5 tips for ditching the ‘dad bod’

A few years shy of 50, actor Rodger Corser tells Body+Soul he’s learnt that it’s never too late to be the healthiest you can be.

Even with the demands of being one of Australia’s most popular actors, a husband, and a father of four children aged between five and 18, Rodger Corser refuses to give in to having a “dad bod”.

In fact, with men now typically having children at an older age than their fathers did, the 48-year-old believes that retaining good health and fitness is more important than ever.

“There’s that old-fashioned image of a dad sitting on a couch watching sport but that’s from a time when you had your kids in your early 20s,” he tells Body+Soul. “We can’t afford to do that.”

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With his 50th birthday on the not-too- distant horizon, the star of hit TV drama Doctor Doctor says he prioritises his diet and fitness so he can keep securing great roles and kicking a footy with his kids well into the future. “I’m the strongest I’ve ever been,” he reveals.

His five tips to beat the dad bod?

1. Earn your weekends

“I love a beer or a whisky at the weekend, so I’m a warrior during the week. That way I can relax a bit when it comes to the weekend.”

2. Embrace evening workouts

“It’s easy to slump on the sofa with a bowl of ice cream, but if I plan a workout for the evening, it means that I eat a sensible dinner early and don’t get off track with desserts or wine.”

3. Try not to back up your ‘off’ days

“It’s fine to have a couple of more relaxed days during a week but try not to have them back-to-back. I’ll do Friday and Sunday [as ‘off’ days], or Thursday and Saturday, so that I have a good day in between.”

4. Train in a group

“Personal trainers can be expensive but if you do group training, you spread the cost between your mates and make it a bit social as well.”

5. Go online

“There are some great free YouTube channels, so pick a training style you like and explore (but know your fitness level and experience first).”

Rodger Corser takes a holistic approach

“I’ll never be a Hemsworth in the muscle department, and by no means do I look like a triathlete, but I work out four to five times a week and I’m more mindful and conscious of what I incorporate into my life.”

While there are times he’s had to shape his body for a role – including dropping to just 7 per cent body fat to play a convict in the 2015 series Glitch – Corser says the key to his ongoing fitness is being committed but adaptable.

Most weeks he tries to fit in two or three sessions with his personal trainers and “transformation experts” Chief Brabon and Emilie Brabon-Hames, and supplements their 45-minute workouts with further sessions at home.

While those workouts focus on weight training and HIIT (high intensity interval training), he also tries to add as much incidental exercise as possible, either by walking their dog Eddie, bike riding with his family or swimming laps.

What’s essential, he says, is keeping his exercise to a manageable amount. “When you’re over 40, shorter workouts are better for you. It keeps the cortisol out of your system and you’ve got so much going on at this time of your life that the most important thing is just getting it done.

Doing something is better than not doing anything at all.”

When it comes to his diet, Corser says his wife, actress and fitness trainer Renae Berry, helps to keep him in peak condition. Working around the sports activities of their three children, Budd, 10, Cilla, 9, and Dusty, 5 (as well as spending time with 18-year-old Zipporah, Corser’s daughter with his ex, singer Christine Anu) requires good planning and preparation.

Spaghetti bolognaise is a family favourite, and the couple try to stick to only having one red-meat meal a week since they increased their vegetarian repertoire.

Throughout the day, the actor focuses on having nutritious meals, and typically enjoys scrambled eggs (without toast), protein shakes, then tuna or grilled chicken with a salad for lunch.

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