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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

'I went from dad bod to six-pack in eight months because of a promise I made myself as a child'

‘For those interested in getting in shape and losing weight, I suggest figuring out why you want to do it’, writes Kevin O’Connor.

IN THE LATE 1980s, a fitness magazine in a newsagent caught my eye. The headline read “Even at 39 you can still get a six-pack”.

I was 11 or 12 at the time and as each birthday came around I was reminded of that headline and I made a promise to myself to have a six-pack by the time I reached 39.

When I did turn 39 last February, coupled with the birth of my daughter, I knew I wasn’t going to reach my goal of revolutionising my “dad bod” if I didn’t make some serious changes. I decided to give myself the year to get the body I wanted.

At the time I was following a basic workout plan and not watching what I was eating and I was under the illusion I’d get the body I wanted that way.

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I was under the impression that I could out-work a poor diet but I was wrong.

I didn’t really know what I was really doing regarding fitness and nutrition. Sure, I was going to the gym three times a week but my diet was never addressed properly so I committed to sorting it out.

I needed to get a grip on what I was eating and that’s when I realised I needed to track and weigh everything I was consuming. After all we have gauges on most things – speedometers on cars, petrol gauges, volume controls – all these feedback mechanisms are designed for us to make decisions, yet we have no feedback mechanism on what we eat.

I installed MyfitnessPal and bought a digital kitchen scales and began logging my meals.

‘Figure out why you want to do it’

I knew I had to get my body fat percentage down and that I’d be able to start to see my abs when I get down to around 9% body fat – but my abdominals were hiding under the 21% body fat I was carrying.

I also began new workouts from looking up the training of superheroes like Captain America and Wolverine. I tried out their workouts until I made my own by comprising bits and pieces of others.

As time went on I noticed the weight coming off more and more. Family and friends also started to notice the weight loss and were interested to know what I was doing.

I then upped my workouts from three to five times a week simply because I was enjoying it and thought I may speed up the weight loss. Eventually I got as low as 62.5 kg from a high of 95kg. I’m now at a steady 64kg (around 7% body fat).

Maintenance has been relatively easy. I still track what I eat every day and go to the gym daily, too. Basically I’m still doing what I did during the eight months it took to get where I wanted.


I now go to the gym six days a week, but that’s purely because I enjoy going and miss the workout if I can’t make it. But I only spend at most 35-45 minutes doing my workout because it’s quality over quantity.

My meals typically take me 5 – 10 minutes to make. Any longer and I won’t make it. It needs to be quick and nutritious. As a result, meal preparation isn’t really necessary as the meals are quick and easy to make.

For those interested in getting in shape and lose weight, I suggest figuring out why you want to do it. My ‘why’ was to revolutionise dad bod and keep that childhood promise.

If your why is strong enough it will get you motivated. That motivation will drive you and get you to the gym and eating well.

After a few weeks of doing it, that motivation will turn into a habit and that will keep you going to reach your goals.

I ‘ve created Kevin’s 30 Day Challenge for those who want to get some inspiration and further motivation, along with meal ideas by me and other challenge members.

 Kevin O’Connor is a father of one from Kildare who runs customer support agency.


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