Southbank dads empowered by innovative Dadfit program

Southbank dads empowered by innovative Dadfit program

On a mission to “make dadding a team sport”, Dadfit’s five-week program kicked off in Southbank on May 6 at Boyd Community Hub.

Having run for just over a year, Dadfit not only encourages new dads to support their physical health, but also aims to address the often-overlooked challenges they face during early stages of parenthood.

Founded by former pro cricketer Ryan Carters, the program seeks to empower dads to navigate the complexities of fatherhood, and “support each other to be the best dads they can be”.

“I’m a dad of three now, but in that first one to two years of parenting, I found it really challenging,” he told Southbank News.


Sometimes it was to do with me, sometimes it was health issues for our children, sometimes it was my wife. What I noticed is that often mothers were getting together and supporting each other in those early stages, and dads were tending to go it alone – including me.


Meeting once a week for two hours, participants partake in an hour of Dadfit exercises, which are “all about having fun and being active together” in a “noncompetitive” environment. The session is then followed by an hour of “dad chat”.

“This is where we sit around a table and talk about different aspects of dad life – like connecting with our kids, supporting our partners, trying to find the right balance between work and family, and also looking after our own mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Carters said.



During the past 12 months, Dadfit has already made a profound impact, with 150 dads going through the program.

An overwhelming 97 per cent reported improvements in their mental health, while 92 per cent credited the program with enhancing their parenting skills.

“It’s a really fun and inclusive group. We have a great time, plenty of laughs, but it’s also a space to talk about the serious stuff when you need to – we find that balance is something so many dads are looking for and it’s great to have that locally,” Mr Carters said.

“It can be quite a lonely experience and there’s a lot to work out on your own, it’s so much better when you have a team of dads around you who are meeting up regularly and sharing experiences.”

With grant support from the City of Melbourne, Dadfit has been able to run programs across Melbourne in Southbank, Tarneit and Fitzroy North, with Mr Carters hopeful that the program can expand for more dads to access support. •

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