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FEBRUARY 2019 $9.50 NZ $9.99 INC GST


How Rodger Corser lost 6kg in 8 weeks




New Science on Living Longer p90






Your 10 Ultimate Life Hacks p46


One of the hardest-working players in the history of the sport, he has inspired generations and the growth of football arou nd the world. Entrepreneur, philanthropist and st yle icon, his i nf luence on popular culture transcends the pitch. Some are born to follow. Others are #BornToDare




Find out how actor Rodger Corser stripped fat and gained muscle to prepare for a crack at Hollywood.









How Rodger Corser lost 6kg in 8 weeks




New Science on Living Longer p90






Your 10 Ultimate Life Hacks p46




p23 Gut Punch

Carrying stomach fat makes you a time bomb. Defuse it, starting now.

p42 Profit For Your Liver Here’s the drill for undoing the damage from a season of excess.


p80 Lean Gains

Tennis giant-killer John Millman’s workout for strength without bulk.

p90 10 Years Younger

How to train your body so you’re forever in your prime.


p49 Sneaker Special

The shoe once confined to courts and beaches is on the march.

p52 Great Escape

Key to making that clean getaway is packing light . . . and smart.


p18 Survival of the Fittest Future Fitness: Life on Mars Get strong enough for the Red Planet and nothing on Earth will be beyond you.

tralian Open Special d of Jim m Couri Courier and inssider tips on the racquet to transform your game.

Commando Steve Willis is getting fitter, and shrewder, year on year.

p46 10 Great Life Hacks

What if the secret to mastering life were to turn yours on its head?


p26 Muscle Guarantee The one move to ensure you keep your gains through a hot summer.

p122 19-Min Arms & Abs Your surefire workout to deliver a head-turning physique.


Better Sex Tonight All you need to know about bringing your encounters to a shuddering conclusion.


Seafood Grilling Made Easy Harness the health-boosting power of the sea on your go-to cooking device. February 2019



Men's Health Magazine Australia @MensHealthAU @MensHealthAU

TIME TO GROW SCOTT HENDERSON Editor BEN JHOTY Deputy Editor DANIEL WILLIAMS Associate Editor DAVID ASHFORD Creative Director JASON LEE Deputy Art Director KATE FRASER Head Of Pictures – Fashion and Health ALEX DALRYMPLE Multimedia Content Producer CHARLOTTE DALZIEL Digital Content Manager – Health ALEX PIEROTTI Digital Content Editor

Above: new MH editor Scott Henderson, right, with Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak, at our very first MH Elite event, in Sydney.

CHIEF BRABON Transformation Coach JEFF LACK Style Editor KATE NIVEN Grooming Writer


Head of Health


Marketing Director – Health COURTENAY RAMAN


Brand Partnerships Manager

Marketing Manager – Health


Marketing Coordinator – Health


Production Manager

Brand Manager

Brand Executive – Fashion & Health


Advertising Coordinator – Beauty, Fashion & Health



Print Operations Coordinator JEREMY SUTTON

Group Subscriptions Manager

GEREURD ROBERTS Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Magazines MYCHELLE VANDERBURG Retail Sales and Group Marketing Director NICOLE BENCE Commercial Strategy & Solutions Director DEAN PORTER Operations Director



Editor in Chief, Men’s Health US

SVP/Editorial & Brand Director



SVP/Managing Director Asia Pacific & Russia

Deputy Brands Director


Executive Director, Content Services

Director of International Licensing and Business Development


Pacific Magazines, Media City, 8 Central Avenue, Eveleigh, NSW 2015 Phone: (02) 9394 2000 Fax: (02) 9394 2319 Subscription enquiries: 1300 668 118

Scott Henderson


Printing Bluestar Web, 83 Derby Street, Silverwater NSW 2128. Distribution Gordon & Gotch. Published 12 times a year. Registered business name Pacific Magazines Pty Ltd, (ABN) 16 097 410 896. All rights reserved. Title and trademark Men’s Health © Rodale Press. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. Men’s Health is a registered trademark and the unauthorised use of this trademark is strictly prohibited.


When I tell people I work at Men’s Health, the response is invariably the same: “Oh, I’ve grown up with that magazine!” It’s a statement that makes me proud to play a part in a brand that was so crucial in my mates’ formative years. But it also makes me wonder about the concept of ‘growing up’. As men, do we ever really stop evolving? Should we? As Men’s Health enters our 21st year in Australia with a new editor at the helm (nice to meet you), it’s the perfect time to reflect on our evolution. Turning 21 is a coming of age moment for any man. We celebrate all (or most) of what’s come before, and toast the tantalising possibilities that lie ahead. Entering adulthood comes with a big blowout party, but also increased responsibility and pressure . . . manhood is upon us. It’s at this point that the focus shifts from the self, as we’re thrust into the world and workplace. Not too far ahead could be fatherhood – and a host of potential health issues. We are no longer responsible solely for ourselves, but for our families, community and planet. As Jamaican-American baseball player Chili Davis famously said, “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” This can be a daunting or exciting prospect. Often, it’s both. At Men’s Health, our experiences during our tumultuous teenage years have been extraordinarily positive, thanks in no small part to my immediate predecessor in the editor’s chair, Luke Benedictus, whose stewardship set us up for our twenties and beyond. It’s because of our rich history that Men’s Health is poised to grow further, as we take our presence beyond the page and ensure the MH brand you grew up with continues to give you what you need to thrive. Evolution is essential for survival (for both people and magazines). In this issue, we strive to improve our health (p.76), strength (p.122), knowledge (p.116) and human experience (p.92). “Growth is never by chance. It is the result of forces working together,” said entrepreneur James Cash Penny. And this issue – marking a transition between editors – is an embodiment of that sentiment. My vow is that Men’s Health will continue to evolve in pursuit of our shared goal: to be better men.



Is it better to go alcohol or meat free for a month? AS

After the inevitable excesses of the festive season, a month off the sauce seems like a fair penance. Dry January does have some benefits: it’ll likely improve your sleep, while a study from University College London found it could decrease your liver fat by 15 per cent. However, research suggests that half of us return to our bad habits soon afterwards. Swapping hedonism with abstinence plays into our culture’s pernicious all-or-nothing relationship with booze. In reality, those who drink regularly but moderately have been shown to be healthier than teetotallers. So, we’d plump for Veganuary, the clunkily named month of trading meat and dairy for plant-based foods. “High intakes of animal produce can have an inflammatory effect, increasing the risk of insulin resistance and heart disease,” says nutritional therapist Francesca Lancaster. “Plus, plant foods cultivate a diversity of beneficial gut bacteria, improving weight control.” A recent study also found that those who went meat-free for four weeks saw a drop in their blood pressure and cholesterol. Crucially, our relationship with meat tends to be less extreme than with booze: you’re less likely to binge on steaks or pork belly come February 1. A final word of caution. Ensure you eat plenty of wholefoods – vegetables, nuts, legumes and grains, not just processed vegan sausages. But if you’d like to wash your meal down with a warming glass of (vegan) Cabernet, we won’t stand in your way.




Kill two birds with one stone this month by plating up these liver-friendly vegetables

The anti-inflammatory betalains in this root vegetable are potent phytonutrients that help the liver to neutralise and expel alcohol.


According to a study in the Journal of Food Science, the minerals and aminos in this veg replenish those lost through boozing, alleviating your hangover.


The sulphur and enzymes in vitamin C-rich cauli play a crucial role in efficient liver detoxification, flushing your body of a range of harmful chemicals .

ANCIENT SOLUTION TO A MODERN PROBLEM Is it acceptable to ignore emails from my boss during summer holidays? SK

The mind must be given relaxation – it will rise improved and sharper after a good break.

Seneca, Roman philosopher, 50 AD

TEXT A PT I need to lose some serious lard. So, what should I start with: weights or cardio? I’d make sure you’re regularly hitting 10,000 steps first, then start thinking about workouts.

OK, I’ll walk to and from work. Now, what about that training? Cardio is safest after a hiatus. Do 3 steady-state sessions per week: a gentle run or swim. After two weeks, swap one of your sessions for HIIT, to push your body harder.


As long as I’m getting eight hours’ sleep, does it matter what time I go to bed? DL

Not if you’re consistent. If you always turn in at 2am and rise at 10am, you’re good. Or 8pm to 4am? Also good. But if your bedtime and wake-up times vary wildly, you may be setting yourself up for sleep problems, says Dr Rodney Radtke, a neurologist specialising in sleep medicine. That’s because irregular sleep patterns can mess with your body clock, making it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up when you want to. Late night? Still get up at your normal time, says Radtke. “That sets your clock.” Set your alarm every night with Google Home; $129, store.


Does that mean I should avoid the weights room completely? Until your cardio feels easier, yes. Then add a weights day.


Are there any particular exercises I should do? Train the larger muscle groups with squats and deadlifts – you’ll burn more fat that way. Jonny Jacobs, @everyday_athlete_performance February 2019




YOUR DAYS of nibbling forlornly on rabbit food in pursuit of a leaner physique are over. According to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition, whichever macronutrient makes up the bulk of your breakfast will be what your metabolism prefers to use for fuel over the course of that day. Which means bacon is now a researchapproved weight-loss weapon. Allow us to explain. If you start each morning with a breakfast of oats and fruit, your body will be primed to utilise carbohydrates as fuel throughout the day – which is great news for your athletic performance, but less useful if the primary purpose of your training is weight loss. Take seven minutes to perfectly crisp up your bacon, however, and you’ll program your metabolism to burn through your fat stores in the gym instead. Researchers at Kyoto University also found evidence that a nutrient in your rashers called coenzyme Q10 further greases the wheels of your metabolism, especially when combined with light exercise. So, tucking into a buttery bacon sanger before your morning run will fry through unwanted blubber better than any monkish regime of precardio fasting. That’s what we call a streak of good news.




February 2019


04 FORGET SUPERSTITIONS – pre-run preparations today are an exact science. Energy gels are stockpiled, trainers are worn in and nipples are taped, all in the name of making your journey to the finish line quicker and less painful. Yet still we find ourselves gritting our teeth in those final miles. Thankfully, a study in Psychology of Sport and Exercise suggests a happy hack that will speed up your progress and make hurdling the proverbial wall to achieve a sub-fourhour marathon a breeze. Researchers found that the simple act of smiling can reduce an athlete’s level of perceived effort. The facial expression eases muscle tension across your entire body and distracts you from bodily sensations such as burning lungs and leaden legs. It’s a physical alternative for those who struggle with the more woolly prescription of positive visualisation. Imagining you’re surfing a wave during a 42.195-km slog in summer heat doesn’t work for everyone. If a recommendation to smile still seems a little trite, consider this: test subjects wore breathing masks so that researchers could measure how much energy they used while running. They found that smilers were 2.8 per cent more oxygen efficient than frowners. It may not sound like much, but that economy adds up over a marathon – so much so that it’s a tactic used by Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. We suggest you follow his lead.








THAT EXERCISE IS GOOD for the mind is no new thing. But how many of you use that as inspiration? Most men consider cardio’s grey matter benefits a long-term investment, safeguarding you from cognitive issues many years and miles down the line. Which, if you’re more at home on the lifting platform (or sofa) is unlikely to have you squeezing into your lycra any time soon. But what about a short-term boost to your mental firepower within a week, too? The promise of unwavering concentration and promotion-worthy initiative come Monday? Because that’s exactly what scientists at the National Institutes of Health have discovered. Examining



mice, the team found that just seven days of running on a wheel – though you can stick to the footpath and cycle lanes – increases the number of new neurons in your brain for sharper reactions and a better memory. The study authors added that this was the most conclusive evidence yet that the brain cells produced by running are not just a quantitative improvement, but a qualitative one, too. Every stride improves the standard of your brain’s neurons at a biological level. Add the fact that you’re outdoors rather than stuck in traffic, and your cardio commute has the power to clear your head of anxiety, making room to unleash your full mental potential. Start measuring up the corner office.



MEDITATION and muscle-building are far from conventional training buddies: for most people, a serene, crosslegged headspace session sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to, say, CrossFit workouts Fran, Cindy and Murph. But new research suggests that, to amp up your training, you need to keep calm and carry om. Researchers at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa found that subjects who meditated for five minutes a day significantly lowered levels of stress hormone cortisol in their blood, helping to improve their mood and mental health. However, they also had

increased levels of testosterone and human growth hormone: crucial physiological ingredients in the recipe for muscle gain. These naturally occurring anabolic hormones spike in the absence of cortisol. Testosterone helps your body build muscle by increasing your rate of protein synthesis and boosting the number of muscle fibre precursor cells. Meanwhile, human growth hormone does precisely what its name promises and delivers new muscle mass. So, consider five minutes of morning meditation your new pre-workout supp – harem pants strictly optional.




Survival Of The Fittest Commando Steve Willis learned new things about himself, in his 40s, back where it all began for him: reality TV. Discover how a man with a restless drive and a head-spinning schedule learned to live in the moment BY BEN JHOTY // PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON LEE

STEVE WILLIS’ HEAD is bobbing up and down as the rhythmic whack of a skipping rope slaps a rubber mat in a car park in Sydney’s Alexandria. His eyes are locked on a distant target only he can see as I wait, and wait, for his concentration to falter and the rope’s elliptical blur to halt at his feet. Finally, on the 26th double-under the spell is broken. Willis’ gaze shifts and his jaw slackens, as his stern, formidable visage cracks into a disarming grin. “Four more,” he says, before resuming his 30-count set. He duly knocks them off before moving onto some kettlebell work. The celebrity trainer’s body betrays little of his 42 years. His face is perhaps more illuminating, etched in character lines, possibly from running around after his three-year-old Axel, who he describes as a mini version of himself, or maybe it’s the weight he lost in the jungle on last year’s season of Australian Survivor that has helped forge an impression of rakish, middleaged gravitas. Not that the former Biggest Loser trainer has ever lacked for authority. But now, in the aftermath of his stint


in the Fijian jungle under the glare of the reality TV spotlight, it seems he knows himself better than ever. “I feel I can use the knowledge and wisdom I gleaned to help others enrich their lives,” he says, his sonorous voice in full oracle mode, as he reflects on his time on the island of Savusavu. Foremost among those lessons was a new appreciation of the importance of fully inhabiting every moment you’re on this earth. No easy task in a world where you’re bombarded with stimulus from phones, TV, podcasts and the like. No wonder it took a trip to the jungle, deprived of gizmos, gadgets and social media, for Willis to fully reckon with himself. The revelation he took away? You can reassert control of your emotions. “As you start to feel yourself react to a stimulus or a situation, you go ‘ah, there it is’,” he says softly. “You realise, ‘I don’t have to react that way. In fact, I might not even have to respond at all.’” Think about that next time a length of rope, be it a work problem, row with your missus, careless motorist or something worse, threatens to trip you up.


February 2019



“It takes effort to be calm, because it’s so easy, as a man, to respond with anger”

YOU’RE A SURVIVOR How long do you think it would take to break an ex-military, former CrossFit champion who refers to himself by the most macho of sobriquets, when you deprive him of food, family and creature comforts? Two weeks? Two months? Try two days. “In all honesty, I knew that was going to happen because we had to establish camp and we were doing that on limited input,” says Willis, of his rude introduction to the show. “We didn’t have the calories, the food, the intake. And I remember that second day I was off with the fairies. I’d experienced times like that in the military and there’s always something in reserve. But if you call on those reserves and then they throw something else at you, that can be a tipping point. That’s when you realise that it takes community. It takes a team to get the job done.” The experience humbled him,


something every man needs, he says, before you can truly escape the invisible tripwires laid by your own ego. The artificial constructs of the show fostered, in fact, forced collaboration, camaraderie and for Willis, self-reflection. In the real world, though, that wake-up call may never come. Chances are whatever troubles you won’t so comprehensively break you that you’re forced to re-examine your place in the world. Instead you labour on when stress weighs on your shoulders, take on too much when a deadline looms and become a martyr when other people’s work ethic doesn’t measure up to your own. “In everyday life a lot of the interactions we have with people are ego-driven because there’s an expectation of something in return for our efforts,” Willis says. As he grappled with the show’s psychological dimensions, Willis also had to come to terms with its social and competitive dynamics. Rather than try

to impose himself as the alpha male, the life-long competitor chose to sit back and observe. “I wanted to play the ‘grey man’ as we used to call it in the army, where you’re the guy sitting on the periphery and you just remain quiet and composed and observe how others react when the pressure’s on. I still love competition but not to the point where nothing else matters. It’s more about upholding values, pursuing the journey with others, not just of self.” It was something of a departure from his public image as the gruff trainer from his Biggest Loser days but it was an approach that saw him voted off 19th out of the 24 competitors. For many contestants, he says, the challenge of living without distractions – TV, social media, phones – was too much. “You’ve got nothing to escape into and when we were left to ourselves, that’s when people started struggling. Just existing wasn’t enough.” Willis relied on meditation, Tai

ENOUGH ROPE Chi and yoga to avoid falling prey to neurotic introspective implosion and also to preserve precious energy. “Because the input wasn’t there in terms of calories, you need any exercise you do to be directed inward so you have enough in the tank for the challenges,” he says. The precepts of mindfulness also helped him deal with the agitations of operating on little sleep and the frustrations of the group. “It takes effort to be calm, to be kind, because it’s so easy, especially as a man, to respond to situations with anger,” he says. Emotional responses are even harder to control, he adds, when you’re existing on limited rations – rice, beans, paw paw, coconuts and the odd crab and fish, that amounted to less than 4000kJ day. Willis lost a bicepsshrinking 7kg. As someone whose self-image has been built on strength and what he’s able to achieve physically, it could have been a problem. Instead, he used it as another pathway to acceptance. “You have the aesthetic and an attachment to a certain way of being for so many years,” he says. “And you learn to let that stuff go. You accept that food is going to be scarce, there’s going to be weight loss and that’s going to chew into lean muscle mass. Sure, it’s great to get rid of body fat but in a survival sense that doesn’t leave you much room to move. The battle of attrition really begins there.”

WINS OF THE FATHER Taking on Survivor took Willis away from his family for six weeks. Considering he has four children, ranging in age from three to 20 and a partner, in Michelle Bridges, whose life is even crazier than his, it was a significant sacrifice. “You’ve got to be prepared for it,” he says of having kids. “Because there’s a lot that goes on that’s quite spontaneous and you’ve got to have the bandwidth to deal with that, plus everything else that’s going on.” The chaos of family life is another reason Willis has come to prioritise being able to control his emotions in the moment and recognise habits that have the potential to be harmful. “As an adult, when the pressure’s really

on, we tend to default to those ways we did as children,” he says. “As a kid I’d throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum and I see my kids doing that. I can actually see myself in them. I know over the years I haven’t literally thrown myself on the floor but inside I have, I’ve had a hissy fit. It’s an unconscious action but if you start to feel yourself react to a stimulus, you just need to take a couple of deep breaths, be calm and try to let it all unfold in front of you.” It’s an emotional response Willis has had to employ in other facets of his life, perhaps most notably as an ambassador for Sage Institute of Fitness, an accreditation college that went bust. The first he knew the company was in trouble was when a journalist called him up. As the face of the company he inevitably got caught up in the controversy, even though he wasn’t involved with the firm’s finances. “You might receive some nasty emails about things and you’ve just got to be measured in the way you respond to it and engage with some understanding,” he says of the fallout from the company’s demise. “It’s uncertainty for people. They put their trust into the organisation and it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to.” The incident made him reflect on his shortcomings but also renew his faith and trust in the path he’s forging. It also made him look carefully at the type of person he wants to be. “As a youngster in the army, the guys you respected weren’t just telling you what to do,” he says. “They had that position of authority and they would say this is what we need to do. But they were willing to get in the trenches with you. And you’d die for them. It’s the same in everyday life.” What does that mean for you? “It means pulling up your sleeves, getting down to work and not just talking the talk but walking the walk,” he says. “There’s so many people around pointing and directing yet they’re not being.” He pauses for a moment, perhaps thinking about the carriage of his words and the message they possess. “It’s through action that we find humility and we get that connection with others. When we be.”

A keen skipper since his CrossFit days, Willis is increasingly incorporating the exercise into workouts as a high-intensity kilojoule burner. “Jumping in general is good for the body,” says Willis, who recently joined forces with RX Smartgear Australia to release a skipping rope. “With a rope, there’s those neural components that come into play. The coordination, the balance, the accuracy. And because it’s a dynamic action, where you’ve actually got to jump, you’re putting your body under greater load. Three minutes is going to own you.”





February 2019




Dismal news: turns out carrying around even a little fat on your belly is dangerous. Great news: this story BY RICHARD LALIBERTE

BELLY FAT is such an important (and hazardous) factor for your overall health that it’s now discussed as an organ. The visceral fat that makes up a spare tyre or, worse, a beer belly – and that surrounds your liver, stomach and intestines – isn’t flabbily inert. It seems to be biologically active, pumping out hormones and other substances, and it may even increase your risk of metabolic problems like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and maybe even cancer. That’s most scary for the 28 per cent of Australian men categorised as obese – guys who have a body-mass index (BMI) of 30-plus. It’s also a concern for the 34 per cent of guys classified as overweight, whose BMI is in

the 25-29.9 range. But even men sporting modest paunches are at risk. Yup, Dad Bods, Skinny Fat dudes, Beer Belly Light guys – maybe even you. Recent Mayo Clinic research shows that men who are in the normal range (with a BMI of 18.5-24.9) but have fat in their midsection are up to four times as likely as leaner men to have metabolic disorders. “Why some people predominantly carry fat in visceral deposits isn’t fully understood,” says Dr Paul Cohen, an assistant professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Metabolism at Rockefeller University in New York. “There clearly are genetic and hormonal influences at work.” While researchers learn more

about how fat harms you, they’re also finding new ways to fight it. And it may not take much to reduce your health risks, according to a new, albeit small, study in Obesity. When people who had a normal BMI but excess body fat lost 5 per cent of body weight, they saw major benefits: visceral fat down 11 per cent, total fat down 9 per cent, liver fat down 50 per cent, and insulin sensitivity up 26 per cent. If you weigh 90kg, losing 5 per cent means shedding just 4.5kg. These four tips make it a little easier. Get after it!

“The visceral fat that makes up a spare tyre seems to pump out hormones”

February 2019



Is Beer What Makes a Beer Belly?


Research shows there may be a link between alcohol intake and excess weight, but it’s not a huge effect. Studies find if you stick to the recommended two brews per day, you won’t broaden your belly any more than a non-drinker.

Your Gut Has a Disease – So Treat It

Doctors now have several meds considered effective and safe for long-term weight management. Four of the newest – Belviq, Qsymia, Contrave, Saxenda – are appetite suppressants that work in the brain. “Even if you’ve lost weight, use of a pharmacologic agent can be helpful to maintain what you’ve lost,” says Dr Elise Brett, an associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai in New York.


“Muscle is the opposite of fat,” says Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez. All over your body, muscle is metabolically active in ways that counteract visceral fat – extracting glucose from your blood, helping your liver process fatty acids and reducing inflammation. Lopez-Jimenez and his colleagues have found that people with big guts often lack lower-body muscle mass, and the correlation is stronger as people age. It stands to reason: strong muscles add bulk to your legs and butt – your biggest muscle groups – providing a better balance of muscle to fat in your body and powering a healthier metabolism.

How to Burn More Fat If you have to choose one type of exercise, strength training may be best for specifically trimming your gut. In a Harvard study, men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat than men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities. Emphasise exercises that challenge your whole body: squats, deadlifts, chin-ups. However, the same study found cardio had a greater impact on overall weight. Lopez-Jimenez suggests a mix of both, but combine them the right way by alternating cardio and weight training on different days. Men who do that may burn more visceral fat than they would by stacking workouts on top of each other in the same session.




Belly flab may be due as much to what happens in your head as in your gut. Losing visceral fat is difficult because your body defends fat like a castle on a very round hill, through the processing of hormones in brain circuits that control appetite. That’s because in evolutionary/survival terms, fat is good. It seems to be your body’s inherent system for stockpiling food, and it served mankind well when actual, edible stores were meagre. Your ancestors who could sock away the most fat from the least food and release its energy in the most frugal, thrifty way possible had a genetic advantage. Your preparefor-the-worst body isn’t in sync with the indulge-every-whim bounty of food markets and restaurants – or the lack of exertion that comes from neither hunting nor gathering. Over the years, your body matches energy intake and output with about 99 per cent accuracy, says Dr Michael Schwartz, codirector of the Diabetes Institute at the University of Washington. But even a finely tuned system can’t compensate for gradual gains from endless kilojoule bombardment. As a rough estimate, “most obese people don’t gain more than 2kg of fat a year, but that adds up over ten years,” says Schwartz.

Be Master of Your Metabolism Evidence suggests that keeping kilojoule consumption confined to an earlier window means less weight gain than eating more later in the day. One new study tested the 16:8 diet – 16 hours of fasting and 8 of eating. Researchers instructed 23 obese participants to eat any food in any amount between 10am and 6pm, but stick to water and kilojoule-free drinks at other times. After

12 weeks, volunteers ate about 1200 fewer kilojoules a day than a control group and lost about 3 per cent of their body weight – enough to cause a discernible drop in visceral fat compared with the control. No participants leaving the study complained about the diet, so it’s likely that volunteers found it fairly easy to stick with. Researchers say that’s critical for improving metabolic health in a sustainable way.

Is Your Belly a Heart Threat?

For an accurate determination of heart-attack risk caused by abdominal fat, calculate your waist-hip ratio, cardiologist Francisco Lopez-Jimenez advises. Here’s how: 1. While standing, wrap a tape measure around your waist about midway between your lowest rib and the top of the bony part of your hips. Write down the number.


2. Then measure your hips around the widest part of your buttocks. 3. Divide waist by hips. If the number is 0.9 or higher, you have central obesity

and your metabolic risks are substantially higher. 4. For a more accurate assessment of fat, ask your doc for a dual X-ray absorptiometry scan.


THE LIFE HACKER By Adam MacDougall

THE GOAL Stay motivated to hit your 2019 health and fitness marks

THE OBSTACLES Sloth. Pizza. Beer




One of the most important parts of your metabolism is your microbiome – the ecosystem of gut bacteria that breaks down food and produces chemicals that may prevent obesity. A0 healthy microbiome should be like a raiz2nmforest. A big- belly microbiome is kind of barren. “Obese people have fewer species of microbes in their gut,” says Dan Knights,an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Biotechnology Institute. “These microbes are like a factory producing thousands of compounds, good and bad. You want to provide food for the microbes making good compounds.”

How to Eat Wilder To restore your inner Amazon, eat food closer to nature. Most Westerners are living in a fibre desert, Knights says. “Every plant has its own set of fibres, with different chemical structures and different microbes that break them down.” Aim for about 30 grams per day. Fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are linked to a rise in short-chain fatty acids, which may reduce your risk of inflammation and metabolic problems. In one study, each 10-gram increase in daily fibre intake was associated with a 3.7 per cent drop in visceral fat.

What Your Poop Says about Your Microbiome

A stool that has surface cracks and looks like a sausage, or is smooth and like a snake (scoring 3 or 4 on the Bristol Stool Scale – yes, that’s a thing), may be associated with greater bacterial diversity. Hard, lumpy stools had fewer bacterial species in a recent study.


Turn the Colour Wheel If brown fat can turn white, can white fat turn brown? It’s a hot area of research. Investigators have found a third type of fat called beige fat that can be activated so it has fat-burning power. “Beige fat tends to


Not all body fat is harmful. Visceral fat is white fat – a type associated with an unhealthy metabolism. But another kind – brown fat – burns kilojoules and helps the body generate heat. We don’t have a lot of brown fat and lose it as we get older, says Cohen.

be embedded in subcutaneous fat, which may be why subcutaneous fat is relatively benign and may even be protective,” Cohen says. “Our dream is to find a pharmacological target – five to ten years away – that would turn unhealthy white fat to healthy brown fat.”

Shooting for the stars with an audacious goal like running a marathon or looking like The Rock sounds stellar. But it’s actually dooming you to failure. The motivation molecule dopamine, which gives us the drive and focus to get stuff done, is released only when you accomplish something. So break up your big goal into smaller ones.

HACK II BET ON IT That’s right: put your money where your mouth is by betting a mate that you’ll drop those surplus kilos or complete that adventure race. Why? Because we’re wired to avoid loss. A Mayo Clinic study found people who bet on losing weight were 63 per cent more successful than those who relied on verbal praise. So tell the missus she can buy those new shoes if you don’t lose that gut and you’ll be punching new holes in your belt in no time.

HACK III FIND A FIT MATE Obesity journal found that being unfit and fat is contagious, with people whose friends were overweight increasing their risk of stacking it on by a whooping 150 per cent. On the other hand, those looking to shed lard who added a fit friend to their social network lost a significant amount of weight for every 100 interactions they had with their new buff buddy. Adam MacDougall is founder and CEO of The MAN Shake (

February 2019



Make Future Muscle Gain A Guarantee





Set up for your first rep by looping a lowresistance band from your right foot to your right hand. Find a spot on the wall to focus on – this will help you balance.

DON’T LET THE SUMMER HEAT PUT YOUR BODY GOALS ON HOLD. SET UP FOR SUCCESS THIS YEAR WITH THE BANDED SINGLE-LEG RD FOR THE casual gym-goer, holiday season is a time when fitness aspirations are all too easily left in the shade. True MH men, however, know that there is really no excuse for dropping your bundle. Parties, hangovers and muggy mornings may put you off long runs and heavy squats, but there’s a lowintensity exercise that, if deployed daily, can put you on the path to unrivalled results in 2019. Requiring just 10 controlled reps on each side, it won’t even make you break a sweat. “This move will strengthen your lower back and improve overhead flexibility,” says movement coach Ollie Frost, and its instability will also bolster your core strength. Address weaknesses in these crucial areas now, and your course to long-term success is clear. “It boosts brain function, too,” says Frost. “Simpler exercises will feel far easier if you get used to performing complex moves.” So, that’s you mentally and physically prepped for the year ahead, then.

LEAN IN Contract your glutes and slowly lift your left leg straight out y behind you. Hinge at your hips and keep your back nice and flat as you lean forward. Keep hold of the band.

KNEES UP U Find your balance, b then slowly reverse the move ement. Engaging your co ore, raise your left knee to hip height and ho old for a second with the band at shoulder height.


Stabilise yourself, hen extend and th your right arm m overhead. Slowly return to the starting posittion, finish on the your set and repeat r other side. Co onsider this a vestment. hard-core inv










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C ar olle y 7 ct – from Fe br ua ry 3


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MEAT YOUR MATCH Traditional steak night is under attack from trending meat substitutes. But does seitan stack up nutritionally? We’ve chewed the facts to cut to the raw truth




As well as delivering enough protein to support your recovery, steak is rich in creatine, which helps your muscles to produce energy, enhancing power output






Brain-sharpening iron

Energising vitamin B12


Harvard Medical School

1.9g FAT


Sleep-improving magnesium



Though it’s lower in fat, seitan will set you back 420kJ more than steak per 100g. But its high calcium content, which revs metabolism, goes some way to making up for it

28% 0% 6%

Brain-sharpening iron


A weekly steak may raise the likelihood of bowel cancer by two-fifths. The BMJ also found it increases your diabetes risk

Eating red meat daily can increase your odds of early death by 12 per cent, with its saturated fat putting you at risk of heart complications



13% 36% 5%


Seitan contains an impressive amount of protein, but most of it is wasted, as your muscles can absorb only around 35g per meal. The rest is stored as fat

Energising vitamin B12

Sleep-improving magnesium

Per 100g

Per 100g

Steak has a higher fat content than chicken, though a 100g serve contains just 1130kJ. Plus, the University of Warwick found it subdues hunger pangs

The pr jected value of the obal eat substitutes market by 2020. Veganissm is a very healt business

Per 100g

Per 100g

The amount the avera carnivorous Aussie w will eat in a year. Thaat’s nearly 400 00g of pro in


Coeliacs should avoid seitan, made from gluten, as it may cause abdominal pain and fatigue. Those with high blood pressure should also be mindful of its sodium content



Making the swap to a meat substitute such as seitan can reverse red meat’s health risks, potentially adding four years to your life Mayo Clinic


With its solid nutritional profile, seitan transcends its bland, glutenous origins – but it’s still no match for steak. And, because many of red meat’s ills can be cut down by simply moderating your intake, we still prefer our muscle fuel served medium rare

February 2019



TAKE A TRIP TO MUSCLE BEACH Don’t waste your hard-earned holiday sweating in the hotel gym. HIIT the beach for sun, sand and swift muscle gains


A/ KNEE TUCK 45SEC Squat down swinging your arms back, then explode up using your arms’ momentum. As you jump, bring your knees to your chest.


DIRECTING FRIENDS to the beach with your bulging biceps isn’t showboating – it’s good training advice. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the benefits of working out on sand go far beyond an even tan. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who has ever tried sprinting up a dune that it increases muscle activation: sand absorbs more energy, so your calves, ankles and core stabilisers are forced to work harder than they would on firm


ground. The athletes who took part in the study also recorded a significantly higher heart rate and greater perceived exertion when they kicked off their trainers and switched from grass to sand, torching more kilojoules in the same amount of time. Indeed, the Australian researchers calculated that you’ll use 20-60 per cent more energy. While you might expect that the extra intensity would leave you confined to the sunlounger, nursing DOMS for days, sand’s low impact means you’re more

likely to wake up feeling fresher. The study showed that sand training will leave you no worse off in terms of muscle soreness, recovery time or inflammation. Meaning you’ll be inclined to fire up again before sundown. So, those of you who are anxious to maintain your hardwon beach body on holiday can spend less time sweating and more time relaxing, all without setting foot in the hotel gym. Just remember your SPF 30 – that’s one kind of burn you can do without entirely.

In a plank, bring a knee to your chest, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg and do a push-up. That’s one rep.

C/ SAND SPRINT 45SEC Mark two lines in the sand 20m apart. Sprint between them for a fullbody workout. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat the circuit four times.



For local stockist enquiries | Australia 1300 764 437 | New Zealand 0800 456 426 |




One bump quickly turns into a casual weekend habit, and cocaine is often accompanied by a chaser of booze. Together, they create cocaethylene, which is a longer-lasting, more toxic metabolite of the drug. You may feel young and carefree, but it’s a different story inside your body: cocaine can speed up the development of heart disease and prematurely age your brain and ticker.



The time it takes to get from surreptitious handshake to rushing high can be as little as 60 seconds. Coke is absorbed through your nasal membrane, reaching your brain almost immediately. As it crosses your blood-brain barrier, it floods you with the happy hormones dopamine and serotonin. Your brain’s frontal cortex goes into overdrive and you feel, well, amazing. For now.





The more cocaine you take, the less sensitive your neuroreceptors become to dopamine. And when you stop, your brain crashes. The symptoms closely resemble those of depression: you’re irritable, you can’t sleep and your emotions go haywire. This persists for around two days, until the substance leaves your system. When it’s firing up your Sunday fear, bananas and nuts can replenish your serotonin and alleviate anxiety.






It takes up to 10 minutes for cocaine to take hold fully, and the buzz can last an hour. It triggers your sympathetic nervous system (your “fight or flight” mechanism), filling you with energy. But don’t get carried away: the drug causes vasoconstriction, which limits the blood supply to your heart when you need it most. Your heart attack risk rises to 24 times above the normal range.




Chronic use causes brain cells to sprout new dendrites, which receive more nerve signals from your hippocampus. Satisfying their need for stimulation may explain the cravings that result in addiction. Instead, swap wild Friday nights for a Saturday Parkrun and natural dopamine will keep sending good vibes through your brain for hours – a high that has no comedown.


…I Take Cocaine?

“Snow” is Australia’s second most popular drug. MH blows through the ephemeral highs and crushing lows of powdering your nose


Don’t let sugar cravings sabotage your diet. Available now at

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. CHC722884-0318



So... Was


Good For

You? Women aren’t having orgasms. Men are confused. So let’s talk about it BY JULIE VADNAL // PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALINA OSWALD

Sex can be romantic. Animalistic. Should be pleasurable. Egalitarian. Messy, but in a good way. Fun. Often, it’s straight-up confusing. When it comes to a guy’s climax, the routine is fairly simple: you get a little turned on, there’s some touching or rubbing or partnered stimulation of some kind, and then when you’ve reached the point of no return – a release!

February 2019 35


Yes, they’re really having orgasms These photos are part of Germanbased photographer Alina Oswald’s “Moments” project, a series she started in 2016 in which she captures real people (herself, her friends, even, uh, her coworkers) mid-climax. So far, she’s photographed 35 subjects; here is a selection of them.

But women’s orgasms can be as confounding as a Westworld plotline. First we have to feel generally comfortable around you, then remember whether or not we left our curling iron plugged in this morning, reassure ourselves that we unplugged it, then remind ourselves that we’re making out with a guy we really like. The blood eventually rushes to our genitals, and the touching from then on has to be juuuuust right – not too hard, not too soft, and usually on the exact right spot. Things are going well! We’re feeling it! And even then, sometimes when an orgasm is ascending like a firework – poof! – it turns out it was just a dud. So it’s not exactly shocking to read new research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine that says that men have a difficult time telling when (or even if) women climax during a sexual experience. In the study, which looked at a nationally representative sample of nearly 1700 newlyweds, researchers found that 43 per cent


of husbands misperceived how often their wives orgasm, in most cases overestimating their wives’ Os. Remember, these weren’t random hookups but people who put rings on it and, barring any 90 Day Fiancé–type situations, had had a few years or so to explore each other’s bodies. “The general lack of men’s awareness was surprising,” says Nathan Leonhardt, lead author of the study. “We were expecting some [gap in awareness], but such a high percentage tells us this is a very prevalent issue.”

WHY THE CONFUSION – AND WHY IT MATTERS If you look around, you’ll start to see similar data in other less, um, scientific places. A recent survey of 1000 men by sex-toy start-up Cunni – they make an oral-sex simulator, obviously – asked if men gave their partners orgasms during oral sex. Fifty-seven per cent of men answered yes. But when asked if they knew what

their partners liked during oral sex, 59 per cent of guys said they didn’t. And then 67 per cent said they sometimes weren’t even sure what they were doing during oral sex. Maybe it’s true that all those men really did give women orgasms. But they also could use a lesson in what women actually want in bed – even if they don’t think they need it. Another recent survey found that 42 per cent of men gave themselves an A rating in bed. Nice, guys. So what’s really going on here? Why the disparity between what men think is happening and . . . reality? (Before you go there, yes, faking happens, but you can’t fake it forever.) Not all men are clueless around a vagina. But that’s not to say some of you couldn’t use a refresher. Understanding the female orgasm takes some practice, but it’s important to school yourself on your partner’s pleasure, says sex therapist Ian Kerner, the man who literally wrote the book on it,

2004’s She Comes First. “In my practice, there are a lot of orgasm gaps and imbalances,” Kerner says. “And I can tell you that if any partner is not consistently enjoying sex and orgasm, it can have a big negative impact on a relationship.” Of course, most guys in a committed relationship want to please their partner during sex. “In the vast majority of cases, a husband wants his wife to be pleased with the sexual experience and wants her to have an orgasm,” Leonhardt says. “Sometimes men just need to have the courage to bring up the subject, talk it through and be willing to adjust the things that they’re doing to make sure she’s having a good experience as well.”

WHAT SHE SAYS Because how a female gets to orgasm can be as complicated as trying to understand blockchain (seriously, what is it?), we asked

real ladies and experts to tell us what women want more of in bed – and why it matters that you get it right. First things first: women definitely want to orgasm, probably just as much as you do. “There’s a big, culturally propagated misunderstanding women don’t care as much about having orgasms during sex as men,” says Kerner. “And that does an injustice to women.” In fact, in Leonhardt’s study, a wife’s sexual satisfaction was directly linked to the frequency of her orgasms. The more often she orgasmed, the more content she was sexually. But there’s more to good sex than a bed-breaking climax. As tempting as it is to rush to P-inthe-V action as the clothes are still hitting the floor, spending some time to warm up her nether regions is worth it. Most women, up to 77 per cent in some research, say foreplay is necessary for a good orgasm. “The best kinds of sexual experiences I’ve had are when it isn’t all about the sex,” says Zoe, 21. “So often I feel men are in it just for the act of penetrating and finishing, meaning they skip the foreplay, and as soon as they finish, it’s over. Chances are if you finished, she hasn’t yet.” According to Kerner, most women need at least 15-20 minutes of pre-penetrative acts (kissing, touching and sexy talk) to get aroused. “I think the mistake that a lot of men make is thinking, ‘Oh, we got into bed, we got undressed, I kissed her for 30 seconds, and now I’m going down on her for two minutes, and then I’m going to insert my penis,’ ” Kerner says. “There’s a whole Act I that’s missing.” Female arousal takes time, but it’s worth the wait. When it comes to oral, do it. “It’s refreshing when men go down on women,” says Elizabeth, 21. “And it’s better if it’s not a tit-for-tat exchange but an unexpected move, without the assumption of ‘returning the favour’. ” Once you’re down there, women want you to be mindful of your technique, too. “There’s a difference between a poking tongue and a flat tongue,” says Grace, 32. For the record, she’s a flat-tongue fan – it creates a softer touch.

THE MOVES THAT WORK Suggestions from individual women are subjective, of course, but they aren’t just anecdotal. There’s serious data to back up what kinds of touches are most likely to make women orgasm. Unsurprisingly, most techniques involve the clitoris, that nervepacked area at the top of where her labia meet. It’s about the size of an eraser head and packed with thousands of nerve endings – similar to the amount in a penis. Last year, the Kinsey Institute partnered with OMGYes, a research-based website that educates users on female pleasure, in a groundbreaking study that found exactly what kind of clitoral action gets women to climax. Of the 1055-strong sample, 37 per cent of women said they needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm during intercourse, while another 36 per cent said it isn’t necessary but that it enhances the whole experience. The researchers went even deeper and asked what kind of clitoral touching women liked most, and two thirds of respondents said they enjoyed

direct clitoral touching. When asked about the shape and style of touching, women responded that they like, in this order: up and down motions, circular, side to side, pulsating (rapid pushing in one spot), pressing, then flicking. For patterns of touch, nearly all women in the study said they preferred repeated, rhythmic motions. An almost equal number said they liked circular motions around the clitoris. May your fingers and tongue never get lost again.

HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT – WITH CONFIDENCE Even when you know exactly what most women crave, the truth is every woman is different. One woman’s orgasmic heavy breathing could be another woman’s signal that she’s just, well, tired and out of breath. And not all women whimper and howl as they’re about to climax, even if that’s what porn taught you as a teen. There’s only one way truly to find out what the woman you’re sleeping with likes: you have to ask her. Foreplay can be a

great way to get the conversation started, says Kerner. “Arousal actually releases a neurochemical cocktail that disinhibits you a little bit, so use that time as an opportunity to begin communication,” he suggests. As a pre-sex makeout session begins, start to describe a fantasy of yours (one of your less, um, controversial ones, perhaps), then ask her about one of hers. Or describe the parts of her body you love the most – and then kiss her there. If you can’t tell if she’s feeling it, stop for a second and take stock by asking her, “Does that feel good?” If the answer is no, resist sulking and a plunge in self-confidence. Instead, redirect your energies. And don’t worry about it messing with the flow, which can be resumed. “Being attentive is hot,” Elizabeth says. “It shows you’re into me and into having a great time.” Plus, Kerner says, the way you communicate early on in a sex session (and in a relationship) paves the way for future talks. And a lot less confusion all round.





Most women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm – it’s science! When you’re doing it doggy, slip a finger between her legs and move it from side to side, like a windshield wiper. Giving her C-spot some attention is an almost guaranteed way to make sure she’s satisfied.


Early in the game, spend time caressing and kissing her less obvious erogenous zones: the insides of the wrists, behind the knees, the earlobes. Soft touches in unexpected areas create hot intrigue – and give you the chance to check in with her along the way.



Some experts say that “afterplay”, the time you spend cuddling and recapping a job well done, is as important as the deed itself because it strengthens your bond. Spend time in each other’s arms after you’ve both orgasmed – after you’re done high-fiving.

February 2019



Buckle up, strap in, flourish: how to optimise getting to work ALL TOLD, we spend on average about nine days a year going to and from work. Other ways you could spend nine days a year? Restoring a motorcycle, writing several chapters of a novel, going on holiday, driving cross-country a couple of times. Armstrong went to the moon and back in eight days, with change. Just because you’re sitting behind the wheel or squeezed into a train doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish something. Even if it’s just maintaining your sanity or working up a sweat, there are ways to get the most out of getting to work. Here are a few of them.

February 2019 39






here’s an impulse on public transport to plug the earbuds in, put your head down and enter a zone of nonhumanity. That’s terrible. Once you stop ignoring and start seeing your fellow commuters, you’ll understand we’re all miserable here, and you might be more inclined to make the ride easier for people by: Sneezing into your elbow Taking off your backpack Keeping your kneecaps only as wide as the width of your seat or hips Standing for pregnant, disabled and older passengers The Big Gesture When you see an older person trying to haul a piece of luggage up a steep set of stairs, or a mum trying to navigate a stroller down the same, pause, remove the buds from your ears and just say, “Can I help?” They might wave you off. They might say thank you. Get them to the bottom or the top and your commitment is done.


Books You Want To Read

EMBRACING HELPLESSNESS The train’s delayed. It’s standing room only on the bus and the large dude with the backpack will not give up an inch. Or you’re crawling along the tracks at a pace best described as not quite moving. Or the airconditioning isn’t working in the train carriage and you’re breathing in the collective respiratory output of your fellow passengers. Things aren’t good. And while you can try your best to be part of the solution (see Courtesy 101, above), sometimes you have to surrender to the state of your public-transit commute. That’s where the


classic mindfulness trick comes into play. When you find yourself stewing on the platform for the train that just won’t arrive, stop. Recognise that you’re freaking out. Pinpoint why you’re freaking out (the train should be here by now). And let it go. You can even prepare for the inevitable stress caused by hellacious commutes by downloading some soothing music. (See the next page.) Tell yourself you’re going to get to work anyway. Send an email to the pertinent people informing them that you’re trapped by transit. They’ll understand. We’ve all been there.

Equal parts entertaining for you and intriguing to the people around you Killshot Elmore Leonard This classic of crime fiction might make you miss your stop.

Impossible Owls Brian Phillips Pick off these essays, one trip at a time.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*CK Mark Manson Fun title on the

outside, sage advice on the inside.

Early in my career, I’d leave for work in running shorts, with a thermos of coffee and my work shirt and pants stuffed into a Deuter Speed Lite bag strapped around me. (I’d keep my change of shoes at the office.) I’d sprint two kays from my unit to the very last bus stop, where I’d catch a ride through a tunnel across a river. Then, out on the other side, I’d run another two kays up to the office, weaving around those racing to work by actually racing to work. Nothing better prepares you for the professional hustle than treating your commute like a high school cross-country race. I’d pick out brown-shoed, white-collar dudes a block and a half ahead of me, stalk their position, and blow past them, just as I hoped to do in the job. – MH writer Matt Goulet . . . And Now You’re Sweaty Congratulations, you got to work and got a workout in under the same token. Now try not to offend your colleagues with the aftereffects. Before arriving at the office via bike or run, prepare your workplace: pack a hygiene kit with a spare stick of deodorant, body wipes (which are meant not to substitute for a proper shower but merely to peel some sweat and dirt off the back of your neck) and hair product to abate helmet head. In your desk drawer, keep a clean shirt and an emergency pair of underwear. Build 10 extra minutes into your commute to cool down, wipe down and change once you get there.



As a magazine editor who covers cars, I often find myself “testing” interesting “product” from my city office to my home 60 kilometres to the north, and back. The trip takes hours and involves aggressive delivery vans, oblivious Ubers and a shocking number of slow-moving Camrys. The journey requires a rare calm. Here’s how I get there. – Ross McCammon

Religious use of the turn signal This is the one traffic law to obey without fail. It will separate you from the guy who’s weaving in and out of lanes with abandon. Signalling will make you feel smug. And you can’t be angry and smug at the same time.

Classical Music, Preferably German Take Brahms’ Requiem. It’s mournful but not depressing. Anthemic but not overwrought. It turns a slog into a spirit-stirring odyssey. Any classical music will do. But I carpool with the great Johannes.

Braking Your Brain Psychologist John Riskind’s method for decreasing anger: imagine your rage level on a speedometer. Above 140km/h: explosive; 120: irate; 90: mad; 70: frustrated; 55: calm. Back off; settle down.




Carless Drivers


Imagine all these people, including yourself, moving down the highway at high speed (or low) in a seated position without their vehicles surrounding them. Weird but effective.

That guy who just cut you off? Former baby. His mother loved him. She might not love him now. And who can blame her? But at some point, he was loved. So imagine him in that state, and just like that, tenderness displaces rage.

The Car Correction Sitting behind the wheel isn’t great for posture. Do this five-minute fix when you get out of the car. By trainer Ebenezer Samuel

Right Turn

You wouldn’t drive yourself to work every day in a Bugatti – unless you’re really trying to compensate for something – so you need not bike to work on a cycle built for the fourth leg of the Tour. What you need is the Subaru of bikes: efficient, dependable, still looks good. That’s the Priority 600 (prioritybicycles. The tyres are puncture resistant, the gearbox is made for smooth transitions uphill and down, and a rust-proof carbon belt drive dispenses with the greasy chain. It’s a low-maintenance bike for leisurely rides to the office.

Lunge Stretch From standing, step one foot forward, then bend your front knee. Hold for 15 seconds. Do 3 reps per side.

Left Turn

Scapular Retractions Place your hands on a wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades, then release them. Do 2 sets of 10.

Cut Off

Only in Hawaii

Rag-Doll Pose Stand with knees slightly bent, then lean over, letting your head hang. Hold for 30 seconds. Do 3 reps.

February 2019



Profit For Your Liver

Revamp your health after festive excess with MH’s report on post party-season recove ery strategies



WHOLE PACKAGE Don’t make the dieter’s error of throwing away your egg yolks: their nutrients help to reduce inflammation and the build-up of harmful fat deposits in your liver. Kangwon National University


RED AMBULANCE Claw back some lost liver function with lobster, which contains trehalose, a natural sugar that blocks fructose from entering liver cells, staving off fatty liver Science Signalling

The next time you pop out for lunch, head straight to an Asian outlet – and be liberal with the soy sauce. It contains PQQ, an antioxidant that soothes your liver. University of Colorado


SKEWER FAT Don’t feel guilty about perusing the back-lit menu on your way home from a session. The saturated fats in your kebab reduce fat in your liver, giving it a clean napkin of health. University of Bergen





Moderate alcohol consumption helps to prime your liver’s enzymes to fight toxins. The word “moderate” is worth repeating, however. Danish Epidemiology Science Centre

Though spirits may contain fewer kilojoules than beer, the sugary drinks you mix them with can contribute to fatty liver disease. Ensure your mixer of choice is a diet or zero. Journal of Hepatology








THE RESISTANCE Revive your damaged liver with a 40-minute resistance workout, three times a week. Research suggests that this training regime can lower levels of harmful fat in three months. University of Haifa



REBOOT FAIL The credentials of “healthy” fats in olive oil and avocados have taken a smashing. According to one study, they increase your risk of fatty liver disease and metabolic complications. University of California


THE BIG SMOKE New research suggests that air pollution can induce liver toxicity and acts to accelerate inflammation in the organ. A weekend in the country, anyone? Toxicological Research

Your head may be pounding the morning after, but resist the urge to pop a pill. Paracetamol can harm liver cells, damaging the organ’s ability to function at full capacity. Scientific Reports

If you’re going to have a drunken dalliance at a party, make sure you take precautions. Hepatitis can cause cirrhosis, loss of liver function and cancer. NHS


Seasonal saviours


Reliably info ormed


False hop pes


Researchers at the universities of Missouri and Michigan believe an elevated metabolism – specifically, one stoked by intensive aerobic fitness – can protect your liver against fatty deposits. Biomolecules

We’ve all seen the results that the world’s leading celebrity transformation duo, Chief Brabon & Emilie Brabon-Hames, have achieved with our Men’s Health cover models Guy, James, Osher & of course Rodger.

WELL NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! You too can now benefit from their results-driven 8 Weeks To Wow! training and nutrition program, available through both the interactive app that Rodger himself followed, as well as from the pages of their brand new book.



Head to to start your own transformation




Refeed tired muscles and revive your spirits with our express comfort food: butternut squash gnocchi



Muscle Recovery


Metabolism Spike


1/ MAN

Get this man to a sofa. Weeks of heading into work before dawn and leaving the squat rack after dark have left him craving a little comfort – and that comfort needs to be ready right now. This simple, carbloaded refeed will take him from fridge to TV in minutes and repair his weary muscles ahead of tomorrow’s morning run. It’s packed with vitamin C to bolster immunity, and its 600mg of potassium per portion will support muscle function just as efficiently as a meatladen stew. This recipe will work nicely in any summer eating plan without ever being mistaken for another salad. Extra Parmesan is very much encouraged.


2/ PAN SERVES 2 • 2390kJ • Protein 10g • Carbs 67g • Fat 31g


INGREDIENTS • Canola oil, 60ml • Fresh sage leaves, 10 • Gnocchi, 450g • Butter, 2tbsp • Butternut squash, 450g, peeled, chopped • Parmesan, 2tbsp, grated

i) Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan on a medium temperature. Then, add the sage and fry until crisp. Remove and place on paper towels to dry. ii) Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil,


Cognitive Boost


then cook the gnocchi for three minutes, or until they float. Drain carefully, as these little gems are a trifle delicate. iii) In a separate pan, on a medium heat, melt the butter and allow to swirl around the pan for two

minutes. Add the squash and cook until brown and tender. iv) Return the gnocchi to the pan and stir well. Serve in bowls topped with the fried sage and Parmesan. Enjoy – ideally in front of the cricket.

February 2019 45



What do you do when the job of your dreams isn’t making you happy? This guy tossed it in, strapped on a backpack – and hit the road BY GAVIN CARVER

WHO’S LOST? Not much fun, right? That was me. Well, it’s still me. But this isn’t a story about being lost and finding yourself. It’s a story about learning to be okay with being lost. Forever. Who cares? I was a creative strategist at Facebook. The job of jobs. I was never going to leave it. What a job! So lucky. But the more I told myself this, the less I believed it. The truth was, I felt stuck. The signs were impossible to ignore. They started with a painting a friend gave me of a man leaping off a cliff, though I’m still not sure whether he was jumping to his death or about to fly. Then there were billboards, songs and T-shirts, all advocating some kind of leap of faith. So, at the age of 46, I quit my job. Just like that, with no plan other than to travel. Central and South America, here I come. Here’s what I learned about life.

The only truth is your own I heard the warnings about travelling in these parts – kidnappings, muggings, murders. But I never felt unsafe and met lots of young, female backpackers travelling alone with ease. I think women are the braver sex when it comes to travel. Sure, wherever you are, there are going to be unscrupulous types. But Peruvians, Columbians, Guatemalans – they’re beautiful, friendly, warm, helpful people. The lesson: you have to make up your own mind about things. You can never be sure about anything until you try it. The best experiences are the ones you don’t see coming I’ve never been one for too much planning or research. I chose one destination at a time, then decided on the next based on the thoughts of fellow backpackers. I hadn’t heard of most of the places I visited, so everywhere I went was a surprise. Had I planned every detail, I never would have discovered the divine beauty of Chiapas in Mexico, nor experienced the vibrant colours of

“I hadn’t heard of most of the places I visited, so everywhere I went was a surprise”


Punta Gallinas in the Columbian desert. Who knew? Get down and dirty I was used to staying in expensive hotels. It was one of the perks of my job. But on this trip I always stayed in hostels. I sometimes took a private room but often shared a dorm for $7 a night. Hostels are the greatest source of travel intel and an easy setting in which to make new friends. So get out of your ivory tower from time to time. Even a hammock will do. Let go of expectations I always had preconceptions about the places I went. And never was the reality even close to the pictures in my mind. The more I travelled, the more open and blank my mind was on arrival. In life it’s the same: work, relationships – you can never know what’s coming until the moment arrives. And there’s no point worrying because you can’t control it. You control nothing. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend My first few hostels were intimidating.

I’m a bit of a social battler and expected to be uncomfortable in big groups of backpackers half my age. When I tried too hard to make friends, I felt like the dad crashing the party. But when I stopped trying to make friends and relaxed into my environment, conversations were easy. I realised it was okay to sit alone and just soak up the scene, watching the characters in the play. Like finds like. You will find your gang. If it’s easy, they’re your gang. If it’s hard, why waste your time? Some people may not like you and that’s okay. That’s their business. Not yours. Don’t act your age If you do, then you’re just acting, right? I became great friends with and travelled alongside people 20 years my junior. Connections are ageless. Be young. Be silly. Be mature. Be wise. Be whatever you like. Be all of it. But just be. Laugh a lot and joke around. Loosen up. Find your child-like sense of wonder. Isn’t that why we’re all here?

Get out of your head How is it possible to enjoy a place when you’re trapped in your own head? I treated every new experience as an exercise in mindfulness. When my thoughts drifted into worrying about work or where I should go next, I would come back to my breath. Or a single sound. I’d feel the moment in my body, not in my head. This moment is all we have. All we have is now. And now. And now. It’s okay to miss out At the start of my travels, I obsessed about trying to see everything. I couldn’t get out of Guatemala because there was so much to see. The more I travelled, the more relaxed I became about missing out. “You have to see this!” or, “You must go there!” Well, no, you don’t. FOMO is for the paranoid. Relax, and the decision will be made inside of you. Stop looking for love It will come when you

least expect it, in the most unexpected way, in the most unexpected place. I met a beautiful, smart, warm, onein-a-billion Norwegian girl at the start of my travels in Peru and fell for her instantly. She says things like, “My phone is running out of electricity”. Masks are easy to remove There was this Mexican guy called Roberto, a larger-than-life party animal with a tough-guy swagger. It was in San Cristobel, Mexico where he hopped on my bus. He hadn’t slept and was still drunk from the night before, and he was arguing with the driver. We met later over a Michelada (look it up, they’re delicious) and he invited me to travel into the jungle with him for a few days. I was wary but I agreed and thank God I did because we became great friends. You couldn’t meet a gentler tough guy. He opened up and let his guard down and I did the same. How many people do you have a negative opinion about at work? I bet you’re wrong about them. It’s their mask and armour you’re judging them by.

Take risks I was in Real De Cartorce in Mexico and wanted to get to the next town 40 kilometres away. The bridge was down so there was no transport. The only option was to walk across the desert and hitch. Standing on the side of the road with my thumb out, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being stupid. But I got a ride in the back of a truck. Then I was picked up by a couple from Spain who made ends meet selling homemade wine on the street. They drove a small hatchback up an impossible, narrow mountain pass. I nearly jumped a few times. But the experience taught me that fear can get in the way of ever trying anything. What’s the use in playing this game of life if you don’t take risks? I knew in my bones I just had to leap and the net would appear. I’m still falling. And to be honest, I can’t see the net yet. But I’m in a relaxed freefall. Soon, I’m moving to Norway. I don’t know what happens when I get there. I just know I have to get there. To my love. The rest will follow.


February 2019



SNEAK ATTACK The humble sandshoe has evolved into an unstoppable force, reshaping looks from the office to the street

Accompanied by an air of confidence, sneakers can be worn with just about anything, says MH Style Editor Jeff Lack. “Personally, I’d wear them with a tux and a white T-shirt. That’s high fashion.” A shade too cutting edge for you? Fair enough. But there’s no need to pigeonhole what is probably your most comfortable footwear as gym-only workhorses . Team them with dress shorts, jeans, chinos or a casual suit for a look that exudes youthful charm and a touch of playfulness.

Nike Air Max 97 $250 (


February 2019 49

One of the secrets to wearing sneakers outside of an athletic setting is to keep them simple, advises Lack. “The slightly older guy may want to play it safe,” he says, rather than trying to invoke LeBron. To this end, favour a shoe that is either white or black (navy would be okay, too) without garish streaks of fluorescent colour. And in this case, form trumps function: you’re not going to be running marathons in these bad boys. Though as for the ASICS and Nike shoes (above), you could do exactly that.

Nike Air Force 1 $170 Non-Type jean trouser $220 ( 50


Nike Air Max 270 $250 ( Lacoste long-sleeve polo $189

ASICS Gel Quantum Infinity $300

Puma Thunder Spectra $180 ( Adidas T-shirt $50 Adidas pants $100 Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones $449.95 February 2019


Neuw denim T-shirt $69.95 Abrand jeans $109.95 Apple Watch Nike+ Series 4 $599

Abrand shirt $99.95 Ten Pieces pants $345 Calvin Klein Jeans jacket $299 Girard-Perregaux watch $16,800

Abrand jeans $109.95 Raey sweater $312

G R EAT E S CA P E Travel light and look instantly chilled on an impromptu weekend away Every guy needs to get away sometimes – at short notice, with minimal fuss. The imperative is simply a change of scenery, which needn’t entail hours on the road. Relocating yourself (and maybe your partner) even within your own city for a night or two can be enough to replenish your mental and physical reserves. Crucial to a clean getaway is packing light – one leather weekender should do the trick; no wheels allowed. Folded neatly within will be all the clothes you need for a weekend’s decompression: a morning on the beach, an afternoon in the park, a post-dinner stroll in the moonlight. You’ll return a new man, ready for anything.

Ellesse T-shirt $69.95 Abrand shorts $99.95 Aquila shoes $179



Status Anxiety Succession weekender $379.95 Mr P. trousers $288 ( Rollas shirt $89.95 Neuw T-shirt $69.95



Mambo swim trunks $19.95

February 2019 53

MAKE A LIFE-CHANGING RESOLUTION Become a blood donor It’s so much easier than a cleanse or ďŹ tness challenge, and just as rewarding. Plus, every donation saves up to three lives.

Go on, start a life-changing habit. To donate, call 13 14 95 or visit







There’s more to this simple look than meets the eye, says Luchmun. “If your hair is fine, then this cut could look too transparent. Tell your barber to leave it a touch longer than usual. If you have dark, thick hair, however, you can go shorter.” Sachajuan’s Leave In Conditioner ($40 for 250ml; is all you’ll need to style – it’s clean and fuss-free.

“This cut will always be in style,” says Luchmun. “But, for a really polished and contemporary take, tell your barber to fade and taper your hair around the nape area and leave the top less manicured. Products are central to pulling this off: Hanz de Fuko Quicksand ($29.95 for 56g; mensbiz. has a natural texture and creates that just-off-thebeach volume.”

Cutting n Loose

Men’s hair in 2019 is losing its austere edge and adopting a freer spirit: still tight, just less uptight. Renowned barber Kevin Luchmun explains how to ask for – and maintain – the styles making the cut

Just as we’re seeing a less starchy approach to menswear design this year – soft, unstructured tailoring, oversized greatcoats, rugby shirts – hairstyles, too, are loosening up. “Men are now gravitating towards more relaxed styles that work with the natural texture of their hair, rather than trying to fight against it,” says Luchmun. “We’re at a crossroads: while close tapers and short backs and sides are still relevant, the prevailing trend is for longer, more relaxed cuts. My advice is to go with it and emphasise what you already have, be that thick, wavy or pokerstraight hair.” Here is the cream of the crops for the coming season.

R TIP FTOOP , THE red look

uctu when ess str For a l ng products mp a i apply air is still d p h r g u in s u yo ften th will so





Growing hair out is a notoriously awkward process. The key is to maintain its shape. “You need to keep this cut narrow, despite the extra volume, so ask your barber to remove weight from the back and sides but keep the length,” says Luchmun. “The edges should be textured for a lived-in look. Label M Souffle ($33.95 for 120ml; au) will give it an undone quality.”

“Some men will always want the sharp look of a fade,” says Luchmun. “Even so, a looser feel on top, enhancing any curls, is a more modern way to style it out. Tell your barber to go with your hair’s natural persuasions rather than taming it. Moroccanoil Texture Clay ($45 for 75ml; will finish the look and provide a softer texture.” February 2019




Battery power has long been considered unbeatable for endurance and accuracy – but a new generation of watches is rewriting the rules of analogue stamina




SINGULAR FORTITUDE MeisterSinger is attempting to singlehandedly strip back timekeeping to its purest form. Quite literally: a sole pointer hand passes over the numerals. The innards are equally singular – two winding barrels give the movement a lifespan of 120 hours. A transparent back lets you inspect its workings, while a power indicator shows you just how much juice you’ve got left.



MeisterSinger Circularis Power Reserve $7789



STAYING POWER Styled in a 1960s fashion, this watch is a classic looker – but it’s what lies beneath the cool exterior that matters. The precision of its automatic movement has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, and its power lasts five days – stamina made possible by ultra-light silicon hairsprings, which sap away less energy than standard metals. Just like when you press 50kg instead of 90kg at the bench.

THE LONG HAUL As an independent brand, Oris is free to be more experimental. The ProPilot Calibre 111 is the latest result of its tinkering: its manual winding movement, developed inhouse over a decade, can store 10 days of power, due to a tightly coiled 182cm mainspring. The dial’s oversized numerals make it instantly recognisable as a fly boy’s watch, giving it effortless cool. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111 $6647


Oliver Pollock, founder of Luxury Watch Repairs, offers his expert tips to ensure your analogue ticker goes the distance 56

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic $3567

If you’re not wearing an automatic watch regularly, wind the crown 20-25 revolutions every couple of days to prevent the oils from congealing.

It’s a myth that you can overwind a manual mechanical watch. A full wind will ensure an even dissipation of energy and improve accuracy.

If you leave your mechanical watch on its side at the end of the day, rest it on its crown – it’s much easier to replace or repair when it gets worn than the case.




98 Gym founder Chris Feather with MH Editor Scott Henderson, before revealing his tips for creating an elite culture.

ON SATURDAY, 17 NOVEMBER, Men’s Health held the inaugural MH Elite seminar as part of our new MH Live series. It was a huge day of learning and training at Sydney pain cave 98 Gym, with 35 committed athletes in attendance, all keen to elevate their training, mindset and performance. The seminar offered rare insight into the world of elite athletic performance, with exclusive access to Australia’s top strength and conditioning coaches Chris Feather (owner of 98 Gym) and Kevin Toonen, as well as Port Adelaide Football Club captain Travis Boak and leading sports dietitian Harriet Walker. MH Elite is a brand new platform that we plan to expand across Australia, breaking down barriers for our readers and providing exclusive first-hand access to Australia’s leading health and fitness professionals.

Port Adelaide skipper Travis Boak provides priceless insights into the mindset required to perform consistently on the big stage.

Sports dietitian Harriet Walker delivers her thoughts on eating for peak athletic performance. 98 S&C coach Kevin Toonen discusses the finer points of performance programming.


THE WORKOUT: After building up to a 1RM deadlift, Feather and the 98 coaches put the crew to work. You game? In a team of three, do a half marathon on the Concept 2 bike erg with a 30-min time cap. After every effort on the bike, each player completes 10 walking lunges. Many thanks to our event partners Unit Nine, Furphy Beer, Chargrill Charlie’s, The Clean Treats Factory, Santé by Enjo, L’Oreal and The Gourmet Sausage Company. YOU CAN WATCH VIDEO COVERAGE OF MH ELITE AT MENSHEALTH.COM.AU

February 2019 59



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Men’s Health Summer Training Guide 1300 668 118 and quote P92JKZZA * Savings based off total value. Subscriptions renew automatically until you decide to cancel. After your first 12 issues, your subscription will continue at $41.99 for six issues. Offer available until 31/03/2019 or while stocks last. We reserve the right to replace the gifts with one of equal value. Offer valid for Australian delivery only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Subscriptions may not include promotional items packed with the magazine. Pacific Magazines Pty Ltd is collecting your personal information for the purpose of processing your order. As a subsidiary of Seven West Media Limited, Pacific will handle your personal information in accordance with Seven’s Privacy Policy, which is available on February 2019



Actor Rodger Corser had a decent physique by most standards, but before embarking on a mission to break into Hollywood he realised he needed to up the ante. Find out how to bust through plateaus and develop the mindset required to take your body from good to great INTERVIEWS BY BEN JHOTY





“There were a couple of reasons why I wanted to do this. The first is that I’m going to the States in February for pilot season. In Australia you might go to four or five castings in six months if you’re not working, whereas over there you’re in a town that’s trying to cast upwards of 200 new shows. You could go to three castings a day. I’ve been a couple of times before and got really close. I just had to have a look at myself and go, ‘What am I lacking?’ It’s like the Olympics. If you’re only going at 80 per cent, there’s people there going at 90-100 per cent. I looked at my physique and I thought, ‘Maybe that’s cutting me out of some roles’. The truth is, you’ve got to be able to whip off your shirt to be able to play some of these parts. You don’t want to exclude yourself from anything. The other thing is I’ve got four kids. My eldest is 16. My youngest is 3. And I’m 45 years old. I’ve got to keep earning for a few more years. My youngest will be 18 when I’m 60 so I’ve got to make the next 10 years work. I can’t afford to take my foot off the gas. But it’s not just a work thing. It’s keeping up with them. I want to be able to kick the footy with my threeyear-old when he’s 14 or 15. You’ve got

to start laying the base now. Sure, you can turn it around at any stage but it’ll be a lot harder in 10 years’ time. We’re all having kids later. You’ve got to stay stronger for longer.”

FORCE OF HABITS “This challenge has been a wake-up call for me. I grew up in sporting clubs. You’d win a game of cricket and you’re in your whites until 10:30 at night drinking beers with the boys. It was just part of celebrating. Then we’d go home, have a shower and go out! This year I started to notice that my wife would go to bed at 9:30 and I’d stay up and watch a show on Netflix and just continue to have a couple of glasses of wine or a whisky. It just starts to seep in as normal. And when you count up your drinks for the week, you’re like, ‘I’m into the high 20s’. That’s a lot of drinks. It takes a little bit of effort to knock you out of these little habits and go, ‘Look, I’m not going to give up drinking altogether’ but just save it for those times that you’re celebrating. Just enjoy a better bottle of wine with your wife once a week rather than 3 or 4 $15 bottles. Make it an event. That all helps lead to that health and longevity that I realise I have to maintain for the kids and for my work.”



February 2019 63





TRAIN AND GAIN “Prior to starting the training, I’d put on a few kilos on Doctor Doctor. One of the great things but also one of the pitfalls of shooting is catering. There’s an abundance of food so portion control is a big thing. There’s dessert every day for lunch, sticky date pudding, tubs of ice cream and biscuits during the day. To keep your energy up you go for that quick sugar hit. I hadn’t blown out hugely but I’d probably put on 3 or 4kg. At the same time, I have a bulging disc in my spine that I’ve been told goes back to playing cricket. When it flares up I’m bent over to one side and I can’t even straighten. I can just roll out of bed and it can happen. It was a worry going in but we addressed it with the physio so we could get started without aggravating the injury. The first couple of weeks were hard. You start to think this isn’t going to happen for me. I was training while I was shooting the TV series Glitch in country Victoria. You use excuses like work, doing long hours. You want to have a drink with everyone after doing a 12-hour day. We were all staying at a place with a main bar so we’d have a debrief each night. I had a bit of a look at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘Do you need to be at every single debrief, having a drink, when you’re seeing these people every day? Would that time be better spent in your hotel room doing 20 minutes of exercise?’ Because what I found is that just getting some oxygen into your lungs is really good for your mental state, particularly when you’re away from home. You just turn your brain off after a long day’s work instead of doing it by having two or three drinks. That was a real shift for me.

When I was at home I had to fit training around the family. Without getting all Mark Wahlberg about it and getting up at 2 in the morning, if you have to train at 5.30 before the kids are up then that’s what you’ve got to do. I’ve got a weights set-up in the garage and if I couldn’t make a training session because of work, that’s what I’d do. So, after the initial two weeks I found that you sort of punch through and get past that plateau. Then you pat yourself on the back and you think, ‘Well, if I can get through that, when it wasn’t all going my way, I can get through anything’. You start to enjoy it a little bit more. I won’t lie: Chief’s training is really tough. It doesn’t give you a chance to rest, which is great. We all know when you go to the gym with friends or you’re just doing your own thing, it’s very easy just to do a set, have a chat and 15-20 minutes go by and you’ve only done three sets. It’s ridiculous. This doesn’t give you a chance to do that. You get in and you get out. Over the course of an hour, you’re probably doing eight rounds of resistance and eight rounds of cardio, 16 all up. You motor through it. One of the things I wasn’t very good at back at the beginning of the challenge was pull-ups. I could only do 2-3. Now I can get to 10 on the first set. You know you’re getting stronger when you hit certain benchmarks for bodyweight strength. What happens is you get a bit stronger and you lose a little bit of weight. So, you might lose a kilo and then all of a sudden you can get two more out. You’ve just got to pat yourself on the back when you hit those goals and go, ‘I’m heading in the right direction’.” February 2019 65





BUST THE BOOZE “I often had an urge to reward myself with a drink. Instead I’d just go into the garage and do 10 mins of lifting or 10 mins of cardio. You don’t feel like a drink after that.” DON’T COURT CRAVINGS “My wife eats really well, so it’s not like I’m opening the fridge and there’s bad food and horrible temptation there. I also ate pre-packaged meals from Thr1ve, because they’re just easy when you’re hungry and want something healthy. If I was craving something sweet, I’d have one scoop of protein with ice and water to get that sweet fix.” FIND MEANINGFUL MOTIVATION “Knowing I was doing this for the cover was a great motivator. You’ve got to find your version of that. A lot of people want to look good in their wedding suit, for example. Get specific with your goals. Set a date that’s important to you.” BOUNCE BACK FROM BLOWOUTS “I know people say unless you train and eat like an Olympic athlete and don’t have a single drink you can’t do it. But if in a month you have one or two Saturday nights out, you can still see results. Any more than that then you’re going to get stronger but you’re not going to lose the weight.”


“On Glitch my character is a convict who’s come back from the dead. At the end, when I took my shirt off, the producers said they hadn’t seen me look like that before. To be honest, we’re probably pushing it a bit for that character. He’s looking slightly more muscly than he should be. There’s definitely more definition there than in the first series. But I felt more confident. There was a flashback scene where I’m getting flogged and there’s blood and scars all over my back. That extra step up in the physique definitely helped with the character. I’ve done a lot of sex scenes and I’ve always been trying to hide the body a little bit, even more than the actress I’m working with. I’m trying to get the covers up as high as possible because I haven’t been very confident in the rig. Obviously, you don’t want to be strutting around and showing off, but it is good just to have a bit more confidence. To be honest I feel more bulletproof with life in general. When you’ve got kids, you’re always bending over at weird angles. Just being stronger and more resilient in the world feels good. I always used to look at these 8-10-12 week challenges and think that’s a long time. But in the grand scheme of things, two or three months flies by. It’s not a long time to commit to something that’s important to you. I guarantee it will help every other aspect of your life – your family, your work, your health. It helps everything.” LISTEN TO RODGER CORSER ON THE NEW MEN’S HEATH AUSTRALIA PODCAST



TRANSFORMATIONCOACH.COM FOUNDER CHIEF BRABON REVEALS THE SECRETS TO NEXT-LEVEL CONDITIONING “Unlike a lot of the other projects we’ve done, Rodge was already in good shape. I think he kind of reflected what we see a lot with guys who are active. They train four days a week and are in reasonable shape but don’t understand how to get to that next level, to get that little bit more muscle, that little less fat. He had trained before. He played footy and things like that when he was young. His body reacted quickly to the idea of carrying and pushing. His musculature could take the intensity of the training, particularly on the conditioning side. It’s funny, most people don’t realise what their body is actually capable of. And with Rodger, the closer we got to the end, the harder we could push, because he was so attuned to the intensity. That’s when we utilised what’s called hybrid training, which is pure high intensity interval training. It’s basically twenty seconds of work, with forty seconds rest, rather than the usual 20/10 protocol. In the second half of the session we’d do steady-state cardio. The reason for this is that the first part is such high intensity that it breaks down what we call stubborn fat cells. But once you’ve broken into them, you still need to metabolise them and the best way to do that is at a heart rate of about 160-170bpm. If you’ve got a guy who looks good but has fat in his lower abs, that’s the best way to move it. At the end he said, ‘I’ve never had this body, even when I was a 17-year-old athlete’. He’s never had this level of muscle as well as being lean. People will look at the first shot and be like, ‘He wasn’t in bad shape’. It’s true, but he just wanted to get to a different point. Professionally, he’s going for roles in the US where, if you’re a guy in your forties, you need to have a physical presence. There’s this real market for slightly older leading men who have the physiques of 20-year-old athletes.”


February 2019




CIRCUIT ONE: Repeat 4 times. 1

Alternating KB Overhead Press: 8-12reps each arm


With both KBs in the rack position, punch above your head with your right arm. Slowly lower back down. Repeat with your left arm.


Alternating KB Floor Press: 8-12reps each arm

KB Renegade Row: 8-12reps each arm Assume a push-up position on KB handles. Drive your right elbow up past your ribs, lifting the KB off the ground. Slowly lower back down, then switch arms.


Lie on the ground with KBs in the rack position. Punch bells up above your chest. Lower right elbow until it touches the floor, then punch back up to the starting position. Repeat with left hand.

Alternating KB Swings: 3 x 20sec work to 10sec rest Hike the KB between your legs, then up to chin level, removing your left hand at the top of the swing. Complete a swing then switch arms.

CIRCUIT TWO: Repeat 4 times. 1

Depth Push-ups: 8-12reps


In a push-up position grip KB handles. Lower chest towards floor. Drive back to the top.


Bottom-up KB Curls: 8-12reps Hold the KB upside down by the horns. Curl towards your chest. Lower to the start position.


KB Bent-over Row: 8-12reps With a KB in each hand, hinge at the hips. Drive your right elbow up to your ribs. Slowly lower KB. Repeat on the other arm.


Halos: 8 – 12reps Hold the KB by the horns, bottom up against your collarbone. Circle around your head. Repeat in opposite direction.

Kettlebell Swings: 3 x 20sec work to 10sec rest Hike the KB back between your legs, then swing up to chin level. Return to the starting postion and repeat.





EMILIE BRABON-HAMES REVEALS HOW TARGETED EATING AND DRINKING CAN KICK-START FAT BURNING “I don’t think many people would complain about having Rodge’s before-shot body. He and his wife Renae do eat very healthily. It’s brown rice, it’s quinoa, it’s vegetables. But he wasn’t drinking water. I remember he came to me one morning and goes, ‘Hey Em, look how flat my stomach is. I drank two litres of water yesterday.’ I went, ‘Oh my God, who would have thought?’ If you don’t drink water, your metabolism will slow down. Imagine all the cells in your body are caught in a traffic jam. Water speeds everything up. Your brain functions better. Your muscles recover faster. You can build muscle quicker. The other thing about Rodge was his portion sizes. When I showed him, he was like, ‘Oh shit. I’ve been eating about three times that much’. But if you eat smaller meals more regularly or you train your body not to be full then you’ll utilise food better. You realise you don’t need it. It’s actually good for you to be hungry once in a while.” Corser’s Day on a Plate: • 2-3 litres of water per day • Morning – Body Science chocolate protein shake with water • Mid Morning – Coffee and protein bread toast with avocado • Post Training - Body Science chocolate protein shake with creatine and water • Lunch – Big green salad with Thr1ve ( meal - pulled pork with sweet potato • Mid Afternoon – Coffee • Dinner – Thr1ve butter chicken with cauliflower rice

February 2019 69




Whole fish This nose-to-fin showstopper only seems complicated.

Swordfish “Thai pork chop style” Its firm and meaty texture makes this fish as grunt-inducing as a good steak. Goes great with beer, too.




Enough with the snags and pies. This year, the BBQ is your oyster – and soft-shell crab and prawns and octopus. Australia’s Heart Foundation recommends 2-3 servings of fish per week, especially the fatty kind, such as salmon. Men average barely one serve. Don’t be that guy if you want to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer and generally enjoy life longer. So take your least eaten protein and throw it on your favourite cooking device. Grill these meals and harness the power of the sea. February 2019






Soft-shell Crab Sliders No need to fry. Cook ’em on coals for smoky flavour and less mess.

Octopus (yes, octopus) Score instant chef cred by serving cephalopod at your next barbie.


February 2019





Peel-and-eat Prawns Keeping the shells on adds flavour and keeps them nice and juicy.

The best fish tacos you’ve never had Super-savoury caramelised onions take the place of standard salsa as a topper.


February 2019


The SIX seafood recipes your grill needs right now



It’s impressive, delicious and way easier to cook than you think, especially with help from Alex Raij, chef at LaVara. Raij is a master of whole-fish cooking in the Spanish Basque style. This method works well with red snapper, branzino, mackerel, trout, sea bass or whatever else your fishmonger recommends.

Flip freely The beauty of the basket is that your bad habit of constantly wondering how the fish is doing is rewarded: you can flip the basket every three minutes and end up with a fish that’s more evenly cooked than if you’d left it undisturbed. Grill it until it’s cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. The flesh should be firm when you poke it. 4

Give it a rest When the fish is done, remove it from the grill, place it on a warm plate, and just let it sit a bit. Resting whole fish is as good an idea as resting meat. At this point, the gelatins that are recongealing and staying inside your fish are going to provide suppleness and extra moistness. 5

1 Order right When you buy whole fish, make sure your specimen has clear eyes and firm flesh – hallmarks of freshness. Then ask the fishmonger to have the fish gutted, scaled and definned. Unless you love coroner’s work, this testing chore is best left to the professionals.

Use a basket Fish skin tends to stick to grill grates. A basket solves that problem, allowing you to cook over gentler heat and flip the fish, all while keeping the skin intact and steaming the insides tender. Your basket should be stainless steel (or, failing that, all-metal and uncoated). You definitely don’t want a melting plastic handle distracting you from your mission. 2

Give it one last swim Raij quick-brines the whole fish for fresher flavour and juicier meat. In a large bowl or pot, mix 5 cups of cold water and ½ cup of kosher salt. Submerge the fish for 5-10 minutes, tops. Pat it dry. Then oil and liberally season it with salt, inside and out. 3




I used to call swordfish “pig of the sea”, which is exactly how you should cook it. This simplified recipe borrows from the Thai-style grilled pork shoulder from chef Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market cookbook. ½ cup soy sauce 1 Tbsp neutral oil 2 tsp white pepper 450 g swordfish steaks or fillets 3 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp minced garlic 2 Tbsp lime juice 2 Tbsp lemongrass 1 Tbsp finely sliced bird’s eye chillies (optional) 1 cup mixed roughly chopped fresh coriander and basil

Dress it up You already know to stuff the fish cavity with lemon and herbs. For a finishing touch, turn to a simple refrito. In a cold pan, add a slick of olive oil and a few cloves of minced garlic. Heat on medium until golden, remove, add a fistful of chopped fresh parsley and then spread it over the fish. Serve with lemon wedges. 6


1 Preheat your grill to direct, high heat. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, oil and pepper. Add the fish; turn to coat well and let it soak awhile.

it cooks. A thin line of raw in the middle is fine, but any more means it needs extra time. When it’s fully cooked, transfer to a plate.

2 Grill the fish until the marinade is caramelised and the flesh is cooked through, 8 -10 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Watch the colour change creep up the side of the flesh as

3 In a medium bowl, stir the sugar, garlic, lime, lemongrass and chillies. Add the herbs and mix well. Serve this with the fish, along with jasmine rice on the side. Wash it down with a beer. Feeds 4.


Purpose and a big pinch of salt. In a small bowl, combine the mayo and sriracha. Set aside.


Yes, you eat the whole thing, shell and all. It’s a crunchy appetiser that beats the heck out of a bowl of chips. 4 live soft-shell crabs, cleaned* 2 tsp canola oil 1 Tbsp All Purpose seasoning 4 Tbsp mayonnaise 2 Tbsp sriracha 4 slider buns 4 leaves Butterhead lettuce 4 slices tomato

1 In a large bowl, toss the crabs with the oil, All

Preheat your bbq to direct, high heat. Cook the crabs until the shells are a deep brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer a crab each to a bun that’s slathered with spicy mayo. Top with lettuce and tomato. Eat hot. Makes 4 sliders. 2

*Use a pair of scissors to cut the front 1.5cm off the face of the crab, including the eyes. This will prevent the crab from exploding. It will also make you feel like a horrible person.

Gas Tear off an arm’s length of heavy-duty foil, throw in some soaked applewood chips and heat over direct, high heat until smoking. Close the lid to imbue your seafood with a hint of sweet smoke, says chef Michael Cimarusti. Charcoal Medium heat cooks fish best. But charcoal can run too hot, so it’s best to temper it. Before you start grilling, set aside some old ashes. Then, after you dump in the hot charcoal, gradually sprinkle it with a layer of ash. Wood Grab a charcoal chimney starter and fill it with charcoal. Atop the unlit coals, stack six pieces of 5cm-thick wood in Jenga-like crosshatch structure. Light the chimney. When the coals are glowing, dump the contents into the grill and keep adding more wood pieces as needed.




The secret to cooking octopus is that there is no secret: no cork, no massage, no ride in the laundry machine to tenderise it. Cook it well, slice it thin, win friends.

Defrost the octopus if it’s frozen. Put it in a large pot of water (aromatics like a bay leaf and an onion are nice but optional) and 1



Head-on prawns can be a hard sell for some, so it’s important to make them irresistibly delicious. Here’s how.


bring it to a boil for 30 minutes. Remove the octopus from the pot and lay it on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Skill #1 Find a fish fanatic

Preheat your grill to high, direct heat. Set the octopus on the grill and sear it, turning frequently, until it’s charred all over, about 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a cutting board and slice it before serving. Arrange the slices on a platter,

season them with flaky salt, drizzle on some olive oil, squeeze a lemon over everything, and scatter on some chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Transfer the prawns to a large clean bowl and toss with ¼ cup olive oil

and herbs. Let it sit for a half hour or so while you grill other things.



Supermarket fish counters aren’t often staffed with knowledgeable help (or very fresh seasonal fish). Seek out a fishmonger and use what Erling Wu-Bower, co-owner and executive chef at the seafood-centric Pacific Standard Time, calls the Excitement Test. Ask about the specials. “If you do not have a fishmonger who’s capable of expressing excitement, find one.” Passion leads to better product, Wu-Bower says.

Skill #2 Turn it down Slo-mo commercials show flames encircling seafood scarred with grill marks. Don’t imitate that. High heat and grill marks do not make delicious seafood, says Michael Cimarusti, co-owner and chef at Providence. Start the fish on a hotter section to crisp the skin. Then move it to a cooler spot to finish cooking.

4 Squeeze both halves of a lemon over everything. Lay down some newspaper; peel and eat the prawns with crusty bread and white wine. Feeds 4.

½ kg shell-on prawns (32 to 40 per kg), preferably with heads on 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus ¼ cup ½ cup fresh herbs*

Skill #3 Level up a lemon “Squeeze lemon over it” is the cure-all answer to at least 70 per cent of your seafood seasoning questions. Even better: slice the lemon open and grill it cut side down until deeply browned. Now squeeze that over your fish. It’s a deeper, darker, more complex version, and suddenly brand-new.

*Thyme, mint, rosemary and chives are a nice blend. You won’t go wrong with it.

1 lemon, halved Preheat the grill to direct, high heat. In a large bowl, toss the prawns with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. 1

Add the prawns and grill until the shells turn deep pink and brown in spots, about 5 minutes. 2



At Coni’ Seafood, you’ll taste the grilling traditions of Nayarit, a small state southeast of Baja along the Pacific coast of

1 Tbsp oil

Mexico. The local Pescado Zarandeado is typically served with a basket of hot tortillas and a bowl of onions that were cooked in savoury seasoning down to a warm, caramelised softness.

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced into half moons ¼ cup Maggi sauce, plus 1 Tbsp 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 Tbsp butter, melted

“Themoretimethefishspendsonthegrill, themore flavourtheprocess imparts”

1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

– Chef Michael Cimarusti

Juice of ½ lime 1 snapper or bass (1-2kg), split open, spine removed For serving: warm corn tortillas,* thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced cucumbers, hot sauce. 1 In a large skillet on medium, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to wilt and shrink, about 5 minutes. Add the ¼ cup Maggi sauce and cook, continuing to stir frequently, until the onions are melty and sweet, 20-30 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir the garlic, mayo, butter, soy sauce, 1 Tbsp Maggi sauce, Worcestershire and 2

lime juice. Check the taste and add more of any of these, if needed. 3 Preheat your grill to medium, direct heat. Open up the fish like this magazine, season it with salt and pepper, and then use a spoon to apply a layer of the sauce to the flesh side, slathering it generously. Now clamp the fish into a grill basket and start it skin side down. Flip the fish every 3-5 minutes until both sides are well browned and mottled with a few darker spots, about 15 minutes. 4 Bring the fish to your kitchen, unclamp it and set it on a platter. Arrange some rings of red onion and cucumber disks around it and serve with hot tortillas, the Maggi onions and a bottle of your favorite hot sauce. Your grateful guests can take it from here.

*Cold tortillas taste terrible and tend to disintegrate when you fill them. Heat them over direct heat on the grill until puffy and mottled. Then swaddle them in a clean kitchen towel for steaming.

February 2019





John Millman had spent a decade in pro tennis barely eking out a living. Then, one hot night in New York, he showed the world what’s possible when you refuse to fold BY DANIEL WILLIAMS


THE FIRST SURPRISE ON meeting John Millman is that he seems to have been looking forward to our chat. Unless I’m mistaken, he’s almost excited. “Great to meet you,” he says, beaming in the Brisbane sunshine. It’s true that he’s not quite a superstar of the game, and therefore a detached arrogance would be out of place. On this sultry afternoon during the tour’s short off-season, his world ranking stands at 38. But he acts more like a guy who’s 1038. At his side is a gatekeeper of sorts who arranged this rendezvous via an exchange of emails. But Fee turns out to be Millman’s girlfriend, a sweet-natured German blonde. The second surprise is how sinewy he is. Sure, a whippet-like leanness was conspicuous during his run at last year’s US Open. But in the flesh this quality hits you like a mild electric shock. Millman is every bit as sliced and diced as Novak Djokovic. Which is by design. “You see Novak without a shirt on, he’s strong but light and that shows in his movement,” says Millman. “He’s someone I try to emulate.” Why am I here? Why seek out the 29-year-old Millman, a toiler who might already have experienced the apogee of his sporting life, rather than the more flamboyant and emotive enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios? Or the next Lleyton Hewitt, teenager Alex de Minaur? The answer is that Millman touched a chord in me. Here was a Brisbane boy, the only son of two schoolteachers, who decided to have a crack at the most competitive circuit in sport. Relatively speaking, he came armed with a set of decent, though not exceptional, athletic tools. He laboured for years in the tour’s minor leagues, seeing off career-threatening injuries and crises of confidence while living on the bones of his arse. He kept his chin up, kept rising early to tinker with his game and improve his fitness, until more close matches began falling his way and his ranking started to climb. And then, as the universe smiled on him at the US Open, he revealed another set of qualities – maturity, composure,

humility, grace – that, depending on the extent to which the conduct of some of Millman’s peers has dispirited or infuriated you of late, might have made you feel better about the state of things. “The road hasn’t been easy,” Millman tells me. “I was never touted as someone likely to make it in the sport, and I’ve always used that as motivation. I hope people see me as someone who’s been up against the wall but never stopped trying.”

RIDE OUT THE STORM At the US Open last September 9, when Millman faced off against the inimitable Roger Federer in the fourth round, he did so as someone who’d never beaten a player in the Top 10; never previously gone this deep in a grand-slam draw; never won an ATP event. In some ways, he’d shocked himself getting this far. He’d tweaked his back a fortnight earlier and lacked match practice coming to New York, which was sweltering through a heatwave. “I felt underprepared,” says Millman. Federer, meanwhile, had been cruising, not dropping a set to this point and, as usual, soaking up the adoration swirling around the 23,000-capacity Arthur Ashe Stadium. But that’s not the half of Millman’s story. To appreciate what he achieved that

night against Federer, you need to go back to the beginning, to his first forays into professional tennis via its lowest rung – the so-called Futures events. “I remember I was in Spain and there were four rounds of qualifying before you got into the main draw,” recalls Millman, who’s sipping a coffee at the cafe opposite the Queensland Tennis Centre, where he’s been training in the gym in preparation for a series of local tournaments, culminating in the Australian Open, starting Jan. 14. “You’d have to win a match in the main draw to get one ATP point, and then you might have a world ranking of 1600.” His opponents: mostly nimble, tireless Europeans, who seemingly never missed on their infernal claycourts. “It was daunting,” he says. “And that’s when the self-doubt comes, not creeping in but flooding in.” A voice is telling you to pack your bags and return to the comforts of home. Seductive? “It is. And you’ll see a lot of guys who don’t come through that,” Millman says. “Because you question yourself.


February 2019


You’re not making any money whatsoever. You are literally playing for a meal or a flight out of there.” For Millman, life was the exact opposite of what tennis at the top looks like from your couch. He would often sleep rough in airports or train stations, wrapping his bags around his limbs to deter would-be thieves. Trying to eat well enough not merely to survive but to perform required grocery shopping with an economist’s mindset: which foods would provide maximum kilojoules and nutritional clout for the minimum outlay? “Put it this way,” says Millman, “I don’t want to see canned food ever again. But you’d get into those tunas, anything that was cheap and would fuel the tank a little bit.” Quality and taste were thirdlevel considerations. “Dinner could be a bowl of pasta with a tiny bit of sauce.” Or it could could be a cup of instant noodles. Or nothing at all. He couldn’t afford coaching.

What he needed was to be bankrolled. But he wouldn’t ask his parents, Ron and Shona, for help. As Millman saw it, they’d done enough already, working multiple jobs to put him and his sisters through good schools. “Still to this day there are no people I respect more than my parents,” he says. “And I respect them more now after all I’ve seen on the tour. As tennis parents they were supportive of every decision I made. And that’s rare. You see a lot of parents living through their kids’ achievements.”

IGNORE REPUTATIONS Millman did something smart on the eve of the US Open: he arranged a practice set with three-time major winner Andy Murray under lights on Ashe. The aim: to get a feel for the place, just in case he stuck around long enough to play a match there. His form in the opening rounds took on an upward trajectory. In his third outing


he beat the mercurial world No. 13 Italian Fabio Fognini. His next opponent: Federer. In such match-ups, the unfancied player’s role is to lose. Not deliberately, of course. But the expectation of those watching is that you will sweat buckets and ideally give the all-timer a bit of a scare before succumbing to his superior skill set. But Millman rejects that script. “Those big guys, I’m respectful of them but I won’t play their reputations,” he says. “Tennis for me is about getting the absolute best out of myself. If the other guy turns out to be too good, that’s okay. But I need to be able to look myself in the mirror when it’s over and say that I gave it absolutely everything.” Nonetheless, Millman admits starting the match “like a deer in headlights”. The first set flashed by and Federer served for the second. But when Millman levelled up, everything changed. “I was overcome by a calmness,” he says. A clear mind unshackles the body. Suddenly, in the biggest match of his life, Millman was able to bring to bear what he and his German coach, Jonas Luetjen, had been working on in practice: various one-two combinations that kept his service games short, as well as tweaks to footwork and intent aimed at seizing the initiative in neutral rallies. Because against Federer you either flick the switch to aggression at the first opportunity, or he will. Lethally so. Conditions were stifling and Millman could see Federer was suffering and below his best. So while the underdog put a priority on dictating, he also sought to extend the rallies, shifting Federer side to side, back and forth, sucking the juice out of the champion’s 37-year-old legs. “Also, Fed is a bit of an artist,” Millman says. “He loves his variation. I think he has maximum fun when he’s using all his shots. So I wanted to make it as physical as possible, and therefore as boring as possible.” Millman reeled off the second, third and fourth sets, the last two in tiebreakers, to complete the boilover. Typically, his on-court celebration – if you could call it that – was devoid of triumphalism or

Superset 1

Superset 2

LEAN GAINS “I aim to be as strong as possible but also as light and explosive as possible,” says Millman. “To that end, I’ll combine strength exercises with dynamic moves.”

A|| Dumbbell bench

press on Swiss ball


B|| Push press with medicine ball

A|| Single-leg Bulgarian split squat

B|| Landmine press



even palpable satisfaction. It was not until he’d shaken hands, dumped his racquet and walked back onto court to thank the crowd that he allowed himself the briefest of smiles towards his supporters. As an example of dignity and respect for the vanquished, it was a masterclass barely seen since the 1950s. Afterwards, the Millman and Federer camps shared a locker room. “Roger’s team . . . it’s normally buzzing,” says Millman. “This time, I’m around the corner with my coach and I almost felt a little guilty.” Guilty? “My mum and dad, they didn’t just keep me in line,” says Millman. “They put an emphasis on going about your business and showing respect. I’m a determined person. As competitive as I know. But at the end of the day tennis is a game.” You don’t sulk when you lose or gloat when you win, and you remember the humanity of your rival. As a reward for beating Federer, two days later Millman squared off against world No. 1 Djokovic in the quarters. He played well but was ultimately Novaked. There was little time to celebrate a magical tournament – he flew out the next day for Davis Cup duties in the Czech Republic. But he spent the night after the Djokovic match dining in the change rooms with Flushing Meadows locker room staff. “They’ve helped me for the past few years,” Millman explains. “They’re incredible.” His US Open paycheck was a cool $US475,000. For the foreseeable future there will be no more instant-noodle dinners, although it sounds as though his winnings are all but gone. He chipped in to upgrade a European holiday his parents had planned, splashed out on a handbag for Fee on Fifth Avenue, and snapped up an investment property in Brisbane. Never say never and all that. But John Millman won’t win the 2019 Australian Open. He’ll do well to make it to the second week, such is the depth in the men’s game. But watch him. Admire his approach. And let your own heady ambitions come a little more sharply into focus. Superset 3

A|| Cable fly

B|| Med-ball slam

Net Gains Former world No. 1 and Channel Nine commentator Jim Courier reveals how a

life in tennis has made him a better man 1 / BE FAIR BUT FIRM “One of the first things tennis taught me was integrity,” says Courier, who started competing at age seven. Juniors are expected to call lines themselves. Courier’s parents taught him to be unimpeachably fair, but some opponents took the opposite approach. “So I consulted with my father, who told me there’s only one way to handle cheating,” Courier recalls. That was to cheat them back, once and blatantly, thus making the statement that we either play fair or this descends into mayhem. “My parents gave my sister and me a clear set of ethics, and tennis was a shortcut to embedding it.”





For Courier, a taste for hard toil was innate. “I was the five-year-old kid hitting against a wall for hours,” he says. “I’ve got a resilient personality: when I get involved in something, I generally get stuck in pretty good.” Again, his parents played a role, emphasising effort over results, thorough preparation and giving your best and seeing where it leads. “And that’s something I’ve applied in all areas of my life, including my commentary work,” Courier says.

Pro tennis is as searching a test of your temperament as there is, argues Courier. “You’re out there by yourself – no timeouts, no on-court coaching, and the stakes are black and white: you will either win or lose,” says the four-time major winner, who says he has a tendency to “run hot” that needs checking. The key, he maintains, is repetition: keep overcoming psychological stress on the practice court until you’re able to stay composed in matches. Happily, the benefits flow into daily living. Holding your nerve under strain in competition will help you stay calm when you’re cut off on the freeway.

“Unquestionably the most difficult thing I had to do in my career was to fire my coach Sergio Cruz,” says Courier. Cruz had given up a stable job at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy to work with Courier, who after two years together felt he was plateauing. “A lot of people will have their agent or parents sack their coach, but I set up the meeting and went and did it myself. It was really painful, but also a big step in my maturation.” Fact is, tough calls come with leadership, Courier says. “And if you’re a good leader, you’ll make them with empathy.”

In the 1991 US Open final “Stefan Edberg destroyed me,” says Courier. Just months later the pair met again in the Australian Open decider. In the meantime, Courier and his team had analysed the New York thrashing. “We picked up on his serving tendencies,” says Courier. “It’s a huge competitive edge to know where the ball is going in advance.” . Courier prevailed in Melbourne and never lost to the Swede again. “I’d been too focused on myself,” he says, “and not enough on the other guy.” The same concept works in life. “With your partner, try reversing roles and looking at a situation through their lens.” – with Daniel Williams


February 2019



Playing the Advantage The benefits of investing in a big hitter go beyond the court – it’ll serve up a host of life-extending dividends

It’s that time of year again. The Australian Open is here and, for a couple of weeks, we all head to the local courts to join in the sporting spirit. But turning this summer affectation into a regular hobby can also be a colossal hit for your health. A University of Oxford study found that playing tennis has a greater life-extending effect than taking part in any other sport. In fact, its impact was nearly double that of the second healthiest, swimming. But if the tournament inspires you to do more than just snack into the small hours, you’ll need a kit upgrade. That wooden number gathering dust in your shed may look cool when paired with a retro headband, but it’ll be of little help on the courts. We invited a panel of elite coaches into the MH Lab to test the pro-grade racquets that can serve you an immediate performance boost. Each was put through its paces across different surfaces in order to reveal which ones really make the difference. Think of it as racquet science.


FULL CONTROL 82/100 Prince TeXtreme Warrior 100 $200,

Babolat Pure Aero

$269, Performance Design Ease of use

•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••

PURE CLASS This upgrade on the popular AeroPro aims to add more spin than ever to your strokes, while the frame’s redesigned midsection reduces drag and ramps up ball speed, providing even more firepower. EXPERT VERDICT Rafael Nadal’s choice has a nice, dampened feel on impact and good feedback. The excellent power, spin and decent accuracy allow you to swing with confidence. It’s truly user-friendly. 82

•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••

ROYAL ROAD This racquet’s weight – a shade lighter than many – affords you the speed required to switch between bludgeoning baseline forehands and reaction volleys. For beginners with big aspirations. EXPERT VERDICT This lightweight racquet has a firm feel and offers impressive manoeuvrability and control. A solid all-rounder that excels on the serve, providing plenty of head speed and topspin.



Performance Design Ease of use


IN THE ZONE 79/100 Yonex Ezone 98

$300, Performance Design Ease of use

••••••• ••••••• •••••••

HIT THE SWEET SPOT The famed Ezone has a sweet spot that extends high into the racquet’s upper section, while the new “Quake Shut Gel Air” technology minimises vibrations for extra comfort. It sounds cool, too. EXPERT VERDICT The racquet’s stiff feel isn’t for everyone. It gave plenty of speed and spin from the baseline and was pleasant to serve with, but not easy to control. Best suited to power players.

NEW CLASSIC 91/100 Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

$350, Performance Design Ease of use

•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••

SEAL OF APPROVAL Co-designed by Roger Federer, this 340g frame offers plenty of heft, allowing you to push your opponent back as you attack like the Fed. Its stability enables precise serves and rock-solid volleys. EXPERT VERDICT Federer put his name to it for a good reason. It’s a nicely balanced racquet, ideal for attacking. If you can handle the weight, you’ll be rewarded with superb stability, power and control.



Our experts used the following criteria to reveal the racquets worth your investment

HEAVY-HITTING For thumping baseline rallies, you require a racquet with enough speed and power to put your opponent on the back foot.

RIGOROUS CONTROL If you’re keen to emulate Pat Rafter’s serve-andvolley tactic, a deft touch is crucial and allows for pinpoint placement.

ROOM TO IMPROVE Okay, so you’re not challenging for a major just yet. So your racquet needs a little leniency when it comes to crude swings.

Head Graphene Touch Radical MP $260, Performance Design Ease of use

•••••••• •••••••• ••••••••

CLOSE CONTROL Though not as heavy as Andy Murray’s XT model, what the MP loses in power, it makes up for in control. Harness the added motility and make your rival run with pinpoint volleys. EXPERT VERDICT The new string pattern and solid feel provide the ball speed to hit regular winners, while also forgiving the odd mishit. It’s ideal for regular players scaling their club rankings this summer. February 2019 83




If NASA’s plans reach fruition, humans could set foot on Mars in two decades. But to learn the effects of such a journey on our bodies and minds, scientists must first conduct simulations in Earth’s most barren landscapes. Think you’re fit for the task? At this bootcamp, failure is not an option BY OLIVER FRANKLIN-WALLIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT ORMEROD

February 2019 85

The deserts of Dhofar, Oman, are a desolate place. Sun-blistered rock and dirt stretch to the horizon, punctured by salt domes. In the summer, temperatures rise above 50°C and the wind spins up blinding sandstorms. If it wasn’t for the wisps of cloud, you could mistake it for a barren, far-off planet – which is why, in February, amateur astronauts descended on the region to prepare for mankind’s journey to Mars. Almost 46 years after the last Apollo astronaut returned from the Moon, sending humans to new worlds is again on the agenda. NASA has announced plans for a manned Mars mission by the



mid-2030s, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX, one of many companies working on the goal, wants to do it by 2025. An interplanetary voyage seems no longer a case of if, but when. Where it took Apollo 11 three days to reach the lunar surface, however, reaching the Red Planet – an average of 225,000,000km away, depending on planetary orbits – could take nine months. “It’s the biggest journey our society has ever undertaken,” says Gernot Grömer, director of the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF). “The distance between Earth and Mars is about 1000 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. That’s also a good measure for the complexity.” If astronauts succeed in landing on the surface, they face an atmosphere too thin to breathe, freezing temperatures, toxic soil, lethal storms and exposure to cosmic radiation. Then they have a choice. Assuming, by some breakthrough, they were able to carry enough fuel for a return flight, they now need either to turn around immediately or wait up to 18 months for the planets to get back into range. A group of scientists and space enthusiasts, the OeWF is one of several organisations, including NASA, the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos, preparing for the trip using “analogues” – simulations conducted on Earth. From the red craters of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii to the sub-zero Antarctic winter and the deep waters of the Florida Keys, researchers are seeking out extreme environments all over the world to answer questions about a long-duration stay on Mars. How will extended isolation in deep space affect our physical and mental health? What will we eat? And what if

03 04


something goes wrong? “We’re looking for problems,” explains Grömer. A veteran of 12 analogues, he has simulated Mars atop glaciers, in mines and in deserts. “It’s the little details that turn into big disasters: when your water filter breaks and you don’t have a replacement part, or when the airlock refuses to close . . . No disaster strikes out of the blue. There’s always a history of human mistakes.”

Fit for Action



In February, the OeWF crew arrived in Dhofar for Amadee-18, the latest Mars analogue. The mission was scheduled to last four weeks, during which time six astronauts would live and work inside Kepler Station – a 2.4-tonne inflatable habitat, containing a science lab, living quarters and a gym. Stepping outside required passing through an airlock in a spacesuit. Communication with mission control in Innsbruck, Austria, was delayed by 10 minutes to mimic the time it would take a radio signal to travel through space. Like NASA astronauts, applicants to the OeWF’s analogues undergo a rigorous selection process. Candidates are assessed on their mental capacities and their ability to cope under pressure, as well as their physical health. There’s no age limit – NASA sends up astronauts in their fifties – but you need “a higher level of fitness than the average Joe”, says Rochelle Velho, Amadee-18’s chief medical officer. “We look at people’s cardiovascular fitness and electrocardiograms. We test their limits,” she says. Establishing a baseline is vital, because low gravity causes muscles to atrophy. “Mars has a third of the Earth’s gravitational pull, so your bones and muscles aren’t subject to the same impact loading,” says Velho. NASA studies show that time in zero gravity reduces your bone-mineral density “from that of a 25-year-old to that of someone in their eighties”, says Velho. To mitigate this, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) exercise for two hours a day, using specially designed treadmills, bikes and resistance machines. On Mars, they February 2019


would also likely take bisphosphonates – drugs used to treat osteoporosis. Each astronaut in Oman was assigned a personalised exercise program, a mixture of weights training and low-intensity cardio on the treadmill or elliptical machine. They were also given diet plans devised by nutritionists at the University of Applied Sciences in Linz. Mars astronauts need a carefully calibrated diet to offset deficiencies and provide the necessary protein and kilojoules to maintain muscle. On a real mission, astronauts’ food would be freeze-dried and topped up with vitamin D and K supplements. In Oman, however, the crew was permitted fresh produce, including salad greens grown on site in Kepler’s hydroponic farm. (Most Mars scenarios involve growing food.) For Amadee-18, the analogue astronauts comprised five men and a woman, representing six nationalities. The crew included a paramedic, a meteorologist and a flight controller for Columbus, a science lab that is part of the ISS. On 8 February, they entered Kepler Station, underwent final checks and closed the airlock behind them.

Testing Grounds The Amadee-18 crew’s time was scheduled to the minute. The astronauts were given 19 missions, including testing drones, mapping and searching for water. Outdoor experiments required leaving Kepler for extra-vehicular

activities (EVAs) in the OeWF’s spacesuit simulators. The suits are made from an aluminium-coated Kevlar composite and weigh 50kg. Sensors measure astronauts’ oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, heart rate and humidity, while cameras record their every move. The helmet contains a display that relays instructions and astronauts can issue voice commands to the on-board computer. Just putting it on takes several hours and the help of up to five people. “It’s essentially a spacecraft that you wear,” says Grömer. “You have to respect it.” Each simulator contains an exoskeleton of cuffs and resistance bands designed to mimic the forces that astronauts would experience while wearing a pressurised suit in space. “Imagine going jogging in a diving suit with a backpack and ski gloves on,” Grömer says. “Any movement that would be easy on Earth – bending, putting a probe in the ground – was hard in the suit,” says Iñigo Muñoz Elorza, an Amadee-18 astronaut who works at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne. One thing the suits don’t have is a sealed oxygen supply. Instead, their ventilation fans use outside air for breathing – which presented its own challenges. “When you’re somewhere as hot as Oman, you can’t cool down,” Elorza says. “The air is hotter than your body temperature. That affects you when you’re exerting yourself continuously, wearing a 50kg suit.” On his first EVA, Elorza was almost

“You’re isolated from your friends and family, and there’s limited personal space. Social friction can easily escalate”







immediately confronted by a dust devil, a phenomenon also common on Mars. “I didn’t panic. I was trying to remember the procedures,” says Elorza. The simulation is most realistic, he says, when everything seems to fall away except the whir of the ventilation and the crackle of the radio. “When you go out in the suit, you’re isolated from the outside world.”

We Have a Problem One of the biggest risks on a Mars mission is mutiny. In December 1973, on an 84-day stay aboard the now-defunct Skylab Space Station, three astronauts grew agitated at mission control and turned off all communications with Earth for a day and enjoyed the view. Analogues have not been without their own issues. In 1999, a month into

a study by the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, two Russian astronauts got into a fist fight. One female participant was sexually harassed; another quit in protest. (Many analogues since have selected all-male crews.) A recent eight-month analogue in Hawaii was aborted after four days, when a crew member suffered an electric shock and required hospitalisation. “Every analogue has problems,” says psychologist Tajana Lucic, who worked on Amadee-18. “You’re isolated from your family and friends. Personal space is limited. In a real mission, you also have physical stressors that can impact your psychological state. So, for many reasons, you can have social friction that escalates.” For a long time, astronauts viewed psychologists with scepticism, partly because of their authority to rule them ineligible for flight. “We’re the only thing they hate more than doctors,” Lucic says, laughing. Today, all astronauts are assessed on agreeableness, resilience and ability to improvise. “We have standard social metrics called sociograms. Generally, you want a person who is more extroverted, open to other people and able to withstand stress.” Selecting teams is even more important. “You’re trying to find the right cocktail of people,” Lucic explains. Having too many leaders can lead to clashes; have too few and nothing gets done. “You’re looking for people who complement each other. For instance, it’s okay to have one person who is more empathetic and sensitive, because they can be someone to talk to.” Creating a baseline of astronauts’

mental faculties is also crucial. One symptom of oxygen deficiency, which could indicate a hull leak, is overconfidence. “It’s called ‘Superman syndrome’. There’s a gap between what you think you can do and what you can actually do. You might think you’re fine, but you can’t write your name,” says Velho. In Oman, scientists monitored the astronauts closely – everything from their proximity to one another to the direction of their voices – to detect conflicts brewing before they occurred. “It helps to be good at something: a magic trick, playing the guitar,” says Grömer, of the long days in the habitat. “You’re looking for someone you’d be happy to go for a beer with after work. Teamwork is as vital as oxygen.”

One Giant Leap Amadee-18 went without incident. After four weeks, the astronauts left Kepler Station. The OeWF and its collaborators are now analysing the data. Meanwhile, Grömer is planning the next analogue for 2020. Given the challenges, many have argued that putting humans on Mars is impracticable, even unethical. “For a long time, we considered the human body, the human psyche, to be the weakest link. I disagree,” says Grömer. No robot, he says, is as adaptable as human beings working as a team. For him, it’s not going that’s unthinkable. “Mars is where we might answer the question of whether life ever arose elsewhere,” he says. “We’re the first generation to have the tech to go there. It would be a waste if we chose not to.” February 2019 89

WHAT’S YOUR FITNESS AGE? That’s right: “fitness age”, which researchers believe can be a lot higher or lower than your actual age – depending, of course, on how you exercise. Here’s how to calculate how old you really are and how you can stay stronger, longer BY MICHAEL EASTER




February 2019


It’s 38° in my garage gym as I crank through another round of squats and all-out air-bike intervals, trying to block out the creeping pain in my legs, lungs and – well, hell – everywhere else. Just keep moving, I tell myself. Faster, faster. When the reps are done, I’m destroyed: I hit the hot concrete floor and begin hyperventilating and punching my legs to flush the pain. My German shorthaired pointer tilts his head and gives me a baffled look that crosses mammalian distinctions. “Dude, what are you doing?” I began training like this, five hard hours a week, nearly two decades ago. Roughly 4500 hours of my life have been spent in a state of exercise-induced discomfort, and I’m not always sure why. Men have a lot of reasons for working out. Vanity and performance are the big ones. But I quit giving a damn about my abs after I got married and I really don’t care who I can beat in a push-up competition or organised footrace. The most recent line I’ve fed myself is that all this time sweating is good for my health. It’s going to give me more, better years on earth. But as I lie on the garage floor gasping, I ask myself: why do I exercise so hard, and so often, at age 32? Is all this manic exercise worth it? And if it isn’t, then what does training for more, better years look like? Thanks to research, we know that a person’s heart can have a different age from that of, say, his kidneys or his brain, which is to say different organs within a single human body can show varying degrees of stress and strain. (Which, if you think about it, is really all age is: a manifestation of how much stress or strain your body has endured and exhibits.) But we also know that for the average guy – let’s call him “you” – lung health and mental speed peak around your mid-20s. Beginning at age 30, your muscle strength and size start decreasing by about 3 to 8 per cent per decade, and cardiovascular endurance dies off by about 1 per cent a year. By 40, you’re slower on your feet. Once you hit 50, your brain is shrinking and bones are softening. From 60 on, it’s Murphy’s Law: what can go wrong will go wrong, all aches and pains and doctor visits. Then you hit age 80 and, if you’re like the average Australian male, you die. Theories on why this happens abound: your telomeres, caps on the ends of your DNA, shorten and prevent your cells from dividing; free radicals cause your cells to accumulate damage; your endocrine system loses its ability to regulate hormones; and so on. Yet I couldn’t tell you the length of my telomeres, or what free radicals have done to my body, or the efficiency of my endocrine system. 92

That shit’s too abstract for anyone not in a lab coat. There might be a more basic answer. The National Institutes of Health recently bet over $200 million on a program called Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans. Researchers from around the country will collaborate in a consortium within the program, known as MoTrPAC. The goal: to better understand the health benefits of exercise at the molecular level. These researchers will investigate the biology-altering phenomena that may not only slow your aging clock but even turn it back, helping you feel and perform as if you were decades younger than what’s on your birth certificate. Scientists have a name for it: fitness age. And its primary metric is something even a meathead can and does quantify: fitness. “Exercise is medicine. We know that when you exercise, your muscle produces beneficial compounds that circulate and communicate with the liver, bone, heart, brain and more,” says Dr Scott Trappe, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University, who leads one of the 23 research sites involved in MoTrPAC. And so a few months ago I set out to find my true fitness age, working closely with trainer Doug Kechijian, cofounder and owner of Resilient Performance Systems and Dr Michael Fredericson, professor and director of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation division at Stanford University, to invent a fitness-age formula that would incorporate all different kinds of metrics. Would I be younger or older than the 33 candles on my next birthday cake? Have those 4500 hours of fitness-related discomfort all been for nothing? DISCOMFORT IS SOMETHING that Dr Ulrik Wisløff knows intimately. He is a professor of exercise physiology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and his specialty is cardiac fitness, specifically VO2 max, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. Wisløff, 50, has measured


THE ULTIMATE DE-AGER A glimpse into the ways that getting (and staying) fit can help you beat back the aging process – and even death IF YOU’RE FIT, YOU’RE ...

44% 46% 36% 37% LESS LIKELY TO






the VO2 max of 5000 Norwegians, and his research has made him sceptical of time: tell him about your habits and he’ll tell you why your birth certificate is bullshit. In 2006, he coined the term “fitness age” and created the fitnessage calculator. Go to, plug in some info – age, waistline, resting pulse, how hard and often you exercise – and his algorithm spits back your fitness age, which, he claims, is your true age. “So you could be 50, but if you have the fitness age of a 30-year-old person, you are really 30 years old,” he says. The reverse is true, too. Wisløff’s algorithm estimates your number by comparing your age, heart rate and activity level with the data he’s collected. If the calculator tells you your fitness age is, say, 40, it means you have the VO2 max of the average 40-year-old. His papers have been cited more than 20,000 times (most exercise studies are lucky to be cited twice), and Garmin now incorporates fitness age into its activity metrics. The calculator has a legit health utility: “VO2 max has been shown to be the single best predictor of current and future health,” says Wisløff. The American Heart Association agrees. It also says that cardiorespiratory fitness forecasts impending death better than established risk factors like smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. The higher your VO2 max, the bigger your dose of age-bending medicine, Wisløff explains. The point at which you optimise health by exercise and significantly drop your fitness age is when you are able to generate 10-12 metabolic equivalents of tasks, commonly known as METs. Based on oxygen consumption, METs are a measure of exercise intensity. Sleeping is one MET. Walking at 6.4km/h earns you five METs. Running about 13km/h or cycling at 26km/h scores 12 METs. Building the fitness to hit 12 METs is where it gets tricky. Wisløff found that standard aerobic-exercise advice – 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 of vigorous activity weekly – is flawed. Forget that most Australians



don’t meet the aerobic-activity recommendations. He says that even if you do exercise “enough,” the exercise you are doing may be insufficient to make you truly fit. “The problem is these numbers don’t account for intensity and don’t reflect how your body responds to a certain activity,” Wisløff says. If you’re not challenging yourself, building an ability to hit or exceed 12 METs, you’re not optimally protected against disease. This notion led Wisløff to study the impact of highintensity interval training. His research indicates that intervals are ideal for spiking your VO2 max and challenging your heart, which in turn adapts by increasing the amount of blood each beat pumps, boosting oxygen delivery. Wisløff created the calculator because, like telomere length, VO2 max is a figurative and literal pain to measure directly – a fact I would learn for myself. To put his theory to the test, I head to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I enter the physical-education complex, a 13,000-squaremetre cold-war-era research compound just a kilometre or so from the casinos of the Strip. Researcher Nathaniel Bodell is waiting for me in the exercise-physiology lab. He stoops over a computer that’s flanked by treadmills, erg bikes, and squat racks. After making small talk, he straps a mask onto my face, has me stand on a treadmill and punches a few buttons that initiate a VO2-max test. The belt kicks. I start stepping. “Just so you know,” says Bodell, “this won’t be the most comfortable thing you do today.” The first four minutes of running are easy – slowly ramping from a flat 3 to 8km/h – but soon I’m running 12km/h and Bodell is increasing the incline. The mask clamped to my face is calculating how many oxygen molecules I breathe in and out. The fewer oxygen molecules I breathe out relative to those I breathe in, the better my body is at shuttling oxygen from my lungs to blood to working muscles. Bodell increases the incline by 2 per cent every minute or so, making the test progressively more difficult. The


February 2019 93




longer I run before tapping out, the higher my VO2 max and, according to stacks of medical literature, the further I am from the most popular ways Australian men die. The treadmill has been spinning for 15 minutes, and I’m running 12km/h at a 12 per cent incline. I tap out. Bodell cuts the speed, then walks to his computer to analyse my numbers as I remove my mask and heave for air. “Uh, are you a runner?” asks Bodell. “I trail run a day or two a week and can hold a subseven-minute-per-mile (4.20 per km) pace.” “It shows,” he says. I register a 64.9, and I can hit 19 METs. According to Wisløff’s fitness-age protocol, my fitness level is aligned with someone under 20 years old. Maybe those thrice-weekly HIIT workouts are really worth it. Wisløff’s idea for deriving fitness age – stratifying a person’s “true” age based on cardiac capability – is intriguing, but I can’t help thinking there are other variables that have to be factored in. Look at serious endurance athletes. Sure, their VO2 max is off the charts, but they look like they’re on the tail end of a hunger strike, and they’re weak as heck. Some researchers disagree with Wisløff and think he’s overemphasising VO2 max. Many experts I spoke with – people who study other fitness markers and work with average guys day in and day out – argue there’s more to understanding the aging process than what you can find out from a treadmill run. That the most important data requires no complicated masks or lab software – just old-school iron and a little grit. “MUSCLE IS KING,” says Dr Andy Galpin, a muscle researcher at California State University, Fullerton. “It causes, controls and regulates your ability to move. If you lose muscle quality and can’t move, everything else fails quickly.” Healthy muscle controls blood-sugar levels and mitigates overinflammation, which is implicated in pretty much all the diseases that’ll kill you. Powerful muscles may be just as important as a powerful heart regarding mortality: Swedish researchers found that the strongest among a group of men of all ages were the least likely to die over two decades compared with those with the least muscular strength. And in creating a formula to calculate my fitness age, Kechijian and Fredericson insisted that I test my strength in four key areas. First up: a trap bar (a barbell shaped like a hexagon with two handles). I step inside the bar, which weighs 80kg (also known as my body weight), grab its handles,

then stand, lifting the weight. I walk with it 30m across the floor. This task, a deadlift to farmer’s carry, tests three qualities: handgrip, lower-body strength and the ability to carry weight over ground. Men with the strongest handgrip and greatest muscular strength reduced their risk of death by 31 and 14 per cent, respectively, according to a recent review from Columbia University. Next I go for 135kg, 1.75 times my body weight, an optimal metric for health. I stand inside the trap bar, grip it, rip it – and it rises. I stroll the 30m. Pass. On to strength test two: push-ups. The classic exercise tests whether you’re strong for your body weight. Further evidence that relative strength is linked to mortality is revealed by the obesity paradox: obese people are more at risk of various ailments, like heart disease. But unfit, obese men with heart disease had a lower 13-year mortality risk compared with their normal-weight counterparts, according to a study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. One possible reason: obese people tend to have more muscle and strength, due to carrying their own weight. Build adequate strength without the fat and you’ll likely avoid disease and be in better shape to beat it if you get it. I drop to the ground and crank out my reps, reaching 40, which is 12 more than the target number for optimal aging for guys in their 30s, according to Fredericson, citing recommendations from the Mayo Clinic. Time also changes the very composition of your muscles, which comprise an array of fibre types. At the most basic level you have Type I and Type II fibres, and hybrids of the two. Pure Type I fibres drive slower, everyday movements, while pure Type IIs power explosive movements. Time plus inactivity shifts the balance to Type I fibres, one reason older people tend to move more slowly. The smaller your Type II fibres, the seemingly older your muscle. Doing only VO2-max-enhancing activities – cycling and running – tips the balance no matter your age to Type I fibres. The worst exercise approach is doing nothing, but you’re massively compromising your health if you’re doing only cardio. Consider the findings of a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers compared two identical twins, men with the exact same DNA but 30 years of different exercise habits; one was not a regular exerciser and the other was an endurance athlete. As you’d expect, the endurance twin had a healthier


cardiovascular system – better blood pressure and lipid panels, higher VO2 max. “But he had no better strength or muscle quality,” says Galpin, who led the study. He actually had far more Type I muscle fibres than his sedentary twin. The lesson: chasing one form of exercise at the expense of all others improves some health metrics, but it weakens other critical links in the aging chain. For test three, I grab a skipping rope, which I’ll use to assess my Type II fibres. I begin skipping rope, bouncing off both feet, then transition to jumping on only my right. “1, 2, 3, 4 . . .” This tests my coordination, too. Falls cause more injury-related deaths in Australia than transport crash fatalities, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. “Let’s say you trip,” says Kechijian. “Your ability to recover has little to do with balance and everything to do with your ability to quickly shoot your foot or arms out to stabilise yourself.” That’s all coordination and Type II fibres. “ . . . 48, 49, 50.” I hit 50 skips on my right foot, then repeat on my left, optimal numbers for each side. Strength is varied, though, and we need to measure more. The final strength test is the Turkish get-up, which focuses on my movement and ability to rise from the ground. People who were unable to get up using only their legs were five times more likely to die over a six-year period, according to a study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. I grab a 24-kg kettlebell and lie on my back, bell overhead. The task: get up while keeping the bell overhead. I ace it. Not everyone can. “No matter your age, you want to build a reserve of strength and muscle,” says Trappe, the Ball State researcher. That becomes harder with time, but his research discovered that even 70-year-olds who lifted three times a week for 12 weeks improved their strength and muscle mass. The men who stopped lifting saw strength drop quickly, while the ones who kept up a oncea-week routine maintained their gains. My fitness age is starting to come into focus. I’m definitely younger than my 32 years. I have the VO2 max of a 20-year-old, and I overachieved on all my lifts. Except my back screams otherwise. I CALL KELLY STARRETT – a physical therapist and mobility guru who works with people ranging from Navy SEALs to elite athletes to Silicon Valley CEOs – and ask him what I’m still missing. “So many people chase infinite cardio or strength capacity,” he says. “You need just as much movement capacity. Many people go months without taking their joints through a full range of motion.” That not only sets you up for disaster in the long run, but it also makes you more likely to experience aches, pain and injury each workout. Starrett suggests a final test in my aging assessment, an overhead squat with a broomstick. How hard could it be? Forget strength and cardio. This test challenges totalbody mobility, which many experts believe could be a key to preventing age-related degradation. Populations in Asia and the Middle East who do many activities in the squatting position, for example, see little to no hip and lower-back diseases. In Australia and the US, the number 96

CHECK YOUR FITNESS AGE Do this six-step workout to assess whether you’re younger or older than your calendar age. VO2 MAX / CARDIO




1 MILE (1.6KM) RUN

Your quest to know your fitness age starts with VO2 max, but who has time for the complicated test our writer took? Not you, so here’s a simpler test to measure your oxygen uptake: crush a one-mile run. Do this outdoors, if possible.



TRAP-BAR DEADLIFT AND FARMER’S WALK Now measure your overall strength and your grip strength. Stand inside a loaded trap bar, grab its handles, and lift. Walk 30m without dropping the bar. Don’t have a trap bar? Use heavy dumbbells or kettlebells.



<7:20 <7:40 <8:00 <8:40 >8:40

175% 150% 125% 100% <100%







of hip and back surgeries performed continues to increase each year. I stand with my feet under my shoulders, raise the stick overhead, push my hips back and begin to descend. My goal is to lower into a full squat, feet flat on the floor. Things go smoothly until I hit parallel; I can’t go deeper without peeling my heels from the ground or tipping my torso and arms forward. This is old-man movement, but it’s not uncommon among guys my age, even those who work out. Starrett says that’s because we see the gym as a great place to build strength and capacity, but we don’t care to just move. That’s a mistake. Research in the Journal of Evolution and Health suggests movement creates both localised and whole-body changes. Furthermore, moving through full ranges of natural motion – for example, a full squat with your arms overhead – may jump-start dormant cells that fight aging. The data suggests that people who move in a variety of ways have significantly longer telomeres than less active people. Your movement capacity is only as old as you’ve made it, says Katy Bowman, a physical therapist, biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA. Kids have full command of their joints and can easily squat, lunge, lift overhead and more. But mobility is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Those kids eventually sit at school desks, then join the






THE MINDS: Trainer Doug Kechijian, cofounder and owner of Resilient Performance Systems; Dr Michael Fredericson, director of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation division at Stanford University.








Total strength is one thing, but how well can you manage your body weight? Find out by firing off as many push-ups as you can. Note: your body must remain straight and your chest must touch the floor on each rep.



TURKISH GET-UP Youhavetobeabletogetup fromtheground.Liewith yourbackontheground andakettlebellinyour dominanthand,thenhoist itoverhead.Your challenge:reachastanding positionwhilekeepingthe kettlebelloverheadat alltimes.




Fitpeoplehavecoordination, whichcan’tbetrainedwith runningandbicepscurls. Grabaskippingropeanddoa coupleofskipstowarmup. Thendoasmanyconsecutive single-legskipsasyoucan. Repeatonyourotherleg.Your lowestnumberisyourfinal

The final piece is often the most forgotten. Grab a broomstick and stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed at a slight angle. Hold the stick directly overhead. To pass, squat to parallel while keeping your arms straight and your feet planted, not leaningyourtorsoforward.






































workforce, sitting roughly six to eight hours a day. When adults do move, it’s typically through a few repetitive motions, like walking and getting in and out of a chair, says Bowman. A standard workout of cycling, running, some bench-pressing and curls is beneficial, yes, but we aren’t moving enough or with enough variety to slow the loss of movement, says Bowman, or avoid injury, says Starrett. That’s my problem. My cardio engine is huge at the expense of mobility. Movement is my weak link, the “oldest” part of my fitness. My lack of complete movement may have caused cellular maladaptations, making me more likely to have shorter telomeres, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Cellular maladaptations? Yikes, I need to start doing significantly more mobility training. THROUGH ALL THE RESEARCH AND TESTING, I can’t help thinking of something Starrett told me. “There is no more complex system than a human being,” he said. “So many factors can predict health and longevity. We should move away from trying to choose a single silver bullet.” Believing you have that silver bullet can cause you to miss the target on overall health. “I think we need to step

back and challenge what we’re doing exercise for,” says Galpin. “What you really want for general longevity and wellness is to stimulate, challenge and stress the body internally, in multiple ways. What you actually do to get there – your actual workout – it’s just noise.” After all the testing, I run the numbers laid out by the experts and discover my fitness age is a youthful 28, even with subpar mobility. I’ve bought my body almost a half decade. I still do five weekly workouts, but they’re different. Most are no longer an exercise in the art of suffering. Sure, I still occasionally push the intensity – it helps relieve stress. But it’s no longer a compulsion. All-out all the time, I now understand, won’t give me as big a return on time and effort invested as I once thought. What will? I’ve traded a running session for a workout in which I forget the numbers on the stopwatch and barbell and focus entirely on improving my mobility. I’ll even count a long walk through the desert with my dog as a workout, a moving meditation that improves my health, my mind and the quality of my years. Has my fitness slipped? It’s doubtful. Push me and I can do all the things I could before. But those hip and back pains that used to come alongside the doing? I’m happy to report, they’re long gone. February 2019


There Will Be Five nights in the wild at Evryman, a new breed of menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retreat, where you cry and laugh your way to being a better you BY NATE GREEN







February 2019 99

God, I’m so uncomfortable. My palms are sweating and my heart is pounding. Why did I think this was a good idea? I could be home right now with my girlfriend and my dog, having a beer and watching Netflix. But no.


Instead, I’m staring directly into the eyes of this small, pale man with a huge red beard. Andrew. I think he said his name was Andrew. His breath smells like peppermint and pine needles. Did he eat pine needles? Can you eat pine needles? My thoughts are racing. I shift my feet. Andrew shifts his. We continue to stare at each other. Finally, Andrew takes a deep breath and speaks. “If you really knew me, you’d know that I smoke too much pot and use it as a coping mechanism. And you would know I’m ashamed of it.” His gaze lowers, embarrassed. He looks back up and we lock eyes. Now it’s my turn. “If you really knew me, you’d know that I sometimes drink too much alcohol and it worries me.” I have never spoken those words out loud before. I instantly feel lighter, like a giant weight I didn’t even know was there has been lifted. Andrew smiles, happy not to be alone in his confession. “Thanks,” he says. “Thank you,” I say.



“We have different ff jobs, j different ff reli ions but we ve all spent $3500 . . . to connec

We’re standing in a clearing in Big Sky, Montana, the most appropriately named town in America. It’s 20 minutes to sunset and the clouds are just starting to turn purple around the edges. From where we are, you can turn 360° and see for miles in every direction. The tall grass gives way to dense pine trees, which give way to jutting, snowcapped mountains that seem to prop up the big – no, massive – sky. To our left and right are 16 other men, paired off just like us. Behind us sits a gigantic log cabin that will be our home for the next two nights. After that, we’ll carry 23kg packs into the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, where we’ll walk and sleep among the grizzlies, mosquitoes and stars for three more nights. We all met maybe an hour ago. “Nice work, guys.” That’s Dan Doty, who’s leading this group. “Get to the edge of your comfort zone and then go a little past it,” he continues. “Let yourself open up.” Dan is 36 years old, muscular, with

reddish-brown hair and a full beard. For the past hour, he’s been walking around in bare feet. Give him a cardigan sweater and a White Russian and he could pass for an outdoorsy version of the Dude from The Big Lebowski. Dan is a cofounder of Evryman, an organisation established in 2016 that arranges weekend retreats and weeklong expeditions aimed at teaching men how to access and express their emotions. The men here occupy different rungs on the socioeconomic ladder and come from all walks of life. There’s a woodworker. A recently fired hedge-fund manager. There’s a project coordinator, a medical-cannabis grower and a guy who owns an Italian restaurant. At least four guys are ex-military. We have different jobs, different religions, and vastly different numbers in our bank accounts, but we’ve all spent $3500 for the same reason: to connect. With nature, ourselves and each other. “Switch,” says Dan. My next partner is Aaron. He has closecropped hair and a well-manicured beard. His arms are covered in tattoos. I will later learn that he spent 14 years in the Army, seven of those as a Green Beret in remote outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will learn about his parachute accident, his brain injury and his PTSD. I will learn how he went from being a weapons-and-tactics sergeant to the operations manager at Evryman. But right now, he’s just another man in front of me. “Get closer,” Dan instructs. “Reach out and put your right hand on the shoulder of the man in front of you.”

Aaron and I move closer. He puts his hand on my shoulder and I put my hand on his. His eyes well up with tears. They’re blue and glossy and beautiful, and I am suddenly so overwhelmed with emotion that my eyes start to water, too. He just looks so . . . hurt. Aaron takes a deep breath. He lifts my hand off his shoulder and places it over his heart. He holds it there. I can feel the thump, thump, thump deep in his chest. “Finish this sentence,” Dan says. “ ‘The thing I’m most grateful for is . . .’ ” Aaron and I stare into each other’s eyes. Ten seconds go by. Twenty seconds. The boundaries of my body start to dissolve. I have the feeling of looking into a mirror. “I’m grateful I’m here with you,” Aaron says finally. “I’m grateful I’m home, close to my wife and my son. And I’m grateful I found this group.” The sounds of night begin to envelop us. Crickets chirp. A tree leans and groans in the wind. Up and down the line, the men lean, too. They sniffle and sigh. Tears trace their way down Aaron’s cheek, but he doesn’t wipe them away.

“Men are hurting,” says Dan. We’re sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Bozeman, Montana. It’s two weeks before the retreat, and I’m here to ask if I can join the retreat. “Suicide rates are climbing. The #MeToo movement and sexual abuse,” he says. “Men are hurting themselves and they’re hurting February 2019 101

“I do crave more connection. I can be self-centred and callous. I can gget wrapped up in how I look and

other people. But men are not getting the help they need.” In Dan’s view, there are two main things hurting men: repression of their emotions and lack of deep human connection. He knows this because he’s seen it with boys. When he was in his 20s, Dan was a therapeutic wilderness guide who led troubled boys through the woods. Overall, he spent 12,000 hours in the backcountry with hundreds of boys. The kind of boys who hurt themselves and each other. The kind of boys who are on a direct path to prison. Or worse. But slowly, while sitting around the fire, Dan showed these boys how to open up and feel. And he did it by going first. Talking about being scared. Opening up. “It starts a chain reaction,” Dan says. “When one person opens up, it gives everyone else in the space the permission to do the same. It’s an act of courage.” Of course, boys grow into men. And as men grow older, they tend to grow further apart from everyone else. In other words, men need to talk to each other. And not just bullshit “locker room” talk about sports and sex, but about real things of consequence: how we’re handling our relationships, the things that scare us, what we’re ashamed of, what we’re proud of, our failures and dreams. “I went to my first men’s group in 2009 and it fucking blew my mind, and I just knew that I needed it in my life,” Dan says. Men’s groups have been around since the ’60s and are like any other type of gathering in that there’s a set time and a structure. But mostly it’s guys sitting around in a circle, talking with one another about their lives: the good, the bad and everything in between. “I didn’t even know what a men’s group was,” Dan says. “Some German dude at a dinner party invited me to his group, the Brotherhood NYC. So I went. At that point in my life, I was feeling lost. But after that very first group, I knew I needed to keep coming. And I knew I needed to start something of my own to spread the message.” It would take him a decade. 102

After leaving his job as a wilderness guide in 2010, Dan became a producer and director of the hunting show MeatEater on the Sportsman Channel. Eventually his passion for men’s work got in the way of his actual work. When his son Duke was born in June 2016, it inspired Dan to take action. “I want Duke to grow up in a world where he can be himself fully,” he says. Five months later, he started Evryman with his friends Sascha Lewis and Lucas Krump and his mentor, Owen Marcus. Evryman’s first retreat took place in December 2016 at Race Brook Lodge, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Twenty-five men attended. Since then, nearly 1000 guys have either joined Evryman men’s groups or participated in one of its retreats. Evryman wants to “get a million men in men’s groups all over the world,” Dan says. It supplies men with the tools and the structure they need to start their own group in whatever city they’re in. “Rather than focusing on what it means to ‘be a man, like it’s some kind of checklist, we’re trying to teach men how to connect to their own experience,” he explains. “Because it’s only when you fully connect to your own experience and allow yourself to be vulnerable that you can truly connect to others.” Or, putting it another way: “There are as many ways of being a man as there are men on the planet,” Dan says. “We’re just trying to give them some tools.” Whether or not guys want those tools is another story. It can be a tough sell to get men together to talk about their feelings. Especially if they have to shell out a couple grand to go on a retreat. However, other organisations, like Junto and the ManKind Project, offer similar retreats, so the movement is growing. “Some men resist the idea of talking about their feelings and will avoid it at all costs,” says Edward M. Adams, president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, a division of the American Psychological Association.

In the ’60s and ’70s, a whole nation of baby-boomer men started to grapple with their own repressed emotions, just as the women’s liberation movement was picking up steam. In order to support women – and support themselves – men needed to do a new kind of work that had nothing to do with physical labour. And so began 50 years of trying to define masculinity, with everything from drum circles and sweat lodges to “character stories” built around Jungian archetypes (or the “mythopoeic stage” of human thought). It’s an old topic with a new urgency. Adams believes that men right now are at a “danger point”. “Without connection to each other, men tend to lose their sense of identity and their sense of compassion for themselves and others,” he says. “But some guys think this kind of work sounds too soft and not manly. They think they can handle it on their own.” I can relate. I’m luckier than most guys. I’ve had a best friend, Jason, for more than 20 years. I’ve had mentors who have challenged me to grow and learn. My dad kissed me and hugged me and told me he loved me. My long-term partner of ten years – a wonderful, intelligent, beautiful woman – pushes me to grow and to love. Staring into the eyes of another man, talking about my deepest emotions, and blubbering like a baby is near the bottom of my to-do list, right around “punch myself in the balls”. And yet, if I’m being honest with myself, I do crave more connection in my life. I can be self-centered and callous. I can get wrapped up in appearances and become overbearing – talking over people, interrupting and manipulating situations to get what I want. I’m not proud of it. Maybe I do need to connect with other men more often. But will doing it with strangers help? We stand. Dan gives me a hug and starts to walk out the door, phone in hand. Wait, I say. What about the article? Can I join the retreat and write about it? He looks at me. “Yes,” he says. “But you can’t just be a fly on the wall. You have to jump into the shit with the rest of us.”

Eight of us sit in a circle. It’s Day 2. The midmorning sun shines brightly, but here in our rocking chairs, we’re shaded under the roof of the porch. Against the wall a pile of wood sits with us, neatly stacked, 25 across and 13 high. Fuel ready for a fire. This is our “small group”. There’s Chris, an antiques dealer; Bob, an IT guy at a large community college; Foster, an executive-





NATE GREEN, 33, THE AUTHOR. February 2019 103

leadership coach for Fortune 500 companies; and Kris, a former talent agent who left his company and is going back to school for his MBA. There’s also Craig, a former police officer who now installs sensory-deprivation tanks; another Chris, who works at a food co-op; and Blayne Doty, Dan’s dad. The rest of the guys are scattered around the house in their own groups. For some, this is their second retreat with Evryman. Others are first-timers like me. The purpose of this is to give each man time to open up and space to be seen and heard. If all goes well, we’ll end the session with our “work statement”, a short sentence that captures what we need to work on for the rest of the trip. It will become our personal mantra. Each man gets 30 minutes to become the focus of the group. But it’s not just idle conversation. There’s a process to get us out of our head and into our body. Step 1 is to slow

down. Step 2 is to feel what you’re feeling, both physically and emotionally. Step 3 is to share. Easier said than done. Craig, the former police officer, kicks things off. “I’m grateful that I can spend time with you guys. I get the sense that you don’t know my story, so I want to share that quickly. “At the expedition last year, we sat in a bigger circle with everyone. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but when it came time for me to talk, I just fucking . . . exploded.” Craig tells us about his life leading up to last year. He had an emotionally distant father. Craig cheated multiple times on his first wife. He tells us about the terrible things he saw as a cop. “Shit you can’t unsee.” “During last year’s retreat, the rage I felt was unlike anything I’d ever felt in my entire life. I was shaking and screaming. I had no idea this shit was in me. It scared people.” After the yelling and the crying and the


That evening, after three hours of rafting

Stand a couple of metres away from another man (to start, preferably someone you know) and look into his eyes. It will be uncomfortable. You will want to laugh or make a joke or look away. Fight those urges. Stand there for a full minute, without speaking. Then take turns finishing the following sentences:

Class III rapids on the Gallatin River – an activity that pushed us to communicate and work as a unit – the entire group is gathered in the living room, where a large fire crackles in the corner. Tomorrow we go into the woods. Dan speaks. “This circle is gonna close out the first phase of the trip and prepare us for Phase 2. I’m feeling the love and the presence of every man in here. Let’s share our work statements.” One by one, we share the sentence we need most right now. The thing that will serve as our compass while in the woods.


“If you really knew me, you would know that  . . . ”


“The most painful thing in my life right now is . . .”


“The thing I’m most proud of is . . . ”


“The thing I’m most grateful for is  . . . ”


“The thing I most want to accomplish in life is  . . . ”

“When you let yourself have a true connection with another man, a deep part of you wakes up and comes online,” says Dan Doty. “It’s a ‘holy shit’ moment that gives an opportunity for your compassion and humanity to shine through.” 104

purging had stopped, Dan had instructed Craig to stand up and walk around the circle of men. “He wanted me to look them in the eye one by one so I could see the support surrounding me.” But Craig could barely meet their gaze. “I was so ashamed,” he says. “But I locked eyes with a guy across from me and the love pouring out of that man changed everything. It gave me permission to forgive myself.” And just like that, Craig’s story starts the chain reaction Dan talked about. One guy opens up and everyone else has permission to do the same. Foster talks about his son, how he lost him for eight years to a methamphetamine addiction before he got clean. “He taught me about what I can control and what I can’t. I put him out on the streets knowing he didn’t have a place to go. I still feel pain from that. But it was the right thing to do.” Chris the antiques dealer talks about his father and his daughter. “My dad taught me that crying was for little girls. I was taught to never show emotions. Now I get inspiration from my four-year-old daughter. She has so much passion and fire and heart. I see my younger self in her.” I open up about what it was like to grow up poor. I talk about how I barely graduated from high school and didn’t make it to uni and how that made me try so hard to be successful. At some point, I realise tears are running down my face. “I always feel like I have to perform,” I say. “I feel like I have to do whatever I can to impress you and to be accepted. I want to know what it feels like to stop trying so hard and to just be okay being myself.” After I finish, Bob looks at me. He reaches over and touches my knee. “Nate, you don’t have to say or do anything to fucking impress us. We all see you and accept you as you are.” It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.



I have to do whatever I can to impress yyou. I want to know what it so hard and to just be okay being myse “I honour my needs.” “I feel loved.” “I’m sad, afraid and angry.” “I need to let go.” “I have feelings.” “Turn down the heat.” “I’m proud of myself.” “I go toward the fear.” Mine is “Don’t try.” The words float into the centre of the room and break open in front of everyone.

In the woods, there are burned trees next to new ones. There are distant mountains. Patches of snow. Grizzly bear tracks. One day I count 37 mosquito bites on my arms and back. Conversations are overheard, joined, then abandoned. “The best porn is when the girl actually gets off and has a crazy orgasm, right? Or when two girls use a dildo at the same time?” “Shitting in the woods is complicated. You have to start making moves when you’re at a six or a seven on the ten scale. You really gotta plan your shits out here.” What do you expect? We’re guys. But the chitchat about sex and shitting is tempered with real talk. We ask questions. We learn about one another. Luke, a business-systems consultant, lost his wife to breast cancer; now he has a son to raise on his own. Cody, a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, lost a little girl to the water. He got her out but she died the next day. A man from the city and a farmer talk about transgender rights. A group of us reevaluates our past sexual behaviour and how we treated women. Some guys have clear consciences. Others do not. Every evening, we sit around the fire and watch the flames lick the wood. We sleep under the stars, talking to each other like kids at a sleepover. Every morning, we piss in the woods, pack up camp, eat breakfast and start walking. It’s day 4 of the retreat and Andrew from Alaska is sitting on a log, crying intensely. I walk over to him and put my hand gently

on his shoulder. We sit together. “I’m not ready to be a father,” he says in between sobs. Andrew tells me that he and his wife are adopting her sister’s kids. Their father died and their mother is not in a position to take care of them. They need a family. They need a dad. It’s the right thing to do. And so they’re living with Andrew. “I’m so scared I’m going to fuck them up,” he says. He’s crying so hard he’s shaking. The violence surprises him. “What’s happening?” he says. “I need to lie down.” I help him to the ground. He’s shaking so much he can’t control it. A few other guys come over. One bends down and grabs Andrew’s ankles. Another touches his arm. Dan walks over, bends down and puts his hand directly on Andrew’s chest, palm open. He speaks in a quiet but firm voice. “You’ve been holding this shit in so long, Andrew. Let yourself feel it. We’re right here.” Andrew lets out a small yelp. His face is wet with tears. I look at the faces of the other men around me, their eyes soft and watery. We sit there and let Andrew cry. I feel a deep sense of what I can only describe as love wash over me, flooding every part of my body. After a few moments, Andrew starts to get his bearings. “Thank you,” he says. “Thank you.” His crying turns to soft laughter. “Holy shit,” he says under his breath. Later, on the trail, I catch up with Dan to ask him what happened. “Andrew’s been wound so tight, but being out here in nature with us opened him up,” he says. “He’s likely never allowed himself to feel that deeply.” I look behind us. Andrew is walking up the trail, smiling and looking off into the distance, his arms swinging freely. Like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Our last night in the woods. Around the fire, Dan asks us if we know what a drip torch is. “A drip torch is a handheld fuel tank with a long spout, filled with a mixture of 30 per cent gasoline and 7o per cent diesel,” he says. “Wildland firefighters use drip torches to ignite prescribed burns. They walk around and drip flaming liquid

on the ground to start fires on purpose.” These small fires have two objectives, Dan explains. They influence the behaviour of larger, more destructive fires and stop them . And they remove round and start a new phase of natural growth in an ecosystem. Sometimes the best thing you can do – for yourself, for the people you love, for the world – is to walk around and start your own fires. To talk about how you feel, express your emotions. Sure, it takes courage. But if you let it do its work, the fire will help you grow. Over the past few days, I’ve learned some things about these guys that their closest friends and family members are not aware of. I know what scares them. I know what excites them. I know what keeps them up at night and what keeps them going the next day. They know me better than some of my best friends. As the sun starts to set behind the mountain, Aaron, the former Green Beret, speaks. “Guys, sometimes I feel like I’m running on one cylinder. But right now, we’re a well-oiled machine. We’re running on all cylinders. We created this engine. So let’s harness all the power, love, acceptance and gratitude we’ve experienced and let’s take it back into the world. Let’s take this love back into our relationships, our jobs, to the strangers we meet and into our communities. Let’s make this world a better place.”

The day I get out of the woods, my girlfriend of ten years breaks up with me. I did not see this coming. We sit on the couch and talk for three hours. She tells me that for the past year she’s felt like she’s had one foot in and one foot out of the relationship. I tell her I have so much love and respect for her. I tell her I support her completely. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. She will later tell me that that conversation was the most open and connected she’d ever felt with me. A couple of hours later, I get a text from Charlie, one of the guys from the retreat. I tell him what happened. He responds immediately: “I’m sorry, man. But I’m pumped for you. Take care of yourself for the night. I’ll be there tomorrow.” I turn off my phone, sit on the couch, and do what Dan taught me: I check in with myself. I close my eyes and breathe deeply. I allow myself to feel my emotions fully. I allow life to move through me. The tremors come. The tears flow and I can taste the salt in my open, smiling mouth. writes about health and fitness. His website is NATE GREEN

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Soft Drink

Belly Diet

Yes, fizzy drinks are expanding your waistline, destroying your health and rushing you toward an early death. No, switching to diet won’t work either. Here’s how to finally quit your habit for good BY MICHAEL FREIDSON


Everyone wants that one life-changing moment. I had mine three years ago. No, my wife didn’t leave me. I didn’t win the Powerball and quit my job. My life-changing moment had to do with something seemingly insignificant, something that might be in your fridge right now: soft drink. Giving up the fizzy stuff changed my life. In fact, I’m convinced that quitting soft drink extended my life, shrank my waistline and made me happier. You maybe already know soft drink is bad for you, but you might not know just how bad. Either way, that’s not the same as giving it up for good.

February 2019 107

“Average waist circumference increased almost four times more in daily diet-soft drink consumers. Think about that the next time you pop the lid”


compared with nonconsumers, people who drank soft drink or other sugar-sweetened beverages gained an extra 200g of visceral fat. This means you can go from your lean, slim self to carrying around fizzy drink-induced fat rolls just by drinking a daily soft drink, sweetened iced tea or fruit punch. Yes, just one a day. The world has a Soft Drink Belly Epidemic. This is the case for the cure. IT’S NOT ONLY YOUR waistline that’s at

risk if you’re a soft drink swigger. “Two sodas a day DOUBLE the risk of heart disease,” screamed the Daily Mail recently. Dubious of tabloid claims, I called one of the researchers. “Two sodas a day appears to double your risk of dying from heart disease,” says Dr Jean Welsh, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University. “And it was just the drinks. We looked at sweet foods, and there was no similar effect.” She believes that’s because the sugary foods have fat, protein, even some fibre, which changes how they metabolise, “versus the beverages, which tend to be just sugar and water”. Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio back in 2008 linked a person’s risk of obesity to their diet-soft drink intake. Compared with people who don’t drink artificially sweetened beverages, here’s what daily intake means: ▶ Those who drank more than 3 of these drinks per day were more than twice as likely to become obese in the next 7 -8 years. ▶ This was true even after accounting for the study participants’ original BMI, exercise levels, age, race and diabetes and smoking status. ▶ Weight gain was even more striking among men. In 2016, UTHSC followed up and found that participants’ waistlines increased . . . ▶ 2.03 cm among people who didn’t drink diet soft drink ▶ 4.63 cm among participants who drank some diet soft drink but less than 1 diet soft drink a day ▶ 8.02 cm among participants who drank 1

or more diet soft drinks a day So average waist circumference increased almost four times more in daily diet-soft drink consumers than in those who abstained, over a decade of follow-up. THAT’S A PRET T Y REMARK ABLE set of

stats. You don’t have to guzzle extra large Cokes from Maccas to put yourself at risk; you just need to indulge in one or two cans a day – even if it’s the diet stuff. The effects go beyond getting fat. A study in Epidemiology found links between a sugar-sweetened-soft drink-a-day habit and infertility. Another study, from the University of Melbourne, found that drinking regular soft drink can increase your risk of certain obesity-related cancers, such as liver and prostate cancer. Yet another reported that sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to “diabetes, high blood pressure and other endemic health problems,” according to a press release from the Endocrine Society. Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was the senior author of the study that generated one of the most shocking headlines: “Sugary Drinks Linked to High Death Tolls Worldwide”. In 2015, he and other Tufts researchers calculated that 184,000 adult deaths per year worldwide were attributable to sugarsweetened beverages, due to diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. And no, it doesn’t matter if the sugar in the beverage comes in the form of organic cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. I asked Mozaffarian recently how far we’ve come since then. “It’s still a massive global problem,” he says. “We published an investigation last year on the health risks of food and beverages in the US, and soda was still in the top five of food priorities in improving health, particularly for obesity and type-2 diabetes. “There’s simply no reason to drink sugar in water,” he continued, but people still do it. “I’m often asked if diet soda is okay. Compared to what?”


As a kid in the 1980s, I grew up in the suburbs with a fridge full of Welch’s grape soda. I drank Orange Crush, Mello Yello, Dr Pepper and the rest of the brightly hued, syrupsweetened rainbow. My drinking habit continued into uni, where I powered through hangovers and all-nighters not with coffee but with Diet Coke, and slept with 2-litre bottles of orange fizzy drink by my bed in case I needed a nighttime nip. One of my happiest days, besides the birth of my child, was the introduction of Coke Zero, a kilojoule-free beverage that tasted like the real thing – in a cool black can, marketed toward men. Sold! (Soft drink manufacturers want you to think that some varieties are healthier for you than others. They’re not. More on that later.) Too ashamed to keep 2-litres by the bed after I married, I had cases of cans delivered to my work office. I bought myself a Coca-Cola mini-fridge (and one for an employee). And if you Google Image-search my name, you’ll find a photo of me at my desk with a 2-litre bottle of Diet Coke and a can next to it. Despite knowing that drinking soft drink can contribute to weight gain – and the host of conditions that are associated with it – many Aussie men are still in its grip. During most of my soft drink-drinking years, I was 10kg heavier than I am today and had high blood pressure. I felt unfocused, sluggish, bloated and depressed. You’d think that’d be enough for me to pinpoint the cause and quit soft drink forever. But it took a simple headline to seal the deal. This was my life-changing moment: “Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking”. That was the headline based off a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Dying from soft drink is one thing – scary, yes, but so far in the future that it’s hard to take seriously. But looking older from it? That’s a dealbreaker! I’m the lucky one; vanity is the least of the nation’s concerns. Experts blame soft drink for contributing to the obesity epidemic and the medical studies keep rolling in to prove the point. A 2016 Circulation study found that



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The author (left) used to drink a 2-litre and two 350ml soft drinks a day. That’s 5.8 full bathtubs’ worth a year. Let that soak in for a minute

THE EVIDENCE about why diet soft drink

isn’t a great choice is slowly emerging. Dr Dana Small, a neuroscientist at Yale, recently found that sweetness triggers how your body responds to food. “Sweet taste regulates the generation of metabolic signals,” according to her study, linking artificial sweeteners to weight gain. Another study, conducted by endocrinologist Dr Sabyasachi Sen, found that consuming low-kilojoule sweeteners may predispose overweight individuals to diabetes. How’s that work? In the study, as researchers increased the dosage of sucralose, more cells started to store fat. One explanation: cells have “transponders” that allow sugar to enter. Sugar that is not used is converted to fat. Artificial sweeteners ramp up this process. “Artificial sweetener is 600-fold more sweet than sugar, so the downstream effect is almost the same as sugar, which is essentially fat accumulation and fat gain,” Sen told me. “This may not happen immediately, but it will over a period of time.” “There’s very good evidence that if you’re going to drink regular soda, you’re better off drinking diet,” says Mozaffarian. “But diet soda by itself, is that better than drinking water or seltzer? Not at all.” This is because the sweetener tricks your body into thinking it’s consuming sugar. A 2018 study on rats found that artificial sweeteners may impair the body’s ability to process fat and generate energy, as well as damage cells that line blood vessels. More research is needed to prove an effect in humans. “Long term, drinking an intensely sweet drink with no calories can change taste preferences and unconscious desire for eating,” he says. “Will an apple taste sweet anymore? Will a carrot taste sweet anymore? If you have a supersweet soda, the natural sugars in foods won’t taste the same.” WHEN I GAVE UP all soft drink, diet included, and switched to green tea to help keep me caffeinated, I instantly began to think more clearly and have more energy. One month in, I noticed I could “cheat” more at mealtime and still lose weight. I realised my abs were more defined. Now when people tell me I look good for my age

(I’m 41), I don’t just thank my genes – I thank giving up soft drink. Okay, so this is anecdotal evidence, but experts back me up. Dr Kristina Ingeborg Rother, of the US National Institutes of Health and an expert on artificial sweeteners, thinks people see benefits from dropping fizzy drinks because their tastes adapt, and because of diet soda’s disruptive effect on their gut biome. “The bacteria that live on us and in us are actually very helpful to us,” she says. She delineated a study in which bacteria from obese mice were put into the guts of thin mice; the thin mice got fatter. Conversely, the obese mice, when given gut bacteria from the thin mice, grew thinner. A similar test was done with artificial sweeteners. “An Israeli scientist gave mice three different artificial sweeteners at a dose that humans can ingest,” she says, equivalent to four diet soft drinks a day. “The mice developed higher blood sugars. When their gut bacteria were transplanted into unexposed mice, they also developed higher blood sugars. Now, are humans like mice? It’s just plausible.” Rother’s next study may involve mothers ingesting artificial sweeteners; she will check the faeces of their babies to find out whether their bacteria changed. I GAVE UP SOFT DRINK to change my life

– and I’m not alone. In its heyday, consumers drank 185 litres of soft drink per person every year, the equivalent of about half a litre a day. That’s about a bathtub’s worth per person. Mozaffarian sees change coming – slowly. He cites the fact that PepsiCo is reducing sugars in its soft drinks globally. “In 10 years, we’ll look back on the way some sports stars and music stars now advertise soda to kids and wonder, What were they thinking?” Ultimately, the most effective way to bring about change may be by making soft drink uncool. After all, it was vanity concerning my sluggish, heavier self that made me give up my habit. Whatever your reasons for doing so, it’s time you make the commitment. The inspiration and information here can help you crush your soft drink habit for good. It’s easier than you think.

YOUR 5-STEP QUIT-SOFT DRINK PLAN It was challenging for me to ditch the soft drink, but it won’t be for you. That’s because I asked experts – from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University and Tufts University – to help me develop a plan for detoxing 1 Find a Replacement Rather than switch to diet, find a swap-in for the same elements that make cola great. For the fizz and the sweetness, buy a fruitflavoured mineral water. For the caffeine, try green tea, which is full of antioxidants. Dr Kristina Ingeborg Rother, of NIH, recommends water with oranges and lemon in it, like you’d find at a nice hotel.

2 Make a Habit Drink your replacements at the same time you’d drink your soft drinks – during that 2pm slump or at the movies. I’ve replaced my breakfast Diet Coke with Earl Grey.

3 Reward yourself right “If you want to reward yourself, go get a cup of coffee and put 1 teaspoon of sugar inside,” says Dr Rother. “That’s 16 calories (67kJ). If you want to have the soda, have the soda once in a while,” she adds. “Don’t be on a constant guilt trip. But stay controlled. Your brain will figure this out.”

4 Resist the marketing Every day, your resolve will be tested by new flavours, new commercials and new gimmicks. Don’t be fooled. The sooner you see those shiny cans as a desperate marketing tactic, the easier it will be for you to combat your cravings. “Awareness is first,” says Dr Jean Welsh. “Healthy behaviours follow.”

5 Take a sip, avoid a slip After six months off the stuff, try a taste of soft drink. It’ll be sweeter or more metallic than you remember. “I can’t stand the taste of soda now,” says Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, but he could be quoting me.

February 2019


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WHAT I’VE LEARNT ABOUT FATHERHOOD Jason Gillespie routed England at Headingley with figures of 7-37 and notched a Test double-century. Now part of Channel 7’s summer of cricket, he reflects on marathon net sessions with his dad and becoming a teenage father The quality that defined my dad was enthusiasm. That and generosity. I was a very sporty kid. Loved anything and everything to do with sport. But playing cricket was my favourite thing. Every Christmas, Santa would bring something new for the cricket kit. And whether it was Christmas morning or straight after lunch, I would hound dad to take me to the nets. When you become an adult you realise this would have been the last thing he’d have wanted to do. But dad would bowl to me for hours. He was brilliant at giving my brothers and me his time. My dad was very big on us boys respecting our mum. “Don’t talk back to mum,” he’d say. “Mum’s the boss.” It was the same with elders and all women – dad wanted us to show respect to everyone, really. I became a dad at 19. I was too young, to be honest. But my partner and I had a little girl. I was delivering pizzas at the time and trying to forge my way into cricket. It’s not something you plan but it made me grow up fast. All of a sudden, life’s not about you any more. The relationship with my partner

fizzled out pretty quickly. My daughter Saffy and I have a very different relationship to the relationship I have with my four children with my wife. We get along like a house on fire. We’re really close. But obviously, just through circumstances, it’s different. At the end of the day, you’re the father and not just a friend. Saffy’s 23 now. I suppose when we get together and have a coffee or whatever, we catch up like friends. But anytime there’s something going on and she wants advice or help, I’ll be fatherly, if that makes sense. I want my kids to make up their own minds on big issues. For example, I’m not a religious person by any stretch. When I was a kid there were times my parents would insist I go to Sunday School. They worked out pretty quickly that was something I wasn’t buying into and they gave up. But I vowed that when I was a parent I would never force religion on my children. That said, if any of my kids decided they wanted to go down that path, I would back them 100 per cent.

I’m the only vegan in my family. Again, I’m not going to impose that on them. If they ask me questions about it, I’ll answer them as best as I can. I’m not the bad cop at home. The nature of my work is that I’m away a lot, so their mum tends to be the one who’s doing the disciplining. When I come home the kids just want to spend time with me and enjoy it. And I’m the same. The last thing I want to do is be having arguments. Except for those times when you have to step in and remind them that certain behaviour won’t be tolerated. I’ve got no ambitions for my kids to be cricketers or sports people. All three of my boys bowl, but really they’re just enjoying hanging out with their mates on a Saturday. I wouldn’t say a spark’s been lit yet and I don’t know that it ever will be. Which is fine. I just want them to find their passion and, once they do, you support them all the way. That’s really what parenting’s about. Jason Gillespie is a Channel 7 commentator. Interview by Daniel Williams. February 2019 115



Unlike, say, a lawnmower, babies don’t come with a manual. You learn on the job. In the meantime, use this cheat sheet . . . and pray BY MICHAEL PICKERING


CHARADES? Children are

sponges. They pick up language without even trying . . . but when you really need them to use it, they won’t. Where does it hurt? What are you angry about? They can answer you, but why would they when they can also use a pleghmy, guttural, non-verbal, annoyingly repetitive whining? Translate that, dad.

02 // NITS ARE BASTARDS: Nits will be doing blow with cockroaches and herpes after the coming nuclear winter. And once they establish a beachhead in your kid’s hair, it’s war. To stop the incessant itching (oh, the itching), you will drop an obscene amount of money on Nit Out™ and a bunch of other targeted products that are useless against the sticky little effers. Best bet? Tea Tree hair conditioner and a nit brush, combed through repeatedly over three or four nights with warm water in the bath. Good luck, solider. Hope you make it back. 03 // Embrace teetotalism: Discover

this one on your own. There is nothing worse in this world than parenting with a hangover. NOTHING. Your half-a-bottle-of-red after dinner days are over, sport.


04 // Beware of

tooth fairy inflation:

Twenty cents for a lost tooth when we were nippers. Today, entrepreneurial kids must be tempted to knock their own infant teeth out given some parents hand out 10s and 20s. Insanity. Five buck limit, please.

M H D A D 05 // Hand sanitiser works: A children’s playground in the middle of winter. Twenty little terrors running around, their cute little red-tipped noses absolute factories of thick, runny snot, which they proceed to rub all over the equipment. Here comes your little one! Ready to swing his or her way into an horrific cold, or worse, which will eventually infect your entire household and extended family. This is when you understand why there is such a thing as hand sanitiser.

06 // Pull-ups are not keep-outs: The

evolution from nappies at night to nappy-free “big kid” is different for every child but usually involves a transition period where ‘pull-ups’ are worn. Thinner and more undie-like, pull-ups are not engineered with the same impenetrability as nappies. How do I know this? You never EVER forget cleaning a child’s bedding of runny brown liquid at 3am in the morning.

07 // EXPAND YOUR VOCAB: Eventually even you’ll tire of hearing yourself say “No!” and “Don’t!” A father needs new ways to prevent disaster. Try, “Are you sure about doing [insert dangerous thing here]?” No dice? Guess you’re back to “No!” and “Don’t!” then.

08 // THE BLOOD BIN: Kids are a Keystone Cops movie brought to life, tripping over, running into stuff and each other. The bad bit: waiting hours in the emergency room for a grumpy triage nurse while holding a compress to your crying child’s head. The good bit? Injured freaks you can people-watch. Yeah, on second thoughts, there are no good bits.

10 // BULLY AND THE BULLIED: The playground can be brutal. It’s horrible if your child is on the receiving end, but it’s arguably just as bad if they are the bully. Key things to keep in mind: stay calm. Most bullies act out of insecurity or frustration. Develop a coordinated approach between home and school which makes it clear the behaviour is not okay but incorporates empathy – would you like it if someone did that to you?

11 // THE TOY AISLE IS A TRAP: The mission is bread, milk, fruit and meat. Ten-minute whirl through the aisles, tops. The day is already behind schedule. But dammit, supermarkets now have toy aisles and if you mistakenly steer your trolley down one, that hit-and-run shopping trip is toast. Then there’s a fight. Then there are tears, embarrassment, possibly child services.

12 // TRY NOT TO BE A DICTATOR: Many men were brought up with fathers who ruled with an iron fist in “my home is my castle” fashion. Those dads are not fondly remembered. And while the last thing you want to be is a pushover, being a tyrant who consistently restricts, forbids and denies is evidence of a lack of imagination and most probably, self-control. Research alternative strategies, Adolf. 17 // Some medicine goes up the poop chute: Mothers once

mixed powdered aspirin with honey on a spoon to get it into kids when they were sick. These days kids’ medicine is raspberry and orange flavoured… but still the stubborn little buggers won’t take it. Panadol suppositories are a last resort; a saviour, in fact. You’ll need good aim, but sometimes it’s the only way. Warning: your kid will hate you afterwards.

13 // Hidden veggies are found veggies:

Sure, you can try to ‘hide’ veggies in a child’s dinner. Except that children are Sherlock Holmes when it comes to veggies and will find them, then imperiously ignore them. My advice: do your best and never stop trying. 14 // Meet the

red-eyed monster:

To show them anger and yelling don’t work, anger and yelling won’t work. Stay calm, stay in control (of yourself), and discover by trial and error the best techniques for dealing with the epic hissy fit. Distraction, ignoring, time out . . . it might be a combination of all and more that helps you overcome this most challenging part of being a dad.

18 // You teach when you’re not

teaching: “I believe that what we become

depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us,” wrote the great Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco. Alpha males tend to want to direct, to teach, to instruct, and that instinct is on steroids with your own offspring. But often what a child observes, as you go about doing anything from hammering a nail to reading a book or speaking with a friend, is just as important.

09 // Device advice: While we’re busy worrying about the amount of screen time kids have these days, we’re ignoring our own addiction to devices and its effect on our engagement with our children. Distraction by app increasingly means that while we may be ‘present’ with the kids, it’s low quality time. Tech expert Linda Stone coined it “continuous partial attention” and what’s more, kids know it. 15 // BILLY SLATER WAS RIGHT: Last year toymaker Mattel got the Melbourne Storm champion to play Barbies with his daughter for an ad campaign. Sure, the exercise was to flog more dolls but the message Slater also promoted is crucial: free-form play has been found to build cognitive reasoning, resilience and emotional regulation in children. A dad kicking the footy with his son or daughter isn’t too much of a stretch for him . . . a dad dressed in a bonnet, having a tea party is harder (for him) but no less vital.



This is the burgeoning, and frankly, fascinating field of research into the way DNA is altered by lifestyle choices, the environment and other factors. There’s increasing evidence a man’s lifestyle decisions before conception impact his kids, from drinking increasing the likelihood of sons who abuse alcohol, to stress predisposing the baby to high blood sugar. Bottom line: it’s not just women who need to get their pre-pregnancy health and fitness in order. 19 // Get your head right: Postnatal depression is welldocumented in women but research has also found many men experience depression within the first five years of the arrival of their child. This is the crucial period when attachments are forged. A depressed father can impact his child’s development including their behaviour, language and reading, and lead to depression in the child as well.

20 // Don’t attempt perfection: “The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man,” wrote American psychiatrist Frank Pittman. “The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.”

February 2019 117


Our guide to what’s happening and what’s new



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122 Get big arms and ripped abs


127 Are you CrossFit material?




128 Become a fat-burning machine



BREATHE, MOVE, RECOVER Think you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t test your limits with a spell in the water? Think again after this four-hour challenge DEAN STATTMAN


February 2019 119



XPT’s Breathe, Move, Recover Workshop Lab rat: 190cm, 79kg Workshop: Four hours Kilojoules burned: 3740 Max heart rate: 149bpm Average heart rate: 75bpm Resting heart rate: 41bpm


I’m anchored to the floor of a 1.5m-deep pool by the 15-kg dumbbells clutched in my white-knuckled fists. My mission is not for the faint of heart: crawl the length of the pool (25m) underwater, dragging the dumbbells with me. I’m halfway there, too, when I see the rest of my 10-person class head to the surface for air. I join them, releasing the weights and flailing to the surface, ears ringing, lungs burning. Before this drill, I was told that the gut-wrenching feeling of needing to breathe wasn’t death’s doormat. I could fight past any initial discomfort in my chest and stay underwater for at least a few seconds more, according to the trainers. So I lingered under the chop in the indoor swimming pool at Chelsea Piers Fitness in Manhattan to test that theory.


PART 2: MOVE UNDERWATER (ONE HOUR) Sure, I came up for air before completing my mission, but I felt a sense of accomplishment – and that burning in my lungs. Two activities into the four-hour workshop from Extreme Performance Training, better known as XPT, that’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel. The brainchild of surf legend Laird Hamilton and his volleyball-star wife, Gabby Reece, XPT bills itself as more than just another kilojouleburning, sweat-inducing fitness class. It wants to manipulate your basic human ability to adapt to stress, pushing your physical and mental limits – and amping your performance in the process. Everything about XPT is supposed to be uncomfortable, from that underwater pool drill (called a reptile crawl; see sidebar) to the freezing-cold ice bath (more on that later) to the structure of the whole class. Instead of hour-long sessions that tax your body but leave

plenty of physical (and mental) recovery time, XPT clinics are four-hour small-group workshops (listed online at that teach Hamilton and Reece’s “Breathe, Move, Recover” curriculum. As time-consuming as that may be, XPT is gaining steam: by next year, it plans to go from just 60 certified trainers to 300, a mobile app, and a retreat experience. XPT saw its informal start about a decade ago. That’s when Hamilton and Reece started inviting friends over for impromptu poolside workouts at their Malibu home, and it explains why so much of this takes place underwater. Hamilton, after all, famously carried large rocks underwater in his workouts and remains an icon of athletic longevity at 54. “The birth of XPT is about as organic as it gets,” says Josh Fly, an XPT-certified coach and one of three directors at this workshop. Not that I’m in the

water for the entire clinic. Before hitting the pool, I sit through an hour-long class on performance breathing, and this sets the tone for all the challenges that follow. You can fight the urge to breathe, XPT instructor Fabian Kuttner says, because that urge is not necessarily due to a lack of oxygen. When carbon dioxide levels rise in the blood, she says, haemoglobin continues to release oxygen, so your body has enough to extend your time under the surface past the point when you feel you need to breathe. The reptile crawl and another underwater drill, the ammo carry (see sidebar), challenge us to stay underwater longer on a single breath, exploring the boundaries of our lungs’ discomfort during XPT’s gruelling swim portion. After that, we hit a basketball court and a sand pit for 30 minutes of high-intensity

B R E AT H E , M OV E , R E C OV E R


PART 3: MOVE ON LAND (ONE HOUR) training. It’s the kind of boot-camp-style session we’ve all done before (nothing groundbreaking here), but as I go through the medicine-ball slams, high-knees, bear crawls and push-ups, I realise just how mental the pool challenges were, because now my body is barely tired.


By the time I’m done with that, I’m ready for the final hour of the workshop: the “recovery” portion. Sounds easy, right? But even here, XPT manages to push me to my limits. We wrap up the workshop by alternating 15-minute sessions in a 104°C sauna with three minutes in a 0°C ice bath.

The sauna, a travelling hot box that goes to all workshops, isn’t too bad, but the bitter cold of the ice bath drives a few people to hop out after just a minute. I stay in. Yes, it’s pure, excruciating pain. But after surviving the reptile crawl in the pool, I know my body can take just about anything.


Are you headed to the pool for a swim? Grab a training partner and challenge your physical and mental strength with these XPT drills




At the o o o he shallow end of a pool, set up in push-up position but with your legs floating, hands grasping dumbbells. Move the dumbbells forward one at a time, moving yourself as you do. Go as far as you can on one breath; do 2 sets.

AMMO CARRY Get in a pool, a light dumbbell in your left hand. Inhale, hold the dumbbell against your sternum and do an underwater breaststroke using only your legs and free arm. Swim as far as you can on one breath. Come up for air, switch hands and swim back. Repeat twice.

LESSONS FROM AN ICE SAGE An ice bath can help you recover from workout hell. Just do it the right way, says XPT instructor Josh Fly

“Find a bath that’s long and deep enough to fit your whole body. Fill it with enough water so that, with ice, it will reach just below your armpits when you’re sitting inside. Add two 5-kg bags of ice. (You want the tub to be between 0°C and 2°C.) Climb in feet-first, drop down onto your butt and then dunk your head. Bring your head back above water and settle into a comfortable position. Focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling deeply through your nose. It’s common to be caught off-guard by the extreme cold. Focus on things that calm your mind. Stay in for up to three minutes; when you’re ready to get out, dunk your head once more before leaving the tub.”

February 2019 121

THE SHORTCUT TO BIG ARMS AND A 6-PACK Make the start of 2019 count with a muscle-building plan that will swell your bis and tris and strengthen your abs in just 30 days. Why wait to hit peak physique?




In week one, complete Workout A twice (Mondays and Fridays), adding in Workout B on Wednesday. In week two, perform B twice with A on Wednesday. Repeat this format for weeks three and four. Workout A starts with a strength move, then leads into your three-part circuit. Take 45 seconds’ rest between circuit rounds in weeks one and two, then just 30 seconds in weeks three and four to keep progress steep. Let’s get to work.




(4 sets of 4-6 reps)

(3 rounds of 10-12 reps)

This deadlift variation is a sure way to fire up full-body strength. Standing inside the trap bar, bend your knees and hinge your hips, lowering your torso until you can grip the bar (A). Without rounding your back, stand up straight with the bar (B). Take two seconds to lower the bar. Rest for 2 minutes between sets. Once you’ve completed four sets, move on to your circuits.

Lie with your chest on a bench set at a 45° incline, holding two dumbbells at arm’s length below you (A). Keeping your elbows flared, pull the weights to the sides of your chest (B). Spend three seconds lowering the weights to feel your back and biceps working. After your first round of up to 12 reps, move directly on to the press without rest.







19 MIN











(3 rounds of 10-12 reps)

3 rounds of 10-12 reps

Set the bench to 30° and lie on your back. Hold the weights by your chest, elbows in and palms facing each other (A). With your feet planted, press up fast until your arms are straight, then squeeze your shoulder blades and engage your triceps to lower the weights over the course of three seconds (B). Complete your reps, then hold on – there’s one move left.

Prepare to smash away belly fat. Standing with your knees slightly bent, hold a medicine ball overhead, your arms extended (A). Bend forward at the waist and slam the ball on the floor 30cm in front of you (B). Let your arms follow through to avoid toppling. After at least 10 reps, rest for 45 seconds, then begin round two of your circuit.

February 2019 123





While Workout A began with a strength-focused exercise before launching into your circuit, in Workout B you’ll go all-out as you start with a cardio-based move that not only blitzes body fat but also builds your biceps. The greater kilojoule burn earned from the cardio will provide a growth-stimulating testosterone boost. Don’t worry – you’ll finish the circuit with an almighty arms pump, too.



1|| ROWING (7 rounds) This cardio move will ensure your body burns fat from the outset. Strap into a rower and grab the handles. Bend your knees, leaning your torso forward (A), then straighten your legs and pull the handle towards you (B). Row hard for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. That’s one round. Do seven in week one and add an extra round every week. Now, it’s time for your circuit.

2|| DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (3 rounds of 10-12 reps) For a higher kilojoule burn that will reveal your abs and work your legs, stand with two dumbbells on your thighs, knees slightly bent (A). With a flat back, hinge at your hips. Lower the weights until your hands are below knee level (B). Pause, then squeeze your glutes as you stand. Take on skull crushers without rest after 10-12 reps.




19 MIN











(3 rounds of 10 reps)

(3 rounds of 10-12 reps)

Build bigger arms by isolating your triceps in this circuit move. On a flat bench, hold a pair of dumbbells over your chest (A). With your upper arms perpendicular to the floor, bend at your elbows, lowering the weights to your ears (B) over two seconds. Without moving your upper arms, return to the start. After at least 10 reps, take no rest and move on to curls.

Your last circuit move will guarantee biceps growth. Stand with two dumbbells by your sides, palms forward (A). Your shoulders back, curl the weights up, turning your palms to your torso. Hold at the top of the curl, then rotate your forearms, so your palms face the ground (B). Lower to the start. When your arms are pumped, rest for 45 seconds before round two.

February 2019 125

Join the fun OF


Jump to it: CrossFit training could take your fitness to a whole new level.

LETTERS OF THE LORE Brush up on your acronyms – you’re going to need them. Use our lexicon to avoid any awkward nod-and-smiles at your first session


EMOM Every Minute On the Minute Used as a warm-up. For 10min, perform five pull-ups, pushups and box jumps every time the clock hits the minute mark.



BJO Box Jump Overs This one’s about lowerbody power and stamina. Jump onto a box, holding your land position for a second before jumping down to the other side. Do 3x10 reps.

CrossFit is known for its intense workouts, zealous fans and HD 8-packs. This is your pre-WOD primer 1

WHERE DO I START? A specialist box is your only serious option – CrossFit-inspired classes at your local gym don’t cut it. Dedicated spaces will have all the kit you need and tuition from informed trainers. Melbourne CrossFit Frankston, with Rob Forte, is an MH go-to. 2


WHO’S IT FOR? The ambitious. CrossFitters train to be complete athletes. Scaled workouts accommodate all abilities and ensure there’s always something to improve on. Feeling pigeonholed into bro-splits or bodyweight training? This will expand your horizons.


WILL IT GET ME RIPPED? “The CrossFit physique is pretty special,” says Rich Brockhurst of 3 Aces CrossFit. “But we’re not about six-minute abs. Your body should be a byproduct of what you do with it.” Combining compound lifts with killer cardio kit like the Airdyne bike strips fat and builds muscle – fast.


AMRAP As Many Reps As Possible Set to time, go until you can’t push any more. Try it with a pillar of any CrossFit workout: the burpee.

IS THERE A SIGNATURE MOVE TO MASTER? Start by nailing the ‘kipping’ pull-up, in which you swing your body back and forth with every rep, accelerating your momentum. With hands wider than shoulder-width, push your head forwards to begin swinging through your shoulders (A). As the force B sends you into a backswing, flex at your hips and pull your chest to the bar (B). Push away and arch your back to swing momentum into your next rep.



DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL KIT? Becoming better acquainted with a barbell will put remarkable pressure on your wrists. You’d do well to support them with some wraps ($20, during your first snatches and cleans. Especially if their previous conditioning extends only to over-vigorous right-swiping.

Wrap up to stop your wrists from wrenching. 6

WHAT SHOULD I AVOID? Impatience. Early on, CrossFit earned a reputation for poor form and injury. Expert coaching will minimise dangers, as will checking your ego at the door. “Respect the process. Don’t try to run before you can walk,” says Brockhurst. That ring muscle-up can wait.

WOD Workout Of The Day CrossFit workouts have names like Murph, which is a 1.6-km run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another 1.6km run.

February 2019 127

FUELLED ON FAT The ketogenic diet flies in the face of

nutritional orthodoxy. But following it could raise your game and shred your physique DANIEL WILLIAMS

When personal trainer Scott Gooding ruptured discs in his back in 2005, his instinct as someone steeped in exercise science was to find what he calls a “mechanical” solution: the gamut of physical therapies alongside targeted moves. But for seven years nothing worked, to the point where he came to feel like a fraud. “I was supposed to be a trainer, ‘the fit guy’,” he says. “But I could hardly do a push-up, hardly do a squat. And if I had to demo a burpee there’d be repercussions for days.” As a last resort, Gooding adjusted his diet to make it anti-inflammatory, cutting back or eliminating foods – mainly carbs like bread, pasta and rice, as well as dairy products – that can trigger an immune response. “I believe this gave my body the scope to repair itself,” he says. “In a matter of months I’d regained full mobility.” From there, it was a short leap for Gooding to embrace ketogenic eating, his latest contribution to which is The Keto Diet Cookbook (Hachette Australia, $30). In a chat with MH associate editor Daniel Williams, he puts the case for making friends with fat.

At a glance Expert Scott Gooding Age 42 Height 183cm Weight 84kg W Website reconditioned.m me


MH: Explain keto in a nutshell. SG: It means embracing a high-fat, low-carb protocol, which is a departure from the diet that doctors and nutritionists have been promoting since the 1950s. There’s been a lot of resistance, but it’s a diet that would be familiar to your great-grandparents and hunter-gatherer ancestors. It’s nothing new. Nothing weird. In many ways, it’s getting back to basics. MH: How high-fat is it? SG: About 75 per cent of your daily kilojoules will come from fats, leaving about 15-20 per cent for protein and 5-10 per cent for carbs.


butter. Dress your salads with macadamia, olive or walnut oil. Eat an array of meats, including fish, as wells as nuts in moderation. (See the next page for a day’s keto eating.) MH: You’re convinced this is healthy? SG: Look, you can do keto by eating absolute shit. “Dirty keto” is where you hit your macro splits to achieve ketosis, but you’re taking in all manner of unhealthy food. My advice is to build on a foundation of real food, and a big part of that is vegetables. Yes, they’re carbs. But net carbs is total carbs minus fibre. So kale, broccolini, brussels sprouts – you can eat those until the cows come home.

MH: Why do it? SG: Because the reduction in carbs will put your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. This flicks a switch that triggers a range of health-enhancing processes. Your body becomes highly efficient at burning fat. You have less inflammation. You’re more insulin sensitive. And keto will improve the function of your cells’ mitochondria, the energy-producing factories. The lens through which I see nutrition is cellular health. When that becomes your focus, everything else – weight management, improved wellbeing, extended longevity – looks after itself.

MH: Will going keto improve a guy’s training? SG: That depends. A high-fat diet might really suit guys who are into endurance events, be it swimming, cycling or running. Once you become an efficient fat-burning machine, you can perform at a high level for long periods and you could see some fantastic improvements in your performance. But keto doesn’t appear to help with training that requires explosive effort – CrossFit and the like. Guys into this type of training can play around with what’s called cyclic keto, which means bumping up carbs on your training days to 100-150 grams net rather than 40-50 grams.

MH: How do you get your fat? SG: Not through the cheap, highly refined oils – your sunflower, canola and vegetable oils, which normally sit in packaged junk foods alongside sugar. Instead, the foods that have been demonised over the last 70 years are in fact the ones you should be using for cooking: ghee, lard,

MH: Can it help with muscular definition? SG: Yep, by normalising your appetite hormones and insulin, it should over time get you to your optimum weight. It’s hard to overeat on a high-fat diet because it’s so satiating compared to a high-carb one.





• 2 Tbs coconut oil • ⅓ bunch kale, trimmed and roughly chopped • 2 garlic cloves, sliced • ½ Tsp chilli flakes • 2 eggs • ½ avocado, cut in wedges • 2 Tbs sauerkraut • Handful snow pea sprouts • Juice of 1 lemon • 1 Tbs olive oil • Sea salt and pepper, to taste 1




Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Add the kale, garlic and chilli, and saute for 4-5 min, or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 6 min (soft boiled). Remove the eggs, run under cold water and peel. In a large bowl, combine the kale mixture with the avocado wedges, sauerkraut, snow pea sprouts and eggs. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.


• 1½ Tbs allspice • 2 cm knob ginger, roughly chopped • 2 Tsp cinnamon • 3 garlic cloves, halved • 2 hot habaneros chillies, deseeded • 2 Tbs honey • 3 shallots, trimmed and roughly chopped • 1 Tbs dried thyme • 4 Tbs lime juice • 2 Tbs olive oil • 500g chicken thigh or breast fillet • ¼ bunch coriander, roughly chopped • Sea salt, to taste 1

2 3

Combine all the ingredients except the chicken and coriander in a blender or food processor and blitz for 20 seconds. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the chicken, coat it well and then marinate in the fridge for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Tip the chicken onto the tray and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Garnish with coriander and season again with salt, if needed.


• 1 Tbs ghee • 2 red onions, finely chopped • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped • 1 Tbs harissa • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 Tsp cumin • 1 Tsp ground ginger • 1 Tsp smoked paprika • 1 Tsp sweet paprika • 500g diced lamb shank • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes • 1 cup beef broth or stock • 1 bay leaf • 2 red capsicums, deseeded and chopped • Handful kalamata olives, pitted and halved 1



4 5

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the ghee. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the harissa and spices and stir for 1 min. Add the lamb, stir to ensure it is coated in the spice mixture, and cook until browned. Add the tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, capsicum and olives. Reduce heat to low, pop the lid on and cook for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid; simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

February 2019 129



What kind of metal should you be stacking plates with for a better body?


IF YOUR PURSUIT of a solid physique begins and ends with heavy lifting, you’re missing a trick. It seems that incrementally increasing the weight on your barbell will only get you so far. In fact, it’s the metal on your dinner plate that could make the difference. And that means copper, which new research from the University of California has found plays a crucial part in fat metabolism. Until now, iron has been the metallic dietary focus of athletes, thanks to its part in building red blood cells, transporting oxygen to your muscles and providing Arnie with something to pump. But not only have scientists found that copper is vital for adequate iron absorption, this


mineral also converts body fat into a useable source of energy. And the effects are cumulative, too: “The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down,” says study author Chris Chang. While iron deficiency is fairly rare in healthy men, an estimated three-quarters of us fall short of the ideal copper dosage. Sesame seeds are one of the top sources, so try adding a spoonful of tahini (a Middle Eastern paste made of the pulped seeds, and an essential ingredient in hummus) to your post-workout shakes in place of the usual peanut butter. Okay, you may still be enjoying the excesses of the festive season, but there’s no reason to let that tarnish your fitness goals.



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