It’s tragic, but men are at an increased risk of taking their shirts off during the summer. Whether it’s the pool, the beach, or losing a bet, when the shirt leaves, the insecurities arrive. But rest assured, there are a few last minute hacks dads can use to look their best shirtless. These quick fixes might not make your man boobs disappear, but they can make a guy who’s in OK shape look that much better.
“If you’re showing some potential, there are a few tricks you can incorporate to dial it in for those shirtless occasions,” Chris DiVecchio, a personal trainer, told Fatherly. Here are the highlights:
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleeping a solid eight hours can make you look slightly trimmer, because lack of sleep causes stress hormones like cortisol to spike, which in turn makes your body retain water. Likewise, it gives muscle tissue time to repair and build from past workouts, ensuring that past efforts will not be ignored
“A good night’s sleep helps everything,” trainer Robert Herbst says. “It will help the man rebuild muscle that may have been broken down from exercise and give his face, skin, and overall aspect a healthy look.”
Poop When You Wake Up
Like sleeping well, having a healthy sit-down with the old toilet is an effective way to limit bloating throughout the day. “A good bowel movement may reduce any below-the-navel bulge,” Herbst says. It’s important to note that caffeine is a diuretic, so a well-timed cup of coffee can go a long way toward ensuring early morning bowel movements. Happily, the colon actually contracts three times as hard during the first hour of being awake, so you may not even need the help.
Don’t Get Salty
Reduce water retention further by eating less sodium on beach days, both experts advise. “By cutting your sodium intake, it can 100 percent improve your overall appearance by reducing bloat and giving you a tighter and leaner look,” DiVecchio says. Herbst notes that this all depends on the goals guys are trying to achieve, and some salt and water retention could potentially make them look huge — just not always where they want to. It could backfire—and go right to your gut.
Eat Lighter Than Normal
Along with eating less salty foods, shirtless men may want to avoid eating big breakfasts. “The day of your event, I would eat very light. Intermittent fasting is a great approach to consider on these types of occasions,” DiVecchio says. The research on intermittent fasting is spotty at best, and doesn’t indicate much beyond that eating late at night isn’t great. As for fathers who have to stay sharp for their kids, getting loopy and hangry may not be the best option. Instead, Herbst recommends smaller portions and avoiding carbs, namely beer.
“One gram of carbs binds three grams of water,” he says. “So it is not the time to drink beer.”
Be Wet and Tan
Body builders use oil and bronzer to give their bodies a more defined look, which may be all too embarrassing for the average dad to resort to — not to mention, body oil makes it impossible to hang onto kids. However, men can use their natural tans, sweat, and the water around them to achieve a more natural version of this. “A good tan helps to improve the visual aesthetics of the body,” DiVecchio. Herbst agrees, and has used this to benefit his own beach body.
“Water and sweat are always a great look. When I was a lifeguard, I would never use a towel when coming out of the water, so I could strut around and take advantage of the effect.”
Finally, drop and give your beach body twenty. Push-ups, bicep curls, and other arm exercises like lifting toddlers can give the right muscles a boost for the day.
“When lifting weights, glycogen is pushed out of the muscle as it’s burned up for energy and it’s replaced with blood flow,” DiVecchio says. “Push-ups and biceps last minute will give you a much-desired pump in the chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps.”
These results can be maintained by flexing throughout the day, experts say. But try not to overdo it. Dancing pecs are a bit much to bring to the kiddie pool. Still, it sure beats swimming in a t-shirt.