Out of all the amazing things about "Avengers: Endgame," Chris Hemsworth's big belly got a lot of attention. It was obviously intended to be comical, so you probably laughed out loud when you first saw it on screen. But what's particularly noteworthy was that even when Thor began battling it out, it doesn't seem like his body ever got back the chiselled abs. Suddenly, the 'God of Thunder'—who was once everyone's fitness goal—no longer had the quintessential "leading man" figure. He had a dad bod.
The new #FITNESSGOALS
For years now, pop culture has embraced the "dad bod" and made it a new standard of desirability for male bodies. It's a new type of fitness goal: one that encourages you to embrace your body despite the lack of a six-pack or a v-cut. So what if you haven't had a single ab appear after working out? Society is telling you that it doesn't matter all that much anymore. For many, you're still sexy AF and your big beer belly is attractive.
It is important to note, however, that a dad bod doesn't necessarily mean you’re not working out. According to Clemson student Mackenzie Pearson, whose blog post essentially started the dad bod phenomenon in the first place, the dad bod is "a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” Basically, if you have a dad bod, you're still pretty much in shape. You probably just had a few too many slices of pizza and been enjoying beer a bit too much. People won't describe you as 'fat,' per se, but rather 'chubby.'
Some women like the extra padding
If someone tells you that you have a dad bod, don't take it as an insult. Especially when it comes from a woman. Chances are she's actually complimenting you. Heck, she might even be flirting with you! Since the 'dad bod' phenomenon took off a couple of years ago, more and more women have come out of the woodwork to admit that they're attracted to the body type.
Planet Fitness recently did a survey that showed 7 out of 10 women preferred the dad bod to that of your typical ripped body. When they asked for their reasons, 78% of them thought that men with dad bods exhibited more confidence. 83% of the mothers who were surveyed noted that they'd be proud if their husbands had dad bods. And a whopping 47% of all the women polled referred to the dad bod as the 'new six-pack.'
More than that, Pearson's blog also broke down why girls like dad bods. She highlighted that women are less intimidated by a dad bod than a swole body. "We don't want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is." she wrote. She also admitted that cuddling a dad bod is a lot better than cuddling hard muscles.
Dad bod vs "Zaddy"
Though with every new phenomenon, expect to see some backlash as well. Many fitness gurus and publications have spoken out against the popularity of the dad bod. They claim that this new “pop culture craze” encourages laziness among men, which in turn, might inevitably lead to health problems such as obesity and even the risk of diabetes. Some have even pushed back on the idea that women actually like 'dad bods' better. Relationship expert Ryan Anderson argued that a muscly body is still the most desired body-type among women today. He even cited a 2007 UCLA study that concluded that muscular men tend to have more partners than men who have dad bods.
And if that's not enough, show biz is redefining the look of a dad all together. You've probably noticed that a lot of TV dads nowadays are looking more fit than ever before. Gone are the days of Alf Stewart ("Home and Away"), Jim Knight ("Doctor Doctor") and John Taylor ("Always Greener"). These days, the fathers you'll see on the small screen are far from what your dad looked like growing up. Unless your dad was a gym buff like so many of the actors playing fathers these days are, especially in Hollywood.
In a recent GQ article, they emphasized how Hollywood is "killing the dad bod" with ripped actors playing fathers in today's hit shows. The likes of Milo Ventimiglia ("This Is Us") and Mark Consuelos ("Riverdale') are just some pushing the new "Zaddy" phenomenon, wherein they insist that even dads can look ripped as hell too. Here in Australia, Chris Hemsworth (who just wore a fatsuit on "Endgame") has garnered a lot of affection for his social media posts showing him playing with his kids and being a good father. All the while showing off his famous "god-like" muscular figure.
Ultimately, it's up to you which fitness goal you want to strive for. At the end of the day, it's not the way your body looks that's the most important, it's your health. Some prefer to take it easy with a dad bod, while others work out more to sculpt their bodies for a ripped physique. Everyone has their own different preferences—even the women who'll find you sexy. As long as you're comfortable with yourself, you'll look your best!