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APRIL 2018 £4.10
GUTS AND GLORY: THE TOUGHEST RACE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF (P90)
LEAN HARD & FAST Build A 6-Pack In 1 Move Double Your Strength & Pack On New Muscle Run A 40-Minute 10K
RENEW YOUR LIVER!
With A Detoxifying Kebab p41
WAYS TO GET MORE DONE IN LESS TIME JOHN BOYEGA, 25, MADE IN LONDON, BIG IN HOLLYWOOD, BOUND FOR STARDOM
BLASTING BODY FAT OUTWIT STRESS TODAY!
Get Fitter And Happier p14
20-Page Athleisure Special Look Like You Mean Fitness
SHOULD YOU GO VEGAN?
Or Have Your Meat And Eat It?
04/18 HIT YOUR PERSONAL BEST
P18 THE GASTROPUB DIET PLAN
P43 CLASS WARS
P33 GO WITH YOUR GUT
You don’t have to cut back on flavour to slice through fat. Pass the piccalilli, would you?
Our expert argues that group gym sessions are not just for girls. Get to class, man
A reader’s digest of the best ways to optimise your gut health. Prepare for some innard peace
P20 YOUR BEST SHOT AT ABS
P76 LEANER, FASTER, STRONGER
P38 COMBAT AGEING
Fire up your metabolism and give your core both barrels with our pistol squat upgrade
Hit a trinity of physical goals in days. More gains; less of a drain on your time
An ex-Gladiator tells you how to get stronger and healthier at 40. Contenders, ready?
P62 JUST DESSERTS
P90 THE MASOCHIST’S MARATHON
P61 A STROKE OF LUCK
Sleep tight and burn calories in bed with a sweet late-night treat found in your kitchen
We chase after the men vying to complete a race that only 14 others have managed
Find out why a perfectly poured St Patrick’s Day pint is just the tonic for a stout heart
8 MEN’S HEALTH
P29 LIFT YOUR SPIRITS
P22 NEAR EASTERN PROMISES
P35 A SMARTER WATCH
New research proves that pumping iron is better at crushing anxiety than pill-popping
Your guide to cooking a Levantine feast full of benefits. No elephant legs included
All the fitness tracking you could ever want – just in a much sharper package
P98 WELCOME TO DIGITAL REHAB
P27 COLLISION COURSES
P46 KICKS FOR LIFTS
Our man goes to smartphone chokey to find out how the real tech addicts get unplugged
Breakfast or dinner? We chew over the facts to find the best meal for your body
Our pick of the best new training shoes designed to make a heavyweight impact
P138 MAKE WORK A DOODLE
P37 NEW DINNER PLANS
P107 URBAN ACTIVE
Why nonsensical scribbling in meetings is key to increasing your professional focus
You only need a few ingredients and one pan to fuel your recovery with our carbonara
How and when to bring the latest haute sportswear into your everyday wardrobe
IN THIS ISSUE ALL YOU NEED TO EXPAND BODY AND MIND
ON THE COVER P14 OUTWIT STRESS Zen for men in the real world. Mindfulness apps be damned!
P41 RENEW YOUR LIVER Skewer the impact of a few too many on your way home
P50 BLAST AWAY BODY FAT From Peckham to Hollywood via Tatooine – John Boyega has the galaxy at his feet
P70 GET MORE DONE How to be productive at work when you’d really rather not
P84 SHOULD YOU GO VEGAN? Simple recipes to give your eating plan some flex appeal
P107 ATHLEISURE SPECIAL Stay on track with 20 pages ooff the most versatile sports-luxe xe looks for the coming seasonn
PHOTOGRAPHER PATRIK GIARDINO STYLING JASON REMBERT STYLING ASSISTANT KIRSTEN MCGOVERN T-SHIRT CALVIN KLEIN JEANS G-STAR WATCH BVLGARI
A trending hallucinogen is taking over Silicon Valley. Could your mind benefit from a health trip?
THE EXPERT PANEL ADVANCE YOUR PROGRESS AND TURN YOUR GOALS INTO GAINS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF OUR SIX WELLBEING AUTHORITIES
THE GREEN PARTY
CUT THE CORD
DR WILL LAWN
Follow Nike coach Fearon’s acceleration-sharpening cheat sheet to see both your speed and stamina take a momentous leap p76
The hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca has grown popular among explorative health hipsters. Dr Lawn decodes its effects p64
Our digital fixations are a threat to our health, warns addiction specialist Burgess. But is it too late to unplug and reboot? p98
TOBY WISEMAN DEPUTY EDITOR
EDITORIAL BUSINESS MANAGER
COMMISSIONING EDITOR (PRINT AND DIGITAL)
ASSOCIATE EDITOR (STYLE)
DEPUTY STYLE EDITOR
SHANE C KURUP
JUNIOR FITNESS EDITOR
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MANAGING DIRECTOR, MEN’S LIFESTYLE, HEALTH AND FITNESS
ALUN WILLIAMS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO MANAGING DIRECTOR NATASHA MANN HEAD OF MARKETING JANE SHACKLETON SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE PHILIPPA TURNER CLIENT DIVISION MANAGING DIRECTOR, BEAUTY JACQUI CAVE
MANAGING DIRECTOR, LUXURY AND FASHION JACQUELINE EUWE
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DIRECTOR OF MOTORS JIM CHAUDRY
CLIENT DIRECTOR, PERSONAL FINANCE JACQUIE DUCKWORTH
CLIENT DIRECT DIRECTOR, HEALTH AND SPORT NATASHA BAILEY
CLIENT DIRECT DIRECTOR, FASHION AND BEAUTY EMMA BARNES
MEAT VS VEG
TRAIN LIKE A TROOPER JOIN YOUR FORCES
With ‘flexitarianism’ on the rise, nutrition consultant Sexton chews over the benefits of a plant-based diet for part-timers p84
The PT who helped Boyega build bulletproof fitness for Pacific Rim Uprising shares his programme for all-day energy p50
Fitness classes aren’t just for girls: science suggests we should trust the wisdom of crowds. Trainer Chapman helps pool the facts p43
CHIEF AGENCY OFFICER JANE WOLFSON GROUP AGENCY DIRECTOR REGIONAL AGENCY DIRECTOR JONI MORRISS CLARE CROOKES HEAD OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT LUCY PORTER (0207 439 5276)
3 NUTRITION SPECIALISTS
9 UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS
8 LEADING CHEFS
2 CROSSFIT GAMES ATHLETES
7 MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
1 HIGHLINING DAREDEVIL
5 ULTRARUNNING MASOCHISTS
4 PRODUCTIVITY AUTHORS
1 AYAHUASCA SHAMAN
3 STYLE AUTHORITIES
AND ONE REAL-LIFE GLADIATOR
10 MEN’S HEALTH
HEARST DIRECT MANAGER, CLASSIFIED LUCY PENNY (0203 728 6247)
CONSUMER SALES AND MARKETING MARKETING AND CIRCULATION DIRECTOR REID HOLLAND
HEAD OF CONSUMER SALES AND MARKETING MATTHEW BLAIZE-SMITH
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THIS ISSUE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY… 11 PERSONAL TRAINERS
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MEN’S HEALTH IS PUBLISHED IN THE UK BY HEARST UK, A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF THE HEARST CORPORATION. 33 BROADWICK STREET, LONDON W1F 0DQ. TEL: 020 7312 3800. FAX: 020 7339 4444. COPYRIGHT © 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ISSN 1356-7438. MEN’S HEALTH IS PRINTED AND BOUND BY SOUTHERNPRINT, UNITS 15-21, FACTORY ROAD, UPTON INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, POOLE, BH16 5SN. DISTRIBUTION BY COMAG. PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR. CONDITIONS APPLY. FOR ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES, PLEASE CALL OUR ENQUIRY LINE ON 0844 848 1601, INTERNATIONAL +44 (0)1858 438794. BACK ISSUES, CUSTOMER ENQUIRIES, CHANGE OF ADDRESS AND ORDERS TO: MEN’S HEALTH, HEARST MAGAZINES UK, TOWER HOUSE, SOVEREIGN PARK, LATHKILL STREET, MARKET HARBOROUGH, LEICS LE16 9EF (0844 848 5203; MONDAY TO FRIDAY, 8AM-9.30PM AND SATURDAY, 8AM-4PM. CREDIT CARD HOTLINE: 0844 848 1601).
LIVINGG SMART STARTS WITH KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT
Doon’t regret your afterf hours munchies. Theyy ccould lessen alcohol’s iimpact p on yyour liverr
We’re all increasingly shackled to our digital mistresses. But just how dangerous is the affair? We sent a writer to tech rehab to find out
Hell is a place on earth: meet the ultrarunners attempting the punishing 100-mile Barkley Marathons
Our 20-page guide to the best of the new sports luxe landscape, where urban, street and tech fashions meet
ecently I was asked by an advertising exec how we go about choosing our cover stars. Is there a set criteria? How is the leading MH man defined? Are there measurements involved? Perhaps worryingly for my bosses, the questions threw me a little. The truth is there isn’t so much a science to it as an instinct. You don’t have to be able to deadlift a certain weight or fill a particular size of T-shirt. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re lean or hench or built to beat records. We tend to feature an unsystematic mixture of regular guys, athletes and celebrities – by which I mean estimable men who are recognisable to the public eye for having achieved something of note, as opposed to the more vapid sort. And – this hopefully goes without saying – we are categorically unswayed by
issues of colour or race. In short, there’s no legitimate reason why it couldn’t be you. The man on the cover just has to demonstrate that he’s made of sterner stuff than the average Joe. He may be nouveau LA royalty, the star of one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time, and have a certain Harrison Ford in his favourites list, but John Boyega hails from average beginnings. Born to British-Nigerian parents, he was raised on a south London council estate rather than cosseted in the Hollywood Hills. He didn’t train at the renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting; he learned his craft in Hackney. And yet, a happy combination of grit, wit, talent and determination has seen the soon-to-be 26-year-old
Make easy work of hard decisions by channelling your inner shirker. Our time-saving hacks are the short cut to success
Cutting down on meat needn’t mean rules and self-denial. Follow our recipes for a more flexible approach to plant-based feasting
transcend the barriers of class, race and geography to become a man who makes box-office tills ring. Put simply, men like John Boyega aren’t supposed to own Star Wars premieres, which is precisely why he warrants a place on the cover of Men’s Health. There are many moments in our exclusive interview that will endear him to the regular albeit aspirational reader: the struggle with the ‘thick’ body, the Krispy Kreme addiction, the love of computer games. But running throughout is a palpable, singular sense of confidence, seriousness and ambition that sets him apart. “A lot of people know how to work hard and for a long amount of time,” he says. “But working smart means [putting] your brain in the healthiest position so that […] it means much more.” John Boyega has got what he wants because he knows what he wants. Do you?
TOBY WISEMAN BSME EDITOR OF THE YEAR
MEN’S HEALTH 13
ASK MH LET OUR EXPERTS MELT AWAY YOUR ANXIETIES
GOD KNOWS I NEED TO CHILL, BUT MEDITATION APPS AND CANDLES DO LITTLE FOR ME. ANY SUGGESTIONS? NIGEL, CARDIFF
It’s true: being told to sit and be ‘in the moment’ by your phone is enough to test anyone’s patience. But don’t give up on mindfulness just yet. Its USP is that you can do it anywhere – so if you’re the restless type, why not try it with your trainers on? ‘Mindful running’ is a way of escaping your brain’s busyness by paying close attention to your breathing, pacing and technique. “Moving your body provides a distraction from stressful or negative thoughts,” says William Pullen, psychotherapist and author of Run for Your Life: Mindful Running for a Happy Life. Focusing on your senses is good for your mental health because: “It gives you this feeling that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed be doing. Your actions and intentions align, creating a powerful sense of relaxation.” There are performance benefits, too, of course. Whether it’s recognising the shooting pains in your shins or noticing that ache in your hip, being more alert to how your body feels will help you limit injury. Plus, well, you’re training. Adding a meditative element to your cardio could be the tonic to help you go the distance, not just as you run but in everyday life. Leave the phone behind.
THE BIG QUESTION
ZONE IN ON ZEN Skip the mental chore of trying to work out how to ‘be present’ with our easy mindful running hacks i/ KEEP COUNT Whether it’s your steps or the number of trees you pass, “Counting helps you hold concentration and keeps you in the here and now,” says Pullen. ii/ SAY IT AGAIN Pick a phrase related to an aspect of your run that you want to improve and repeat it. “Mantras are great,” says Pullen. “We can tailor them to our needs.” iii/ STAY POSITIVE When you feel like quitting, keep going. “Sometimes we think we’re tired but this can be more in the mind than the body,” says Pullen.
GETTING TANTRIC ISN’T THE ONLY WAY TO AVOID BURNOUT
TEXT A DOCTOR AM I NO ? NORMAL?
I’m finding my new traininng plan super-tough. Could it i be doing more harm than goood??
It’s normal for your musclees to be sore, but if they start too feel weak or swollen, that could be a sign of rhabdomyolysis. That sounds serious…
The breakdown of musclee iss serious, but also rare. If yoour mal,, urine is darker than norm that’s another symptom. But I love that burning feeling after HIIT. Should I be cutting back on my sessions? Just listen to your body. And be wary of anti-inflammatory painkillers masking soreness. Also, throw berries into your post-workout shake. The antioxidants will combat the oxidative stress harming you.
While it’s ’ normal for your restingg heart rate t bbe iin th 90b range, fitter fitt men are to the 60 60-90bpm usually at the lower end – so we understand why the numbers on your Apple Watch might worry you. First, question your sources: wrist movement can cause inaccurate one-off readings. Next, consider that coffee, insomnia and stress will send your heart rate soaring, too . “Stress fires up your sympathetic nervous system, stimulating the fight-orflight response, which in turn causes a release of adrenaline,” says Jim Pate, senior physiologist at the Centre for Health and Human Performance. While this is helpful when exercising, it’s no good when you’re at your desk and panicking about deadlines. To get a more accurate indication of your resting rate, Pate suggests checking your tracker in bed when you wake up. This gives you a number to compare against, so you can measure the effects of different tasks or habits. If you’ve eliminated all possible disturbances and your resting rate continues to climb towards 90bpm, see your GP. But our guess? Probably nothing to worry about.
I’M IN GOOD SHAPE, BUT MY RESTING HEART RATE PUSHES 80BPM. IS THAT BAD? JEFF, ROTHERHAM
So train smarter, not harder… Right. Intensify your workout gradually, and don’t skip your warm-up – and maybe make tomorrow a rest day, too.
WORDS: MICHAEL JENNINGS | PHOTOGRAPHY: GRAHAM WALSER AT HEARST STUDIOS
Dr Sarah Brewer, medical nutritionist
ANCIENT SOLUTION TO A MODERN PROBLEM My girlfriend wants us Q toare go vegan. I think there better ways to save the planet and still enjoy a burger. Is that OK? Daniel, Derby
It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle, circa 349 BC
TRACK RECORD How your daily tasks can affect the number on your wrist
2/ 2PM 1/ 7AM
3/ 6PM 0
1/ SLEEP LOSS A night’s bad sleep shouldn’t cause a significant HR spike. But if poor shut-eye continues all week, you may see an increase of at least 10bpm.
2/ WORK WORRIES Deadline stress can play havoc with your resting HR. It’s not unheard of for people in highly stressful jobs to have a rate of well over 100bpm.
3/ WORDS TO THE WISE Take a book for the commute home or set aside time before bed to read – and you can drop your resting HR by 10bpm. Reading this issue is a good start.
MEN’S HEALTH 15
EDITED BY TED LANE
STRIKE NEAR NE N EAR E EA AR RFWOM EA EAST EA AST AS S ST T OIL FAS FEASTS F FE E EASTS ADER S S STS ST
PAGE PPAAGE AAGE 37 22
WHY FITNESS W C SS S CLASSES AREN’T FOR O GIRLS PAGE 43
18 HUNT DOWN YOUTH LIKE A GLADIATOR PAGE 38
E M I T G N I R P S SCLE S MU
WHY YOGA IS TYING YOU IN KNOTS
18 0 2 L I R AP
TESTING 16 THE DO FUSS-FREE WATER PAGE 34 TRAINING FUEL PAGE 37
20 HEAVY TO 099 LSIFT QUASH STRESS
SKEWER ANY HANGOVER PAGE 41
MEN ME N’’S HE HEAL ALT LTH TH 17
02 FILL YOUR CHOPS
THE GASTROPUB NUTRITION PLAN New research suggests you don’t need to cut back on ﬂavour either to satisfy your cravings or to cook oﬀ kilos. Better pass that piccalilli
hen the vocabulary of modern dieting is dominated by carb-cutting, cleanses and fasting, it’s hard to believe that a little bit of what you fancy could ever be a short cut to sustainable weightloss. No, we’re not talking about ‘cheat day’ pseudoscience. Research into our brain cells, conducted by the University of Warwick, has discovered an internal motherboard for controlling hunger and appetite. And it can be hacked.
GO THE WHOLE HOG ON YOUR DIET PLAN TO CHIP AWAY AT EXTRA WEIGHT
18 MEN’S HEALTH
WEIGHTLOSS NEWSFEED 04/18
The study revealed that certain moreish foods can trigger your tanycyte brain cells, stimulating the feeling of being full. It’s news that should prompt a rethink of popular theories promoting restrictive diets as the route to a leaner body. Kale’s days, it seems, are numbered. Tanycytes are activated by the same receptors in your taste buds that sense savoury umami ﬂavours, and are triggered when your tongue detects certain amino acids. The two amino acids that work best are arginine and lysine, which are prevalent in foods such as pork, apricot, chicken and sirloin steak. So, far from being oﬀ the table, that gourmet pork pie you’ve been craving can rewire your internal appetite regulator. Not only is this tasty information, but the fact that you’ll speed up your weightloss as a result – without having to go hungry – is truly delicious. Forget tasteless starvation tactics and half-baked diets: it’s time you pigged out.
TELL HUNGER PANGS PORKIES We asked pie maestro Calum Franklin for his pastry ‘cutting’ recipe INGREDIENTS (SERVES 8)
• Shortcrust pastry, 1kg • Minced pork, 1kg • Bacon, 450g, diced • Dried apricots, 100g • Sage, 2tbsp, chopped • Salt, 5g • An egg yolk, beaten • Gelatine leaves, 6 • Chicken stock, 300ml • Dry cider, 50ml • Apricot juice, 50ml METHOD
1/ Preheat your oven to 180°C. Set aside a quarter of the pastry for the lid and roll out the rest. Line a non-stick tin with the pastry, leaving an overlap on top to join the lid. Chill in the fridge for 10min. 2/ Pack in the combined meat, chopped apricots, sage and salt. Seal with the rolled-out lid, making a hole in the top for steam to escape. Brush it with the yolk and cook it for an hour, then leave to cool. 3/ Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5min and boil the cider and juice until they reduce by half. Add the gelatine and stock to the cider, sieve it and then pour it into the pie. Let it cool for an hour, then get stuffed.
MENSHEALTH.CO S CO.UK
WORDS: LOUEE DESSENT-JACKSON | PORK PIE PREPARATION AND RECIPE BY CALUM FRANKLIN OF HOLBORN DINING ROOM HOLBORNDININGROOM.COM | PHOTOGRAPHY: ROWAN FEE
01 PASTRY CUTTER
01 STEP UP
YOUR BEST SHOT AT ABS BY SUMMER
Start by standing on top of the box, a kettlebell in each hand and one foot hovering over the edge. Lift the weights to your chin and find your balance.
Load up your core with the KETTLEBELL BOX PISTOL Kettlebell Box Pistoxxxt to SQUAT to blast away belly fat and trigger extra muscle growth. This one’s a banger
02 TAKE AIM Focus on a fixed point ahead of you to keep yourself steady. Now, with a straight back, bend your working leg and hinge at your hips as you sink into the squat.
20 MEN’S HEALTH
A GYMNAST’S RANGE OF MOTION
et’s face it, abs training is boring. Crunches are repetitive and planks are mind-numbing. Thankfully, this squat oﬀers a more fulﬁlling way to train your core, improving both your mobility and your arsenal of show-oﬀ moves. Plus, it’s achievable for any level of athlete. Without excellent range of motion, taking on a full-bore pistol squat will leave you staring down the barrel of a failed rep. But it’s the instability of this single-leg move that scores you the core activation necessary to carve out abs. The box is your workaround. Allowing you to sink lower into the squat, the box will help you engage your abs for longer without the need to open up tight hip ﬂexors ﬁrst. Plus, front-loading two kettlebells forces your core to work overtime to keep you upright, ﬁring more muscle ﬁbres for faster growth. Getting this right the ﬁrst time is a long shot. So aim low. “It’s best to start with smaller boxes and progress to higher ones later,” advises CrossFit Games alum and PT Marcus Filly. “The goal is to be in control of your movement all the way down – that’s what really engages your core.” Perform three sets of 10 reps per leg, three times a week, to build bulletproof abs before summer hits. Lock’n’load.
WHAT YOU’LL GAIN
03 BLAST OFF When your toe touches the floor, tense your core and glutes as you explode to the top of the rep. The more your core is engaged, the easier you’ll keep your balance as you rise.
04 RELOAD Once upright, perform another nine reps and swap sides. Allowing your legs to rest helps maintain your stability without ever giving your core a break. It’s about to go off.
THE BEST EXERCISE YOU’RE NOT DOING
WORDS: WILL ROWLATT ALLEN | PHOTOGRAPHY: PHILIP HAYNES | GROOMING: MEGAN KORIAT | STYLING: ABENA OFEI | MODEL: CHRISTOPHER WHITLOW AT ANDI PETERS’ MODELS | SHORTS FALKE.COM, TIGHTS 2XU.COM, TRAINERS ASICS.COM
03 QUICK-FIRE SIX-PACK
THE HEALTH SNOB’S GUIDE TO
Escape the monotony of Britain’s meat-andtwo-veg mentality with a pilgrimage to the spiritual home of ﬂavour. With these tips, Near Eastern feasting will redeem any staid nutrition plan. Allow us to enlighten you
01 FOOD OF THE GODS 0
The cuisine of the world’s religious crucible has long been renowned in gourmet circles for its punchy ﬂavour and top health credentials – packed, as it is, with a wide spectrum of vitamins, lean proteins and slow-digesting carbs. But you don’t need a Michelin skill set to beneﬁt. With Josh Katz of London’s Levantine fusion restaurant Berber & Q, we’re bringing the trend to your kitchen table. Let’s start with the four pillars of savour.
A BULGUR WHEAT
B CHICKPEAS Just a cup contains around 70% of your RDA of folate, a B vitamin linked to mood regulation and the reduction of depressive symptoms. Which – when you consider they’re in houmous and falafel – makes perfect sense.
C TAHINI An integral part of Levantine cooking, Tahini is no simple sauce. Filled with methionine, it raises sulphur levels in your blood, which speeds up liver detoxification. Useful after a night out, and far more palatable than a green juice.
02 BREAKING BREEAD No Near Eastern feast would be complete without its tear’n’share centrepiece: pitt tta bread. Combine 340ml of water, 20g of fresh yeast and an a pinch of sugar in a smalll bowl and mix until it froths. Transfer to a stand mixer (£430 kenwoodworld.com) and add 540g of all-purpose ﬂour and two teaspoons of ﬁne salt. Use the dough hook attachment on medium speed to create a ball. Knead the dough until it pulls away from
the sides and then transfer to a lightly ﬂoured bowl. Cover with cling ﬁlm and leave to rise for an hour. Divide d into evenly l sized db balls, ll rest for a further 15 minutes, th roll each ball ﬂat to then a thickness ness o of 0.5cm. Bake in an oven, preheated ted to full blast, using a pizza stone (£18 lakeland.co.uk) for three minutes until the pittas puﬀ up. Remove, leave to cool and resist the urge to eat them all with a pot of houmous before dinner.
D LAMB CHOP High in vitamin B12, zinc and iron, lamb is, in effect, a post-workout supp. It promotes energy levels, hormone production and protein synthesis, ensuring its plentiful amino acids go directly to your muscles. Rack ’em up.
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK ME M MEN EN NSSHE
WORDS: TED LANE | PHOTOGRAPHY: LOUISA PARRY | FOOD STYLIST: TAMARA VOS AT HERS AGENCY
This wholegrain staple contains nearly double the fibre of quinoa and 30% fewer calories. Bulgur will increase satiety and make sticking to your weightloss nutrition plan easier without you having to cut back on carbs. Go with the grain.
NEAR EAST FEASTS
03 SOCIAL L FEED Tap into the culture of collective tive eating and dish up four of Katz’s recipes as a buﬀet banquet, alongside de the pitta and spoonfuls oonfuls of Levantine ine dips (see below).. Researchers at Brigham ham Young University rsity in Utah found that sitting down to a family meal can help reduce e the mental stress and d anx anxieties of spending lon long hours at the oﬃce. Amen to that. oﬃ
TIME TO DOUBLE DOWN ON DIP
A LEAN, GREEN TABOULEH TABO TA BOOUL ULEH EH SSALAD ALAD AL AD SERVES 4 Bulgur wheat, wheat 60g Asparagus spears, 8 Broad beans, 200g A shallot, finely chopped Kale, 2 handfuls, shredded Walnuts, 80g, toasted Olive oil, 75ml Lemon juice, 3tbsp Pomegranate seeds, small handful Flaked salt, 1½tbsp
METHOD In a small bowl, cover the bulgur wheat with ith boiling water and soak for five minutes before draining. Lightly run a fork through the grain to fluff it, so that it doesn’t become clumpy. Set aside until cool. Blacken the asparagus – a great source of weightloss-supporting fibre – on the grill and chop. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Add a glug of olive oil and serve immediately.
B ANTI-STRESS ANTI-ST TRESS FALAFEL FALAAFE FELL BA BALL BALLS L S LL SERVES 4 Chickpeas, Chickpe peas, 220g, soaked Onion, ½ ½, finely chopped A garlic clove, minced Coriander, small bunch A green chilli, very finely chopped Cumin, 1tbsp, ground Plain flour, 2tbsp Bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp Salt, 1tsp White pepper, ½tsp Vegetable oil, 1L
METHOD Pulse the mood-boosting chickpeas in a food processor into a coarse crumb consistency. Add the remaining ingredients, including the anxietyrelieving cumin, and continue to pulse until it forms an evenly mixed green paste. Fill a deep pot with the vegetable oil and bring to 180°C over a medium heat. Shape the falafels into rounds the size of a golf ball, and deep-fry for five minutes until golden brown and crunchy all over.
Spread these power sauces on thick for a delicious short cut to a biblical health boost
HOU OU HOUMOUS Acco According to the Journal of Nutrition Jou Journ and FFood Sciences, people who snack peop on ho houmous are likely 53% less l to be obese than those who don’t. £2 ocado.com occa
BABA GANOUSH Aubergine contains Auber tthee phytonutrient ph p aand d an antioxidant a nasunin, which is nasun asu associated with assoc associ improved heart improv po functio u ct o and reduced function disease risk. diseas £2 ocado.com oca
LABNEH Like all cultured dairy foods, this dip is rich in good b bacteria and, as a probiotic, helps your immune system function. £4 melburyand appleton.co.uk
C CLEANSING WHOLEE CA CCAULIFLOWER ULIF UL I LO IF LOWE LOWE WERR SERVES 4 A whole cauliflower Raw tahini, 80g Shawarma butter, 40g A lemon, juiced Cinnamon, 1tbsp Sumac, 1tbsp Ground cumin, 1½tsp Pomegranate seeds, 2tbsp Pomegranate molasses, 1tbsp, watered down Parsley, pinch, chopped
METHOD Preheat the oven to 250°C. Trim the cauliflower leaves and cover in a pan of salted water. Boil for 10 minutes. While cooking, whisk the tahini with iced water until smooth. Combine the spices and butter in a blender and brush over the cauliflower. Cook in the oven for eight minutes. Plate up, pour over the tahini and garnish with the antioxidantrich pomegranate seeds and molasses. Sprinkle some parsley. Photographing for Instagram is encouraged.
D GET RACKED HARISSA LAMB SERVES 4 Cumin seeds, ½tsp Coriander seeds, ½tsp Green chilli, 6 Garlic, 2 cloves Garlic or olive oil, 100ml Coriander, small bunch Spinach, 100g, no stalks Granny Smith apples, 2 Honey, ½tbsp Natural yoghurt, 1tbsp Lamb chops, 4 Spring onions, 4
METHOD Roast the seeds and grind to a powder. Puree the chilli and garlic with the olive oil. Add the coriander and spinach and continue to blend. Next, add the apples and honey and pulse until you have a thick sauce. Mix this green harissa with natural yoghurt, coat the lamb chops and refrigerate for four hours. Grill the chops for three minutes on each side until charred but pink. Tuck in for the best-tasting muscle fuel this side of Lebanon.
MEN’S HEALTH 23
06 PAIN AND GAIN
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN...
I LEAVE THE GYM?
You may be a wreck of jelly legs and abdominal agony, but your post-workout protocol is a chance to maximise progress
04 THE AFTERBURN
01 LIFTER’S HIGH The post-workout buzz isn’t exclusive to those in running Lycra. Resistance training also causes muscle cells to secrete mood-enhancing endorphins and anandamide, which has a similar effect to THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. It’s your body’s reward system for keeping active. Over time, you’ll have to work harder to get the same high – so chalk up.
WORDS: TED LANE | ILLUSTRATION: PETER GRUNDY
WATER WORKS Rush from gym floor to office and, whether you shower or not, you’ll sweat through your suit. Cool down and dry off faster with an icy drink: when cold water hits your stomach, thermoreceptors signal your brain to regulate your sweat. Put your hydration on ice for 24 hours with a Chilly’s water bottle (£20 chillysbottles.com).
03 IN GOOD REPAIR Even before you’ve stopped sweating, your body has begun to repair itself. Training causes micro-tears in your muscles. In response, your immune system sends in stem cells and growth hormone, which work with amino acids to make new muscle fibres. Adding 30g of protein to your post-workout drink is optimum to support recovery and growth.
Exercise racks up an energy debt. To return to a state of homoeostasis (steady temperature, hormone production and oxygen levels), your body works overtime, expending extra calories in the process. If you work out at 70% of your maximum effort for 45 minutes, for example, you can increase calorie burn by 37% for 14 hours after your session.
05 KEEP ON ROLLING As fat burn subsides, your muscles continue to repair. Metabolic stress damages your muscle cell membrane and causes inflammation. This leads to DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, which peaks in pain up to 48 hours later. Roll with the foamies: 15 minutes of massaging your glutes, quads and hamstrings with a foam roller will ease your path towards progress.
SMART RECOVERY WILL PUT YOUR PROGRESS ON THE FRONT FOOT
MEN’S HEALTH 25
EARLY-BIRD YOUR VOCAL BENEFITS COACH
MH VERSUS BREAKFAST VS DINNER
Whether to front-load or back-load your daily bread is an argument as old as time. We serve up the nutritional stats on which plate to make your focus of the day
You can trick yourself into cutting calories by this much throughout the day by timing your eggs immediately after a morning training session n
The amount of fat you can burn in two weeks, while also supporting post-workout muscle growth, all by tucking into a hearty evening meal
University of Scranton
University of Munich DON’T SKIP ITT
Ditching breakfast for a lie-in lowers rs your stocks of the reward chemical dopamine, making an afternoon sugar binge more likely
Forgoin dinner to cut your calorie intake Forgoing causes a rise in cortisol, not only slowing your metabolism but also disrupting your sleep
University of Missouri
WORDS: ED COOPER | PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS | FOOD STYLIST: MATTHEW FORD AT HERS AGENCY
Lowers stroke risk
Stacking 700kcal in the morning and limiting your dinners to 200kcal helps you lose 2.5 times more weight than doing the reverse
Make dinner your largest meal and you’ll ﬁnd it easier to maintain muscle while dieting, resulting in a better overall body composition
Journal of Nutrition
Blood pressure spike Packaging BPAs
ENDORSEMENTS “After I’ve smashed a HIIT session ﬁrst thing, it’s important I refuel my body correctly with a proper breakfast”
“Fasting between 10PM and 2PM the next day has kept me in truly great shape for the past ﬁve years”
THE MH VERDICT: BREAKFAST WINS! The old adage rings true. While porridge can’t compete with T-bone for taste, the importance of breakfasting like a king to maintain a healthy weight and set the tone for beneﬁcial decisions throughout the day is incontrovertible. It pays to be a morning person, whichever way you slice it MENSHEALTH.CO.UK
MEN’S HEALTH 27
MIND S D NEWSFEED 0 8 04/18
A OIt’sI time to ggive yyourself a lift: sscience says a barbell is more eeﬀective at crushingg anxiety y tthan the usual doctor’s orders
WORDS: LOUUEE DESSENT-JACKSON | PHOTOGRAPHY: ROWAN FEE | *PLOS OS OONE
f the three million p people p in i the UK now wrestling g with w a diagnosable g anxiety a y disorder, only y a quarter are receiving g treatment. It’s a depressing g statistic. The Mental Health Foundation blames today’s y insular culture, especially y among g men,, which makes it diﬃcult for us to ttalk about our p problems. This culture is changing g g – but progress g is slow. T Thankfully, y according g to research p published in Sports p Medicine, e, there iis an alternative cure for those y yet to o open up, and it can be found at your y llocal gym. gy Scientists have discovered tthat resistance training g – be that a ccircuits cu ts class c ass o or cchest est sess session o – ca can a add muscle to y your mental health.
LIFT YOUR O BBURDENSS
STACKING MORE PLATES IS THE KEY TO RAISING YOUR SPIRITS
That at e exercise e c se boosts y your mood is no new cconcept, and for those simply y h having g a bad day, y it remains ap positive p prescription. p But what’s most striking g about this research is its suggestion gg that if y you’re struggling gg g with anxiety y or depression, p time spent p with a du dumbbell bbe in hand a d iss more o ee eﬀective ect ve tthan a medical ed ca ttreatments eat e ts suc such as p psychotherapy. y y Research has long g focused on aerobic exercise,, but tthiss iss o one eo of tthe e ﬁrst st stud studies es to shine a spotlight g on the cognitive g b beneﬁts of shifting g heavy y metal. A And d the t ee eﬀects ects do don’tt wea wear o oﬀ w with t y your post-session pump.. Resea Researchers c e s have ave also a so linked ed resistance training g to less shrinkage g of y your white matter – the tissue tthat connects and passes signals g b g between diﬀerent brain regions. T etwo of o nerve e ve ﬁbres b es can ca Thiss network g develop holes and lesions as y you age, p y leading g to degenerative g potentially co d t o s suc e e s. conditions such as Alzheimer’s. B But lifting g weights g twice a week can slow this process, safeguarding g g y your mental health both now and in i th the years to t come. In I short, h t if llegs day sounds like a mind-numbing prospect, it’s time to think again.
AALTERNATIVE LTERNATIVE M MEDICINE Need to get g things g off your chest? Try these activities for a happier, healthier mind
STICK IT OOUTT Group drumming d cl sses ccan be classes beatt away your stress t and d address dd the h immune responses in your brain b at the root off the problem*.
PAINT RELIEF Participating i i i in i art therapies h llike k sketching g can significantly g f reduce d anxiety llevels, l revealed e e led Northwestern o th este Memoriall Hospital.l
DOG DAYS According g to Frontiers o t e s in Psychology, y spending time with man’s best friend releases the powerful calming hormone oxytocin.
MEN’S HEALTH 29
NAIL YOUR GOALS, WHATEVER IT TAKES
THE BEST GYMS IN THE WORLD
At WIT Training, CrossFit progresses from box to boutique without losing any of the grit required to earn results. The coaching here is the best in Britain – get down and work hard
elieve it or not, this is basically a shop’s basement. Head up the stairs and you’ll ﬁnd high-spec training kit on which to blow a WOD’s worth of cash. That’s because the owners of WIT (Whatever It Takes) had a brainwave. They wanted to create a one-stop training space that seamlessly turns from shop into gym ﬂoor. Coaches can opine on shoe selection, while a sore wrist caused downstairs is easily rectiﬁed with a strap bought upstairs. A cool gimmick. The problem with gimmicks is you need to back them up. WIT does this emphatically, and it’s the coaching that sets this place apart. Having poured 10 years of experience into its workouts, head coach Gus Vaz Tostes guarantees you’ll leave WIT stronger, faster and more ﬂexible. Through technical sessions on gymnastics, weightlifting and endurance, plus metcon workouts that incorporate all three, you’ll be moulded into the complete athlete. “The metcon classes are where you progress and apply new skills,” he says. “The aim is to sweat, but you’re free to have fun and smash it.” Thrusters aren’t usually synonymous with fun, but surrounded by a menagerie of air bikes, barbells and glute-ham developers, you’ll ﬁnd the itch to get stuck in irresistible. It’s a diﬀerent approach to ﬁtness. You may come to lose your belly, but at WIT it’s about what you can gain. Work towards a fun, technical goal such as handstand walks and fat will melt away anyway. But don’t stop there. “Here, there are no limits. You can always improve,” says Vaz Tostes. Challenge accepted.
30 MEN’S HEALTH
SNEAK ATTACK Complete 10 thrusters, 10 burpees and burn 10kcal on an air bike as quickly as possible, repeating for 10 rounds. Don’t go out too hard, though. Any workout that requires 100 burpees will burn.
LEVEL UP Head upstairs to WIT Fitness for its highperformance workout kit. Check out page 46 for our rundown of the best CrossFit shoes, before lacing up and making a beeline for the lifting platforms.
SUMMON YOUR WITS
HANG IN THERE Master a J-hook grip to secure your climbs. With the rope between your legs, pass it over your right shin and then wrap it underfoot. Sweep your left foot underneath, then push up to grab more metres.
WORDS: TED LANE | PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM WATKINS
THE MANE ATTRACTION Coach Vaz Tostes (pictured) vows to improve every one of your physical skills, including strength, speed, stamina, flexibility and co-ordination. Which goes a long way to justifying the £200 monthly membership.
MAKE A STAND Squeezing your thighs together stabilises your trunk and core. Combine this with pointed toes and contracted glutes, and you’ll generate the tension needed to maintain handstand balance with ease.
GYM WIT TRAINING
LOCATION LONDON, UK
MEN’S HEALTH 31
13 DIGESTIBLE STOCKS
FIT$E IND£X GUT HEALTH
THE INSIDE TRACT TO TOTAL WELLBEINGour whole Go with your gut and yo h l
CALLING CARDIO Regular endurance running of distances up to 10K has probiotic effects. It improves your gut ecology, which is linked to higher energy levels. University of Zanjan
body will thank you. Pu ut your money where your mo outh iss
GRASS IS GREENER Head for the hills. Rural life reduces your risk of inflammatory bowel disease due to your intestine’s exposure to lots of new bacteria. American Journal of Gastroenterology
PAIN KRILLER If you’re suffering from digestive stress, krill out. The supp’s antioxidant astaxanthin protects against bowel irritation. Try Superba Red Krill Oil* for the biggest hit. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
THE UPPER CRUST While the brown variety enjoys positive press, the refined grains in white bread prompt the growth of immune-strengthening bacteria in your gut. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
GOING PRO HOLD
Nourishing your body with a probiotic-rich diet (yoghurt, pickles, sauerkraut) fights inflammation linked to dementia and other age-related diseases. Frontiers in Immunology
SOUPER FOOD Your bowel cancer risk falls 10% for every 10g of extra fibre you eat. A single portion of split peas contains around 16g – add them to your next soup. BMJ
WORDS: MATT EVANS | ILLUSTRATION: INFOMEN | *£14 JUSTVITAMINS.CO.UK
Freshen up your smile. Lingering oral bacteria travel through the gut, causing irritation. So make sure that you floss to avoid any unwanted intruders. Science
Too many after-work pints damage your gut lining, allowing undigested food into your blood, so you miss out on nutrients. Bolster your defences with a zinc supp. Alcohol
PASS ON DRUGS Orlistat and other weightloss pills can play havoc with your plumbing. Undigested fat comes out with your stool, making your time on the throne anything but regal. The Lancet
TAKE WITH A PINCH
The risk to your heart of a high-salt diet is thought to be the result of its reaction with gut bacteria, which causes your blood pressure to spike. Step away from the shaker. University of Sydney
Let the shower run for a minute before hopping in. Your water pipes can harbour bacteria that inflame your intestine when inhaled in the steam. Lancaster University
RISERS AND FALLERS UP
Hard to stomach
MEN’S HEALTH 33
MH GAME CHANGERS FITBIT IONIC
THE PERFECT FIT
Our new series dives deep into the kit that will shake up your training. Here, we run the numbers on Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch
ou know you’re doing something right when your brand becomes synonymous with its USP, and Fitbit is tracking. But there’s more to living a healthy life than what you do in sweatwicking kit, and the Ionic has been launched as a constant companion for holistic health. Crucially, it’s a device that dresses up as well as down. i_ By introducing leather straps, Fitbit Pay and links The number of to your calendar, calls clock face options. and texts, the Ionic has And yes, the ‘big seamlessly crossed over into hand, little hand’ smartwatch territory. Beneath is one of them. the updated, slick aesthetic are hardware and software that make this the ﬁttest kit for your wrist. Time to get on track.
THE IONIC TAKES SMART TRACKING TO A NEW LEVEL
SUPER POWER TRACKING
WORDS: TED LANE | PHOTOGRAPHY: ROWAN FEE
Using the Russian Glonass satellite system as well as standard American GPS, the Ionic allows you to ﬁx your position more quickly and track by the metre, wherever you are – even when you’re surrounded by city skyscrapers.
BRIGHT IDEA The Ionic’s heart-rate monitor is the first to use both red and green LEDs. Red light goes deeper into the skin, for the most accurate readings on the market.
With its brightness of 1000 nits, the screen is Fitbit’s clearest yet, making it perfect for watching the exercise demos of your new, guided workouts. The hard-wearing Gorilla Glass 3 is also ideal for those of you still carrying around a phone with a cracked screen in your pocket.
The number of songs you can store and play from your wrist for a 15% stamina boost when you’ve left your phone at home.
Forget plugging in your device every night: the Ionic’s battery can last the working week on a single charge.
FUTURE PROOF The new Ionic’s in-built functions promise to deliver more, and Fitbit has now opened up to third-party developers. So, what comes next?
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK S CO U
ONE TO WATCH
An under-the-skin G5 Mobile sensor launches this year, monitoring glucose levels to help manage diabetes.
A subscription service that constructs a personalised plan for rest, exercise and nutrition, all on your watch.
The new SpO2 sensor can estimate blood oxygen levels. Fitbit wants to use it to monitor sleep and detect apnoea better.
MEN’SS HEALTH 35
of users saw a thickening effect. Take the Nioxin 30-Day Challenge to achieve a #FULLERHAIRFULLERLIFE. Results guaranteed or your money back**
3 STEPS TO SUCCESS Nioxin ’s three component parts are easy to use and produce results, fast
The first stage is the cleansing shampoo, which removes product build-up, sebum and pollution residue to stimulate hair growth. Simply massage well into the hair and scalp, then rinse.
NO GREAT LOSS TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR THINNING HAIR WITH NIOXIN’S COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL FORMULA ONE THICKENING TREATMENT
ale pattern baldness affects more than 50% of men, and for many it can result in a loss of confidence. The leading hair-thinning specialist and the world’s best-selling¹ product for renewing the potential of diminished hair, Nioxin aims to provide a solution that really works, with a unique three-step treatment designed to slot into your daily grooming regime.
STEEP TWO: App ply the nourishing conditioner from m the scalp to the ends of your h , distributing evenly. Leave the hair, f mula on for one to three minutes form s itt can penetrate the hair shaft so and follicles, then rinse.
STEP THREE: The formula improves your hair’s texture, as well as protecting it from breakage and damage from environmental factors. It does this by removing follicle-clogging sebum – one of the major causes of hair loss – and reducing fatty acids and pollution residues, which can also hinder growth. It works by targeting each hair strand to increase strength and fullness. Nioxin also leaves your hair with a healthy shine and your scalp feeling refreshed.
Apply the scalp and hair treatment, which is more effective now that your hair has been cleansed of product build-up and excess sebum. Shake the bottle well and apply evenly and through your hair. Do not rinse.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE SCIENCE BEHIND NIOXIN OR TO LOCATE YOUR LOCAL SALON, HEAD TO NIOXIN.COM
*BASED ON A SURVEY OF 230 PANELLISTS CONCERNED ABOUT THINNING HAIR CONDUCTED BY SIRS IN 2016 | **VALID ON PURCHASES UNTIL 30/10/2018; CLAIMABLE UNTIL 31/01/2019 VIA WWW.NIOXIN.CO.UK | ¹VALUE DATA KLINE & COMPANY
DON’T LET G SLOW SO HUNGER YOU OU DOWN O
A MAN,, A PAN,, A PLAN CARBONARA O
WORDS: PAUL KITA | PHOTOGRAPHY: TRAVIS RATHBONE | FOOD STYLIST: JAMIE KIMM | PROP STYLING: OLGA GRIGORENKO/HONEY ARTISTS
GO A S W S A W Whoever you are, and w whatever your training ggoal, our new, fuss-free ffuel solutions page g will h y realise your y targets g s help you
READERS DIGEST Each bite brings more to the table
MAN N Though g he regularly g y crosses the gy gym threshold, this g guy’s y progress g has stalled. It seems that the harder he works,, the more he ﬁnds himself stuck on a training g p plateau – even the new, fast-paced p metabolic conditioning g workouts h been trying he’s y g haven’t helped h out o him of tthe e rut. ut. It It’ss ttime e for o a rethink. et . Rather at e than cutting g calories or carbs to progress g towards his weightloss g g goal, he needs to fuel up. Running g on empty y will not only y stall his recovery y and hamper progress, g but itt will w a also so make a e him very hungry. g y So take k the h counter-intuitive i ii approach: start piling your plate with carbohydrates and a hefty punch of protein, and hit this month’s training programme with a supercharged engine.
SERVES 1 • KCAL C 4566 • PROTEIN O 22G • CARBSS 65G • FAT 12G 2G INGREDIENTS G S • WHOLEWHEAT O CAPELLINI, 85G C • AN EGG GG • A BACON O RASHER S R • PARMESAN, 1TBSP • PARSLEY, PARSLEY GARNISH
i// In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the capellini pasta w p p according to the package directions drain itt well. d ect o s and dd e iii// G Gently crack the egg g iinto to a small pan of simmering g water. S Swirl until the egg white becomes ffirm – tthiss sshould ou d ttakee around ou d tthree ee oor four ou minutes. utes.
HIGH IN PROTEIN
Return the large iiii// R g pan to medium heat and cook the diced bacon until crisp for five minutes. Blot the fat with kitchen paper. iv/ Turn the heat to low. Add the pasta, mix and top with the egg, Parmesan, parsley and a grind of pepper. Finally, plate up, pop the yolk and take your first bite.
MEN’S HEALTH 37
COMBAT AGEING LIKE A GLADIATOR
38 MEN’SS HEALTH
HOW I BUILT U MY BODY O Y
SHO S OULDERR DISLOCA S O ATIONS O S
More than two decades since his TV peak, James ‘Hunter’ Crossley is proof you can be a ﬁtter, stronger man past your forties
months earlier). “It’s only today that I’m feeling normal again,” he says. Obsessed with superheroes while growing up and ﬁtspired by a Rocky ﬁlm marathon, the Junior Mr England was spotted in Bodybuilding Monthly magazine at 19. He just about got through the Gladiators audition, only to ﬁnd he was no good at the games. “I couldn’t even get up the Wall,” he admits. So he devised his own training programme: climbing with weights
attached to help him scale the 10m-high Wall; boxing with his feet tied for Duel, which involved one-to-one combat on a podium using pugil sticks, and car-pushing for Atlaspheres, which required players to roll around in a metal orb. In 1999, he settled pub debates across the country by claiming the title of Ultimate Gladiator. After the curtain fell, Crossley toured the US with a role in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (alongside Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall). But the travel played havoc with his regimen. A qualiﬁed PT since his teens, he returned to the gym and soon picked up strongman training. The
appeal to him isn’t winning titles, but having a dedicated focus. “So many people have nothing to train for,” he says. “If you have purpose, you’ll make a diﬀerence.” Crossley still does some bodybuilding – it’s easier on the joints than strongman – but he says his goals no longer include matching his arm circumference to his age. Now embarking on his Fit at 40+ campaign, he wants to help you stage your ﬁghtback against time. “You truly can change your body at any age,” he says. Contenders, ready…
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK S CO UK
WORDS: JAMIE MILLAR | PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM WATKINS
illions of Brits tuned into Gladiators during its 1990s peak. So the odds are you’ll recognise James Crossley as his Lycra-clad alter ego, Hunter. Though his trademark blond curls have been shaved oﬀ and his once fresh face is now ﬂecked with grey stubble, his boyish smile remains – as does his hulking physique. A couple of days before meeting MH for coﬀee in south London, the 44-year-old Hull native won Yorkshire’s Strongest Master 2017 (he’d won England’s a few
CONSUMED PER DAY
SAGE GE AWARENESS
HHARDER, FASTER, STRONGER, OLDERR Crossley’s heavyweight g ci i will i help you outgun circuit your younger g self, self lf thric thrice th ic weekly y B
MATURE APPROACH Make Crossley’s life swaps to future-proof your fitness
CARBS FAT “When I started training, carbs were my friend. It’s a miracle I got lean for bodybuilding shows. Now, I eat clean proteins and good fats like avocados, and regulate my carbs.”
01/ BARBELL SQUAT 4 sets of 10 reps, 30sec rest With a straight back, grip the barbell. Sit back over three seconds (A), then explode up (B). (B) Pausing aat the top and bottom w will eeliminate d botto te momentum. o e tu
WEIGHTS YOGA “As you age, your cortisol levels rise, meaning you sleep less. I added yin yoga to my regime, in which you hold poses for up to five minutes, weekly. It’s made a big difference.”
DAILY MONTHLY “I often book a photo shoot so that I have something to work towards, rather than make it a daily grind. It keeps me motivated after years of gymming regularly.”
02/ BARBELL PUSH PRESS PR 4 sets of 10 reps, p 30sec rest Start with the bar at shoulder height, knees soft (A), up (A then push p p to lift iit overhead (B) (B). Pause at the top, p lower and rest,, before taking g a short walk.
GROOMING: NATACHA SCHMITT | WITH THANKS TO FOUNDRYFIT.COM
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK M S CO UUK
03/ FARMER’S WALK 4 sets of 40m, 75sec rest Grab a dumbbell with each hand and hold them by your sides (A). Walk 40m (B) before lowering. Rest, then go again.
THIS WAY UP MEN’SS HEALTH 39
HEALTH NEWSFEED 04/18
YOUR DETOX DONER CARD The viliﬁed sat fat in your kebab is actually the antidote to oﬀset booze’s impact on your liver. How convenient
WORDS: LOUEE DESSENT-JACKSON | PHOTOGRAPHY: SUN LEE | FOOD STYLIST: TAMARA VOS AT HERS AGENCY
hile many a lost night out has culminated in the greedy glow of a fatty meat carousel, ﬁnding the styrofoam remains on your kitchen table the next morning is rarely cause for comfort. Luckily, new science suggests that, unlike those WhatsApp messages, your early-hours indulgence is one thing you needn’t regret. As well as providing a caloriedense crash mat for your hangover, succumbing to greasy temptation is a tasty salve for your beer-soaked liver. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that upping your intake of saturated fat can increase your liver’s resistance to oxidative stress – the kind that can eventually lead to cirrhosis and other kinds of liver damage. Paradoxically, it also protects you from the onset of ‘fatty liver’ – the ﬁrst stage of alcohol-related liver disease – by helping your body break down fat more eﬀectively. In the study, monounsaturated fat – the ‘good’ kind found in olive oil and the avocado brunches of Instagram’s
smug wellness crowd – was not found to have any beneﬁts when it came to curbing the eﬀects of alcohol. It’s also believed that the long-chain fatty acids in saturated fat help maintain your gut lining, which is made more permeable when exposed to alcohol. Therefore, your late-night kebab is essentially the glue that holds your gut together and stops inﬂammatory compounds entering your blood and stressing out your liver. But that’s enough science for now – our heads are hurting. Just another 10 minutes in bed, yeah?
HEAL YOUR HANGOVER
YOUR POST-SESH SHISH BOASTS SURPRISING DETOXIFYING QUALITIES
FUEL YOUR ROAD TO REVIVAL Master the morning after with our timeline to help you feel human again 1AM STRIKE FAST Pre-empt the pain with an ibuprofen. Be careful: overdoing it with the paracetamol will cause your liver more harm than good. 10AM SUNNY-SIDE UP The amino acid cysteine, found in eggs, is well known for mopping up the headachecausing toxin acetaldehyde. 12PM BRAIN BOOST Just 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise will treat your thumping head with a mood-lifting hit of endorphins. 2PM LIME YOUR GUT As you settle in with a boxset, swap your Coca-Cola for a Sprite. Researchers found it breaks down alcohol enzymes faster. 5PM SUPPED DEFENCES Pop a milk thistle supp – its active ingredient silymarin is proven to aid regeneration of damaged liver cells.
MEN’S HEALTH 41
believe that they’re for girls. I get it. Once upon a time, I thought that, too. But gone are the days of happy-clappy step aerobics. Instead, there are now classes for calisthenics, strongman and HIIT. Almost every training style and ﬁtness philosophy is available in the group exercise format. Let’s clear up another thing, too: ﬁtness classes are not easy. Structured around time rather than reps, they’re scalable for everyone from newbies to elite athletes. If you’re working at maximum eﬀort – those 15kg dumbbells should do it – you will sweat, you will suﬀer, and you will reap the rewards. The best thing about group exercise, and the reason I haven’t worked out by myself in over a year, is that it creates a team environment. That brings three scientiﬁcally backed beneﬁts: competition, motivation and enjoyment. Our innate desire to win, or at least not
THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE
FITNESS CLASSES AREN’T JUST FOR GIRLS Quit the lone wolf act and join the pack – sharing the burden will crowd-fund your ﬁtness
WORDS: DAN MASOLIVER | PHOTOGRAPHY: JOBE LAWRENSON
he male gym-goer cuts a lonely ﬁgure: skulking around the weights room, headphones in, volume up. Meanwhile, he’ll have noticed the hourly ebb and ﬂow of (predominantly female) human traﬃc into the gym’s studio. Out of curiosity, he may have paused to glance at the timetable by the door. But then, scoﬃng at class names like ‘Bodypump’ and ‘Zumba-robics’, he’ll have swaggered away. If that sounds familiar, you’re making a big mistake. Training is getting social, and I’m not just talking about the post-workout selﬁes clogging up your feed. The latest ﬁgures suggest that 43% of all gym members in the US participate in group exercise classes, and with American imports such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Orangetheory and CrossFit taking the UK by storm, you can bet your bottom dollar that the British ﬁtness industry is catching up. But yes, I’m aware of the elephant in the room – the one wearing Sweaty Betty leggings. Men have historically avoided classes because they mistakenly
to lose, means that if the person next to you is smashing out burpees, you will push through the pain to keep up 1 . Researchers also found that the ﬁtter your classmates, the ﬁtter you’ll become 2 – a simple hack and welcome fast track for beginners. If the competition doesn’t motivate you, the coach will. It’s like having a PT, albeit one who you’re sharing with a handful of sweaty, swearing comrades. For those bobbing along in the workout doldrums, struggling to ﬁnd a training methodology that ﬁts, think of classes as a pick’n’mix of movement, in which lies the sweet panacea to a leaner, stronger you. What’s more, group training was proven in recent research not just to boost ﬁtness, but also to lower stress levels by 26% when compared to going it alone. You will emerge both exhausted and elated 3 . So if you want to get ﬁt ‘like a man’ and pump iron on your lonesome, with no guidance or external motivation, be my guest. But me? I’ll be in the studio, training ‘like a girl’ and getting all the ﬁtter for it. Come join us.
“Your innate desire to win will make you push through the pain to keep up”
THERE’S NOTHING LIGHTWEIGHT ABOUT GROUP EXERCISE
DDEALS WITH THE DEVIL 1
Research in the American Journal of Health Behavior found that exercising with a friend decreases fatigue.
Working out with fitter training partners could help you lose more weight, according to a study in the journal Obesity.
Researchers at the University of New England found that group exercise improves your wellbeing and reduces stress.
THIS MONTH’S ADVOCATE Michael Chapman is the owner and head trainer of F45 Tottenham Court Road in London
MEN’S HEALTH 43
TREND SECRETS MOBILITY
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
HANG YOUR VOCAL LOOSE COACH
WATCH YOUR BACK
Get a handle on the new ﬂexibility trend to mobilise a desk-bound physique and release your inner athlete
We run the numbers to reveal the problems posed by immobility. Proof that you need to get mobile
FREE YOURSELF FROM BARBELL STIFFNESS
The number of hours spent sitting down every year, which rounds the shoulders and switches off your hips.
WORDS: AARON TOUMAZOU | PHOTOGRAPHY: PHILLIP HAYNES, LOUISA PARRY, GLEN BURROWS | MODEL: CHRISTOPHER WHITLOW AT ANDI PETERS’ MODELS
WHERE DO I STAR RT??
RESTORE BALANCE TO YOUR BODY
This many people have to take time out of the office each year due to back pain – the leading g cause of lost h workk hours.
Mobility is increasingly a foccus ffor Instagram’s g training elite – but it has yet tto reach h commerciall gyms. For a physical, not digiital, introduction, Lift: f Its The Movement leads the way with h its workshops. kh ﬂagship training space openss in London this year. y . 02_
WHO’S IT FOR?
IS THERE A SIGNATURE MOVE TO MASTER?
Those who want to loosen up rounded shoulders and ease desk-related back pain. It’s also a cure for barbell boredom, switching your focus to your bodyweight. Learn new skills and techniques to perform on the gym floor or, indeed, anywhere. 03_
WILL IT GET ME RIPPED? “Fix the body and the aesthetics will follow,” says Lift’s Angus Martin. “So much of how you look is dictated by posture and alignment.” You only have to look at gymnasts’ physiques to know that mobility’s solid framework and bodyweight training can quickly build muscle and burn off fat. MENSHEALTH.CO.UK
The handstand is a marker of strength and proper alignment. First, place your hands on the ground at shoulder width. Walk in on your toes until you’re in the shape of an inverted V. Push hard with one foot followed by the other to kick into the handstand. Breathe in and tense your core to keep stable. Start against a wall until you get the hang of it.
If you spend most f sitting, of your life your knee is going to h after f a run. But hurt this many weeks of b l willll help h l you mobility move pain-free.
The amount that A Americans spent p on d drugs for back and n neck p pain in 2005 – a 171% % iincrease c e se s ce 1997. since 99 I a pattern p It’s that t t wee need eed e to b break.
DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL KIT? Instability strengthens joints, so take dips and pull-ups away from fixed stations. Wooden gymnastic rings (£45 wolverson-fitness.com) are easily fastened to any secure overhead beam – from a sturdy tree branch to the rig in your gym – with an easy-touse one-touch adjustment clip. Get hanging.
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID?
Setting a single goal. Mobility is about total body health, and it can’t be rushed. “The reality is that restoring your body after years of incorrect movements takes time,” explains Martin. “And it takes many repetitions to retrain and reset connective tissue health.” The long journey to athletic, pain-free movement is slow. So start now. MEN’S HEALTH 45
A TICK FROM US 85/100 Nike Metcon 4 £115 nike.com
•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••
JUST DOES IT This trainer retains the
FRESH KICKS FOR BIG LIFTS While ﬁne for the treadmill, worn-out runners will hamper your gains. Here, we test the latest gym trainers designed with the squat rack in mind
ne shoe does not ﬁt all. If you deadlift in your road shoes, then you’re doing it all wrong. Spongy soles wobble under added weight and place undue stress on your joints, increasing your injury risk. Weightlifting and the multidirectional plyometrics of modern training techniques require a stable, ﬂat sole and supportive arch. The rise and rise of CrossFit has called for a new breed of footwear that covers every base in the gym – and it’s a class of shoe that’s ﬁnally hit its stride. But you don’t need to know your EMOMs from your AMRAPs to beneﬁt. While these shoes were built for those thinking inside the box, they’ll serve anyone aspiring to become a ﬁtter, stronger, all-round athlete. This month, we enlisted the expert brains and brawn of coaches Tom Bliss and Gus Vaz Tostes of WIT Training – Britain’s best new CrossFit space (page 30). They put each trainer through power cleans, prowler pushes and rope climbs to analyse their abilities. Here are the best shoes to help you do better at, well, everything. Just add workouts.
46 MEN’S HEALTH
Metcon 3’s brilliance while raising its game with some welcome tweaks. That means an extra eyelet for lace support, stickier rubber on the toe for sled pushes and textured wraps round the midfoot for added durability. EXPERT VERDICT A stronger offering than the 3, this shoe’s flat, sturdy sole makes it an ideal choice for Olympic lifts. The 3D-printed fabric layer over high-wear areas like the toe and heel is the best addition.
UP TO SPEED
New Balance Minimus 40 £90 newbalance.co.uk Performance Design Ease of use
•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••
SURPRISE PACKAGE The bouncy
midsole and special heel casing of this cardio-friendly shoe help energise short runs without sacrificing stability. Its Vibram rubber outsole transfers power to your lifts, plus a mesh upper stops sweat sapping away comfort. EXPERT VERDICT These trainers are surprisingly similar in performance to Nike’s Flyknits, which is high praise. The grippy sole powers through sprints, while its heel clip fulfils promises of support for heavy reps.
WORDS: TED LANE | PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS | PLYOMETRIC BOX COURTESY OF BULLDOGGEAR.EU
Performance Design Ease of use
STEP UP YOUR GAINS
ALL BASES COVERED
STRONG STARTER 78/100 Under Armour Limitless 3.0 £60 underarmour.co.uk
NANOTECH 84/100 Reebok Nano 8 £100 reebok.co.uk Performance Design Ease of use
•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••
EIGHTH TIME’S A CHARM Following
Adidas CrazyTrain Elite £110 adidas.co.uk
•••••••••• •••••••••• •••••••••• JOINING THE CRAZE Usually reserved Performance Design Ease of use
for running, Boost technology is used in this shoe to elevate your lifts and cardio. Midsole casing improves your stability in lateral movements, while a multidirectional tread brings added traction to your conditioning circuits. EXPERT VERDICT Against the odds, this shoe provides a very solid platform, making lifting a pleasure. The Boost material in the sole is also responsive and springy, delivering extra power during plyometrics.
input from CrossFit legend Rich Froning, a wider toe box helps generate more power through your feet during deadlifts. There’s a sock liner for extra comfort and Flexweave upper for more freedom in sprints. EXPERT VERDICT It’s a versatile shoe that can easily tackle a 5K, yet still boasts great grip and support for lifting. The rigid sole is ideal for the gym, but pretty uncomfortable at home.
CROSSEXAMINED This is how the WIT Training coaches tested each pair’s marketing promises
BIG LIFTERS Stability is vital for heavy pulls and lifts, so shoes were analysed on the support they offer when the big weights come out.
Performance Design Ease of use
•••••••••• •••••••••• ••••••••••
DIPPING YOUR TOE Providing a lot for your money, this shoe offers a floating space above the arch to ease your motion during high-intensity sessions, an EVA sock liner that moulds to your foot, eliminating slippage, and TPU casing to protect pressure points. EXPERT VERDICT A good beginner’s shoe, this feels less robust than the rest. Though the floating space improves your movement, the stability it loses as a result isn’t a good trade, despite the price.
SPEED WORK In the modern way of training, conditioning takes many forms, from short sprints to 5K slogs – and these trainers had to keep up.
LIFESTYLE CHOICE Lastly, the look and feel of each, both in and out of the gym, were appraised. Athleisure is a way of life, you see.
MEN’S HEALTH 47
T STRETCH YOUR LIMITS FOR HEROIC GAINS Make it this month’s mission to touch your toes and your odds of building superhuman strength will shorten nicely
he ﬁtness elite has long viewed the static stretch as anachronistic, trading it in for dynamic moves with ridiculous names such as ‘the scorpion’ and ‘the inchworm’. Fools: new US research shows that if you make time to hold a stretch at the end of your workout instead of beelining for the showers, you can increase your muscle mass by as much as 13%. However, timing is everything. Static stretching isn’t necessarily a force for ﬁtness in every instance. In fact, performed pre-workout, calf and quad stretches can actually hamper your training. According to one meta-analysis, static stretching reduces your power output in the subsequent session by 5.5%. Wait until your cool-down, however, and you can improve your strength by a bulky 237% over the course
MUSCLE NEWSFEED 04/18
ECONOMIES OF SCALE
of eight weeks. That’s some stretch, you’ll agree. Research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that stretching can have much the same eﬀect on your muscles as weight training does. Both cause micro-tears in your muscle tissue – known as Z-line ruptures – that stimulate your muscle cells to produce growth factors. It is these growth factors that prompt the manufacture of new muscle ﬁbres and, in turn, the addition of extra weight plates to your barbell. And a post-workout loosener needn’t take hours: just 10 minutes after your ﬁnal deadlift will be enough to make you feel the beneﬁts. Perform ﬁve sets of stretches that target your hamstrings, quads and calves, holding each pose for 30 seconds, and you’ll enjoy a far more relaxing route to gaining extra muscle. It’s our simplest way for you to stretch your potential yet.
WORDS: TED LANE | PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS | IMAGE MANIPULATION: COLIN BEAGLEY
THIS MUSCLE HACK IS FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET
LOOSEN YOUR PURSE STRINGS We present the best kit to lengthen muscles and smash records in the gym without breaking the bank
RESISTANCE BAND Wrap this around the squat rack and hold on with your arm outstretched. The pull will lengthen lats to power more pull-ups (£11 myprotein.com).
BROOM HANDLE Hold this simple kit overhead and push back to unlock rounded shoulders, open up your pecs and therefore improve your bench press (£2 wilko.com).
YOGA STRAP Lying down, sling this around the arch of your foot and accentuate your hamstring stretches for stronger squats and deadlifts (£6 yogamatters.com).
MEN’S HEALTH 49
REACH FOR THE STARS
He has crossed the Atlantic, from Peckham to Hollywood, carrying multiple blockbusters on his newly broad shoulders. But while John Boyega’s star is in the ascendant, his feet remain ﬁrmly on the ground – thanks to a few fundamental life lessons learned along the way. Take note and look up
Words by Jamie Millar – Portraits by Patrik Giardino
50 MEN’S HEALTH
Cover Model Muscle
Cover Model Muscle
52 MEN’S HEALTH
“Finding the time to train before going on set gave me renewed energy and a clearer head” of scenes we had to talk at the same time as running,” Boyega explains. For the purposes of ﬁlming, the hydraulic system that linked up to the pilots’ boots was actually a treadmill, on which Boyega was forced to jog while wearing his suit, for take after exhausting take. “It was horrible,” he admits. “The amount of calories you burn from day to day is crazy. I wouldn’t notice that I’d done a workout at ﬁrst, but after 13 hours I would strip the suit oﬀ and be absolutely dripping.”
Jedi Training Given the stamina required to perform such a role, Boyega had to sweat it out considerably before ﬁlming, as well as during it. “The goal was to decrease fat and build muscle mass,” he says. “I didn’t
want Jake to look as though he actually goes to the gym every day and works on his pecs. But I did want him to look like he’d been climbing and running in order to obtain these Jaeger parts.” The desired aesthetic was “active” and yet “still relatively normal”. Even so, Boyega had to work out daily – often more than twice. In the morning, he’d do boxing-style conditioning, which included what he very transatlantically calls “jumping rope”. Then, during the day, he’d have hand-to-hand combat and stunt training, plus running drills (with his suit on) inside a makeshift Conn-Pod. Finally, he would lift weights in the
STYLIST: JASON REMBERT | STYLIST’S ASSISTANT: KIRSTEN MCGOVERN T-SHIRT CALVINKLEIN.CO.UK, SUNGLASSES ILLESTEVA.COM
ou may remember John Boyega from such ﬁlms as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. In fact, you’d have to be a resident of Ahch-To to have missed them. But today, in LA, MH is talking to the Camberwell-born, Peckham-raised actor about his other sci-ﬁ juggernaut, Paciﬁc Rim Uprising. Clearly the south Londoner is not one to do things by halves. Released this month, Uprising is a sequel to the enjoyable 2013 original, set in a near future in which humanity faces an epidemic of building-sized, city-levelling monsters called Kaiju (from the Japanese “strange beast”). Mankind responds in the only logical way: by constructing buildingsized, humanoid machines called Jaegers (German for “hunters”) to duke it out with them. Think Godzilla meets Transformers. “I was looking for another franchise to be a part of,” says Boyega of what attracted him to the project. “The big things for me were the story, characters and themes of the ﬁlm.” Uprising was evidently a “big” enough thing for the precocious 25-yearold to decide to produce it, too, through his own company Upper Room. Crucially, his diary was free. “It felt like the stars were aligning, innit?” Assuming leading man duties from MH cover alumnus Charlie Hunnam, Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost, who marshalled the humanoid troops in the ﬁrst outing of the franchise. It is clearly his most physically demanding movie to date. “It was fun – and then it got excruciatingly painful,” says Boyega, of suiting up and inhabiting the mechanical armoury of a giant Jaeger. “While watching the ﬁrst instalment, it never occurred to me how the actors must have felt in those suits, moving around and doing all that action simultaneously. I never considered how hard it must have been. That is, until I got in one myself.” For the uninitiated, the cockpits – or Conn-Pods – of the Jaegers are occupied by pilots, who act out their machine’s every move while wearing miniature versions of the enormous armour they’re operating. For Boyega and co-star Scott Eastwood (another MH cover alumnus), this translated into combat training and a whole lot of cardio. “During a number
*VICTIMS PER 1000 RESIDENTS | **PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION †THOSE WHO HOLD A HIGHER EDUCATION QUALIFICATION
evening, “just to ﬁnish oﬀ the day”. And, by the sounds of it, himself. To facilitate this lifestyle sea change, Boyega called upon trainer Corey Calliet (@mrcalliet), who knocked Michael B Jordan into shape for the 2015 ﬁlm Creed. Suitably ﬁtspired, Boyega ﬁrst asked Calliet to help him lean up for the press tour of The Force Awakens – a ﬁlm in which he was, in his own harsh words, “kinda chubby”. The two have worked together on and oﬀ ever since. “It’s always tough working with Corey,” laughs Boyega. “He calls himself an artist rather than a trainer, because he sculpts the body out of you. It sounds strange at ﬁrst, but after one session with him,
it feels like he does just that.” Calliet would often take Boyega to a stadium to run sprints, climb the bleachers and perform plyometrics on the ﬁeld. The physical process was “an education” for the actor. “Even with something as simple as a standard bench press,” he says, “I realised I’d been getting it wrong for a long time.” Calliet’s focus on muscle activation and correct form – paramount in order to elicit change and avoid injury – was crucial, given that the trainer wasn’t always able to be on the set of Uprising and had to send Boyega programmes to follow on his own. Not that Boyega was a complete stranger to lifting weights. As a teen, he bought himself a set of coloured dumbbells and did “the standard biceps routine”. But once he boarded the Hollywood machine, he initially struggled with the cranked-up intensity, scheduled workouts and sheer quantity of cardio that followed. “I loved going to the gym to build muscle. But when I saw a treadmill, I’d just run away,” he says, seemingly unaware of the irony. However, he has since seen the myriad beneﬁts of consistent exercise – and not just to his physique. “If you have time to work out before going on set,” he says, “it gives you renewed energy and a clearer head.” Another valuable lesson LA LIFE MAY SUIT HIM, BUT BOYEGA’S PECKHAM ROOTS KEEP HIM GROUNDED learnt by Boyega was the importance of nutrition. “When a trainer or nutritionist advises you on what you can or can’t eat, the ﬁrst thing you learn is precisely what you’re addicted to,” he says. “And I found that I would just lose my mind when sugar wasn’t in my system.” Eating well was key for Boyega, who describes himself as “thick” of body (the not-so-technical term for an endomorph). “It’s pretty easy for me to put on muscle, but it’s just as easy for me to put on fat,” he says, honestly. How do Boyega’s family and work homes However, one reward of having his food dialled in was that skipping a workout match up? We ran the numbers… owing to ﬁlming or tiredness was less of PECKHAM LOS ANGELES an issue. “And on Sunday you get to cheat.” POPULATION Boyega’s go-to blowout is Nigerian jollof rice (his parents emigrated to the UK from Nigeria in the 1980s), followed by VIOLENT CRIME* chicken drumsticks, plantain, spicy stew and salad. “After that, I’d probably inhale four doughnuts,” he says emphatically. GOOD HEALTH** “I don’t play. I’m back to back. Those icering doughnuts, mate. I just chuck them back.” Krispy Kreme? “Oh yeah. Krispy Kreme, whatever. I feel bad about it for EDUCATION† a second, then I get back on the wagon.”
PECKHAM VS LA
1 in 2
1 in 3
MEN’S HEALTH 53
Cover Model Muscle
Force Of Nurture Boyega is a thoughtful man with a considered approach to his craft. Nevertheless – as evinced by his taste in food, intact south London accent and liberal use of the word ‘mate’ – it’s gratifying to know Boyega hasn’t quite transformed into the earnest, greenjuice-sipping Angeleno just yet. “I can't stand the stuﬀ,” he says. “Can’t do it. I’m allergic to apples: my lips start to itch and swell up. I’d rather steam my greens and then drink some water.” If anything, the trend is going in the other direction for Boyega. After landing the role of rebel stormtrooper Finn in The Force Awakens, he took Harrison Ford to 805, a Nigerian restaurant in south-east London. Eating dinner with Han Solo (not to mention Indiana Jones) next door to a Ladbrokes must have been a real trip, right? “I think it’s a trip for everyone who’s outside looking in,” says Boyega, matterof-factly. “But after working together for a good amount of time, you get to know the man behind the shenanigans. And you understand that he’s a human being. So I told him: ‘You need to eat some proper food, mate. You can’t just be out in London having dry food. You need to get some spice in your life.’” The Force Awakens may have brought Boyega to intergalactic attention, but it was aged eight that he ﬁrst caught the eye of community drama group Theatre Peckham’s artistic director while acting in his primary school play. After secondary school, he studied for a performing arts diploma at South Thames College, before enrolling at the Identity School of Acting in Hackney. He was later spotted in a play called Category B at north-west London’s Tricycle Theatre by Joe Cornish of comedy duo Adam and Joe, who was then casting for unknowns to star in his ﬁrst ﬁlm as a director, 2011’s Attack the Block. An A-grade B movie that combines scares, LOLs and smart social commentary, Attack the Block depicts an alien invasion on a south London council estate. Boyega plays Moses, a stoic gang leader who challenges stereotypes by going from knife-toting nurse-mugger to swordwielding day-saver in the course of 88 minutes. You don’t have to be Darth Vader to feel his presence: the wife of The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams woke him up to tell him about this young actor in a ﬁlm that she’d just seen. Cut to
54 MEN’S HEALTH
“Becoming part of a franchise was my goal. It took a while, but I stayed persistent and achieved it”
BOYEGA’S RISE HAS BEEN FUELLED BY SHEER HARD WORK – AND KRISPY KREMES
2014, and the ﬁrst face shown in the ﬁrst teaser trailer for the ﬁrst Star Wars ﬁlm in a decade was Boyega’s. It was viewed a record 112 million times in 24 hours. Perhaps because of that role, and his upbringing on a south London council estate, it’s easy to characterise Boyega as a rags-to-riches ﬁgure, gravitating towards the Hollywood Hills from the mean streets. It’s a narrative that is lent added verisimilitude by the fact that, as children, he and his elder sister Grace were walking with 10-year-old Damilola Taylor just before he was stabbed to death. (They were captured on the CCTV that the police used to appeal for information.) But there was nothing romantic about Boyega landing the part in The Force Awakens. It wasn’t fate, MORE THAN JUST GYM MUSCLE: BOYEGA so much as force of will. TAILORS HIS PHYSIQUE TO HIS ROLES “For me, that was the goal,” he says plainly. “Star Wars wasn’t the only movie that I’d gone on tape for. I aimed to be a part of some form of franchise because of the opportunities those projects give you, as well as being a fan of many of them. It was something that I was working towards, but it took a while. Still, I stayed persistent and it ended up working out for me.” That’s not to say that Boyega is in any way blasé. Quite the opposite: he wasn’t above dancing on the red carpet at the premiere of The Force Awakens with his Peckham mates, or posting to Instagram a video of his excited reaction to seeing himself in that trailer. (Google it – the short clip racked up more than 30,000
MEN’S HEALTH 55
Cover Model Muscle
“Treating yourself like a human being is something you must constantly remember to implement” likes.) Part of what makes him so likeable is that he’s the kind of unabashed fanboy who will surprise audiences by turning up unannounced at cinemas on the opening weekend. And he has. His enthusiasm for geek culture is as boundless as his appetite for doughnuts.
Down To Earth Boyega’s life has been transformed in many respects, though he insists it’s a matter of perspective. “You change in this process, but what changes the most is the way in which people react to you,” he says. “Treating yourself like a human being is something you must constantly remember to implement, not for yourself but for the people who are closest to you – as they say back in my ends – ‘so you don’t get lost in
56 MEN’S HEALTH
the sauce’.” He still has the same friends, plays computer games (he wants to build his own PC but hasn’t had time) and does the other “normal stuﬀ” that he did before: “I go to the movies, I go shopping, I go to parties and, y’know, I go to church.” Phrases such as “crazy”, “day to day” and “back to back” are constant Boyega refrains, which speak to his commitment to work, training and Krispy Kremes. But his dad likes to preach the value of downtime, too. “He always says: ‘Make sure you’re meditating, resting well and eating well,’” says Boyega. “A lot of people know how to work hard and for a long amount of time. But working smart means that you put your brain in the healthiest position so that when you do work, it means much more.” Every morning, the “very spiritual” Boyega meditates with prayer after listening to classical music.
The brain and the spirit, just like the body, need rest. You can’t simply camp out in the gym until you hit your goal: you have to recover, then attack again with renewed vigour. It’s a lesson Boyega has learnt well. “What was crazy for me was that, no matter how hard I worked, I had this troubling fat that just wouldn’t bloody go away,” he recalls. “So I was surprised to learn that when I caught more sleep, I lost more weight.” He also discovered the simple hack of playing rain sounds on his phone at bedtime. “For some reason, that would help me nod oﬀ,” he says. Perhaps it was another reminder of where he’s come from.
TRAIN LIKE A TROOPER
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FOR BOYEGA, WORKING SMART MEANS KEEPING HIS MIND HEALTHY
PRIME YOUR MACHINERY Boyega could’ve slept on his physique for his role in Pacific Rim Uprising, given that it’s obscured by two layers of metal. But sculpting his body, plus finessing his nutrition, also chiselled his face, which was visible. “I didn’t need to motivate him, because he wanted it bad,” says trainer Corey Calliet. “Taking direction is one of his assets.”
FOLLOW BOYEGA’S LEAD AND START YOUR OWN TRANSFORMATION
PACIFIC TRIM Nutrition was Calliet’s main focus, so he devised a meal plan for Boyega. Use the following ingredients each day to make a meal of your choice. MEAL 01 EGG WHITES, 4 • AN EGG YOLK • OATS, 45G • MEAL 02 CHICKEN BREAST, 115G • UNSALTED RICE CAKES, 2 • MEAL 03 GROUND TURKEY, 115G • BROWN RICE, 100G • BROCCOLI, ASPARAGUS OR GREEN BEANS, 115G • OR SPINACH, 2 HANDFULS • OLIVE OIL, 1TBSP • MEAL 04 CHICKEN BREAST, 115G • BAKED POTATO, 85G OR SWEET POTATO, 115G • MEAL 05 SALMON, 115G • BROCCOLI, ASPARAGUS OR GREEN BEANS, 115G • OR KALE, 2 HANDFULS • MEAL 06 PROTEIN SCOOPS, 2 • ALMOND MILK, 100ML • SPINACH, HANDFUL •
TRIPLE SET 01 For Calliet’s sample workout, perform 20 reps of each move back to back, rest for 1min and repeat twice more. Just don’t forget to breathe.
A/ BENCH PRESS
B/ CABLE FLY
With your back flat on the bench and feet on the floor, pinch your shoulder blades and try to bend the bar to activate your chest and lats. Slowly lower the weight to your chest (A), then push it upwards explosively (B).
Holding the handles of a pulley machine, step forward with one leg (A), then bring your hands together as if you’re hugging a tree (B). Keep your elbows slightly bent, bent b but not s much that your arms muuscle in. so
Drop and give us 20. Specifically, in a plank position, hands beneath your shoulders and your core activated so your body forms a straight line (A). Lower until your chest is an inch off the ground (B),, then p push up. p B
TRIPLE SET 02 Again, perform 20 reps of each move, resting for 1min then repeating twice. “My workouts don’t go through the motions,” says Calliet. Evidently.
B/ LAT PULL-DOWN
With a wider-than-shoulder-width overhand grip, pull your elbows in to your ribs, pinch your shoulder blades and get your chin over the bar (A), then lower (B). If you can’t 20 try t using i g a re resist b d. do 20, esistance band.
Hold the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width, your knees under the pads (A). Lean back, push your chest out and pull the bar down (B). Hold for a beat and then return under control.
C/ OVERHAND BENT-OVER ROW Squeeze your shoulder blades to focus on your lats and biceps. Hinge at your hips with slightly bent knees and a flat back (A). Then pull the bar to your g (B). ( ) lower ribcage before lowering
B CUT OUT AND KEEP
BURNOUT SET For a finisher, hold a plate (Boyega would use 36-45kg) and perform as many squats as you can in 30sec, then rest for 30sec and repeat twice.
MEN’S HEALTH 57
TIME W WORDS BY TED LANE / PHOTO OG GRA GR RA R APHY BY JOBE LAWRENSON
MAXIMISING S G LIFE’SS G REATEST S LUXURYY
HERE’S YOUR TWOSTEP PLAN FOR AN AGELESS BRAIN
MINUTES TO REBOOT YOUR AGEING BRAIN ON THE DANCE FLOOR
s that your toe tapping? Go with it. In fact, turn up the jukebox, shake a leg and you can safeguard your memory against the march of time, says research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. But while regular dancing can reduce your risk of developing dementia by as much as 76%, don’t start up the Strictly routines just yet. These mental benefits are most potent when you set yourself free. Stick to the well-trodden steps of the paso doble and your brain will slip into autopilot. Summon the Dutch courage to re-enact Saturday Night Fever at your local bar (or try a 30-minute swing class), however, and you’ll force your grey matter to make splitsecond decisions. Reacting to
dance partners in real time, and avoiding their toes, is what protects your cognitive abilities. Your dad-dancing might not look smart, but it’s good for you: on-the-spot footwork, as opposed to rote memory, improves neuroplasticity, a marker of rude mental health in old age. In simple terms, making your brain work harder creates more neural synapses, increasing the size and complexity of your brain. The bigger the cognitive reserve in your hippocampus and cerebral cortex, the longer you can defend yourself against dementia. Dancing was even shown to be 29% more effective at keeping your brain young than puzzle games such as Sudoku. It’s time you took the lead. Bell-bottoms optional.
ADDITIONAL ILLUSTRATION: ALCONIC AT SYNERGY ART
DAY TO KNOCK BACK STROKE FEARS WITHH A PINT OF GUINNESS SSS
SWAP OUT FIZZY LAGER AND MAKE YOUR LOCAL A HEALTH HOT SPOT
t’s “good for you”, read the old Guinness adverts. Simple, concise and, it turns out, perfectly true. New science confirms that your St Patrick’s Day pint can protect your heart and reduce your stroke risk. Yes, it’s a source of calcium, iron and B vitamins and is low in calories – but it’s the flavonoids and barley content that give Guinness its unique health credentials. Flavonoids are antioxidants usually found in less pub-friendly fare such as dark-coloured fruit and vegetables. The barley, which makes Guinness black, contains another antioxidant called ferulic acid, which is associated with improved immune function and treats inflammation. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that this combination eased oxidative stress (linked with heart trouble) and reduced the likelihood of blood clots forming, slashing your chances of suffering a stroke. In their tests, dogs with narrowed arteries were given Guinness or Heineken. But it was the Irish staple that downed their clot risk. Don’t try to drink your yearly Guinness allowance in a single session on 17 March, mind. Make it a regular pint and the cumulative antioxidant effects will be a stout defence against strokes in years to come. Looks like it’s your round.
HOUR TO SWEETEN N YOUR DREAMS AND ND LOSE 3KG IN BED
oosingg weight g can consume your y whole day. y From the 6am struggle gg to gget to the gym to sidestepping colleagues’ birthday cakes, there are countless hurdles to overcome. Sometimes it seems the pressure only eases when you’re back in bed. But if you’re worried that lying cocooned in your duvet can hardly be helping with your weightloss, we have comforting news. According to a report published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, snacking on pineapple and banana an hour before lights out can help you burn through an extra 3kg of fat while you sleep, over a period of a month. And it’ll be quality sleep, too. Researchers found that this simple
c combinat tion can spike levels of o the sleepp hormone melatonin byy 266% befoore you hit the pillow. With work stress and the blue light of your smartphone combining to sabotage g your sleep cycle, this is a refreshing statistic. Boosting your melatonin levels has an equally impressive yet lesser-known benefit. While it is ferrying you to the Land of Nod, it’s also firing up your brown fat stores. Once activated, these deposits start burning through calories, helping you wake up feeling refreshed and looking leaner. So set an alarm, re-stock your fruit bowl and let yourself drift off with a fat-busting hack so easy that you can do it with your eyes closed.
ALEXIS BLUE STRIPE EYE MASK AT WOLF & BADGER, GREY PINSTRIPE EYE MASK AT OTIS BATTERBEE
LEAN DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE. WHO ARE WE TO DISAGREE?
MINUTES TO CRUSH YOUR CANCER RISK BY PUMPING IRON
ILLUSTRATION: PETER CROWTHER
STARVE CANCER CELLS BY FEEDING MUSCLE GROWTH AT THE GYM
nternational Chest Day holds no truck in our calendar. It’s nothing but a trite broism that leads to top-heavy queues for the bench press. But while we recommend you distance yourself from the Monday pump sesh at your gym, there are compelling medical reasons to target your chest any other day of the week. That’s because the bench press has now been scientifically proven to slash your risk of almost all cancers, and working on your muscle strength can cut your chances of dying from the disease by as much as 30%. Researchers believe that the protective effect of pectoral strength comes from the way that muscle cells ‘use up’ the anabolic hormones in your body. The hormones that are responsible for muscle growth, such as IGF-1, also
stimulate the growth of tumours. Forcing your anabolic systems to work overtime with a 45-minute push session of bench, incline dumbbell press and cable flys leaves little left over to fuel the growth of dangerous cancer cells. If you think that this study was likely conducted by the Ronnie Coleman Institute of Getting Swole, you’re wrong. Researchers at the University of South Carolina analysed the health of more than 10,000 men who took part in a trial that spanned two decades – making the cancer-mitigating results highly credible. For barbell ‘brobarians’, this is cause to double down on your efforts. For those who prefer to deal in kilometres rather than kilograms, it’s time you crossed over. But don’t worry – it can wait until Tuesday.
Green Party From Silicon Valley billionaires to Malibu hipsters, a tuned-in crowd considers a hallucinogenic drink made from the ayahuasca plant to be a drug to define our era. There’s no buzz to speak of – it just makes you feel… well, better. Now it’s gaining popularity in the UK among ordinary people keen to explore the recesses of their minds. Could you benefit from a health trip? Words by Richard Godwin – Artwork by Peter Crowther
AYAHUASCA USE IN THE UK IS COMPLICATED BY THE ILLEGALITY OF ITS ACTIVE INGREDIENT, DMT
M MENSHEALTH.CO.UK S CO K
MENâ€™S HEALTH 65 6
y before he dran ayahuas for the ﬁrst time, David Sauvage heard the shaman ask who in the room had done this before. It was early 2015, at a rented hillside house in Topanga Canyon, California, and of the dozen or so strangers accompanying him, six raised their hands. “I didn’t know too much about ayahuasca back then, other than that it was this tea you drank and that somehow it was supposed to heal you,” says Sauvage, 36, when we meet for (green) tea in Soho, London. “But everywhere I turned, people were talking about it. Anyone who had previously been interested in yoga or meditation was now also interested in this South American drink. Something just said: ‘It’s time.’” The shaman, a muscular Israeli man who had trained as an ayahuasquero in Peru, then asked: “Who is nervous?” Sauvage was the only one who put his hand down. A ﬁlm-maker and activist, he had been depressed for the best part of a decade and in a state of “real bleakness” for three or four years. His psychologist had tried persuading him to see a psychiatrist who could prescribe him Prozac, Zoloft or a similar drug, but Sauvage hated the idea of becoming dependent on antidepressants. “I was looking for anything and everything that would help me that wasn’t conventional medication. I had taken psychedelics before, so I ﬁgured there’s nothing ayahuasca could do to my mind that I wasn’t ready for.” Ayahuasca is a plant medicine from the Amazon that indigenous peoples in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia have drunk in sacred rituals for centuries. It’s a practice that’s considered crucial to the community, both healing illness and easing internal conﬂicts. Ayahuasca is a combination of two plants: Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi. If you brew them right, you end up with
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5-10 INNER VISIONS: THE LENGTH IN HOURS OF THE AVERAGE AYAHUASCA TRIP
a foul-tasting tea (“barky, earthy, groundy” or “pungent and slightly sweet”, I’m told) that contains the natural hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine (DMT). At a molecular level, DMT resembles serotonin, the brain chemical that regulates mood. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘God molecule’, as it’s known to induce visions of the divine. Ordinarily, you have to smoke or inject DMT if you want anything transcendental to occur – if you eat it, your body breaks it down. But the caapi in ayahuasca contains chemicals that prevent this process, allowing the holy chemistry to do its thing. “It’s amazing that people in the Amazon happened upon these two vines,” says Dr Will Lawn, a psychopharmacologist at University College London. “If they hadn’t mixed in the second vine, they would never have got high and we wouldn’t be talking about it today.”
First, though, you puke. This generally happens within a few minutes. At the classier ceremonies, other people will clear away the messy buckets for you. Diarrhoea is also common, and it is strongly advised that you fast beforehand. But this purging is all part of the ritual, as is the presence of the shaman (customarily South American, increasingly a Westerner), who sometimes sings traditional icaros, or ‘magic songs’. Then, within a couple of hours, the visions begin to take hold. At the house in Topanga Canyon, everyone sat in a circle around an altar. Someone was playing a zither. The shaman called up each person by name to drink from the cup. After he had purged, Sauvage found his muscles
Tea & Empathy Spiritual Healing
Psychoactivity Tracker Recent breakthroughs mean your GP could one day prescribe these drugs
LSD What is it? Also known as acid. The high ‘Microdosers’ claim taking very low levels makes them more creative. The Beckley Foundation is working to fund more trials. The comedown Illegal drugs are not subject to regulatory controls. You could have a pretty bad trip.
Ketamine What is it? Horse tranquilisers. It’s a general anaesthetic. The high Oxford University studies showed ketamine can ease depression symptoms in those resistant to common medications. The comedown The street drug can damage your heart health and memory. Don’t try this one at home.
beginning to spasm, as if someone was digging their ﬁngers into his nerves. “I was perfectly sharp as far as my vision went. I could have driven a car. But it was excruciatingly painful [and] endless. I accepted this pain as part of my process. I was even grateful: something was happening, and that something was out of my control. It was a relief.” Sauvage tells me he has taken ayahuasca about 40 times since, in LA, New York and Peru. He has supplemented this with about 25 San Pedro ceremonies (involving a hallucinogenic MesoAmerican cactus) and three or four iboga trips (using an African bark, whose eﬀect a pharmacologist described to me as “a bit like being on LSD and ketamine for 20 hours”). Each time, Sauvage approaches ‘aya’ with a sense of dread. Sometimes there’s nausea, sometimes simple pain, sometimes trauma dredged up from
what feels like the depths of his cells. But he is so moved by the process that he anthropomorphises the drug as a sentient female being. “She [ayahuasca] knows what you can take but she has very little interest in what you think you can take. You might say, ‘I’ve had a good three hours of replaying this deep trauma. I’m ready to sleep now!’ And she’ll be, like, ‘No, you’re not!’” Still, Sauvage keeps coming back because he feels ayahuasca has made him comfortable in his own skin for the ﬁrst time. “I went from heavy and depressed to a little heavy but not so depressed, to feeling OK, to getting to know myself and enjoying my life more often than not. It worked.”
“It was painful – but I was grateful”
You can’t move very far among a certain kind of American elite without hearing stories just like this. There’s the supermodel’s assistant who had to hold the purge bucket for her boss; the addict who got clean after a 12-day ayahuasca retreat at the Temple of the Way of the Light, a ‘plant medicine healing centre’ in Peru; the CEO who changed his whole business strategy after encountering the drug while on a ‘professional retreat programme’ called Entrepreneurs Awakening. Chris Hunter, co-founder of the alcoholic energy drink brand Four Loko (once known as ‘America’s most hated beer’), made just such a transition: “I literally saw the world through other people’s eyes – my wife, my dad, my mom – and that crossed over into business aspects,” he told California Sunday Magazine in 2016. He has since launched a line of plant-based protein drinks. Increasingly, you can ﬁnd these stories in Europe, too. Russell Brand has presented a podcast about ayahuasca. The comedian Simon Amstell once said that his ayahuasca experience in Peru was “the most real thing” that had happened to him. A friend of mine told me he’d attended a suburban ceremony in Enﬁeld, north London, of all places, and also one in a Scout hut in the Netherlands. “There were Jungle Book pictures on the walls, so Baloo and Mowgli were staring at you. That was pretty strange.” The numbers are still relatively low: ayahuasca is legally dubious, expensive (about £200 per ceremony), and by no means for the fainthearted. But like LSD in the mid-1960s or MDMA in the early 1990s, it’s a drug that’s beginning to capture the moment. “What we can say,” Ben de Loenen, founder of the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Science (ICEERS), tells me, “is that ayahuasca use has globalised and it is appearing more and more in the mainstream media, especially social media.” His organisation provides legal advice about its use: ayahuasca’s active ingredient, DMT, is a controlled substance in the UK. But this is far from a party drug. Studies in Brazil and Spain suggest that it has huge potential as a treatment for addiction, PTSD, depression and anxiety – as well as a more general 21st-century malaise. According to de Loenen, people take ayahuasca because: “They’re dealing with life challenges, or are unable to constructively handle situations at work or in their private lives. They may have lost a sense of purpose, and so on.”
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It’s easy to be cynical about this sort of thing. There’s a droll Onion article about a Peruvian shaman who’s sick of all the Silicon Valley billionaires showing up in his rainforest. But people who have ‘done the work’, to use their parlance, are rarely doubtful. Alexandra Roxo, a personal coach from LA who has taken ayahuasca on numerous occasions, puts it like this: “You can do MDMA or even LSD at parties. It’s recreational. But with ayahuasca, it’s an eight-hour experience where you can barely move your body. [It’s] like 10 years of therapy in one sitting.” David Fuller, a Hackney-based ﬁlmmaker and co-founder of the Rebel Wisdom men’s group, was also attracted to the drug for its healing qualities. “I liked how there was this ceremony around it, a seriousness. People don’t go into it looking for a fun time; they go looking for illumination.” The best shamans, he says, are more like therapists than gurus (he adds the caveat that there are plenty of charlatans around). “I worked with a Peruvian shaman, and most of what he was saying was very grounded. It wasn’t to do with spirits or demons. It was much more psychological: ‘Do you see that this might be linked to your mother?’ And so on. It seems ayahuasca empowers the subconscious to give you information that may have been dormant.”
Myth And Measurement
Psilocybin What is it? Found in magic mushrooms. The high It has been shown to lift depression and anxiety in those with a debilitating illness. (Journal of Psychopharmacology) The comedown Surveys suggest over 10% of users have “put themselves or others in danger”.
Ibogaine What is it? A psychoactive plant. The high Studies show low doses of this West African drug can reduce cravings for other, nastier pharmaceutical crutches. The comedown It’s a restricted substance in the US and UK – so it’s best to wait until more is known.
a lot of things that make you think it’s stronger. Viscerally, it has a greater eﬀect: it makes you vomit, for instance. But psychologically, it will simply have a dose-response eﬀect in the same way that any other drug will. If I gave you a small dose of ayahuasca, it would have a mild eﬀect. If I gave you a large dose of LSD, it would have a greater eﬀect. But there’s also the ceremony aspect. If everyone has told you that this drug is going to do something particular, maybe that’s what you go in expecting.” As any experienced psychonaut will tell you, ‘set and setting’ are crucial. If you take MDMA at 1am at a warehouse rave, it might make you dance a lot and hug your friends; if you take it in a treatment room in hospital, it could well have another eﬀect. When it comes to ayahuasca, the drug and ritual clearly potentiate each other. As the psychologist José Carlos Bouso, a leading researcher of psychedelics, tells me: “The neuropharmacological explanation for ayahuasca’s eﬀects is that it seems to enhance the connection of networks in the brain that are normally more disconnected. That change, in a ritual setting, enhances the feelings of belonging to a community.” This is something that ayahuasca users frequently report – a feeling of connection. “I don’t think you can take ayahuasca a few times without coming away knowing that we are profoundly connected to each other,” says Sauvage. “It’s not knowing in the sense of reading it in an Instagram post. It’s knowing it in your body.” Perhaps surprisingly, there is also a scientiﬁc basis for this, Lawn tells me. “To put it simply, psychedelics take you away from here-and-now tasks, such as concentrating on your immediate
“It’s like 10 years of therapy in one sitting”
I visit Dr Will Lawn in his broom cupboard of a lab in the psychopharmacology department of University College London. He oversaw a study correlating ayahuasca use with subjective wellbeing, based on data from the Global Drug Survey; he has also travelled to Brazil to observe the União do Vegetal, a church that treats alcoholics with ayahuasca. (The Brazilian government has begun trials of ayahuasca on violent criminals, with promising results.) “The whole ﬁeld – ayahuasca, LSD, mushrooms, ketamine – has lots of potential,” he says. “For treating people with depression, they are possible alternatives to [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors] like Prozac. A lot of it comes down to changing your perspective, injecting some positivity. That can be very powerful.” At a molecular level, Lawn says, there’s little to distinguish ayahuasca from LSD or psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. “Ayahuasca does
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Psychoactivity Tracker (continued)
Created by Katya Prokofyeva from the Noun Project
MDMA What is it? Alias: ecstasy. The high After PTSD sufferers were successfully treated with it, the US is now considering legalising it by 2021 (for medical use). The comedown It saps your mood-regulating serotonin. Overheating and over-hydration are also risks.
surroundings. If you take that far enough, you get to ‘ego dissolution’: they take the you out of yourself. You’re no longer you. You’re part of everything.” Another commonly reported eﬀect is that ayahuasca brings deep psychological wounds – often going back generations – to the surface. “It makes you look at what ancestral factors are still impacting you and stopping the cycle of family traumas and conditioning,” says Roxo. “Maybe it’s your relationship to alcohol. Maybe it’s something money-related. Everyone has something.” Sauvage says that he had never seriously considered his Jewish identity until he began to take ayahuasca. His father was born in hiding in France during the Second World War and his grandmother saw many members of her family sent to Auschwitz. “You read about this stuﬀ in the history books and you’re, like, whatever. Ayahuasca is like: ‘No, this is not whatever. This is real.’” Many report similar insights; a number of users tell me that it’s simply too personal to go into. This is the aspect of the drug that is probably most diﬃcult for researchers to pinpoint. The ICEERS report cites evidence that ayahuasca activates areas in the brain associated with personal events, known as episodic memory. A recent study showed that the therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca might be related to its ability to increase something called ‘decentring’: our capacity to observe transitory thoughts without being trapped by them. If this holds true, ayahuasca could make automatic what years of meditative practice could only hope to achieve.
Mysteries Unsolved One thing we know for certain is that we don’t yet know enough. Lawn is sceptical of claims that ayahuasca (or
Tea & Empathy
£200 THE TYPICAL COST OF TAKING PART IN AN AYAHUASCA CEREMONY IN BRITAIN
any psychedelic) is a miracle cure for mental health conditions. But he does see promise. “One fact is that people don’t seem to go bonkers when they take it,” he says. “Another is that the psychological wellbeing of ayahuasca users in our study was better than that of the comparison groups.” (In this case, users of other hallucinogens.) Of course, correlation isn’t causation – it may be that it is psychologically healthy people who are taking it in the ﬁrst place. “True. But ayahuasca isn’t making it worse. We’re at the stage where we need randomised control trials into what this drug can do. This could change people’s lives.” So far, the cost and controversy of setting up double-blind randomised control trials (the gold standard of medical research) for mind-bending substances has proved a barrier. The required bespoke pharmaceuticals, dedicated hospital spaces, numerous doctors, sanctions – none of this is easy to procure. Meanwhile, the eﬀects of ayahuasca are seeping into the wider culture, just as those of LSD and MDMA did before. In tech circles especially, a certain ayainﬂuenced world-view has melded with a digital-age mindset that, depending on your disposition, may ﬁll you with either optimism or horror. “Oh my God, they love it!” says Sauvage. “There are probably more ceremonies going on in the Bay Area [Silicon Valley] than anywhere else in the world. I recently had dinner with someone high-up at one of the Big Four tech companies. We were talking about the mission of this company and how it was basically informed by our ayahuasca experiences. Facebook’s mission, for instance, is about connecting people and building community. Eventually they’re going to realise it’s about building empathy and understanding with others, too, so you see yourself in them and they see themselves in you. When Facebook has that revelation, the world could shift overnight.” I ask him why he thinks ayahuasca speaks to so many people right now. “Why now? Because mankind has ﬁve, maybe 10, years to turn this ship around or we’ll end up in hell. We know it in our bones.” He laughs nervously. “Ayahuasca is a call from nature for human beings to remember that we are of nature. In order to be of service to the world, we need to connect to our deepest selves. So it’s not surprising that she has found her way into the cultural elite.”
MEN’S HEALTH 69
Increase Your Productivity *
or A Lazy Man’s Guide To Getting Things Done What you’re doing right now is impressive. No, we’re serious – finding even five spare minutes during your day to sit down and flip through this magazine is no mean feat. Because we’d hazard a guess that you’re a busy guy. We all are, aren’t we? Research consistently shows that Brits are now working longer hours than people in almost any other country in Europe, making our free time an increasingly rare and precious commodity. Yet, despite these earnest intentions, it seems the UK has a productivity problem. When ranked on our gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked, we now fall well behind other major economies, including Germany, France and Spain,
as well as the US. In other words, we’re spending more and more time at our desks – and have less to show for it by the time we clock off. Well, we say enough is enough. Despite what experience may have taught you, your daily to-do list is not doomed to spill over into your downtime. Take the right measures and you can achieve far more while actually doing a whole lot less. By employing the tips on these pages, you’ll ease your congested schedule, amp up your output and, crucially, reclaim your promised 5pm finish – no meditating, journaling or colour-coding required. All you need to do is channel your inner shirker. After all, no one will find a faster way to finish a tough job than the man who really can’t be bothered.
WORDS BY JAMIE MILLAR & TOM WARD – PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUN LEE
70 MEN’S HEALTH
Britain is lagging behind by a decade in productivity growth, government stats show. It seems we have some catching up to do…
MENSHEALTH.CO.UK M S CO K
MEN’S HEALTH 71
Make Easy Work of Hard Decisions
In Tray Delay Can you find a simpler way to help them?
Contrary to what your boss might think, not every task is of equal value. Knowing which projects are (and which aren’t) essential is the key to balancing your workload. Greg McKeown, author of the eﬃciency bible Essentialism, shares his tips
Is this work for the person who pays your salary?
“If they’re not urgent, many tasks can be adapted or rescheduled to make them easier to complete at a later date,” McKeown advises. “If you’re not 90% certain a job is the best use of your time, you shouldn’t be doing it at all.”
Would your boss or client consider this urgent? Not really
Out Tray Complete Yes
It might be, with a little more thought
“Most of us answer to more than one person, but you need to prioritise,” says McKeown. “If Person A controls your promotion chances or provides 60-80% of your business, ask what is the key thing you can do to help them, then do this first.”
Very Of course not! I’m drowning
Not at all Honestly, no
“Be aware of the zombie projects – the ones that won’t die,” says McKeown. “Say no firmly and move on. If you didn’t do so initially, now’s the time to call your boss over and explain that this project is DOA, and needs to stay that way.”
How To Say No (And Not Sound Like A Jerk)
The time wasted replying to every email as it comes in, rather than checking at pre-set intervals*. Message received
If you want a life outside your 9-5, you must master the most diﬃcult word in the English language: ‘No’. “Being honest when you can’t take on an extra task will save you pain later on,” says McKeown. Here’s how to refuse your boss without picking up your P45.
NO… NO… NO…
Do you feel this particular job is worth your time, and theirs?
MH Hi there, Greg. How’s it going? Great. Look, I know you’re busy, but can you take this project on? McKeown No. MH Excuse me? McKeown What I mean is I’d love to help you. Can you tell me a bit more about it? MH It’s a big job for a big client. And I need it done by the end of the week. McKeown OK. But I have to deliver on this other piece of work from the CEO. It’s critical. MH This is critical as well. McKeown I’m happy to tell the CEO that I need to reschedule, but I think we can find a better
way of approaching this. MH Well, can’t you come in early for the rest of the week and get both done? McKeown Shall we pause and take a look at the work I’m doing now? Then we can discuss what you’d like me to de-prioritise so that I can take on this new task. MH You can’t get both done? McKeown If I don’t do a series of things for these clients, then yes, I can. But which of these do you think I should de-prioritise to do that? MH Tell you what, Steve can do it instead. Have a good day.
STYLIST: TAMARA VOS | *ACCORDING TO RESEARCH FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
How busy are you?
Your Productivity Handbook
Those hipster upgrades of butter and turmeric add little beneﬁt to your energy elixir. Instead, learn to be your own barista and truly optimise your morning break
*ACCORDING TO NEUROSCIENTIST STEVEN MILLER | †ACCORDING TO A STUDY PUBLISHED IN NEUROBIOLOGY OF LEARNING AND MEMORY | ANDROID PHONE GOOGLE PIXEL 2 XL
Hold oﬀ the coﬀee until mid-morning. Your cortisol rises on waking, jolting your system and making caﬀeine less potent*
The Pen Is Mightier Taking notes by hand signiﬁcantly boosts information retention, reports a Princeton Uni study. But don’t risk losing your best ideas among receipts and shopping lists: this smart pen captures each stroke and transfers it from page to tablet. One less job for you. Moleskine Smart Writing Set £200 moleskine.com
01/ Start Stronger
02/ Grind Your Own
03/ Milk The Benefits
04/ Don’t Mocha It
Opt for robusta beans over the more popular arabica. They pack more caffeine to help you hit your target of 200mg, which Plos One reports improves recollection and focus. You won’t be crawling back for another cup an hour later, basically.
Buy whole beans: the smaller surface area means their potency degrades more slowly. Plus, by crushing them yourself with a manual grinder (£65 hario.co.uk), you’ll fit in a stealth arm workout, too. How’s that for efficiency?
Studies by Tel Aviv University show that repetitive activities cut stress, so work in your morning meditation by frothing your milk with an Aerolatte (£10 lakeland.co.uk). Simply microwave until warm, then whisk away your worries.
For the finishing touch, skip the sugar and grate a few cocoa beans or a square of chocolate over the top. According to BMC Nutrition, mixing cocoa with caffeine curbs anxiety levels without compromising your concentration.
The boost in memory you’ll enjoy following a 45-minute nap. Well, you were due a break anyway†
MEN’S HEALTH 73
Your Productivity Handbook
Digital Delegation Robots will eventually take your job. This much is inevitable. But until then, let them do it for you by oﬄoading tasks onto the next generation of artiﬁcial intelligence-powered apps
A \ Astro
B \ AiZimov
C \ Zoom.ai
D \ Oval Money
In the absence of a PA to screen your inbox, Astro identifies priority senders, mutes spam and unsubscribes from newsletters. It also snoozes incoming messages until you’re ready to look at them.
This app creates bespoke emails based on your recipient’s digital presence, even referencing company news and tailoring tone, saving you the effort of social media stalking.
Organising a meeting is a job in itself. This scheduling assistant finds a window in your calendars, picks a location and fires off a request. You’ll still have to attend the meeting, admittedly.
Keeping track of your spending is tedious. This London start-up combines expensetracking, investing and automatic saving to make smarter choices than you will.
The Maximalist Workspace Minimalism may be a hallmark of productivity culture, but few of us have the option of working in a vacuum. Forget stripping back to the bare essentials and collect the kind of clutter that can raise your performance – starting 2 with a few of the following
The highest performers work in intervals of 52 minutes, followed by a period of rest*. Plan your tea breaks accordingly
4 02/ Stark Difference
03/ Personal Affects
Pilers beat filers, who put information out of sight and mind before processing it, says Tim Harford, author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives. Piles also tend to self-organise: what you use most will end up closest to hand. Just file bottom dwellers in the bin.
An excess of ‘stuff’ might swamp your attention – but emptiness deactivates it. Eric Abrahamson, co-author of A Perfect Mess, says that placing disparate items side by side – a plant, a stress ball and a coffee cup, say – helps your brain form new associations.
A study by the University of Essex reports employees who are permitted to decorate their stations with photos are, on average, 17% more productive than their spartan peers. The increased comfort promotes happiness, motivation and, eventually, you.
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04/ Post-it Haste
*DATA COLLECTED BY COMPUTER-TRACKING APP DESKTIME
01/ Paper Chase
Shrinking your to-do list to a more realistic size, the movable Post-it can help you group related tasks or ideas, while a Harvard Business Review study claims people find Post-it prompts more persuasive than emails. Plus, unlike with note apps, you’ll avoid getting sucked into your phone.
Trimming The Fat Truly eﬃcient men know rest days are as vital as training. To that end, swap your weekly ﬁve-day split for just two of these ultra-eﬀective workouts, by Stuart Frew of London’s Fieldworks Gym, and you can sleep in tomorrow morning
0-3min: Warm Up Pound for pound, skipping is the champ. “It doesn’t take up much space, it boosts your heart rate and requires focus,” says Frew. “It’s also fun.”
Mute Distractions Behind on your deadlines? Blame everyone within earshot: the Sound Agency reports noisy open-plan oﬃces cut your work output by 66%. But fear not – we’ve found your block button. Not only are Bose’s headphones engineered with noise-cancelling tech, the Google Assistant function means you won’t miss any calls. Unless you want to QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II £330 bose.co.uk
The level of background noise in an average oﬃce, which makes it harder to complete tasks requiring intense focus*
3-6min: Mobility Frew’s go-tos are shin boxes and squat drills for lower body, plus shoulder dislocates and overhead presses for upper. After three minutes, move on.
6-24min: Weights As many reps as possible in 15min of 20 kettlebell swings, 10 goblet lunges, 10 press-ups and five pull-ups to target your major muscles. Rest for three minutes.
*GERMAN FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY
Run as far and fast as you can in 15min, then rest for three. If your gains slow, adjust the ratio of lifting to running or swap steady state for sprints.
Sleep On The Job Those 5am meditation sessions may look good on Instagram, but they are doing little for your productivity. Professor Jim Horne, author of Sleeplessness, explains
42-45min: Cool Down The scientific jury is out on static stretching, but Frew is a fan: “It seemed to reduce injury during my time in the Marines.” Any excuse for a lie-down.
“Weekend lie-ins, afternoon naps, waking up 30 minutes before your train is due – whenever you catch your shuteye, a few extra hours of sleep can be even more beneficial to your productivity than early starts.
“Not all of us are built for mornings. The circadian body clock varies from person to person, with variations in the timing of its daily peaks and troughs. As such, some of us are ‘larks’ and at our best in the AM, and plenty of others are ‘owls’, who don’t peak until much later 1 . What’s more, these late sleepers are often better able to adapt to changes in the timing of their sleep, as happens with shift work and jet lag, putting them at a natural advantage 2 . “We’re told the early bird catches the worm and, in 1735, the American polymath Benjamin Franklin opined, ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ However,
1/ In a BMJ study, 29% of subjects self-identified as ‘morning people’, while the rest considered themselves either ‘owls’ or without preference. 2/ Don’t fall for the myth that lie-ins knock your body off-kilter. The Uni of Pennsylvania found two extra hours in bed boost alertness. 3/ A Uni of Madrid study found those who sleep in late score higher on tests monitoring reasoning and general intelligence.
various studies have put this often irritating viewpoint to the test – and failed to support it. Perhaps the most intriguing was a survey of 1300 people published in the BMJ. There was no evidence to show that early risers were any more affluent, and it was those with later sleeping schedules who had higher ongoing incomes. Plus, there were no differences in their cognitive abilities 3 . In short: if you’re worried that the pre-dawners are outperforming you, don’t lose sleep over it.”
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In a culture of instant gratification, you don’t just want to reach your goals, you want to smash them – and now. That’s why we’ve compiled the quickest, most effective training hacks to help beat your personal best in three key areas: weightloss, speed and strength. After all, who has time to wait around? WORDS BY SCARLETT WRENCH – PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHILIP HAYNES
MAKE THE CUT If you still think a lean body requires punishing cardio and dietary deprivation, it’s time to quit the self-flagellation. Update your fat-loss rule book and you’ll burn away the excess faster than ever. Who knows? You might even enjoy it
GUTTER MODEL: CREDIT LEE MCLAUGHLIN AT W MODELS | HOODY NIKE.COM, SWEATPANTS LULULEMON.CO.UK
LEANER FASTER STRONGER
Not all PBs are performance-driven, but that doesn’t mean your pursuit of a fitness model physique is any less worthy. Or, for that matter, any less achievable. Whatever shape you’re currently in, the good news is that no man is inherently unable to acquire a lean body. With a little inside knowledge, your six-pack could arrive long before the summer does – and it needn’t cost you your sanity in the process. As the lead trainer at Embody Fitness in the City of London, Chris Walton specialises in fast transformations. “We often see clients losing 1% of their body fat every week,” he says. That’s enough to take you from over-padded to ultra-athlete within 12 weeks. If the mere mention of fat reduction has you composing a farewell note to all things soft and starchy, that’s your first mistake. Cutting carbs may trim your midline for a fortnight or so, but beyond that it starts to work against you. “Everyone’s quick to hop on the anti-carb bandwagon,” says Walton. “But if you cut out carbs completely, the body down-regulates its production of T3, a thyroid hormone responsible for metabolism, and increases your levels of fat-storing cortisol.” Instead, carb up after each of your workouts so your muscles stay fuelled. As for your training, think less about your calorie burn in the gym and more about how much you’re using up outside of it – your ‘afterburn’. Working at high intensity releases enzymes that keep your body burning fat for 24-36 hours after you’ve towelled down. Work every muscle in every session, concentrating on challenging full-body movements such as squat presses and burpees. You’ll still be torching calories while you’re sleeping it off later.
REACH 10% BODY FAT!
THE POWER MOVE
Your ideal daily calorie deficit (kcal). “Restrict much more and you’ll start to break down muscle tissue,” says Walton.
High-intensity interval training is the holy grail of fat-loss workouts, but your approach may be too gentle. “What most people do – 30sec on, 30sec off – is quite aerobic and continuous,” explains Walton. “For it to be considered high intensity, you need to have rested long enough to work at your maximum on the next rep.” Bolt this finisher move on to the end of your next session. You’ll feel the difference.
AIRDYNE BIKE 6 ROUNDS, 6SEC ON, 54SEC OFF With its moving handlebars, the Airdyne works your arms as well as your legs. (A SkiErg will do the same job.) Push as hard as you y can,, then spend p the rest of the minute at a slow recovery paace before repeating. g Good things g come to those who wait.
Drinking half a litre of water over 30 minutes’ training increases the production of fatburning HGH by 48%, reports the European Journal of Endocrinology.
YOUR BODY SHOP
Yoour Instant Upgrade: g : If you’re serious about shedding fat, stay off the mats in today’s session. “Performing abs exercises sitting down will make your heart rate drop,” says Walton. Swap crunches and seated twists for cable work and loaded carries.
It’s easy to use a lack of equipment as an excuse for quitting early. With a skipping rope in your kitbag, you can fit in a calorieetorching workout at aany time. The MH model hhas customisable lengthss and rubber grips for comfort, so you needn’t stop after the first seet.. MH Weighted Rope £8 £ argos.co.uk
An over-reliance on pre-workouts can cause adrenal fatigue, sstunting your fat loss. While a caffeinated pick-me-up has its place, a daily magnesium supp p will deliver better-balanced w benefits. It has been linked b tto improvements in muscle ooxygenation, aerobic capacity aand insulin sensitivity.
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HIT YOUR TOP SPEED
RUN 10K IN JUST 40 MINUTES!
Having good stamina will get you a long way – but it won’t get you there any faster. To slash your run times this year, you need to start training for power. Follow our cheat sheet to accelerate your progress before the week is out
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LEANER FASTER STRONGER
SHORTS, TIGHTS AND TRAINERS ALL NIKE.COM, TOP MODEL’S OWN | PLYOMETRIC BOX, BALLISITC JERK BLOCKS AND RESISTANCE BANDS ALL COURTESY OF BULLDOGGEAR.EU
THE POWER MOVE Running isn’t just an endurance sport. Sure, an element of stamina and fortitude will stand you in good stead, but there’s a lot more to it than that. “Too many people believe that cardio is the only training they need to do to beat their time,” says Courtney Fearon, a Nike coach and instructor at the London gym BXR. “But if you focus on getting stronger and developing power, the distance will quickly feel easier.” This is particularly true for a 10K – the UK’s most popular race distance and the smartest marker of your ability. Excelling at this distance will both sharpen your acceleration over shorter races and prime your lungs and muscles for harder runs. That preparing for it won’t take up all your free time (as with marathon training) is just a bonus. As a starting point, Fearon recommends building your hip drive with weighted full-body exercises such as squat presses and deadlifts. “These should be a staple of any training programme, but they are especially important for runners,” he says. Bulk won’t hold you back, so opt for heavier weights and perform sets of four to six reps. For some, however, the biggest wall to smash through is the one in their minds. You won’t go faster if you don’t believe your body is capable of it. “When I used to sprint professionally, I did a lot of downhill sprints,” says Fearon. “With gravity supporting you, you’re not exerting much force – so your foot turnover is higher. It forms a crucial body-mind connection, tricking your body into thinking you can run at that intensity and move that quickly.” Let’s see what a little self-belief can do.
Boost in speed when male athletes inhaled mint oil before racing. A fresh tip for your next attempt at a PB. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Building speed isn’t all about your legs. “Arm drive is the forgotten movement of running. Your legs can only go as fast as your arms, because they’re working together in synergy,” explains Fearon. “If you can make your arms more powerful, it’ll enhance your speed. It’s also really good for improving core stiffness. As you start to fatigue during a run, your body will start to rock, wasting energy.” His go-to move, below, will train you out of it.
BANDED ARM DRIVE 3 SETS OF 30SEC Tie a resistance band around a post, then hold an end in each hand. Sink into a half squat, facing towards the band, then pump your arms, so you’re mimicking a running motion from the waist up. Rest for 20sec after each effort.
5min Aim to maintain a pace 4% faster than your target for the first five minutes. It’s your smartest pacing strategy. Strength & Conditioning Research
YOUR BODY SHOP
Your Instant Upgrade: “Being mentally connected to the run is crucial,” says Fearon. To add a meditative element to your 10K, try to keep your footfall quiet. Developing a lighter step also means you won’t be putting the brakes on every time your foot hits the ground.
Most people have a slight anterior (forward) tilt in their hips, which hinders running performance. Targeting the area with a massage ball will ensure your form doesn’t falter. Lacrosse massage ball £3 mobilitytools.co.uk
Not all sodas are off-limits. Add a pinch of bicarbonate to your water bottle: the University of Copenhagen found that taking 20g 90min before exercise is enough to buffer the production of lactic acid, reducing the burning sensation in your legs and helping you to push harder.
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RESET YOUR BAR Surpassing this year’s strength goals needn’t be a slow grind. By zoning in on a single, smart target – and working a few tricks into your training plan – you can make lighter work of a heavy task. Follow our guide to turn yourself from also-ran to strongman
DEADLIFT DOUBLE YOUR BODYWEIGHT!
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LEANER FASTER STRONGER
THE POWER MOVE If the bench, squat and deadlift are the Holy Trinity of weight training, the last is surely God Almighty. “It uses a huge amount of muscle mass,” says strength coach Jason Coultman. “Not only is it the truest test of full-body strength, it’s also the best test of maximum output, as typically you can lift more than you would with other movements.” But there’s a lot more to training than ripping the bar from the floor as often as you get the chance. Before you even look at a weight plate, you need to address your physique’s fragilities. Weak glutes are a common limiting factor and an area often overlooked by men. To unlock the PB-breaking power you need, Coultman advises putting your backside into it with a set of warm-up glute bridges, while stretching out your hip flexors. It’s equally important to know when to give your body a break. Most people miscalculate their recovery time. “If you’ve been lifting heavy weights, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to shift as much two days later,” says Coultman. Forget linear progression and introduce a little variety: “For example, on one day a week you might lift 90% of your max, then for the next session switch to 60% with a higher rep count.” Use these lighter sessions to focus on your form. If your posture is bad, you’ll reduce your biomechanical efficiency and burn up extra energy through unnecessary movement. It’s time to take your power back.
The University of Jyväskylä found that athletes who hit a plateau could restart their progress by adding this much weight to the bar and focusing on the lowering part of the move.
BLOCK PULLS 3 SETS OF 6 REPS “Work at a range below the sticking point. If you fail from above the knee, work from just below the knee,” says Coultman. With the bar on two raised blocks, keep your core tight, drive your hips forward and pull your shoulders back to deadlift the bar.
70ml Good for more than just cardio, a shot of nitraterich beetroot juice can help weightlifters push out 20% more reps. Strength & Conditioning Research
YOUR BODY SHOP
Practising the full lift is fine, but tailoring your training to address your weaknesses is smarter. For example, if you struggle to get the bar off the floor, try lifting it with your feet on a low box to increase your range of motion and activate more muscle in the initial phase. For most people, it’s the lockout that’s a sticking point, says Coultman. For this, you need to make block pulls your go-to. Let’s take it from the top.
Your Instant Upgrade: Unsure why you’ve yet to break 150kg? Your hips don’t lie: “If you start with your hips too high, you’ll lose leg drive. If they’re too low, you can’t activate your glutes effectively,” says Coultman. “You want to lower until your shins touch the bar, then stop right there.”
Flex your jaw muscles to boost your strength. In a study by Ramon Llull University, men who bit down on a mouth guard during exercises generated 12% more force. Chew through your PB. Snap-Fit Mouth Guard £5 opro.com
HMB is the best supplement you’re not already taking. Popping 3g 15-30min before a workout will reduce muscle damage and get you back in the gym sooner, according to research body Examine. Or, for a pill-free solution, wild meats such as venison and rabbit will help you raise your game.
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Veganism! (For The Part-Time Meat Lover) Among those who want to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet while still indulging their carnivorous impulses, flexitarianism has grown a healthy following. But there’s more to it than simply removing the meat from your two veg every now and then. Here’s how to hit your nutritional targets, with or without the flesh
WORDS BY SCARLETT WRENCH PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL HEDGE 8 4 MEN 84 EN’SS HEALT EAALLTTH
MEENS NSHE HEAL ALTH AL THH.CCO COO..UK UK
FOOD STYLIST: MATTHEW FORD AT HERS AGENCY | WITH THANKS TO BLUEBIRD BLUEBIRD-RESTAURANT.CO.UK
Make A Fresh Start he problem with diets that answer to a name is that they tend to have rules. Rules mean denial, and at Men’s Health we don’t much like to be denied anything. Diet is, of course, fundamentally important to any healthy lifestyle. But diets are invariably restrictive and unsustainable. That extra ‘S’ is signiﬁcant. Flexitarianism – veganism or vegetarianism with unspeciﬁed cheat days – is a special case. Is it a diet? It’s certainly a fad. Either way, we like it. It’s the absence of structure or impractical rules that makes it so appealing, so let’s call it an ‘ethos’ instead. And it’s growing popular. According to a recent YouGov survey, 44% of us are making some attempt to lower our meat consumption, and online searches for the word ‘vegan’ have jumped 100% in the past two years alone. That’s because there’s method in the meatless. “Basing your diet on plants is undoubtedly good for you. Studies link it to an increased life expectancy and a lower risk of heart issues,” says the nutrition consultant Joe Sexton. The thing is, it needn’t be all or nothing. No matter what the plant purists say, the odd ﬁllet of steak, poultry or ﬁsh won’t hurt you. As Sexton points out, meat is still a great source of healthy protein. “Turning vegan can be a big lifestyle change,” he says. “Flexitarianism gives you all of these beneﬁts – it’s just easier.” Cutting back on meat doesn’t have to be a joyless aﬀair. We asked ﬁve top UK restaurants for their go-to vegan dishes, each packed with ﬂavour and nutritionally balanced. Oh, and we’ve also included an optional meat addition – you know, in case it’s cheat day.
Take a rest day from heavy dinners and make light work of tomorrow’s session with a nutrient-rich overnight refuel Carrot And Puffed Rice Salad
Oh, go on then…
BY SIMON GREGORY OF BLUEBIRD
A seared yellowfin tuna steak will keep this dish light, while adding 30g of complete protein – useful if you plan to hit it hard tomorrow
INGREDIENTS SERVES 2 • ONION, ¼, SLICED • OIL FOR FRYING • LARGE CARROTS, 2, PEELED AND SLICED • VEGETABLE STOCK • BABY HERITAGE CARROTS, BUNCH, PEELED AND SLICED • A HEAD OF FENNEL, IN CHUNKS • PUMPKIN SEEDS, 50G • SUNFLOWER SEEDS, 50G • WILD RICE, 100G • SOY YOGHURT, 100ML
1/ Free your salad from the tired meat-and-greens formula. This warm dish combines wild rice, seeds and soy to give you a nourishing hit of muscle-priming amino acids. First, sweat the sliced onion in a saute pan. Add the large, sliced carrots and fry for a minute, then cover the vegetables with stock. Blanch the baby carrots.
2/ When the larger carrots are soft, puree in a blender, adding a dash of the leftover stock as needed. “Cooking and blending make the veg’s beta-carotene easier to absorb – a nutrient that protects against the stress of training,” says Sexton. Grill the fennel until golden, then toast the seeds for 30 minutes at 180°C for a hit of testosterone-lifting zinc. Fry the rice in oil until it puffs up. Remove, then saute the baby carrots.
3/ To serve, spread the puree as you see fit – you’re the artist here – then top with the fennel and baby carrots. Sprinkle with the seeds, add the rice, then drizzle on the soy yoghurt. Tuck in, then turn in early.
The Fat Loss Fix This lean upgrade on an indulgent Italian
Oh, go on then… Balfe suggests pairing this with lamb leg, cut across the he bone. It’s a top source of ffat-s t-shrinking histidine, undermine your so won’t un hhealthy l h inte ntentions
staple proves that going big on plant-based food needn’t result in a carb coma Celeriac And Almond Risotto BY NICHOLAS BALFE OF SALON INGREDIENTS SERVES 4 • A CELERIAC, PEELED • BANANA SHALLOTS, 2 • CELERY, 2 STICKS • A LEEK • GARLIC, 4 CLOVES • FRESH THYME LEAVES, 10 SPRIGS • RAPESEED OIL, DRIZZLE • WHITE VERMOUTH, ½ GLASS • NUTMEG, A FEW GRATINGS
• VEGETABLE STOCK, 500ML
• UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK, 250ML
• CASHEW NUT CHEESE, 100G
• TOASTED ALMONDS, HANDFUL, SKIN ON
• CHERVIL, HANDFUL, CHOPPED
What tastes like meat? Lend vegan dishes a moreish savoury flavour with these ssimple seasonings 01 Liquid smoke A drop or two will make your grilled vegetables and tofu taste like something straight out of a Southern barbecue.
2/ Slice the celeriac and either pulse it in a food processor or grate it to form rice-like pieces. Add this to the pan with the risotto base, along with the vermouth and the grated nutmeg. When the celeriac begins to soften, add the stock one ladle at a time, stirring as you go. Round out the flavour with a touch of unsweetened almond milk and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
3/ For a fully on-trend take, sub out your usual dairy cheeses for a nut or soy variety. Beyond the eco kudos, they also have fewer calories and contain more fibre. The newest offerings even melt, so crumble or grate them into this dish. Finally, top it all off with almonds, and season to taste.
02 Miso paste Packed with natural umami flavour, it activates your taste buds in the same way as a juicy steak.
03 Smoked paprika Add this rich and earthy spice to any vegetable that you want to make taste more like chorizo.
WITH THANKS TO SALON SALONBRIXTON.CO.UK
1/ It might not be risotto like mama used to make, but Balfe’s dish offers a light, flavoursome alternative. It’s one step closer to paleo, too – celeriac contains just 12g of carbohydrates per serving, says Sexton, compared to 60g in a portion of risotto rice. Finely chop the shallots, celery, leek, garlic and thyme. Sweat over a medium heat in the oil, and stir so nothing sticks.
Takeaway Muscle Meat is not the only route to mass. Our fiery Indian-style dish packs in everything you’ll need after a hard day at the bench Misal With Potato Salli BY ROHIT GHAI OF JAMAVAR
Oh, go on then… To shift the protein-carb ratio, replace the salli with tandoori chicken. Both bird and spuds contain metabolism-supporting vitamin B6
3/ For the potato salli side – the ultra-thin chips – heat the rapeseed oil in a large pan and cook the slices for five minutes until they’re golden. Serve them alongside your misal curry, with steamed bao buns for a welcome change from yet more brown rice.
WITH THANKS TO JAMAVAR JAMAVARRESTAURANTS.COM
INGREDIENTS SERVES 4 • SPROUTED LENTILS, 250G • RAPESEED OIL • MUSTARD SEEDS, 1TSP • CUMIN SEEDS, 2TSP • WHITE ONION, 500G, CHOPPED • GINGER, 1TBSP, FINELY CHOPPED • CURRY LEAVES, 2-3 • GREEN CHILLIES, 2 • TURMERIC POWDER, ½TSP • RED CHILLI POWDER, 1TSP • CORIANDER POWDER, 1TBSP • FRESH TOMATOES, 250G, CHOPPED • TAMARIND PASTE, 2TBSP • A RED-SKINNED POTATO, PEELED AND JULIENNED • RAPESEED OIL, 160ML • BAO BUNS, 4
1/ If you’re stocking up at the corner shop, grab some tinned lentils and they will get the job done. But for optimal impact, we advise that you go the full hipster: sprouted varieties contain more protein and vitamins, the Journal of Food Science reports. Rinse the lentils and cook for 10-15 minutes.
2/ Meanwhile, fry the mustard seeds in a heavybottomed pan, then add the cumin, onion, ginger (a natural painkiller – useful if you’re feeling the lingering tremors of legs day), curry leaves and chilli. Add the spice powders, being careful not to burn them, and finally the tamarind paste and tomatoes. Throw in a few of the green variety if you’re feeling experimental – their high level of tomatidine has been proven to boost muscle strength. When your lentils are ready, tip them into the pan along with a cup of water, then simmer for 10 minutes.
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Easy Green Energy This deceptively simple pasta dish has hidden health benefits. Get stuck in to recharge your flagging brain and body Zucchini Rigatoni BY ATHINAGORAS KOSTAKOS OF MERAKI INGREDIENTS SERVES 4 • ALMONDS, 70G, NO SKIN • COURGETTES, 3, GRATED • OLIVE OIL, 60ML • GARLIC, 2 CLOVES, SLICED • RIGATONI, 500G • SOFT VEGAN CHEESE, 200G • MINT LEAVES, HANDFUL, TORN • LEMON JUICE, 3TBSP • SALT AND PEPPER
2/ Next, saute the courgette and garlic for two or three minutes until soft. Spiralising your veg might make it look cool, but grating it gives you just as many vitamins – so save yourself the trouble. 3/ Ignore any expert who tries to impose a curfew on your carb habit. A starchy meal boosts serotonin neurotransmitters, improving your sleep and relaxation – and it works best when it is eaten within four hours of lights out, according to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Boil the pasta until it’s al dente, then drain and mix with the cheese. Season and serve with mint and a squeeze of lemon to give your week a little extra zest.
Oh, go on then… Toss in a few slices of pancetta. Saturated fat is a building block for brain cells, so you can lift your pigs-in-blanket ban once in a while
WITH THANKS TO MERAKI MERA MERAKI-RESTAURANT.COM S U COM
1/ The word ‘vegan’ often gets lumped in with righteous terms such as ‘clean’ and ‘free from’. But, as this rigatoni recipe proves, meatless needn’t mean joyless. Prepare Kostakos’s pasta the next time you need a pick-me-up, mental or otherwise. Almonds are among the best natural sources of biotin, also known as vitamin B7, which is crucial for energy regulation, says Sexton. Dry-roast in a pan, cool, then crush.
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MENSHEALTH.CO.UK MENSH CO K
Raise Your Defences Fire up your immune system and keep your energy fully charged with this umami broth Mushroom Tobanyaki
BY CLÁUDIO CARDOSO OF SUSHISAMBA
WITH THANKS TO SUSHISAMBA SUSHISAMBA.COM
INGREDIENTS SERVES 2 • SHALLOTS, 1KG • GARLIC, 5G, PEELED AND SLICED • MUSHROOMS (SHIITAKE, OYSTER, HONSHIMEJI), 150G, SLICED • VEGETABLE STOCK, 80ML • YUZU SOY, 20ML • SMOKED TOFU, 150G, SLICED • VEGAN CROUTONS, HANDFUL • CHIVES, PINCH • GARLIC CHIPS, SPRINKLE • TRUFFLE OIL, DRIZZLE • SEA SALT, PINCH
Oh, go on then… Cardoso advocates the earthy flavours of a charcoal-grilled rib-eye. It’ll give you a vit B12 injection, too, further fending off colds
1/ While chicken soup may get most of the plaudits, it isn’t the only meal that’ll help you banish your cold or flu. This medley of mushrooms is packed with selenium and copper, as well as vitamin D – all of which boost your body’s immune function and energy production, says Sexton. First, fry the shallots and garlic in a ceramic dish.
2/ When the shallots have softened, toss in the mushrooms, starting with the biggest. Fungi have some of the highest levels of glutamate found in the plant world – an amino acid that gives them their savoury, almost meaty flavour (we said ‘almost’). When they start to brown, pour in the stock and yuzu soy, then simmer for an hour on a low heat.
3/ When your bubbling broth is almost ready, add your tofu slices, letting them cook for a minute or two. Pour the broth into two bowls and top with croutons, chives and garlic chips. Finish with truffle oil and a pinch of salt. Now let those mushrooms work their magic.
01 BEYOND THE LIMIT
01\ Gary Robbins collapses at the finish line after 60 hours of near-constant, exhausting effort
The Masochist’s Marathon Since 1986, the world’s best ultrarunners have fought for a spot in the Barkley Marathons – a shape-shifting race through 100 miles of unmarked trails in the Appalachian mountains, designed to break their spirit. Our writer went to Tennessee to witness a test of endurance that only 14 people had ever completed
WORDS BY GEORGE PENDLE – PHOTOGRAPHY ALEXIS BERG
A man is begging on the side of a Tennessee mountain. His clothes are soaking and he desperately sucks at the air. His wife weeps as she huddles with him. Above them stands a bearded ﬁgure in a wide-brimmed hat and a worn-out oilskin duster. “I got all my pages!” pleads the man on the ground. His voice is shrill. “I dropped down the wrong side of the mountain in the fog. I had to swim a river.” He gasps for air. “I got all my pages!” Onlookers glance from the broken man on the ground to the inscrutable face of the bearded man. “He got all his pages,” repeats a voice in the crowd. “He got all his pages.” For most of us, the 26.2 miles of a marathon are the epitome of athletic endurance. But for others, there are ultramarathons, which stretch to 100 miles or more through some of the world’s least hospitable regions. The Marathon des Sables is a six-day, 156-mile race across the Sahara Desert. The Hardrock 100 is a 100-mile run across Colorado’s avalanche-prone San Juan mountains. Then there are the Barkley Marathons. Oﬃcially, the race consists of ﬁve loops totalling 100 miles through Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee, but most participants believe it’s closer to 130 miles. Runners must ascend and descend about 120,000ft of elevation – the equivalent of climbing up and down Everest twice – in just 60 hours. More than 1000 people have attempted to run it. Just 14 have ﬁnished. It costs only $1.60 to enter. An application must be sent to a closely guarded email address at precisely the right minute on the right day, along with an essay titled “Why I Should Be Allowed
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GOING THE DISTANCE
02\ The official T-shirt of the 2017 Barkley Marathons 03\ John Kelly struggles through the brutal last kilometres 04\ Lazarus Lake 05\ The Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary
to Run the Barkley”. New runners, known as ‘virgins’, must bring a licence plate from their state or country. ‘Veterans’, the returning runners who did not ﬁnish, must bring an item of clothing. One year, it was a ﬂannel shirt. Another year, it was a white dress shirt. In 2017, it was a pack of white socks. The few who have ﬁnished the course and are crazy enough to return, known as ‘alumni’, need only bring a pack of Camel cigarettes.
the batch included Unravelled, Lost and Found and There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate. After each loop, the pages are counted. There are no aid stations. Those unable to ﬁnish are serenaded by the Barkley’s oﬃcial bugler, who plays a discordant rendition of Taps. “The runners come for something they could fail at,” says the course’s designer, Gary Cantrell – better known among runners as Lazarus ‘Laz’ Lake. “The less likely it is that they can do it, the more attracted they are to it.” The course was indirectly inspired by James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr’s assassin, who escaped from the nearby Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in 1977. When Ray was recaptured after 56 hours on the run, he had barely travelled eight miles. On hearing this, Laz thought he could have made at least 100 miles. (As it turns out, he couldn’t: he has never completed more than two loops of his course.) The race was named after Laz’s friend Barry Barkley.
“In the ﬁnal two loops, some have hallucinated from exhaustion”
LUST FOR FAILURE The race can begin at any time between midnight and noon on the closest Saturday to April Fool’s Day, always exactly an hour after a conch is blown. Runners are not given a map of the course until the afternoon before. GPS is forbidden. Competitors must locate 13 books along the course and tear out a page that corresponds to their race number. In 2017,
The ﬁrst Barkley Marathons were held in 1986. Thirteen people participated. No one ﬁnished. The next year, Laz made the course harder. No one ﬁnished. And so on, until 1995, when an Englishman, Mark Williams, fuelled by tea and cheese sandwiches, completed the ﬁve loops in 59 hours and 29 minutes.
BRAVE COMPANIONS 05
It is check-in time at the Frozen Head State Park campground. “Tomorrow, I’ll be calling you an evil man,” says one runner. “If that’s all I’m called,” Laz says, “it’ll have been a failure.” The map is revealed, taped to a picnic table. The runners crowd around to copy the various sections of the course – ‘Gnarly Mouth’, ‘Rat’s Jaw’, ‘Hillpocalypse’ – on to their own maps. They can also consult Laz’s directions: “Look for a weird rock at a conﬂuence of two streams… and go down a hillside. If it looks too steep, that’s the right one.” Completing three loops of the Barkley is known as a ‘Fun Run’. During the last two loops, however, exhaustion sets in and some runners have even found themselves hallucinating. In 2005, one participant became convinced that there were houses on top of one of the mountains and that he was a rubbish collector sent to empty the bins. Laz says that to ﬁnish the Barkley, all you have to do is average two miles an hour for 60 hours. How diﬃcult can that be? A few minutes walking the course gives you some idea. The slopes are so steep that they look like they’re folding over you.
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06 Gary Robbins is the favourite to ﬁnish the 2017 race. Powerfully built with a shaved head, Robbins specialises in mountain trails. He ran the Barkley for the ﬁrst time the previous year and got as far as the ﬁfth loop, an impressive feat for a virgin. Behind him is Mike Wardian from Virginia. In January 2017, he completed the World Marathon Challenge, running seven marathons in seven continents in seven days. Heather Anderson is one of six women competing; she broke the women’s and men’s records for hiking the 2189-mile Appalachian Trail unsupported. Each of the 40 competitors has been chosen for his or her particular skill set.
SMOKE SIGNAL On the Friday before the race, the weather is looking favourable. Robbins has even predicted that four runners will start loop ﬁve, the most ever. “We’ve got some really fast people this year,” Laz says. “But, you know, speed kills.”
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What does he think of Robbins’s chances? “He’s good, there’s no doubt, but he’s put an awful lot of pressure on his shoulders.” He points to the hills. “Public opinion ain’t going to mean much when he’s out there.” So who does Laz think can ﬁnish the course? “Well, no one seems to be mentioning John Kelly at all.” Kelly is the local boy. His family has lived on the edge of the park for 200 years. This is Kelly’s third attempt at the Barkley. The previous year, he was garrotted by the inch-long thorns that lace the course, which left gashes across his neck. By the end of the fourth loop, he was unable to recognise his crew, and he fell asleep less than 100m into the ﬁfth, a spot since christened ‘Upper Kelly Camp’. By 10pm, conversation has quietened to a murmur. At the yellow gate, which serves as the race’s start and ﬁnish lines, Laz is glancing at his watch. A harsh note booms through the trees. The conch has been blown! Tents light up. It’s 12.42am on Saturday, drizzling and foggy. Fog is the worst weather condition to have at the Barkley. “Headlamps are no use,” Laz says.
RUNNERS IN THE MIST 06\ The competitor Adam Lint climbs up the ‘Rat’s Jaw’ 07\ Robbins descends from the ‘Fire Tower’ during the first of five loops 08\ Kelly, the local boy, is sprayed with anti-mosquito spray 09\ A runner in the thick fog – the worst of all weather conditions
08 “Everything turns into a wall of white. Turn your headlamp oﬀ and it’s a wall of black.” At 1.42am, instead of ﬁring a starting pistol, Laz lights a cigarette. And with that, the runners are oﬀ.
PLOTTING THE PATH When I meet Laz at his home outside Bell Buckle, Tennessee, three weeks before the race, he is wearing a ﬂannel shirt over a white dress shirt and, no doubt, a pair of white socks under his boots. A red beanie
embossed with the word ‘Geezer’ covers his thinning hair, which is pulled into a knot. He looks like the hillbilly of your backcountry nightmares, an image only reinforced by Big, his giant red pit bull. Big had been shot in the chest and abandoned when Laz found him. “Someone wanted him for a ﬁghting dog,” he tells me, “but he didn’t have the nature for it.” Laz nursed him back to health, and now the two are inseparable. Despite his fearsome reputation, Laz is not a ﬁghter by nature, either. He pores over history books and writes stories about his dog’s adventures, such as the time Big swallowed a whole skunk. Laz’s house is nestled in dense woods at the top of a hill. Wrens have nested in a box on the porch, where a spider’s web stretches across a chair. Inside, there’s a room with half a dozen beds covered with quilts made from Laz’s old race T-shirts, ready for any itinerant runner who happens to be passing through. The house is full of animal skulls he picked up on runs and arrowheads he collected with his father. Among the oddities is an intricately sculpted marble ball covered in geometric
designs, a gift from a former Barkley runner. It’s only when I take a closer look that I notice 1000 tiny spots of glue. “When it arrived, it was shattered,” Laz says. “But I found two pieces I could stick together.” He had no idea what it was supposed to look like, but he spent months reuniting the fragments. “I didn’t know until it was put together that it had elephants on it,” he tells me. Forty-ﬁve years ago, Laz began to highlight every road he had run on a local map. When he exhausted the roads on one map, he’d buy another and tape it to the ﬁrst. He set out to cross all of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Today, the maps stretch a dozen feet across. Laz crossed Unicoi, the last county on his list, in 2016. “I never meant to be Laz,” he tells me. Gary Cantrell ﬁrst came across the name Lazarus Lake in a phone book. Initially, he used it as his email handle, but it soon morphed into his ultrarunning persona. In the 1970s, there were only a handful of ultramarathons, and none in Tennessee.
“By the end of the fourth loop, Kelly couldn’t recognise his crew members”
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10 So Laz set up the Strolling Jim, a 40-mile race named after a champion walking horse. “I wasn’t very fast,” Laz says, “and I didn’t have outstanding endurance, but I could take a lot of punishment.” For most of his working life, Laz was an accountant, a job he enjoyed. “I used to love being given an insoluble problem: you can’t ﬁgure out how to do it, you’re frustrated and you might walk away from it a time or two and say, ‘I fucking give up!’ Then you let it roll around in your head. When you solve it, you say, ‘Man, that was fun.’ But no, it wasn’t! It sucked the whole time! You kept doing it because it needed to be done. We need challenges to be happy. We need things to be hard.”
BREAKING DOWN Seven hours into the race, three runners have dropped out. It’s not until 11.12am on Saturday that Gary Robbins and John Kelly ﬁnish the ﬁrst loop. Robbins hurries to his tent to stock up on food. Their camps are a study in contrasts. Robbins’s giant, space-age tent has been dubbed the ‘Tent Mahal’. Kelly, meanwhile, is fed and changed at the yellow gate in full view of everyone. A hush surrounds the Robbins camp, whereas the Kelly campground across the road is full of billowing wood smoke and chatter, as family members gather to oﬀer their support. Other runners arrive in twos or threes. The preferred food here is junk: chocolate doughnuts, Nutella sandwiches, anything that delivers the most calories with the least chewing. One runner weeps as her crew shovels macaroni into her mouth. Some competitors ﬁnish the ﬁrst loop but shake their heads at the gate. They’re not going back out there. Taps is played. Of the 40 starters, 24 begin loop two. By Saturday night, the temperature has plummeted from 27°C to 4.5°C. Laz stands at the gate, accounting for every
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TRIALS OF ENDURANCE 10-11\ Runners wrap their feet, stock up on calories and steal brief moments of rest – but little can prepare them for the ordeal of the next loop 12\ Robbins stands dazed at the finish line 13-14\ Almost delirious with fatigue, Kelly lays his hands on the yellow gate marking the finish
A member of Kelly’s team wedges some pepperoni pizza into his mouth as he starts the next loop.
THE BITTER END
14 arrival and departure. Robbins and Kelly arrive together from loop two at 10pm and immediately head to their campsites to eat and nap. They’re out again by 11.10pm. Most runners quit during loop two, and the ones dropping out now seem crushed, their bodies beaten. The oﬀ-key notes of the bugler sound through the night. When dawn breaks on Sunday, the place has the air of a battleﬁeld encampment. Feet stick out the back of SUVs. Laz snoozes in a chair next to the gate. Mike Versteeg, who once smashed the record for the 830-mile Arizona Trail, has bailed out on loop two. He strums a guitar and says, to no one in particular, “Why can’t I be good at something that doesn’t make me feel miserable?” At 10.42am, Robbins and Kelly appear in lockstep. Their exhaustion is starting to show and they’ve lost their appetites.
Laz directs ﬁve races besides the Barkley, including the Last Annual Vol State Road Race, a 314-mile trek across Tennessee. “After so many days on the road, you know you have a job and a family, but that’s more like something you read about once in a book,” Laz says. “The real is what’s in front of you, and you break down your life into: ‘Where will I ﬁnd something to eat? Where will I take a shit? Where am I going to sleep?’ That’s really all that matters. It strips you down.” Laz doesn’t run any more. After 100,000 miles, his legs gave up on him. But he remains a trickster ﬁgure to the ultrarunning community, which has vastly grown since the 1970s. Most ultrarunners today like their races to be run on single-cut trails, with plenty of aid stations and high-ﬁve congratulations. “It’s much slower now,” he says. “Originally, everyone who ran was serious and competitive. People race now not necessarily to ﬁnish their best but to ﬁnish with the minimum of discomfort.” At 12.05am on Monday, two lights are seen on the hill. Robbins and Kelly run in and slam their hands on the yellow gate. Both look awful, though Kelly seems
weaker. Falling into his camp chair, he ﬂinches each time his feet are touched. “You look good,” a crew member lies. After 12 minutes, Kelly rises unsteadily to his feet and touches the gate to signal that he is starting loop ﬁve. Eleven minutes later, Robbins emerges from his tent and stiﬄy walks to the gate as his wife spoon-feeds him mashed potatoes. At 6.45am, it starts to rain heavily. Kelly didn’t take any waterproof clothing with him. “One hour!” Laz shouts at 12.42pm. The rain starts to ease oﬀ. “Forty-ﬁve minutes!” There’s still no sign of Robbins or Kelly. Laz is about to call out “30 minutes!” when a cry comes from down the hill. A deathly pale ﬁgure is jogging up it, a plastic bag wrapped around his shoulders. It’s Kelly. The crowd cheers, and as he lays both hands on the gate, his face breaks into a sobbing grimace. Laz counts the pages. They’re all there. John Kelly is the 15th runner to ﬁnish the Barkley Marathons. There is no prize money. There is no medal. But as Laz says, “Those who know what you did know that you did it.” There’s still no sign of Robbins. “Five minutes!” shouts Laz. Robbins’s wife appears distraught. “One minute!” Suddenly there’s a sound. It’s Robbins. He’s sprinting up to the gate but from the wrong direction. Drenched in sweat, he throws himself at the gate before collapsing. “I got all my pages!” he cries. “I got all my pages!” “He got all his pages,” repeats a voice in the crowd. “He got all his pages.” Laz looks at his watch. It reads 60.00.06. Robbins is six seconds too late. Still lying on the ground, Robbins explains that he found the last book but then the fog came down again, and just two miles from the race’s end he took a wrong turn. Laz shakes his head. Robbins went oﬀ the course. For all his eﬀort, he’s just another dropout. The week after the race, Robbins will receive several emails that he’ll describe as “wonderful and appreciated”, signed Gary Cantrell, not Lazarus Lake. For now, Laz gives Robbins a hug and Taps is played. But unlike the previous 38 renditions, this time it sounds genuinely forlorn.
“Their exhaustion has started to show. They’ve lost their appetites”
MEN’S HEALTH 97
IS YOUR FIXATION WITH MODERN TECH SHACKLING YOU?
Our undivided attention is the currency of the online world, with every website and app designed to draw us in and hold us there. But what happens when our digital dependence becomes an unhealthy obsession? We sent a nervous writer to tech rehab, in search of the escape key to modern life WORDS BY JOEL STEIN â€“ PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROWAN FEE
f you think that texting and driving is dangerous, you’ve clearly forgotten what it’s like to drive with a road map in front of your windshield. I’m an hour into my three days of digital detoxing – no screens whatsoever – and I’m unable to ﬁnd the restaurant I’m supposed to have arrived at half an hour ago. I am stressed out, making illegal U-turns and feeling increasingly less sure of why I committed to turning oﬀ the iPhone tucked inside the car’s centre console: a device that could deliver everything I need in a calm, commanding voice. This can’t be good for me. Science, however, disagrees. A university department’s worth of research suggests that our internet-enabled devices are making us more miserable. Blue light is suppressing our sleep hormones, social media is fuelling anxiety, and messaging services are eroding our empathy. Most of these studies are conducted on teens – those who have never known a life oﬄine and the cohort we are most comfortable associating with so-called digital addiction. In this group, according to the US psychologist Jean Twenge, problems start to occur with just two hours of screen use per day during leisure time. That amounts to little more than a skim of the headlines, a few double-taps on your lunch break and a nightly Netﬂix ﬁx. Twenge argues that young people have more free time than ever before, yet they choose to spend it “on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed”. An article in the Wall Street Journal goes a step further, claiming that teens are now so unaccustomed to any input not from a phone that even the sound of a doorbell “freaks them out”. I have never had an issue with doorbells. But the rest? I’d be lying if I said I saw nothing of myself in these stories. Before my digital detox, I was fairly certain that I wasn’t an addict but – like someone asking a doctor how many drinks a day makes you an alcoholic – I wanted to know how much time on my phone was too much. If I discounted my job, I was pretty sure I logged on for less than two hours a day. Just to check, I downloaded
Moment, a free app that tracks your active phone usage, not including when you’re on a call or listening to music. (I’m tech-addicted enough to believe that I can solve my app-usage problem with an app.) Moment warns that most people underestimate their screen time by 100%. I tried to lay oﬀ the phone a bit on the ﬁrst day, probably because Instagram and Twitter had trained me to believe that everything is a competitive game, and I wanted to ‘beat’ Moment. But it turned out that I didn’t use my phone for the hour or so that I’d suspected. I used it for two hours and 32 seconds, picking it up 46 times and clocking 16 minutes immediately after waking. And that’s just my phone. I waste
“Each point scored or ‘like’ garnered floods our brains’ pleasure centre”
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a lot of time on my laptop scrolling through Twitter, news, emails and – I admit – porn. Moment estimates that people check their phones, on average, 50 times each day – and this ﬁgure refers to users concerned enough about their relationship with tech to download the app. It also discovered that they spend the most time on Facebook, followed by Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp: websites and apps that, along with Reddit, people say leave them most dispirited.
User Error I have tried to curb my tech habit before – and failed. Several years ago, I attempted a 24-hour detox as part of the National Day of Unplugging, an initiative organised
HAND GRENADE AND HANDCUFFS FROM FOXTROT COSTUME AND PROPS LTD
LOSE CONNECTION If you want to switch off but aren’t quite ready for rehab, power down at one of these wifi-free hot spots. You might need to google them first
JUST WALK AWAY Time to Log Off is an organisation that runs three-day digital detox retreats in a Somerset valley, among other places. Ironically, its nature walks are eminently Instagrammable. itstimetologoff.com
*DATA FROM MOMENT
by Reboot, a Jewish group updating the Sabbath. My wife and I assumed we’d be having sex by candlelight that night, but after getting lost on our way to a party and being unable to text for help, we ended up with no candles, no sex and – after giving up three hours in – no detoxing. To prevent another failure, I’m checking myself in for two days at the Restart Center for Digital Technology Sustainability, a rehab facility for online addicts located near Redmond, Washington – the home of Microsoft. Admittedly, I am taking a blister to a burns unit: the programme I’m auditing runs for 45-90 days. One morning, at 9am, I drive up a remote, wooded road to a two-storey house that Restart uses to accommodate its clients. Hilarie Cash, the programme’s co-founder, takes my coﬀee away before
I enter. No caﬀeine is allowed here, and neither is alcohol or reﬁned sugar. I walk Situated on a private You’ll locate this into the living room and join six men in bay on the Isle of Scottish guest house their early twenties who are sitting in Wight, Cedar Croft is on the road-free a circle for a meeting. They look exactly a two-bedroom wood shores of Loch Hourn. cabin heated by a There’s no mobile how I’d imagine online addicts to look: log-burning stove. signal or even four are underweight, two are overweight, It has no TV and no electricity, so make all have atypical facial hair and only one internet. You’ll have sure you bring a map looks remotely awake. to find something for the hiking paths. Most of those who enrol at Restart are else to surf instead. skiary.com tripadvisor.co.uk young, and nearly all have rich parents (staying here costs around £500 a day). Many will not return to their computerbased jobs, instead accepting low-wage placements until they can decide on a less dangerous career. Gaming is the commonest form of addiction, and the majority of people here played for 6-18 hours a day, along with periods of binge gaming. There are simple reasons why it’s so easy to be seduced. Games are competitive, skill-building activities with IF TECH HAS YOU clear reward structures. They TRAPPED, IT’S TIME TO UNSUBSCRIBE have no real end point and are designed with a high level of psychological sophistication. But the same could be argued for social media. The path to addiction is the same, whatever the crutch. Each time we log on, our brains release the chemical dopamine, which ﬂoods our nucleus accumbens – our ‘pleasure centre’. Each point scored or ‘like’ garnered gives us just a little bit more and, over time, this induces a craving. A scratch we can’t itch. As the addiction specialist Beth Burgess explains to me later, “When we experience something that produces a high payback for little eﬀort, our brain ﬂoods with dopamine, the reward hormone. Then our hippocampus, the ‘learning’ part of the brain, records this quick-and-dirty route to satisfaction, cueing us to seek it out again. HOME TRUTHS “The trouble is, the more we overload Unsure whether the brain with unnatural rewards, the your phone habit more burnt out our dopamine receptors is over the limit? become. The rewards become less Here’s how much pleasurable over time, yet we pursue time the average them, trying to experience the same high. man clocks up* At this point, we are compulsive and miserable – a slave to addiction.”
Gen Z (13-18) 2hr 58min per day Millennials (19+) 3hr 12min per day Gen X (38-55) 2hr 49min per day
Crossed Signals The men at Restart seem fairly depressive but, as I soon learn, they’re also smart and sensitive. They were once well rounded. The ones who didn’t drop out of high school went on to good colleges. They played sports. Many had girlfriends. One worked for a senator on Capitol Hill and
MEN’S HEALTH 101
THE HEALTH SCREEN When escaping your devices isn’t an option, implement our damage limitation plan to offset your hours online
Staring at a screen lowers your blink rate, irritating your eyes.
Many of us crane our necks forward when texting or typing, straining our muscles.
Sitting at your Mac all day causes harmful deposits to collect in your blood vessels.
Fix it Try a Superman stretch: face down and lift your chest, legs and arms with your thumbs pointing up. Hold for 20 seconds. Don’t Instagram it.
Fix it An hour’s activity per day – as little as a brisk walk – can offset the effects of a desk-bound life, research in the Lancet shows.
Excessive stimulation caused by push notifications blunts our ability to manage our stress levels.
Fix it Cover them with a warm compress (such as a damp flannel), advises the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ideally not during work hours.
then in venture capital overseas. Several play instruments; I hear skilful solo piano versions of Take Five in the music room later in the day. Their pop culture references are broad. It feels more like a college dorm than a rehab centre. A Mormon from Utah tells me that porn addiction is a huge problem in his community because of the shame – church leaders will shun anyone who admits to it. He checked himself in after his last porn marathon. “Capitalism is all about controlling your attention. I want to better know how to defend my mind against the people who want to exploit it for money,” he tells me. Meanwhile, a redhead who cannot weigh more than 55kg says he managed to log 2000 hours on the online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds over a period of a few months. He brieﬂy became number two in North America. Another guy spent his days gaming in a PC cafe and his nights in a homeless shelter after his parents threw him out. “I’ve noticed my ability to sit through long movies has diminished,” he tells me. “We’re not talking Tolstoy adaptations. We’re talking Star Wars – I’m unable to sit through popcorn movies.” He wishes his parents had conﬁscated his devices when he was 16, though he admits he would have raged against them. After so much time online, his interpersonal skills have atrophied. “When I got here, it was really hard for me to make eye contact with people,” he says. Even with this new group to talk to, the lack of digital stimulation makes my day crawl. I don’t have FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) as much as FOBIT (‘fear of being in trouble’). It’s my son’s ﬁrst day of his new school term, and something might have happened. My mother is at the doctor’s to ﬁnd out if she needs an operation. My lawyer might need a form to transfer my book rights to my new company. My column in Time magazine is running
102 MEN’S HEALTH
in four days and there will inevitably be questions from my editor. This is the trap we’ve landed ourselves in. Excessive stimulation – whether in the form of rolling news or email push notiﬁcations – impacts upon the brain’s pre-frontal cortex, making us impulsive and irrational. But without it? Well, without it we feel anxious. To pass the time, I try to focus on the present and talk to the guys. We go to a meeting with a sex addiction counsellor and I share my experiences of using porn to escape writer’s block. Afterwards, we do a hard CrossFit workout in the garage, then go to another meeting. Later, we clean the house and cook dinner. The only assumption I’ve had conﬁrmed all day is that you do not want to eat meals prepared by gamers.
Switching Off At dusk, one of the counsellors – a former addict featured in the 2016 documentary Screenagers – leads a meditation session in a small cabin in the vast backyard. Staﬀ here teach you tricks for dealing with internet-use triggers, most of which you will have heard. (Go outside! Exercise! Keep your phone at least an arm’s length away from your bed!) But the main thing we’re learning is how to deal with boredom. It’s too easy to set myself apart from my fellow patients with their addicted brains and destructive compulsions. But they game for the same reason we pick up the phone every 20 minutes. We are uncomfortable with our feelings – anxiety, anger, shame, self-doubt, loneliness – and want to self-soothe. This impulse is normal, says Burgess: “Many people try to use their phones to distract
Fix it Pick up a magazine. Just six minutes of reading can reduce stress by two-thirds, according to a study conducted by Sussex University.
themselves from negative feelings. You can get near-instant validation of your self-worth when other people like or share your social posts.” But, as she points out, this can backﬁre. “What if you receive no positive feedback? It’s a really unreliable method of making yourself feel better.” One way of dealing with this, we learn, is to use natural periods of boredom – your morning commute, say – to practise stillness. It’s not meditation as such. It’s just allowing yourself to be, to exist unentertained. At Restart, the counsellors encourage us to use what they refer to as ‘the six Rs’. First, you recognise a negative emotion and know that it doesn’t deﬁne you (“I’m feeling angry” instead of “I’m an angry person”). Second, you release the thought. Then you relax by focusing on your breath, ‘re-smile’ (presumably what it sounds like), return to your mind by recalling a happy memory, and repeat. In short, they teach us to calm down. Online addiction, like any other kind, often masks deeper personal problems. Restart addresses this through something called ‘impact letters’. These are from loved ones who detail how the addict’s behaviour has aﬀected their lives. Each person has to read his letter out loud to the group, the ﬁrst time he reads it. The one we’re gathered for tonight is from the recipient’s father, who describes how he couldn’t make his son leave the sofa for basic hygiene, and how his body odour was so bad that his mother couldn’t be in the same room with him. The group is silent. Eventually, one of the guys asks if his hygiene has improved since he arrived at Restart. He looks down and says he hasn’t showered in his ﬁve weeks here. A former high school football player oﬀers to wake him up at 7am every day
“These addicts game for the same reason we pick up the phone every 20 minutes”
WE’VE BECOME RELIANT ON THE DIGITAL WORLD – BUT AT WHAT RISK?
and stand guard outside the shower. The young man responds that being seen naked by his room-mate panics him. Then he makes a confession. His addiction, he says, isn’t really about Twitter and YouTube. The problem is that he spends six hours a day watching furry porn, which involves people in animal costumes. We applaud his honesty, assuring him that he is too young to have wasted his life. As we get up to leave, he asks if it’s too late at night to shower. He returns holding a towel aloft to make sure it’s not anyone else’s. Then we hear the water run.
System Reboot The next morning, a wake-up call at the hotel gets me out of bed at 7am and I spend another day with the guys in meetings, working out, reading, cooking and generally being bored. But after SOCIAL LIFE 24 hours, my mind These four sites has started to adjust. are the most likely I’m reaching for my to be eating up phantom phone less your time. How do frequently. By the you measure up time I leave, my compared to the FOBIT is easing. average user? When my ﬂight home lands, I switch on my YouTube – 40 mins phone to get a cab. Over the past three days, Facebook – 35 mins I have amassed four voicemails, 16 texts Snapchat – 25 mins and 136 emails. I sort through them in less Instagram – 15 mins than an hour on the drive. The experience isn’t uncomfortable, since responding is a conscious task and not an interruption of one. And although all of those things I FOBIT-ed occurred, being a little late in responding hasn’t done any harm. No one noticed my digital absence. I erase Twitter and Facebook from my phone. (I’ll save those for the laptop.) I put everyone but my wife, parents and sister on ‘do not disturb’. Soon afterwards, as I’m getting my eight-year-old son ready for school, he asks me if I learned how to use my phone less. I say I did. He tells me about a time we were playing the board game Catan, and I was running back and forth between turns to answer emails. I promise him that I know how not to do that any more. I will embrace the analogue detachment of parenting – which makes sense, since being with my son is what I visualised as my happy memory in the meditation. I’d grown so bad at feeling real emotions that I’d become bad at feeling happy, too.
MEN’S HEALTH 103
“THE SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT YOU GET RUNNING A MARATHON IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER”
RUN YOUR BEST RACE THIS YEAR’S VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON WON’T BE NEW BALANCE ATHLETE JONNY MELLOR’S FIRST. HEED HIS ADVICE TO REACH PEAK PERFORMANCE ON RACE DAY
ike many of us, New Balance elite athlete Jonny Mellor grew up watching the marathon religiously on TV. On 22 April, he’s returning to the capital to take on the course for a second time – something which he finds surreal. “I’ve raced around the world, but nothing compares to London. The crowds are incredible and you pass so many iconic landmarks – plus you have the opportunity to run alongside the best competitors in the world.” Mellor’s training is intense, clocking 100 miles a week in his New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8 trainers (on race days, he switches to the 1400v5 running shoe). To maintain motivation, he suggests changing scenery during training, swapping city runs for the countryside on some weekends. With one long run scheduled per week, usually 24 miles, as well as an interval
session and gym workout to improve his core strength and hip mobility, Mellor says being comfortable in your kit is crucial to running your best. “New Balance has bridged the gap between performance and looking good. The right gear will help prevent injury, keep your body at an optimal temperature and, ultimately, make your marathon experience more enjoyable.” Mellor powers through tough sessions by imagining crossing the finish line in London. “I visualise running down Pall Mall on the final stretch. The sense of achievement you get from running a marathon is different to any other distance,” he says. “Unlike a 10K, you’ve really only got one shot at the marathon, so that’s a great motivator during training. You know you have to give it everything. I learnt a lot from my experience last year and now feel ready to run my personal best in London.”
MH PROMOTION LONDON EDITION HEAT JACKET £115 LONDON EDITION IMPACT 7” SHORT £40 LONDON EDITION IMPACT TIGHT £50 AND FRESH FOAM 1080 V8 £125 ALL AVAILABLE AT NEWBALANCE.CO.UK
POWER UP Take some time away from pounding the pavements and work on strengthening your legs and core. Mellor’s go-to weights moves will shave minutes off your marathon time
GOBLET SQUATS 3 sets of 6 reps Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold a kettlebell to your chest (A). Sink your hips into a squat, bending your knees until you reach a 90-degree angle (B). Explode back up to the starting position.
KETTLEBELL STEP-UPS 3 sets of 6 reps per leg Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place one foot on a step, keeping your opposite leg straight (A). Push your weight through the heel of your front foot, bringing your opposite leg up to the step (B).
AS THE OFFICIAL FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING SPONSOR OF THE VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON, NEW BALANCE HAS CREATED A RANGE FOR RUNNERS, WHICH YOU CAN SHOP AT NEWBALANCE.CO.UK/ LONDONMARATHON. TO KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST MARATHON NEWS, FOLLOW @NEWBALANCEUK. GOOD SPEED, GENTLEMEN.
SPORT + FASHION
New Garment District
As the lines between fashion, sport and street continue to blur, brands are fighting over your custom with ever more technical, performance-led designs for style-conscious city dwellers. Take your pick from the best of the new luxe landscape PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK GUEST – STYLING BY ERIC DOWN – WORDS BY SHANE C KURUP
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modern globetrotter, Kors majors in slick, monochrome luxury. Plush fabrics and clean lines are the brand’s hallmarks, resulting in multifaceted separates that work together seamlessly.
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– COAT £568 SWEATER £285 TROUSERS £110 AND SANDALS £160 ALL MICHAEL KORS MICHAELKORS.CO.UK
GROOMING: KEVIN FORD USING DERMALOGICA | MODELS: JHONATTAN BURJACK AT AMCK, VICTORIEN BLAGONJA AT MILK MODEL MANAGEMENT | PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: FRANKIE LODGE | STYLIST’S ASSISTANT: RICCARDO CHIUDIONI
–The label of choice for the
– New Garment District
–Founded by Adam Brown after a quest to find the perfect swimming shorts, Orlebar Brown applies Savile Row tailoring principles to its intelligently designed leisurewear. Its many functional, smart-casual pieces will take you from beach to bar and back again.
– JACKET £275 AND SHORTS £195 BOTH ORLEBAR BROWN ORLEBARBROWN.COM SHOES £460 MONCLER MONCLER.COM
New Garment District –
–Iconic label Calvin Klein has come to define the easy sense of dressing that the US continues to teach the world. Lightweight fabrics, such as the kind used in this parka, are essential ingredients of layered looks. And, of course, the denim isn’t bad, either.
–Every season, this brand manages to produce stellar collections that push the boundaries while remaining quintessentially Prada. SS18’s use of highly engineered tech fabrics and tailored trackpants take sports luxe to the next level.
– COAT £349 JEANS £119 AND BOOTS £225 ALL CALVIN KLEIN MENSWEAR VEST £30 CALVIN KLEIN JEANS CALVINKLEIN.CO.UK – BLAZER £1680 CARDIGAN £610 TROUSERS £610 BAG £1540 AND SHOES £630 ALL PRADA PRADA.COM
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– JACKET £1135 T-SHIRT £115 TROUSERS £170 AND SHOES £200 ALL HILFIGER COLLECTION MEN’S UK.TOMMY.COM
HILFIGER COLLECTION MEN’S
–Since 1985, the stateside
stalwart has been one of the most influential forces behind the rise of preppy dressing. The Hilfiger Collection Men’s line, which features premium fabrics and off-kilter details, is a short cut to Americana cool. This slick biker and graphic tee combo is the perfect way to start.
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– New Garment District – JACKET £450 SHIRT £185 AND TROUSERS £215 ALL KENT & CURWEN KENTANDCURWEN.COM
KENT & CURWEN
–The heritage sportswear brand has gone from strength to strength since its relaunch under the creative direction of Daniel Kearns – and style icon David Beckham’s presence on the design board is clearly paying dividends. Collegiate cool at its finest.
New Garment District –
–Paul Smith has captured the mood of each decade of design since 1970, managing to evolve with the times while still retaining its signature codes. Quality fabrics and idiosyncratic details are key. With its utility pockets and lightweight materials, this field jacket is a refreshing take on a classic style.
– JACKET £695 BLAZER £730 AND TROUSERS £305 ALL PAUL SMITH PAULSMITH.COM
–Born in the USA but nurtured
in Sweden, the dual heritage of this brand is reflected in its cool, casual staples. Gant has long since proved that stylish leisurewear has a place outside of the gym or the sports club.
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– SWEATSHIRT £85 AND JEANS £100 BOTH GANT GANT.CO.UK
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– New Garment District
Founded as a leather goods company in 1941, Coach has a reputation for collaborating with iconic artists to give luxe staples a contemporary resonance. This technical bomber, featuring an image by pop artist Keith Haring on the reverse, highlights this ethos.
–Milan-based British designer Neil Barrett has long been fascinated by modernist architecture, an interest that informs his athletic, clean designs. His punchy, graphic separates make leisurewear a sophisticated option for the smart urbanite.
– JACKET £750 TROUSERS FROM £395 AND BOOTS £425 ALL COACH UK.COACH.COM – SHIRT £460 AND TROUSERS £370 BOTH NEIL BARRETT NEILBARRETT.COM SHOES £460 MONCLER MONCLER.COM
New Garment District –
–The Fab Femme’s recent foray into menswear has focused on modern classics with a twist and, as one might expect, a strong emphasis on ethical sustainability. This season’s sporty accessories and tailored separates are the acme of athleisure styling.
–Z Zegna – the dynamic, sporty line from the venerable Italian house of Ermenegildo Zegna – fuses the brand’s knowledge of both luxury and technical fabrics with a muscular insouciance. This season’s deconstructed tailoring and nautical-inspired accessories make for an oddly futuristic combo.
– COAT £1405 TOP £205 BUMBAG £410 TROUSERS £410 AND SANDALS £310 ALL STELLA MCCARTNEY STELLAMCCARTNEY.COM – BLAZER HOODIE AND TROUSERS ALL POA BAG £950 AND SHOES £475 ALL Z ZEGNA ZEGNA.CO.UK
–The standard-bearer for
biker cool has built a solid reputation with its hardhitting masculine outerwear and separates. For SS18, lighter fabrics are on offer, such as this check trench and air force bomber, neither of which sacrifice durability or motoring attitude.
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– JACKET £495 AND COAT £825 BOTH BELSTAFF BELSTAFF.CO.UK
| 04/2018 MH | URBAN ACTIVE |
–This British high-street
–Penfield has been kitting
heavyweight has always been a good barometer of the current state of menswear, and this season is no exception. Its range of ’70s-style camp-collar shirts, sharp tailoring and staple denim preserves its reputation as an essential port of call for the Saturday shopper.
out discerning outdoorsmen since 1975. While practicality and fabric technology are at the heart of the brand, it also keeps a keen eye on design. This season’s ’80sand ’90s-inspired shell jackets tick the boxes for both style and substance.
– JACKET £60 AND TROUSERS £40 BOTH RIVER ISLAND RIVERISLAND.COM – JACKET £195 SWEATSHIRT £90 AND TROUSERS £115 ALL PENFIELD PENFIELD.COM
– New Garment District
–While the German label can always be relied on for a sharp cut, there’s much more up its cuff than precision tailoring – as this lightweight summer parka and practical, nauticalinfluenced duffel bag attest.
– COAT £895 VEST £69 TROUSERS £219 BAG £1200 AND SHOES £170 ALL BOSS HUGOBOSS.COM
New Garment District –
–When Woolrich was founded in Pennsylvania in 1830, it supplied hard-wearing fabrics to labouring men. It has since evolved into an uber-cool lifestyle brand with wares to see you through all seasons. As ever, functionality and fabric innovation are at its heart.
–The US denim behemoth continues to excel with a style that is both timeless and cutting edge. Whether you’re a classic 501 man or more contemporary in your tastes, this season’s indigo, stonewash and distressed designs are a solid choice.
– JACKET £315 AND SHORTS £85 BOTH WOOLRICH WOOLRICH.EU SANDALS £310 STELLA MCCARTNEY STELLAMCCARTNEY.COM – JACKET £240 LEVI’S MADE & CRAFTED JEANS £110 LEVI’S LEVI.COM
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–For an affordable high-street
brand, Topman has always punched above its weight, with forward-thinking design, pop culture cool and dependable basics. These oversized tracksuit separates have the louche, Sopranosstyle athleisure look nailed.
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– TRACK TOP £55 AND BOTTOMS £40 BOTH TOPMAN TOPMAN.COM
– New Garment District
–Brit designer Christopher Raeburn continues the tradition of military-inspired menswear with a distinctly 21st-century slant. Combining both technical and recycled fabrics, he specialises in eco-friendly innovation. This reversible air force-inspired bomber, in particular, scores points for its versatility.
– JACKET £495 COAT £595 MESH T-SHIRT £195 T-SHIRT £59 AND SHORTS £245 ALL CHRISTOPHER RAEBURN CHRISTOPHER RAEBURN.CO.UK SANDALS £310 STELLA MCCARTNEY STELLAMCCARTNEY.COM – JACKET £420 HOODIE £425 TROUSERS £200 AND SHOES £460 ALL MONCLER MONCLER.COM
–Although Moncler takes its name from a French Alpine village, there’s much more on offer from this stellar outdoor brand than puffers and salopettes. It understands what the modern man needs to get through life, whether he’s jumping on a bike between meetings or negotiating snow-capped peaks.
New Garment District –
–The irreverent younger
brother of the Armani stable, Emporio’s approach to design fuses casual, street-ready separates with hints of haute design detail – such as the concealed Japanese print inside this zip-embellished jacket. Not taking yourself too seriously has never looked so smart.
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– JACKET £900 VEST £50 BELT £185 SHORTS £410 AND SHOES £450 ALL EMPORIO ARMANI ARMANI.COM
FINDING YOUR BALANCE MOBILITY MAVERICK ROGER FRAMPTON’S LITTLE-AND-OFTEN MENTALITY ENSURES THAT NOTHING IS OFF THE MENU. AS HIS DAILY ROUTINE SHOWS, YOU REALLY CAN HAVE IT ALL
etting out of bed is always a struggle – and even more so when it’s still 5.15am. But that’s exactly when Roger Frampton is reaching for a double espresso at home. It’s a daily ritual that helps him feel human again. Then he takes a train into London and spends 20 minutes in a deep squat, swiping through emails. It might look strange, but it wakes up his body. “The mobility work that makes me feel good doesn’t require a full workout,” says Frampton. “It fits perfectly into smaller parts of your day.” It’s this approach that stops him suffering from the immobility afflicting nine-to-five desk workers. A busy day of meetings ensues, punctuated by personal training clients and an hour’s workout for himself. His handstands are coming along – though he admits, when compared to those of his ex-circus performer coach, there’s plenty of work to do. His relationship with food is simple: “I eat what I want, when I want.” There are no major blowouts, but the Starbucks jackfruit wrap has become a new favourite when eating on the move and, as someone who doesn’t eat meat, he’s enjoying the rise of other meat-free alternatives – faux-pulled pork burgers being a particular favourite at home. With work done, it’s home to his living room floor and some stretches in front of the TV before bed. It’s another successful day spent saying yes, not no. We suggest you follow his lead.
BANANA HANDSTAND This is the classic handstand shape for the man with tight shoulders. Years of performing chest, arm and back exercises can cause you to lose your range of motion in your upper body, preventing you from achieving full flexibility. The result is the banana shape, which the body assumes to compensate. Instead of giving up and hoping one day it will straighten out naturally, train yourself by facing a wall and using it as a support. This will stop you arching your back and accustom you to pressing up straight for faster progress in both balance and strength.
FOLLOW FRAMPTON’S EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS To master the art of balance, invest in the kit and pick-me-ups that keep him on track CARAMEL MACCHIATO Sweetness with a kick, this is Frampton’s go-to takeaway order when he’s rushing between meetings. Sub in soya milk for a dairy-free twist that keeps you going.
NOTES APP Frampton’s schedule doesn’t allow for much time at a desk. Notes is his safety net, letting him keep track of ideas for new projects when he’s on the move. SUNBED The risks of overuse are well known, but when in rainy London, the quick hit of vitamin D and a top-up tan are guiltless pleasures that brighten your day. COMFY TRAINERS They have to look good, too. Walking around London all day, Frampton relies on his Nike Frees to keep up with his active life, but also his style. A GOOD BAR One to hang from, that is. Frampton heads to the W Hotel Gym in London every day. The bar is his go-to, helping him to perfect his front lever.
GYMNASTICS IS AT THE CORE OF FRAMPTON’S HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
DESPITE BEING UP AT 5.15AM, FRAMPTON IS STILL SMILING
MANNA PROGRESSION This is a progression towards a gymnastic exercise called a ‘manna’ – an impressive move in which you press all the way over your head with your legs straight. But there’s work to do first. To get into this progression, face a wall and grab hold of some parallettes with both hands. Press your hips up as high as you can and hold. If you’re feeling brave, try to straighten one leg off of the wall: this will determine how flexible your legs are. Hold for as long as you can to work on both strength and mobility in one move.
HOW TO FIND YOUR FEEL GOOD TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE STARBUCKS MENU AND HOW IT CAN FUEL A HEALTHIER YET HAPPIER LIFESTYLE, HEAD TO: STARBUCKS.CO.UK
ONE IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE. FIVE DAYS TO TRAIN. GO
WORDS BY CLINT CARTER
THE ULTIMATE TEST OF BALANCE AND FOCUS
Take Up The Slack People train for years before stepping on to a highline – but we gave our new adventure columnist ﬁve days. Three parts bravery, seven parts stupidity, this is the ﬁrst in a series that tests wits, skill, nerve and dexterity. Does he have what it takes? More to the point, do you? MENSHEALTH.CO.UK
MEN’S HEALTH 131
Talk The Walk Learn to speak the language of the extreme slackliners
BALL & CHAIN
A slackline set high above the ground, kept relatively loose to allow for some movement.
Highlining without a harness, so if you fall, you will almost certainly die. Not advised.
Highlining naked with the leash tied to your penis. If you fall, you are castrated as you die. Also not advised.
ou might picture highliners stepping straight oﬀ a ledge and out on to a line. At least, that’s how I imagined it went. Inch-thick nylon webbing pulled taut between anchors on opposing cliﬀs, a protective leash clipped to your harness – and out you go, a bird on a wire. But it turns out it’s not that simple. Fall near the anchor and you’ll swing into the rock behind you, breaking bones. So you slide out a few feet on your arse and use a sit-start method such as ‘the Chongo’, named after the rock climber and consummate slacker Charles ‘Chongo’ Tucker. With no ground to steady you, you lift your torso and pull a foot beneath your body so your heel presses into your butt. Then, with one arm held out for balance, you bring your free foot up to the line and try to rise slowly, as if you were coming out of a single-leg squat. Next, if you’re me, you fall violently, taking a bruising ‘whipper’, nylon lacerating your inner thighs, adrenaline spiking as you plunge towards the abyss. As you dangle, you have time to listen to all those helpful voices in your head. You’re weak… You’re embarrassing… You’re a waste of everyone’s time.
AFTER A SHAKY STEP, CONTROL YOUR BREATHING
POSITIVE ALTITUDE Fort Collins, Colorado. My ludicrous plan is to ‘send’ a highline in ﬁve days. Sending is parlance for walking all the way across without falling, and the world record is longer than a mile. I’m aiming for 20ft, tiny by comparison, but I’ll be 60ft in the air and relying on skills that most people take years to master. “If you’re a fast learner, it might not be impossible,” says Dakota Collins, the owner of Rocky Mountain Slackline, when I ﬁrst sketch out my plan. The goal of The Adventurist, I tell him, is to discover if it’s possible to apply accelerated learning techniques to outdoor challenges. He says I’ll need ﬂexibility, muscle control and focus to succeed. Unfortunately, they’re exactly the kinds of skills I rarely ﬁnd time to develop. Fitbit has packed me oﬀ with a Fitbit Ionic (page 35), its new smartwatch, to try out. Collins is amenable, but he needs me to know how hard it will be. “I’m going to have to reprogramme your body,” he says ominously.
132 MEN’S HEALTH
“Collins needs me to know how hard it will be. ‘I’m going to have to reprogramme your body,’ he says ominously”
To walk all the way across the line without falling. The world record distance is more than a mile.
A fall from a highline. Some are mild, but the harness leash can cut into your legs and spin you like a yo-yo.
HEARTBREAK ZONE The last few feet of line. Mentally this can be the trickiest part of the walk.
FULL MAN To send a line in both directions without falling. For women, this is known as a ‘full babe’.
MH’S COLUMNIST PREPARES FOR HIS FIRST STEPS
Our training starts well. By the end of day one, I’m taking steps on a slackline strung near the ground between two trees. When day two is done, I’ve walked 50ft without falling. The instruction is as much mental as physical. Collins describes slacklining as a form of active meditation. “You have this line you’re trying to conquer, and you do it by focusing on your breath and body.” Slow, conscious breathing turns out to be the most crucial skill I need to hone. If I take a shaky step, I inhale slowly, as if through a straw. The idea is that air ﬂows through me, seemingly straight into the line, to re-establish the fragile connection between me and the webbing. With a careful exhale, I’d take my next step. I also focus my energy on my ﬁngertips. “Remember your salt shaker,” Collins says, when he notices tension building in my shoulders. He tells me he wants to see my wrists twitch, as if I’m shaking out grains of instability. On the third day, Collins introduces the skills that I’ll need on the highline. I spend the morning attempting the Chongo and learning to fall. In slacklining, falls are no big deal: you just land on grass and step back on the line. But on the highline, you have to climb your leash, hang beneath the line, then roundhousekick one leg out wide to create the momentum to spin on to the line. I spend all afternoon working out the logistics of that manoeuvre. By the time we call it a day, I’ve strained my right hip ﬂexor and my thighs are so riddled with bruises that they look like a Rorschach test.
MEN’S HEALTH 133
(B) 1.25PM ON THE HIGHLINE
Balance Starts Within
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATT NAGER | ADVENTURIST ILLUSTRATION: NICK SLATER
Take back control of your heart rate by learning to slow down your breathing
(A) 6.50AM IN THE PARK
The last day of training is more of the same: Chongo reps, small steps, hard falls. In my excitement at trying a new sport, I hadn’t prepared myself for how deeply I’d care about succeeding. My mindset swings between those of the quitter I fear I am and the ﬁghter I want to be. After an ice bath, I share my anxieties with Collins over a beer. “I really hope I’ll be able to cross,” I tell him. “But I also feel like if that’s my only measure of success, then I’m not really learning what I’m supposed to.” I expect a ribbing for my earnestness, but no. “Remember this moment,” Collins says. “This is the moment you became a slacker.”
AFTER THE FALL Come the ﬁnal attempt, I can feel my heart rising in my throat. My body can sense the high stakes. With each Chongo, I stand up wobblier and lose my footing before completing a step. The falls aren’t
A pounding heart can indicate stress and also explain why you’re losing control. On a slackline in the park, the Adventurist was able to use deep breathing to lower his heart rate to 100bpm (A). On the highline, however, altitude,
pressure and physical exertion kept his heart racing. During the Chongos, his pulse reached 143bpm (B). He could walk 50ft in the park, but maintaining his balance on the highline was a far trickier proposition.
“My heart rises in my throat. My body senses the high stakes, and I stand up wobblier with each try”
HONE YOUR MIND AND BODY BY SLACKLINING
pretty. During one, I plummet feet ﬁrst oﬀ the line and the 3ft leash between my legs snaps my balls so hard that it would be no surprise if my kids were born with PTSD. I scream, and Collins winces. The painful falls, my exhausted muscles and the blisters on my hands and feet don’t stop me from walking, but they have undermined my conﬁdence. It’s nearly 5pm and our scheduled quitting time when I try to stand once more. My foot slips on the line and for probably the 15th time I plunge to the bottom of my leash. Time is running out. I can sense that Collins is ready for me to give up. He has stopped oﬀering words of encouragement. I am alone. With trembling arms, I climb the leash
above me. It takes two tries but I manage to ﬂip myself over on to the line. With a deep breath, I pull myself into Chongo and ﬂick my salt shaker. I breathe slowly into the line. Then I stand up and take a step. I fall before I can plant the second step, but at this point it hardly matters. I fought. The way I see it, that’s almost a win. My feat won’t register in the annals of highline history, but I’ve regained my self-respect. I’ve also lived to face the next challenge, next month. Meanwhile, back home, I buy my own line, take it to the park and string it between two trees. My Chongo is getting better.
MEN’S HEALTH 135
THE MH DIRECTORY Look good and feel great with this selection of life-enhancing products
ARMOUR UP TO BEAT BODY ODOUR!
THE DURA SPORTS AND LEISURE GARAGE With the World Cup on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to transform your garage into a sports themed room! Dura design and install beautifully organised garage interiors – with modular cabinets for general storage, a ‘clip-on‘ wall system for bulkier equipment, plus luxurious floor tiles and lighting to complete the room. For a FREE brochure call 0845 371 0048 or visit www.duragarages.com for inspiration!
Kind on skin, tough on body odour! Pure Armour: Explorer is Salt of the Earth’s first scented natural deodorant spray for men. 100% natural, with a clean just washed fragrance, Pure Armour won’t suffocate your pores like traditional antiperspirants, but inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria. No nasty chemicals, no white marks! Approved by the Vegetarian and Vegan Societies. www.crystalspring.co.uk
SHREDDIES Shreddies garments are the perfect solution for all flatulence related issues. Our discreet and stylish designs include an activated carbon panel which absorbs and neutralises flatulence odours. Shreddies range of garments include two styles of men’s underwear, pyjamas and jeans. Visit www.myshreddies.com Prices start from £24.
THE BOYS ARE IN TOWN The Big Bottle Co Elite turn every day into an adventure – available exclusively online at www.thebigbottleco.co.uk
VITONIX When you need a boost before or after your workout, Vitonix brings you its innovative EAA and BCAA functional beverages. Packed with a scientificallyproven formulation of essential amino acids, vitamins and vegan and vegetarian friendly with nothing artificial added. Vitonix.co.uk
A BOLLOCK BALM FOR MEN... ...who care about their personal hygiene. Fresh Bollocks is a light, silky-smooth bollock balm that’s easy to use, fresh, fragrant and deodorising with no unsightly residue. An essential addition to modern man’s grooming routine. The perfect Christmas present, now available on Amazon. www.freshbollocks.com
To advertise in this feature call Hearst Magazines Direct on 020 3728 6260
GILCHRIST WATCH CO.
HENRY HERBERT TAILORS Henry Herbert Tailors are London based bespoke suit and shirt tailors. Using the finest fabrics from around the world to make perfectly fitting suits and shirts, quote the discount code ‘MensHealth10 ‘when booking an appointment at www.henryherbert.com
Gilchrist Watch Co. is home to an unrivalled collection of unique affordable timepieces. The strikingly minimal Mesh Chrono from Megir boasts a steel mesh band, precision stopwatch and calendar wheel at 4 o’ clock. 3 variations, £59. Shop at www.gwcwatches.com Quote MHAPR for 10% off, expires 31/3/2017.
MERCI MAMAN NATURALLY SUGAR-FREE ENERGY Zero sugar, zero calories, no sweeteners One can = one cup of coffee Every can donates 500L clean water www.virtuedrinks.com @virtuedrinks
STRONGEST PRODUCTS IN EUROPE? Aged 23 or even 63… if you’re sick of using supplements and training methods that don’t work. Good! Let’s break through to the next level: We guarantee that nothing you’ve used ever worked like this! Go to: www.ripfast.com/amazing
Say something special with the new Personalised Hammered Open Bangle (from £69) by MERCI MAMAN. Each piece of jewellery is hand-engraved with the name, dates or short message of your choice and delivered to you in a signature gift box. Handmade in London and available in sterling silver, 18K gold plated or rose gold. Visit their website at www.mercimamanboutique.com
To advertise in this feature call Hearst Magazines Direct on 020 3728 6260
ONE WORD ANSWER #43
QUESTION Channelling what childlike habit could help increase your focus at work?
138 MEN’S HEALTH
Doodling Researchers who studied people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition characterised by inattentiveness and impulsive behaviour, found that, when bored, the “additional sensorymotor input” that we get from toying with our desktop objects can help to further engage our brains, improving our chances of sustaining concentration. Other research by Kingston University linked the use of props during problem-solving to quicker solutions – which could be as simple as shuffling papers round your desk while trying to work out what to prioritise. Mindless doodling has also been linked to increased memory retention,
helping University of Plymouth study subjects remember 29% more information when listening to a dull audio recording. Your fidgeting habits have benefits beyond the cognitive boost, too. The American Journal of Physiology found that tapping your toes or flexing your ankles improves arterial function in your legs, offsetting the heart-damaging effects of a long working day spent perched on your derriere. So don’t be a goody twoshoes and restrain your restless inclinations. If the pressure’s on in the office, try embracing them instead. Just remember to sit up straight and say thank you when the meeting adjourns.
WORDS: SCARLETT WRENCH | PHOTOGRAPHY: JOBE LAWRENSON
s tedious as they might have seemed at the time, most of the lessons our parents taught us as kids were worthy of adherence. Sit up straight at the table; look people in the eye when you thank them; try not to spit at strangers – even as an adult, these are values to live by. Some prescriptions, however, should not be taken at face value. To always clear your plate, for example, is an unwise rule if you’ve just opted for seconds at Five Guys. Likewise, to sit still and stop fidgeting might be a sensible edict when directed at children, but for grown men, it might just be holding you back. That’s because whether it’s clicking a biro lid, doodling on a notepad or playing with an actual fidget spinner (honestly), keeping your hands active could be the key to improving focus and problem-solving.
THE FAST TRACK TO TRUE FITNESS
HIGH-INTENSITY HOW TO BUILD LEAN TORCH CALORIES FAT-LOSS PLANS MUSCLE ON THE RUN IN RECORD TIME
THE BEGINNERâ€™S GUIDE TO
CHOOSE YOUR PLAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: PHILIP HAYNES | MODEL: CHRISTOPHER WHITLOW AT ANDI PETERS’ MODELS | COVER: SHORTS UNDERARMOUR.CO.UK, TIGHTS AND TRAINERS NEWBALANCE.CO.UK
A FASTER ROUTE TO TRUE FITNESS
There’s far more to cardio than lacing up your runners. With our guide, you can burn fat, build strength and raise your endurance to the next level
KICKSTART YOUR FAT-BURNING
PRIME YOUR BODY UNLEASH YOUR FOR PERFORMANCE INNER ATHLETE
Power up your metabolism and start whittling away at your fat stores with a quickfire fitness plan you can run through in your living room – no kit required
Lend your well-trodden stamina sessions a breath of fresh air. These outdoor moves will build strength as well as speed, for a more defined, athletic physique
This is what you’ve been working for – our final, high-intensity exercises will push you to your limit, elevating your power and endurance. The clock starts now MEN’S HEALTH 3
You don’t need much space or kit if you’re serious about getting fit. First, build up your strength and endurance in familiar surroundings – your living room, say, or your garage – before intensifying your cardio training. The hardest part is getting started
PRIME YOUR MUSCLES
If you want to thrive in the tougher cardio sessions to come, lay the foundations of strength – and burn some fat to boot. This workout splits six moves into upper- and lower-body tri-sets. Complete three times each. Now get to it
GROOMING: MEGAN KORIAT | STYLING: ABENA OFEI | SHORTS THE UPSIDE AT MATCHESFASHION.COM, TRAINERS ADIDAS.CO.UK
JUMP 01A\SQUAT 15 REPS, NO REST
Adding a jump flips your squats from strengthbuilders into a fat-burning cardio exercise. Squat with your back straight until your thighs are parallel with the floor and your glutes are level with your knees (A), then spring up (B). Cushion your landing and go straight into the next rep.
Three moves performed back to back. You’ll save time, turbocharge your fitness and spike your metabolism.
JACK 01B\SQUAT 20 REPS, NO REST
The jack variation is simple, but executed at a furious pace. You’ll cut through fat and learn to stay light on your feet. Sit into the bottom of a wide squat (A). As fast as you can, bring your feet together (B), then immediately back out again. Expect to really feel it when you’ve completed the 20 reps. MENSHEALTH.CO.UK
WALK 01C\CRAB 30SEC, 30SEC REST
This is no stroll on the beach. Crab walks push your muscles to the limit as you fight to keep your balance. With your hands behind your back and your legs bent in front of you, lift your hips (A) and shuffle forward (B). After half a minute, take a 30-second rest, before round two of squat jumps. MEN’S HEALTH 5
PT 04.2018 EXPLOSIVE 02 A\PRESS-UP 10 REPS, NO REST This dynamic upgrade on the bodyweight staple will leave your heart pumping. From a press-up position, lower your chest until it almost touches the floor (A). Then, as you push up, lift both of your hands off the ground (B), before going straight into rep two. If you can clap your hands in mid-air, even better.
BOXING 02B\SHADOW 30SEC, NO REST
You don’t need to step into the ring to train for the fitness levels of a champ. To shadow box, adopt a fighting stance. Stay light on your toes as you dip and sway (A), while throwing jabs and hooks with both arms (B). Work on any punches you feel like – just make sure you’re giving it your all. 6 MEN’S HEALTH
02C\INCHWORM 10 REPS, 30SEC REST
From a standing position, lower your torso. Keep your legs straight and walk forward on your hands (A), until you’re in a press-up position (B). Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Rest for 30 seconds before you begin another round of the explosive press-ups. MENSHEALTH.CO.UK
CARVE OUT BETTER FORM
Your posture is the first thing that gives way during energysapping cardio. Strengthen your core with Tabata intervals. The short rest and full-throttle work will also help you increase your speed. It’s time to tighten up
JUMP LUNGE 01 \ALTERNATE 20SEC ON, 10SEC OFF, 8 ROUNDS
The toughtest four-minute workout you’ll ever do. Follow 20sec of maximum effort with 10sec of rest. Repeat eight times.
Unilateral moves that work one limb at a time require your core to hold your body upright. From a standing position, lunge forward until your rear knee almost touches the ground (A). Jump up, bringing your rear foot forward and the front foot back (B). Land in a lunge and repeat.
B B TO HALF BURPEE 02 \SQUAT 20SEC ON, 10SEC OFF, 8 ROUNDS
TAP 03 \SHOULDER 20SEC ON, 10SEC OFF, 8 ROUNDS
Prepare yourself for the demands of steady-state cardio by sustaining a high intensity here. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and drop into a squat (A). Place your hands on the floor and shoot your legs back to form a plank (B). Jump back up to a standing position. That’s one rep.
Finish with this six-pack builder, so you look as fit as you feel. Assume the top of a press-up: squeeze your abs and glutes tight, with your arms directly under your shoulders. From here, lift your right arm off the floor and touch it to your left shoulder (A). Repeat on the opposite side (B), then relax.
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PT 04.2018 BALANCE TRAINING
ENHANCE YOUR STABILITY
Cardio training such as running and climbing requires you to work one side of your body at a time, making balance vital. Our descending ladder will make you wobble – but it’ll teach you to stay in control when the intensity cranks up
Reducing the reps by one each round until you’re down to one rep. Here, you’ll start at 10 and rest after each round.
JUMP 01 \STAR 10 REPS DOWN TO 1 In a squatting position, bring your feet and hands together so that your fingers touch the floor (A). Now jump back up explosively, extending your arms and feet out to the side (B). Repeat this movement as quickly as possible to elevate your heart rate right from the start.
DIAGONAL 02 \ CLIMBER 10 REPS DOWN TO 1 Position yourself as though you were in the blocks before a race, with one foot beneath your waist and the other behind you. With your back leg straight (A), explosively swap foot positions, bringing your right knee to your left elbow. Repeat on the opposite side as fast as you can (B). This will truly test your balance.
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HOME WORKOUTS SIDE 03 \ SKATER 10 REPS DOWN TO 1 Moving laterally gives you greater stability, speed and strength, helping you with any cardio activity. Start with your weight on your left leg, slightly bent (A). Take a big jump and land on your other leg (B). Your left leg should finish bent behind your right leg. Bound off your landing leg to move back into the starting position.
PLANK 04 \ JACK 10 REPS DOWN TO 1
Adopt the standard plank position, holding your body up on your hands and toes (A). Hop your legs to the sides, as in a jumping jack (B), then hop them back to the centre. That’s one rep. When you’ve completed 10 reps, rest before going back to star jumps for nine reps. Don’t rush now, or you’ll burn yourself out.
YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER James Stirling Stirling rules Instagram when it comes to workouts that you can do from home. Follow him to get your fitness off to a flying start. @london_fitness_guy
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TRAINING NUTRITION 101
FUEL FOR YOUR ENGINE
Carb-loading needn’t be your only option when replenishing pre- and post-workout reserves. Pick from these power plates to boost energy levels, whether you’re after extra rocket fuel or rapid recovery SLOW AND STEADY A great source of complex carbs, butternut squash breaks down slowly for a more sustained energy release. It’s also around 88% water, keeping your body hydrated during training.
FAT LOT OF GOOD A handful of macadamias before you train will help burn through the fat stored around your waist: their omega-7 content increases fatty acid oxidation, which boosts your energy levels.
45MIN BEFORE 2 HOURS BEFORE
BUTTER UP Peanut butter contains the B vitamin niacin, which improves blood circulation. A spoonful will boost your body’s oxygen flow, ramping up your aerobic capacity – a good excuse to go back for a second spoon.
INSTANT POWER For a speedy energy hit, opt for dates. A concentrated source of carbohydrates, they’ll spike your endurance. And their glucose content goes straight to your liver to be used for fuel, so your body doesn’t need to process it first.
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1 HOUR BEFORE
The high vit-C levels of kiwis help to block cortisol, which, if not suppressed, can increase fatigue and fat storage. Inhibiting the stress hormone allows your body to adapt to training, so you’ll burn fat and build muscle easier.
SNACK SUPPRESSANT You’re probably no stranger to pre-workout oats, but saving them for later will stop you succumbing to progressstalling snacks. Rich in soluble fibre beta-glucan, oats balance your blood sugar levels and curb your post-run hunger.
1 HOUR AFTER
HIGH AND DRY Reaching for dried apricots after your cardio is a smart choice. Brimming with antioxidant beta-carotene, they’ll help you fight muscle damage. You’ll be back out there tomorrow.
FINGER ON THE PULSE
PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS
Heart health is key to your cardio progress. That’s why a lentil-packed post-workout plate will keep your fitness on track. One cooked portion contains around 90% of your folic acid RDA, protecting you against heart disease.
THE KNOWLEDGE Matt Hodges As a performance nutritionist, Hodges has masterminded the diets of CrossFit Games athletes. He’ll help bring out your best in training. @hodgesmatt buffboxmeals.co.uk
2 HOURS AFTER
One of the best fruits for speeding recovery, pineapple helps replenish your stores of damagerepairing vitamin C and transports the energyrestocking glucose back to your muscles.
2 HOURS AFTER
DROWN OUT DOMS Tuna’s anti-inflammatory omega-3 will relieve you of muscle soreness, which can sideline you for days after training. Both the tinned and steak varieties will have you raring to go for your next session.
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With the weather improving and your muscular endurance newly enhanced, now is the time to take your training out into the open. Head to the park or into your garden to boost your aerobic abilities with minimal kit â€“ all while getting a healthy dose of vitamin D
RUN FASTER FOR LONGER
A quicker, fitter body is built on more than just endless laps. Break up your efforts into interval sprints to increase your aerobic capacity and sustain a good pace when the miles clock up. Take a deep breath, now
A measure of your heart’s and lungs’ ability to consume oxygen – important when you want to improve your stamina.
01A\RUN 250M, 10 ROUNDS
Sprint 250m, then perform a burpee (below). Run the same distance again, but this time follow it with two burpees – and so on, for 10 rounds. To maintain motivation, try to match the time it took to run your first 250m in every subsequent round. Remember to pump your arms (A) and lift your knees high (B).
TRACK PANTS LULULEMON.CO.UK, TRAINERS NIKE.COM
CHEST-TO01 B\FLOOR BURPEE 1 UP TO 10 Follow each sprint with a set of burpees, as described above. In your final round, run 250m, then perform 10 chest-to-floor burpees. Squat and place your hands on the floor, then kick your feet back and lower your chest as much as you can (A). Press up and jump with your hands behind your head (B). Rest for no more than 30 seconds.
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MAX EFFORT, MINIMUM TIME
Building strength in your arms, back and chest will increase your efficiency to help you conserve energy during cardio. Find a pull-up bar in the park and set your timer for this 20-minute AMRAP. It’s you against the clock
This means ‘as many rounds as possible’. Useful for measuring your improvement over time as you try to beat your score.
01 \PULL-UP 5 REPS, AMRAP A strong back will help your posture during cardio. Grab an overhead bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms extended (A). Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar (B). Complete your reps, then move on.
02 \PRESS-UP 5 REPS, AMRAP First, support your weight on your toes and palms, making sure that your hands are beneath your shoulders. Keep your core locked: make a straight line from your head to your glutes and heels (A). Slowly lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground (B), then power yourself up. Get ready to run.
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03 \SPRINT 50M, AMRAP Remember: this isn’t a jog. If you want to build up your speed and endurance over longer distances, you need to improve your sprint pace. Try pushing off from your toes (A), not your heels, to propel each foot forward (B) and keep your feet flexed up towards your shins. Give it everything you’ve got and the 50m will be over in a flash.
BURPEE 04 \CHEST-TO-FLOOR 5 REPS, AMRAP
05 \SPRINT 50M, AMRAP
Squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor and place your palms down. Kick your feet back, then lower your chest to touch the floor (A). Press your body off the floor, jump your feet towards your hands, and leap up with your hands behind your head (B). Go straight into the next rep.
Your sprints aren’t over just yet. By this point, your technique might be dropping, but remember to drive your arms through (A) and ensure your knees go high (B). After this, you’ve completed one round. See how many you can blast through in 20 minutes – and try to beat it next time.
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PT 04.2018 SKIPPING CIRCUITS
01 \SKIPPING 50 REPS, 5 ROUNDS A MO R KA P: RAbbrev. W EST RATIO
TheThis 1. timestands it takes fortoAscomplete Many Rounds a round As Possible.how dictates A useful long you tool rest. in strength In this case, and conditioning your rest is for equal measuring to your your work times.
Grab your rope at both ends and get ready to cut excess fat while strengthening your lungs. Use your wrists to flick the rope round your body (A), jumping to clear it as it hits the ground (B). Stay light and cushion your landing with your knees slightly bent. On to the squats.
AIR 02 \ SQUAT 20 REPS, 5 ROUNDS There’s no extra weight, but the sheer number of reps will be enough of a challenge. Stand with your feet shoulderwidth apart (A), bend your knees and squat (B). Go down as far as you can, then reverse the motion until you’re back in the starting position. Keep your head up and your back straight throughout the move. Press-ups next.
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OUTDOOR FITNESS PIKE 03 \ PRESS-UP 10 REPS, 5 ROUNDS
Give your legs a break and focus on your arms and shoulders. From a regular press-up position, walk your hands in so your body forms an upside-down V-shape (A). Next, bend your elbows until the top of your head nearly touches the floor (B). Hold this position for one second before pushing back up. Now get crawling.
IGUANA 04 \ CRAWL 20M, 5 ROUNDS Stay on all fours and start crawling for a move that will elevate your heart rate. With your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, bring your knees off the ground and travel five steps forward, reaching with your right arm as you lift your right leg (A). Repeat on your left side (B). Check the timer, take your rest, then go again.
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RUSSIAN 05 \ TWIST 20 REPS, 5 ROUNDS By now, you’ll be breathing hard – but it’s not over yet. To improve your core stability, with a slight bend in your arms and your hands clasped in front of your chest, cross your legs and lift your feet off the floor, so you’re sitting on your coccyx. Quickly twist at your torso, turning from right (A) to left (B).
BACK TO 06 \ SKIPPING 50 REPS, 5 ROUNDS Finish the circuit how you started it. Your skips will feel slower than the ones you did at the beginning, but try to maintain good technique by keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and your forearms slightly in front of your body (A). Ensure your arms are relaxed (B) and the reps will soon fly past.
YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER
Jonny Jacobs The adventure athlete Jacobs clocked up 1800 miles of running, cycling and swimming last year. So he knows his stuff. @everyday_athlete_ performance
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YOUR CARDIO TOOLKIT
SHIFT INTO A HIGHER GEAR
If you want to take your cardio to the next level, you’ll need a kit bag that’ll help you go the distance. Look no further than this collection of training tools to step up your sweat game and improve your performance
SWITCH HOW YOU SWEAT Whether you’re doing Tabata in the gym or laps in the pool, this watch allows you to count burnt calories, set your work and rest periods and check that your split times aren’t tailing off, so you can track your progress more precisely. Fitbit Ionic £300 fitbit.com
SOFT LANDINGS When fatigue sets in, it can seem as if you’re barely breaking ground. The lightweight foam running from the heel to the toe of this shoe will put a spring in every step. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4 £100 newbalance.co.uk
15% INCREASE IN PERFORMANCE BY TUNING IN TO MUSIC
STAY ON THE BEAT These buds won’t leave you in a tangle mid-burpee – but the most impressive thing about them is their built-in heart rate sensor, which keeps you tuned in to your cardio data. Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones £200 bose.co.uk
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125KCAL THE AMOUNT BURNT IN JUST 10 MINUTES OF SKIPPING
HOLD STEADY To burn more calories when skipping, choose a rope designed with endurance in mind. These handles are knurled like a barbell: your grip won’t slip even when your hands start to sweat. Bulldog Gear JR2 Bearing Jump Rope £50 bulldoggear.eu
ANCHOR MAN The workouts in this supplement let you change your location effortlessly, so it’s important that your tools are versatile. The TRX’s anchoring options make it equally easy to use at home, in the park or at the gym. TRX Pro 4 £199 trxtraining.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS
BEST OF THE VESTS If you want to pack on more muscle from bodyweight circuits, add resistance with this 10kg vest. It hugs tightly to your body so you’ll feel no discomfort (aside from the burn in your muscles from the extra effort required). Men’s Health Weighted Vest 10kg £70 argos.co.uk
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03 STEP UP TO ELITE LEVEL Now youâ€™ve established a base of strength, improved lung capacity and reinforced mental toughness, you are ready to tackle three intense cardiovascular challenges. Complete this level and youâ€™ll emerge with better aerobic fitness, extended stamina and the knowledge of your true capabilities
STAMINA YOU CAN RELY ON
This heart-pumping EMOM workout will force you to maintain a high intensity. You’ll perform burpees in minute one, row in minute two and skip with speed in minute three, repeating for 21 minutes. The clock doesn’t stop, so neither should you
BURPEE 01 \CHEST-TO-FLOOR 10 REPS, 7 ROUNDS
This means ‘every minute on the minute’. Begin the reps at the start of each minute and complete them all before the end.
SHORTS NIKE AT MRPORTER.COM, TIGHTS AEANCE AT MATCHESFASHION.COM, TRAINERS ASICS.COM
From a standing position, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, placing your palms on the ground. Kick your feet back and lower your chest to the floor (A), then press your body up and jump into the air, touching your hands behind your head (B). Land and immediately go into the next rep.
02 \ROW 10 CALORIES, 7 ROUNDS
03 \SKIPPING 50 REPS, 7 ROUNDS
Go fast and pull with as much force as possible. Keep your core tight and shoulders down as you push off with your legs to initiate the movement (A). When your legs straighten, bend your arms and use your back muscles to finish the pull (B). Return by first extending your arms, then bending your knees.
Aim to complete all 50 skips without breaking your form. Concentrate on your technique to avoid losing your rhythm. Focus on a fixed point ahead of you (A) rather than eyeing your feet, and ensure that you have a soft bend in your knees to cushion your landing (B). Back to the burpees, gents.
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REACH TOP GEAR FASTER
UP YOUR TEMPO
Maxing out in the gym needn’t take hours. Throw yourself into our rapid 21-15-9 workout, deployed across CrossFit boxes worldwide, for swift advances in your speed, endurance and calorie burn. Though the reps may drop, your intensity should not
2 1-15 -9
This is the rep structure you’ll follow. Perform 21 reps of each move in the first round, 15 in the second and nine to finish.
WALL 01 \ BALL 21, 15, 9 REPS This is a great way to build full-body stamina, as your legs and upper body are made to work together. Stand facing a wall, holding a 9kg medicine ball to your chest. Drop into a squat (A) and, as you explode up, throw the ball as high as you can against the wall (B). In one smooth action, catch the ball and drop back into a squat for rep two.
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INDOOR ELITE BOX JUMP 02 \ OVER 21, 15, 9 REPS
WALL BALL AVAILABLE FROM BULLDOGGEAR.EU | TECHNOGYM SKILLRUN TREADMILL AVAILABLE FROM TECHNOGYM.COM
Your legs may crave a rest, but push through these box jumps and you’ll boost your plyometric power. Take a step back from an 18in box, dip your knees and begin swinging your arms (A). As your arms fly forward, jump onto the box, planting both feet firmly with soft knees (B), and stand tall. Now jump off the other side of the box. That’s one rep.
INTERVAL 03 \ RUN 21, 15, 9 CALORIES Your first 21kcal run will be neither a slow jog nor a full-throttle sprint, so you’ll work both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Pump your arms high (A) and stay light on your feet (B). After burning 21kcal, perform 15 wall balls and box jump overs, then return to the treadmill, cranking up the speed for the next 15kcal. Continue the pattern until you finish burning 9kcal.
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PT 04.2018 GYM TRIATHLON
MAKE EACH BREATH COUNT
For the ultimate endurance test, turn your gym into a competition course to bump up your VO² max. This will be a true measure of the athleticism you’ve built so far. Make sure you give it everything to clock a time you can be proud of
V O² M A X
An indicator of aerobic fitness, this is your maximum rate of oxygen uptake. The higher it is, the further you’ll go.
TREADMILL 01 \ RUN 1 MILE You’ve probably taken on a one-miler before, but with two more cardio tests to follow, you must make your pacing a priority. Setting off too quickly will not only make your final stretch to the mile mark slow and painful, but also put a severe dent in your time. Maintain your posture (A) and drive your knees to finish fast (B).
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INDOOR ELITE LONG02 \ DISTANCE ROW 1KM
You’ve already used the rower for sprint work – now, you’ll spend more time in the seat to build up your endurance. The 1km distance may seem a feat to begin with, but if you can find and keep a consistent pace, the metres will soon tick over. Keep your arms straight (A); then, as your legs extend, pull the handle to your chest (B).
BODYMAX R100 ROWING MACHINE AVAILABLE FROM POWERHOUSE-FITNESS.CO.UK
CHEST-TO03 \ FLOOR BURPEE 20SEC WORK, 30SEC REST All that stand between you and your triathlon finish line are 50 chestto-floor burpees. If you find the number daunting, split them into more manageable chunks of 10 reps and 10-15sec rests. Form a wide base with your feet on the floor (A) to help you explode up into a jump (B). You’ll be at the finish line before you know it.
YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER
Steven Fawcett CrossFit Games athlete Fawcett understands how tough cardio can be. His three workouts aim to help you achieve aerobic training prowess. @steveyf22
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THE SCOOP ON STAMINA
DON’T SKIP CARBS
For a sustained energy release, avoid snacks full of artificial ingredients, which cause blood sugar spikes. Opt for a bar with real fruit, nuts and seeds, as well as teff flour – a staple among elite Ethiopian distance runners. Tribe Infinity Peanut Butter & Banana Bar £28 for 18 wearetribe.co
Rapidly replace your muscle glycogen stores post-workout with this energy-spiking blend of simple and complex carbs, derived from honey and sweet potato powder. Mix it with a scoop of protein for the ultimate refuel shake. Progenex Build £66 progenexeurope.com
Fight fatigue during longer workouts by reaching for a gel that replenishes your carbohydrate levels. Fastabsorbing for instant energy, this sachet helps you avoid the bloating that can arise from turning to solid, fibre-packed snacks. Sis Go Isotonic Energy Gel £42 for 30 scienceinsport.com
1 BAR BEFORE WORKOUT
1 SCOOP POSTWORKOUT
1 GEL 45MIN INTO WORKOUT
PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS
Supplementing your goals isn’t only for those with extra bulk in mind. If your athletic ambitions are more performance-driven, stockpiling smart fuel will help your stamina rocket and muscle recovery accelerate
SUPERCHARGE YOUR PROGRESS WITH THESE PERFORMANCE BOOSTERS
GET IN THE ZONE
This isn’t your standard shake blend. With more than 30g of protein from whey concentrate, isolate and casein, its gradual release ensures optimal uptake and absorption by your body when it needs the macro most. Innermost The Strong One Superfood Protein Blend £30 liveinnermost.com
Never enter training feeling sluggish again. With 100mg of caffeine, this will sharpen your reactions for lightningquick transitions during circuits. It also packs 5g of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle growth. Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy £28 onacademy.co.uk
Pop one of these to combat the pressure placed on your joints during highintensity cardio, while still enjoying the calorieburning benefits. That’s speed, stamina and suppleness all secured. Myprotein Glucosamine Sulphate £7 for 120 tablets myprotein.com
1 SCOOP POSTWORKOUT
2 SCOOPS BEFORE WORKOUT
1 TABLET DAILY
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TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
MINDSET, READY, GO!
PT 04.2018 Whether your workouts are short and lung-bursting or long and grinding, our mental hacks will get you in the zone – and through the wall – to help you fast-track your cardio and power through your goals
STOP CLOCK-WATCHING Intervals can often feel as though they’re stretching on for ever. Don’t check the time too often or you’ll slow your progress – push hard and power on. If you’re on a machine, keep an eye on the other numbers on the monitor instead.
95% PHONE A FRIEND
RAISE YOUR STANDARDS Give yourself a large target and break it down into smaller goals. US researchers found that subjects who set themselves harder tasks performed better than those who went for the easy option each time. If your aim is to complete a half marathon, build up to it by starting with weekly park runs and then tackle a 10K.
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THE EXPERT Dave Readle Sports psychologist Readle has worked with Team GB athletes to give them the edge. He’ll get your head right to help you smash your goals. @DaveReadle
BREATHE EASY Catching your breath during intense cardio shouldn’t mean gulping down air. To regain control, slow your breathing with the 2:2 method – inhale for two steps, then exhale for two. If you’re trying to compose yourself during a rest, take two seconds to breathe in and two more to breathe out.
Your increased likelihood of adhering to your regimen if you keep it varied, according to a University of Florida study. Rotate your workouts and training environment. This method should do it…
ILLUSTRATIONS: ALCONIC AT SYNERGY ART
The three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe would count to 100, syncing her steps as she did so, to tackle the mental barrier of pushing through long distances. Focusing on the immediate will distract you from negative thoughts.
You’ll boost your chances of turning up to your training by this much when you make plans to do it with a friend, according to the US Association for Talent Development. Keep your cardio a solo activity and you’ll sell yourself short.