Review: ‘Baby Barbells: The Dad’s Guide to Fitness and Fathering’ by Joshua Levitt, ND
Every father knows that the first thing to disappear with a new baby is spare time. But a lot of fathers also find that not-spare time also disappears. And some of that not-spare time includes things like exercise/gym time. Many fathers would like to keep up on their workout routine, but would also like to be spending time with their kids. So, one smart father mashed together workout routines and father-baby time and came up with a board-book called “Baby Barbells: The Dad’s Guide to Fitness and Fathering.”
That father is Joshua Levitt, ND – a naturopathic doctor that runs a family medical practice in Connecticut and teaches at the Yale School of Medicine. Levitt’s book is great – and not just because he’s putting workout time back on your clock. Keep reading, and maybe you too will feel the burn.
So let’s get this out of the way – Levitt isn’t your average meathead weightlifter. You’re going to look at this guy and think “this guy is going to teach me about exercise?! Where’s his six-pack? Where are his American flag workout pants?!” And yes, Levitt could definitely use 100% less sweater vest and 200% more American flag workout pants. But thumbing through “Baby Barbells,” you’ll quickly see that Levitt is no joke. This guy’s given you a bunch of great workouts that any schlub of a new dad can do.
Every new father jokes that their baby is so heavy that they can sneak in a couple of curls while they’re lulling them to sleep. “Baby Barbells” actually shows you the correct way of making that a reality – and between exercises, Levitt gives a little man-to-man “downtime” advice for new fathers. The “downtime” advice ranges from how to bond with your baby and wife to the importance of sleep. My only criticism of “Baby Barbells” is that I would have liked to see more exercises, and maybe a “downtime” section pushed wayyyyy in the back with some of this advice. Clearly Levitt’s got a great idea with the baby workout, but the “downtime” stuff can seem a little simple for those dudes already in-tune with their familial side.
That pixel-small complaint aside, Levitt’s got a total hit on his hands. These simple exercises like classic curl, baby bench press and lullaby lunges are so easy that a *cough* big dude like me can do them, but are also technically effective, so they benefit already-in-shape guys trying to catch a couple reps while lulling their baby to sleep.
The best part about “Baby Barbells” is obvious – that fathers get to spend time with their babies. And when fathers are spending time with their babies AND working out, they’re doing good for everyone – the baby gets time with dad, dad gets a workout, and mom’s off somewhere else – with her friends or relaxing. 1-ups all over the place.
I wouldn’t want to leave out the illustrations by Matt Stevens. Click the dude’s name to see some of the illustrations from the book. Also, here’s one:
I was even kind enough to not deface it with my smart-ass remarks so you could see how clean Stevens’ stuff looks without a jack-ass like me writing all over it. Stevens’ illustrations are – get this – illustrations of the author, Joshua Levitt, doing the exercise moves. I much prefer this to actual pictures (like the first two pics in this story, which I snagged from the “Baby Barbells” promo on YouTube. Let me say it again – I’m so glad that there’s not live-action pictures in this book. “Baby Barbells” is a board-book (the cardboard-page books like your baby’s got) – and this book is super stylish as it is.
The art style and simple exercises actually make “Baby Barbells” a great book to give an expectant father at a diaper party, and because the book’s got such character and isn’t a hardcore workout manual, the dad’s more likely to read it and use it! So even if you’re not into naturopathy, I think all new fathers would benefit from Levitt’s book. Like I said, I wish there was more exercises and fewer life tips – but the end result is undeniable: you’re going to be making yourself healthier and bonding with your baby. Score!