squirt or two of organic honey in your mouth should do the trick. And no fried foods.
The Dadvantage: Stay in Shape With No Sleep, No Time and No Equipment is available for only $2.99 on amazon.com. For more information, visit jonfinkel.com or follow him on Twitter: @3dollarscholar. For a female slant on exercising post-baby, see “For Women,”