A couple of you have emailed me and asked me about this. There is no escaping you regular readers…. Yes indeed, a couple of months back, on this very blog, I said that at the time of my 40th Birthday I was aiming to have a six-pack and that I’d explain what I’d done to get to it and so on….
Well, I got close. Here is a picture of me (also sporting my heavy stubble/mini beard) swimming with Ollie 10 days ago (my 40th was a week ago) to show that I am not a million miles away, but am also not going to be in the cast of the new 300 Film:
A couple of my professional colleagues (Steve Baxter, Marc Lallemand) were also present at this pool at a farmhouse in the Dorset countryside who can attest that this was taken then so that you don’t call the police.
My excuses are as follows:
- I love eating and drinking and this Summer has been spectacular; I have had a lot of social events, ice creams on the beach, boozy nights, celebrations, BBQs and so on. Guzzle, scoff, munch, slurp, glug, chew etc!!
- I have done more cardio than strength work due to marathon training. Endurance running type of cardio work does not lend itself well to muscular physique (the boyd attempts to preserve tummy fat, and also endurance training results in the body creating cortisol, the stress hormone which is not good for muscular physiques) and in fact experts across the board advising on muscular physique and lean muscle do tend to suggest that you do not do endurance training if you want a six-pack. My mantra of “Run, Adam, Run” has not helped my beer gut get smaller.
- Becoming a father has seen great changes in my life this year that I totally underestimated. My time is of a premium and I choose to spend that time with my wife and son a lot more readily than I do adhering to a crazy strict regimen so that I have a six-pack. We eat together, and enjoy time out at events and places that I simply cannot bring a Tupperware container full of peas and chicken breast to.
- I got disillusioned with the idea of having a six-pack, I admit it. For someone like me, for whom it does not come naturally, it is a hell of a lot of effort to achieve and then a total lifestyle choice if you wish to maintain it. I am a 40 year old married father for whom the ongoing discipline and dedication required is massive, and for what? To look slightly better at the beach? Am I that vain? (I know some of you said ‘yes’; I deserve that for suggesting having a go at this in the first place, serves me right!) To be so physically fat-free is something that would make my lifestyle almost impossible, and I like my lifestyle. With the amount of marathons I run each year, is anymore fitness necessary? I am also not entirely sure if a six-pack is all that natural, but I am being biased here and protesting to excuse myself….
Crappy excuses, I know. Honest though. I should have considered my level of conviction and required commitment before writing about it publicly. That is me all over, determined to shout it from the roof tops before due consideration; lesson learned (until the next time). I doff my cap to all those 40+ year old men who have six packs; I know how hard you work for it and you deserve every drop of respect and admiring glance you get.
That said, I do still commit to a healthy lifestyle. I train for marathons by running 6 times a week and workout with free weights 3 times a week. A typical daily diet for me is as follows:
Breakfast: Chicken breast, grilled asparagus and red peppers, scrambled eggs with a chopped green chilli.
Lunch: Lentils or quinoa with spinach, tomatoes, and mackerel or sardines.
Dinner: Jerk chicken, fajitas, chilli or grilled fish all with sweet potatoes and a big salad.
I take a quality vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid supplement with breakfast, and I take a zinc and magnesium supplement before bed to help with recovery. I also drink beetroot juice prior to running (nitric oxide helps with endurance by oxygenating the blood more readily. A bit like a legal version of what Lance Armstrong did on a massive scale) and protein powder after long runs and hard workouts, with the aim of enhancing recovery.
If you truly look at the evidence, everyone is so different that there is no code for attaining a particular physique. There is no single solution that works for everyone. It does not exist. Nothing works for everyone. This is why there is such a market place for people and companies offering their own solutions. I examined the evidence greatly (in particular, the chapter on weight loss in Martin Seligman’s book “What you can change and what you can’t”) and we all respond differently and if we’ve tried certain things in the past, we get conditioned and if we feel failure along the way, we respond differently in the future, and some people have to work harder than others for the same results and so on, and so on…. It is so complex. No one has the answers that will work for everyone. I know a bit about about what works for me and I know what the evidence suggests works for some people, but there is no universal solution.
For me, getting my attitude right is key. I believe in my approach and drive myself to do the things I do with a level of enjoyment and satisfaction. As you would expect, I use self-hypnosis every day and the techniques and strategies I use help keep me motivated, enjoying what I do and believing in my own ability to be healthy (as healthy as I am, anyway). I also think having a certain identity and perception of myself and my self-image helps greatly. Plug alert, avert your gaze and move on to the next paragraph if you are offended by a blogger plugging his own wares: For anyone wanting to know what techniques I use, just visit my hypnosis product store, they are all in there for 40p currently.
Those that know me, know that I like good wines, Belgian beer, gin cocktails, a good dirty martini, after dinner Brandy as well as the odd takeaway snuggled up in front of the TV with my darling wife, and big meals that span a full night with friends. I also enjoy a Purbeck Dorset ice cream from the stall 30 metres from our beach hut… And I think anyone that adds that little lot to their weekly consumption would need to run a lot more miles and pump more weights and perhaps be 20 years younger, with a different metabolic rate than I in order to attain a six-pack.
I thought I’d hold myself accountable though. I am happy with where I am at and you never know, I may make improvements to my physique as Summer comes to an end, so there might be an add-on to this at some stage… Equally, there may not be.
Fallibility is clearly my middle name. I’ll be back, focusing on stuff other than myself, in coming days here on the blog….