The Truth About Male Weight Gain and the Dad Bod

man sitting on bench

Males and females experience weight gain differently. That’s why boys can eat a ton and still maintain a lean figure. On the other hand, for many girls, finishing a pint of ice cream means gaining an additional layer of fat the next day.

Though everyone’s body type is different, regardless of sex, the genetic makeup of males allows them to gain weight slower. So generally speaking, men have lower levels of body fat than women. They also store fat in places women usually don’t. That would the belly, hence the dad bod.

And because males and females gain weight at different rates, they also lose weight differently. At least, in most cases. So if your diet doesn’t seem to be working, perhaps your meal plan and fitness regimen aren’t designed for your genetic makeup.

Men’s Metabolism

First things first, let’s discuss metabolism, which is the process that converts food into energy. Many people say that if you have a fast metabolism, you’d lose weight faster, whereas if your metabolism is slow, you’d gain weight faster. Because of that, many diet pills and weight loss programs claim that they can speed up your metabolism. But that’s just a myth, because one’s metabolism is either fast or slow, and there’s no diet or weight loss program that can change that for the long term. Metabolism is more complex than the media promotes.

Certain predictors determine the speed of your metabolism, such as your sex, the amount of your lean muscle, fat tissue, age, and genetics. Since males have more muscle mass than women, they tend to have a faster metabolism. Research also shows that men use less fat for energy during low to moderate-intensity exercise.

Your metabolism also slows down as you age, which explains why men develop potbellies when they become older. That’s because men store fat in their abdomens. When you’re young, your abdominal fat won’t be noticeable, especially if you have an active lifestyle. Building up lean muscle helps burn fat faster, after all. But once you adopt a sedentary lifestyle, your muscles will soften and stop burning fat fast.

Men’s Eating Habits

fish and chips

Unlike women, most men don’t have the tendency to “stress eat”. They also prefer eating more meat-based food than dairy and sugar, which women prefer. So if you’re wondering how come you barely gain an inch in your waistline even if you eat meat servings good for two or three people, that’s just genetics at play.

But to maintain a lean physique, you can’t solely depend on meat. Genetics may give you more lean muscle, but it doesn’t mean you can keep that without some work. To avoid a potbelly, include grains, cereals, lower-fat milk, and whole fruits in your diet, too, especially in your breakfast meals.

How Men Lose Weight

Nature still seems to favor you in the weight loss department. Because you have more lean muscle mass, you have a faster metabolism, and thus, you also lose weight faster. Your fast metabolism lets you burn calories faster than women do.

But once the dad bod finds you, losing weight may be more challenging. Core exercises require a lot of strength, so you should try to maintain your lean abdominal muscle too to be able to hold a one-minute plank. Certain lifestyle changes will also help you stay fit.

Lift weights to keep building up your muscle. Don’t just do cardio, because cardio actually burns more calories than fats, and weight loss happens when you burn fewer calories than you consume. So combine strength training, cardio, and bodyweight exercises to get your lean physique back.

Luckily, once you begin exercising and having a more active lifestyle, your belly fat will trim down immediately. Just stay consistent in your fitness routine, but allow yourself a cheat meal once in a while. Incorporating cheat days in your lifestyle can help you stay motivated to be healthy. Plus, a diet with a cheat meal allows you to create a nutritional strategy that’ll prevent you from unconsciously developing a dad bod.

Consider seeing experienced dietitians and nutritionists as well. At the end of the day, your body is unique, so a diet that works on another male might not work on you. Also, even if men naturally have faster metabolisms, certain factors can disrupt its speed, such as hormonal imbalances. So if your body seems to resist all your efforts to stay fit, it’s best to see a professional.

Remember as well that your weight doesn’t automatically determine your health. You can have a pudgy stomach as still be as healthy as a man with a six-pack. As long as you’re eating right and getting physical activity, you’re most likely in good shape, lean or chubby.

Scroll to Top