My struggle with weight, man-fat and a 'TV friendly' physique.
"...I wanted to share with you my last year of gains, losses, fat spells and insecurities".
It's true. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself on TV I gasp in horror and turn away... "oh its just been the off-season, I'll get shape back before the final episode" I tell myself.
I think being a bloke can be just as tough as being a woman when it comes to body-image worries, especially if you're in the media.
The world is full of judgemental bitches (and I'm not talking about female internet trolls here- some blokes write some crazy shit about you online!). Every day we are hounded by images of muscly men oozing masculinity- strutting through a car ad, or on a billboard advertising undies, or even the rugged toned lads on the footy fields- we elevate muscle and fitness to legend status, warrior material and the epitome of masculinity.
[left} My late 20's were my fat days. 85kg and no shape
"...I would be a little insecure about my body image".
Then there's me. A mid 30's bloke from Melbourne who's the king of off-peak, low rating, weekend television who you've most likely never heard of lol!
I'll be honest with you, throughout the years I've struggled with weight, I'm from a plump family blood line and have to constantly work at keep the 'plumpy spread' at bay. If you sat me down in a psychologist's chair I'd even go as far as saying I would be a little insecure about my body image. No matter how fit I think I am, my mind always tells me I'm not good enough, still fat... and I'll sometimes stare at Men's Health magazine wondering if I missed the fitness boat!
[left} A weighty issue- me with a pot belly- and Tottie Goldsmith! Pic: The Courier, Ballarat
I've really started focusing on my fitness over the last two or three years and I've found it has actually been very inconsistent. One month I'll be the gym hero, eating like a pro and training like Thor, but then I'll get super busy, pull an injury or work will eat up my time and my training will shrivel down to once a week... and in turn my gains will also shrivel down.
In fact I am bloody amazed at how quickly you lose muscle and condition compared with how long it takes to get it back. Sound familiar?
[left] This shot taken mid-way through my muscle gain program- with Adam the Healthy Homes Australia sparky!
Look, I'm certainly not an expert at all of this, I just know what works for me and I reckon I'd be a fairly typical example of your average Australian lad. If I give it a good go, the results are fantastic and I wanted to share with you my last year of gains, losses and secrets.
"...a meal plan changed everything....".
The first and foremost thing for me was diet. Honestly- food is about 80% of the issue. I lost 9kg of fat by doing NO CARDIO and just eating good, clean food- and lots of it. I've had a few personal trainers over the years who have each helped me at various stages of my life to try and get in shape- all of them have ended up being my great mates and I love them for that. (Hello Jarrod, Ryan and Ali) They've been honest with me and gotten to know my body type and how it reacts to various exercise. The stand-out trainer for me was a guy called Hayden Thin. Hayden has numerous diplomas in various areas of the human body and the way it works, but he wrote a meal plan for me which I followed every day and it changed everything.
This is a sample of the amazing foods from the Hayden Thin nutrition plan I followed. Results!!
I ended up eating 5-6 meals a day which is far more than I would usually eat. My old habit was breaky, lunch, dinner then a snack at night. WRONG WRONG WRONG. What I learned is that realistically, I'm going from breaky at 6am to lunch at 1pm, then dinner at 6 pm- they are HUGE gaps in time for my body to be dealing without food. Think about it- if you're not fueling your body for 5 hours, your brain will be telling your body "righto boys, we've got no incoming energy for 5 hours, but we've a lot of work to do... so let's store as much fat and sugar as we can from the next meal so we have it on standby for the day..."
Eating lots of small, clean meals a day triggers your metabolic system to constantly burn and use the energy you're putting in (or something like that anyway). And believe it or not I was hungry in between all of the meals!
The training process was tough, tiring and lots of pain. Not fun at first but becomes addictive.
Once the eating is under control and you start loving your new nutrition plan, the training becomes so much easier. I'll admit it- my training regime is literally me being a meat head and lifting heavy things at the gym. I'll never set foot in a cross-fit studio, I do as little cardio as possible and I make as many excuses as I can when it's leg day. BUT- I get results. You need a PT guys. Even if it's just once a week, a PT will understand the body type, where your weaknesses are and craft a program to suit you. One size doesn't fit all and there's a real science to writing a training program.
I found there is absolutely no point whatsoever going to the gym unless you do it a minimum of 4 times a week. It's pointless. I tried it and just hardly had any results. Step it up to 4 or 5 times a week and literally within 2 or 3 weeks things happen.
"...I found this summer I really struggled..."
My body reacts amazingly well to what they call heavy 6's. So for 6 weeks Hayden had me doing a low number of reps but at a higher weight. I loved it. I could strut around the gym carrying the big boy weights to my bench- do my set and then drop them in an over the top and completely unnecessary manner. Just like the muscle Mary's do.
Thickness in my muscle started to show pretty quickly and of course I was brought right back to Earth when the program changed to be higher reps and lighter weights.
[left] The results started to really show and at that point you find yourself hungry for bigger and better results.
My muscle gains are up and down. I found this summer that I really struggled, coming off the back of a lower-back injury which rendered me pretty useless when it came to training. The back issues haven't gone away- they keep telling me it's because I have weak glutes and a core but the more work I do to strengthen them, the more pain I get with my back. This hasn't stopped me sparking a new wave of fitness and muscle build. It's really strange but I find I train better and have more drive in Autumn than I do coming into summer.
Maybe my Northern Hemisphere DNA?
I'm taking a huge step today and for the first ever, anywhere- I'm posting a picture with no top on. Something I never thought I'd do.... it's not to brag (there's not a lot to brag about really lol) just more to prove a point that I achieved something and to really step out of my comfort zone. I'll probably cop a lot of shit about doing this, but for me it's a huge life achievement. Setting a goal, working for it (with many fails) and then reaching it.
Let me know if you've done something similar. I'd love to hear from you
Walt Collins reached fitness goals through diet, muscle gain and a PT
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