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10.16 The Muscle Issue Lazar Angelov’s body building secrets; What it takes to be a strongman - and what to expect at this month’s Dubai Muscle Show PAGE 66 Plus: Your 28-Day Plan for Ultimate Abs PAGE 110

44 Lose Weight Forever 10 simple changes that will keep the excess weight off for good.

74 What Leaders Know Listen to them, then inspire your team. BY TED SPIKER

86 Bread Winners Crusty, chewy and great tasting. How to find the best. BY PAUL KITA

90 Live Debt-Free Are you sinking fast? Our plan will get your head above water. BY PETER FLAX

96 Boost Immunity Billions of microbes aid your health. Make sure they’re happy. BY JOE KITA

g oo g by Jo y e a de e o ge cy; e y Co e s t, ag eue atc

4 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


#fuelyourjourney #f uely l rjou rjour j y

Whoever you are, Bonk Breaker® has the nutrition to fuel your healthy, active lifestyle – fresh from the oven. DUBAI Adventure HQ | Beyond Fitness | The Cycle House | Trek Bicycle Store | Wolfi’s Bike Shop ABU DHABI Yas Cycles | Adventure HQ Distributed by Sport In Life | 04 289 6001


Food + Nutrition

Fitness + Muscle



34/ We Ate It, We Rate It Of all those jars of spaghetti sauce, this one’s the best. 51/ Cook Once, Eat for a Week Meatloaf: It’s even better the next day! BY PAUL KITA

54/ 10 Surprising Foods with Sugar How much of the sweet stuff are you really consuming? 56/ Make Your Own Vegetable Chips Like regular chips, but healthy!

16/ Strengthen Your Shoulders Injury prevention in 3 easy moves. BY BJ GADDOUR

26/ Trail Riding: A Man’s Sport Dirt + speed + the great outdoors = testosterone-pumping bliss. BY ERIN BERESINI

30/ End Back Pain Here’s the one crucial exercise that can set you free. BY MICHAEL EASTER

Style + Grooming Health 44

Useful stuff 18



18/ 4 Ways to Dodge Diabetes Cut your risk with these tips.

44/ How to Lose One Pound 10 healthy habits that work.

19/ Fast-Track Your Career How? By slowing down.


22/ Rule the Barbecue We’ve got your grilling gear here.

47/ Drop the Weight at Any Age This ripped 50-year-old shares his fitness secrets.

52/ Smart Logic Volkswagen redesigns its versatile Tiguan SUV.

6 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

80/ Into Thin Air If you’re heading into the mountains this winter, you may want to get acclimatised first. 102/ Rip Your Grip Develop vice-like grip and hand strength with advice from three masters.

50/ Botox for Blokes Iron out your wrinkles with a little needle work.

in col collaboration ollabora ol r tion with

21-22 OCTOBER 2016





















ITP Lifestyle Publishing, PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel +971 4 444 3000 Fax +971 4 444 3030 ITP PUBLISHING GROUP CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies ITP LIFESTYLE PUBLISHING Managing Director Ali Akawi Deputy Managing Director Alex Reeve


his month is all about developing muscle. Whether you want to build more of it, maintain the muscle mass you’ve already worked for, or push your personal boundaries even further, you’ll find the advice you’ll need spread between the covers of this issue. So why the focus on muscle this month? Well, we’re media partners for the first ever Dubai Muscle Show on October 21-22, and we’re pretty pumped at the prospect of having the best and brightest people in the fitness industry all under one roof. Eight-time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman will be here, as will four-time winner Jay Cutler, global fitness icons Ulisses Jr. Our cover guy, Lazar Angelov, is one of the stars of the show. The Bulgarian body builder and one time basketball hopeful has fought back from elbow and knee surgery to regain his staggering physique. Those chiseled abs have gained him a legion of fans throughout the Middle East, as his 12.8 million Facebook and 4 million Instagram followers can attest. For more on the show, turn to page 66 and, if you’d like to start focusing on developing your own six-pack, then we’ve got you covered on page 110. 1/ In terms of height and personality, the biggest thing we have in the issue this month is an interview with Harlem Globetrotter Kris Hi-Lite Bruton. As a former member of the Chicago Bulls and 15 season veteran of the Globetrotters, 6’7” Bruton is one of the most experienced members of the squad due to play in Dubai on October 28.

2/ The littlest things are microscopic. They’re the organisms—the wormy, wriggling, arguably disgusting six pounds of cooties— that you share your body with. They’re part of your microbiome, and collectively they’re about twice the weight of your brain (and in their own way, just as smart). Microbes are all up in your space— in your mouth, in your nose, in the jelly between your toes—and if you got rid of them, you’d be a oner immediately, according to contributing editor Joe Kita and North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn, Ph.D. (Where Your Wild Things Are, page 96). Without this population of microscopic citizens, your bowels would be furious, you might have asthma, and your body could be racked with MS, but you might not notice because of the Alzheimer’s. 3/ But the main thing is bread. Paul Kita tells you (in Bread Rises Again page 86) how to choose the best loaf. If you don’t make enough of it, Peter Flax tells you what you need to do to get by (When Debt Gets Personal, page 92). 4/ Speaking of rising, we’ve trained at altitude this month too. If you’re heading out and up this winter, it may be prudent to book in a few sessions at an altitude chamber in the weeks leading up to your ski trip. While the risks of developing altitude sickness remain fairly low for many skiers, those who venture into the upper extremes could benefit from acclimatising sessions. Enjoy the issue. I hope to see you at the show. Carlin Gerbich

Get involved...



EDITORIAL Editor Carlin Gerbich Tel +971 4 444 3519 email ART Art Director René Andrew email PHOTOGRAPHY Director of photography Patrick Littlejohn Senior photographers Rajesh Raghav, Efraim Evidor Staff photographers Ethan Mann, Lester Apuntar, Aasiya Jagadeesh, Ruel Pableo, Ausra Osipaviciute, Grace Guino, Fritz Asuro, Sharon Haridas, Ajith Narendra, Richard Hall PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Production Manager Subramanian AC Production Coordinator Anand Sundaram Tel +971 4 444 3367. Email: Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami MARKETING & CIRCULATION Events Director Sufeena Hussain Tel: +971 4 444 3834 email Circulation Manager Vanessa D’Souza Retail Manager Praveen Nair ADVERTISING Group Commercial Director Mirei Avdou Tel: +971 444 3403 Email: Commercial Director Munazza Craghill Tel: +971 444 3458. Email: Sales Manager Reine Semaan Tel: +971 4 444 3553 Email: ITP GROUP Group Chairman Andrew Neil Group Managing Director Robert Serafin Group Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Mary Serafin, Rob Corder The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained within this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers in particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of a fair review. Atlas Printing Press L.L.C, Dubai.

RODALE INTERNATIONAL Robert Novick  SVP, International Business Development and Partnerships KEVIN LABONGE Executive Director, Business Development and Global Licensing ANGELA KIM Director, Business Development and Global Licensing MICHELE MAUSSER International Finance Manager  MOIRA O’NEILL Financial Analyst BURCU ACARLAR International Business Development Coordinator  JOHN VILLE Editorial Director

LAURA ONGARO Deputy Editorial Director, Women’s Health and Prevention VERONIKA TAYLOR Deputy Editorial Director, Runner’s World, Bicycling, and International Branded Books  KARL ROZEMEYER Senior Content Manager  SAMANTHA QUISGARD Assistant Editor DENISE WEAVER Production Assistant

@MensHealthME Published by ITP Lifestyle Publishing, a division of ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the BVI Company Number 1402846

8 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Bulletin10.16 Eat This to Save Your Knees

S t NNow, Sweat Live Longer Don’t stop exercising; it’ll pay off. People in better cardiovascular shape in their 40s have a 37 percent lower risk of being hospitalized with a stroke after age 65 than unfit folks, the journal Stroke reports. Exercise keeps your arteries flexible and clear, reducing your risk of having a stroke.

Too much saturated fat may lead to knee arthritis. Study participants who ate the most sat fat lost 48 percent more joint space between their femur and tibia (an indicator of knee osteoarthritis) over four years than those who ate the least. Choose polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like walnuts and fatty fish.

Survival rates increase

Ask Your Doc Before a Test

Good news for young heart attack victims: a Danish study has found that survival rates are on the bounce. The odds of patients under 50 dying after a myocardial infarction have decreased greatly over the past 20 years: 30-day mortality decreased from 12.5% to 3.2%, 1-year mortality from 5.1% to 1.6%, and 10-year mortality from 24.2% to 8.9%. Authors suggest better prevention, treatment and awareness have helped.

You should know the benefits and risks of a test or treatment before going ahead with it. Only 18 percent of doctors in one study accurately estimated how the radiation dose of an abdominalpelvic CT scan compared to that of a chest x-ray. And one in four doctors weren’t aware that a single CT scan can raise your cancer risk.

It’s no secret that social interaction eases stress, but a new study suggests that a simple phone chat is especially effective for men, more so than a social event. Over three years, men who increased the number of times they talked on the phone were 17 percent less likely to feel psychological distress.

If you’ve had three or more nights of bad sleep in a row, a 400-milligram dose of caffeine (about two strong cups of coffee) won’t help you work smarter, Army researchers find. The caffeine will help after two five-hour nights; beyond that, your body’s buildup of adenosine, a sleep-promoting neurotransmitter, is just too high.

10 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Western diet may make it hard to resist treats even when you’re not hungry. It may keep your brain from turning off the flow of positive food memories, research suggests. You can retrain your brain by eating more fruits and vegetables.

If you have sleep p NA apnea, your DNA en a may have taken hit. Scientists in France found that the telomeres—the ends of chromosomes that fray as we age—of men with severe sleep apnea were shorter than the telomeres of healthy guys. Even men with moderate sleep apnea had shorter telomeres. Telomere shortening raises your risk of chronic disease, including cancer.

Insomnia bad for your waistline A large scale sstudy of 15,000 men aged 58-90 has found that insomnia sufferers are more likely to consume more calories a day and they ate less nutritious food than normal sleepers. Trans fats and sodium intakes were high in insomniacs whereas vegetable consumption was low. More calories were also taken in daily by men who had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Kids and resistance training Two US based scientists contend that enhancing muscular fitness early in life is a worthy endeavor and can spark an interest in lifelong training when training is safe, effective, and enjoyable. Structured correctly and conducted under supervisions, the pair suggest that every child can benefit from strength training.

The Spice for Your Brain in Eating more cinnamon may boost levels of proteins in your brain involved in memory and learning, new research finds. After mice with poor learning ability were fed cinnamon for 30 days, their ability improved to the level of mice that were naturally good learners.

The Rising Threat of Gout The number of U.S. men hospitalized with gout, a painful inflammatory joint condition, has more than doubled since the early 1990s, JAMA reports. But nearly 90 percent of cases can be prevented if men receive the proper care to lower their uric acid levels and modify their lifestyle to reduce their risk.


Ta n y a C o n s t a n t i n e / G e t t y I m a g e s (t e n n i s p l a y e r) , M a s t e r f i l e (c i n n a m o n) , F o t o f e r m e r/ G e t t y I m a g e s (c o f f e e)

Lower Stress Is Our Diet Just a Call Wrecks Our Caffeine Caff eine Away Doesn’t Always Willpower Pick up the phone The typical highHelp and call a friend. fat, high-sugar

Snoring May Cause DNA Damage

There’s no magical way to get a swoon-worthy upper body. But the information in this publication—combined with sweat and determination—can help you get strong arms and a chiseled midsection that you’re proud to show off. Men’s Health Arms & Abs contains some of the greatest workouts out there: ones that will grow your biceps, pump up your pecs, sculpt your six-pack—and shore up every muscle from your head to your toes. You’ll also find smart workout upgrades to fire up your fat-burning engines and expert nutrition advice (to help you strip away flab and make your muscle show). The result? A road map to getting the body you’ve always dreamed of.

Men at Work TRASHING TRUCKS FOR A LIVING His job involves speed, dust, mud, and bumps. Yeah, he loves it. By Michael Easter Mike Sweers is an insurance adjuster’s worst nightmare. In the past few years, he’s gone through two trailer hitches, three bumpers, one set of shocks, and a tailgate. And that was just on his personal truck. He can’t even calculate the damage he’s done while challenging the durability of Tundra and Tacoma trucks during his six years as chief engineer at Toyota. “Let’s just say the company isn’t always happy when I return testers to the factory,” he says. But the company is thankful. That’s because Sweers’s work helps bring stronger and better trucks to the marketplace. When Sweers, 52, destroyed three bumpers while working at home on his family farm in Michigan, he asked his team at work to come up with a fix. Their innovation: the three-piece bumper. Now, when you damage your bumper (if you tow often, it’s “when, not if,” he says), you replace a damaged panel instead of paying for the entire bumper. “You have to truly be a customer yourself,” he says. “That passion is the key to success in any job.” When Sweers isn’t on his farm or at Toyota HQ, he’s scaling sandstone with rock crawlers in Moab, Utah, hauling ass over hardpack with desert runners in Baja (he won the 47th Tecate Score Baja 1000 in a Tundra TRD Pro he’d designed), or towing tractors, skid loaders, hay wagons, snow Sweers prefers courses that mimic name it. the most challenging The best ideas, Sweers says, come from conditions a pickup people who are as passionate as he is. The new might encounter. Tacoma, for example, features a GoPro camera mount on the dash—a suggestion from a group The key to kicking up of adrenaline-crazed off-roaders in Utah. off-road dirt: Turn off “I’m always looking for the next improvethe stability control ment,” Sweers says, “and it’s a lot of fun.” (found on the newer Turns out that trucks, like men, are at their models) so your wheels can spin. best when driven.

3 Mistakes Truck Buyers Make Full-size pickups take the top three spots on the list of bestselling U.S. vehicles. But guys tend to get hung up on the wrong features when they shop, says Allyson Harwood of Kelley Blue Book. Avoid these missteps. 12 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

C o u r t e s y To y o t a ( l a r g e t r u c k )

Mistake 1: They Skimp on Seats You’re gonna beat your truck up, so why drop an extra grand or two for leather? Because it’s more durable and easier to clean than cloth, and it won’t absorb the stink of your best friend, Sparky. Just remember it’s hotter in summer and cooler in winter. Plus, it’ll need some long-term maintenance. P H O T O G R A P H S B Y A N DY WA K E M A N

Mistake 2: They Obsess Over Fuel Economy Gas is cheaper than it’s been in years, so getting an extra kilometre or two per litre might save you only about $100 in a year. Instead, check the vehicle’s five-year cost to own, a stat that can include its depreciation, insurance, and repair projections, as well as fuel costs, to give you a bigger picture.

Mistake 3: They’re Power-Hungry Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to what’s under the hood, says Harwood. You’ll spend $3,000 to $8,000 upgrading from a V6 to a V8. If you tow anything heavier than your truck, it’s worth paying extra for an engine that has a higher tow rating. If not, save your money. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 13

14 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Useful Stuff

Tons of tips, tricks, and strategies for life.

“You can usually tell that a man is good if he has a dog who loves him.”


W. Bruce Cameron

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 15


A Magnetic Mutt Your dog is so cute! And so are you, evidently. In a survey of 733 women, 65 percent said adopting a pet makes a guy seem hotter—and 68 percent said a pooch is the best pet he can own. It suggests sociability and caretaking skills. She’ll be watching you with Max, so smile and be playful. Who’s a good wingman?


Forge Big Shoulders They carry a hefty load. Make sure they can handle it. By BJ Gaddour, Men’s Health fitness director Every day is shoulder day: I say this all the time because I mean it. Your shoulders play a huge role in every upper-body lift—heck, they engage every time you hold a weight. These moves will strengthen them, lessen your injury risk, and improve your profile in that T-shirt.

S I N G L E -A R M





The snatch is fast and explosive; the press, slow and controlled. Varying speeds builds muscle. Do It Grab a barbell overhand: Push your hips back and lower your torso, back flat. Pull the bar straight up and overhead; then lower it to your shoulders and press it back up. Return to the start. Do 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 8; rest 2 minutes between sets.

Holding a weight overhead restricts bloodflow to your arm and shoulder, stimulating muscle growth. Plus, your abs will have to work extra hard. Do It Hold a dumbbell in one hand overhead, keeping your arm straight. Walk for 30 seconds; switch arms and repeat. That’s 1 round. Do 10 rounds for a killer finish to your workout.

This works the rear deltoid and mid and lower trap muscles, which guys tend to neglect. Do 10 reps, slow and controlled, in between intense exercises or as part of your warmup. Do It Grab the handles of a TRX and lean back, your body and arms straight. Make a T, W, or Y shape with your arms. Mix up the letters from rep to rep.

16 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Okay, maybe you are your khakis, just a little. A study from Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin suggests that your stuff can affect your self-image. Use that. Dress Yourself Don’t wear clothes chosen by your mate if they don’t feel like you. When what you wear clashes with your view of yourself, the inconsistency can erode confidence, researchers say. Shun Knockoffs That fake Rolex may look legit, but you know it’s a fake, and that can make you act dishonestly, the study suggests. Splurge Selectively Spend big on big purchases, like your home and car; they have the most influence on how you see yourself.

17 Months

Age g when kids can form relationships p via video interaction. On the road? FaceTime can help py you bond with your toddler.

A m y Lo m b a r d ( s h o u l d e r s , G a d d o u r ) , S T E V E S A N F O R D ( i l l u s t r a t i o n s ) , S h u t t e r s t o c k ( b l o k e )


3 Ways to Buy Confidence

Useful Stuff

Kicking the Phone Habit Know You’re Not Alone Half of teens and 27 percent of adults feel they’re “addicted” to their phones, according to a 2016 Common Sense Media survey. Are you one of those? Dude, put the phone down. We’re trying to help. Understand the Lure It’s like a slot machine— “Not knowing what you’ll see keeps you going back,” says David Greenfield, Ph.D., a tech-addiction expert. You crave a squirt of dopamine, the brain’s addictive reward chemical. Silence Temptation Shut off noncritical notifications. Your brain can’t ignore the beeps. Block out well-defined surfing time— say, an hour each night. “It’ll get easier after a few weeks,” Greenfield says.

4-7-8 That’s your formula for instant calm. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four counts. Then hold your breath for seven counts. Now exhale through your mouth for eight. Repeat this cycle three more times. Relaxed, right? You can thank Andrew Weil, M.D., founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

The Kind of Compliment She Really Wants to Hear Enough with the halfhearted “You look nice.” The thoughtful man (with no ulterior motive, of course) knows exactly what to flatter. Y O U R PA R T N E R S H I P

“We were a great team out there.” You’re not just respecting her skills; you’re talking up your connection and commitment. Major points, especially in a new relationship. The unspoken message: Being with her makes you better and vice versa, says Robyn Landow, Ph.D., a New York City psychologist.



“I liked how you helped out your friend.” She enjoys hearing that she’s a good person, not just to you but to the world at large. You both win: She feels valued, and you’re reminded just how lucky you are to be with her, says psychologist Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., author of The 30-Day Love Detox.


“I was impressed at how you held your ground.” Sometimes women fear that being too strong or coming off as aggressive is a turnoff. Your observation shows her that it’s not— in fact, you love it. This compliment shows that you’re not threatened and that you have her back, Walsh says. Go ahead, call it hot.

“Your arms look really toned in that dress.” Your gut reaction may be, “Dayum, girl, you look hot.” But the eight efficient words above praise her looks, fashion sense, and dedication. Noting something she’s been working on shows you’ve been paying attention, Landow says. Whether you were or not.

12-yard rounded “out” (the primary target)


The Money Play Here’s the call from Steven Bergman, a U.S. Flag & Touch Football League Hall of Fame quarterback.

Deep “go” (draws defender)

5-yard “out” QB

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 17

Useful Stuff

Power Up Your Brain


Alstertor DüsseldorfStyle Mustard Like Uma Thurman—smooth, with an edge. Try it with brats or pretzels. Cool jar, too! $9 for 8 oz, Amazon

That “gaming is good” BS is now backed up by real science. Memory In older adults, video games boost “visuospatial and episodic recall,” as the eggheads put it. Translation: Cracking a Fallout 4 level could make GPS redundant and help you remember your wedding anniversary.

A Man, a Pan, a Plan

Focus Action games (yes, Call of Duty counts) can help you stay attentive, say Swiss brain researchers. Killing zombies, crushing your meeting prep: basically the same thing.

Fresh bratwurst needs a good simmer and sear to cook through and crisp up. Beef bacon adds flavour. Now all you need is a Tirolerhut and lederhosen. What You’ll Need 1 cup low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth 4 bratwurst links 1 bay leaf 3 black peppercorns ½ tsp coriander seeds (if you want)

2 garlic cloves, peeled ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 2 cups sauerkraut, drained 1 strip thick-cut beef bacon, diced Mustard, for serving


Dollar amount spent p by y millennials on coffee and fast food in a month. A basic membership to Planet Fitness is $10. Just saying. Source: TD Bank Consumer Spending Index

18 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

How to Make It In a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, add the broth, brats, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, and garlic. Simmer, turning the brats every now and then, until the liquid is gone, 10 minutes or so. Then toss in the onion, kraut, and beef bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, until everything looks well caramelised and the bacon crisps, another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with copious amounts of mustard; eat around the bay leaf, peppercorns, and garlic. Feeds 2 Per serving 626 calories, 26g protein, 14g carbs (4g fibre), 52g fat

Fitness If you do a six-week Xbox Kinect training program (three 20-minute sessions a week), what happens besides weird looks from your wife? Improved agility and balance, say scientists in Taiwan, who actually checked.

4 Simple Ways to Beat Diabetes 1. Relax Anxiety can cause inflammation, sending your body into an insulin tailspin, say Rice University researchers. Try meditation or yoga—or start simple with 10 minutes of breath awareness (just what it sounds like). 2. Sleep Seven to Eight Hours Guys who log much less or much more than that have lower insulin sensitivity, a prediabetic condition, Dutch research reveals. 3. Take Up Biking Now It’s not too late: In one study, people who took up cycling later in life had a 20 percent lower incidence of type 2 diabetes than noncyclists. 4. Cook with Vegetable Oils People with high blood levels of linoleic acid (found in nuts, seeds, and many vegetable oils) are less likely to become diabetic. P H OTO G R A P H B Y T R AV I S R AT H B O N E

F o o d s t y l i n g : M i c h e l l e G a t t o n /S t o c k l a n d M a r t e l , p r o p s t y l i n g : N i d i a C u e v a ( b r a t s i n p a n ) ; RYA N O . ( m u s t a r d , p r o d u c t c o u r t e s y a m a n a s h o p s . c o m ) , S h u t t e r s t o c k ( b i k e r )

Multitasking Grew up on Pac-Man? Nice: Scientists in Singapore (who can’t lie, by law) say early gamers can switch between tasks faster than nongamers can. But latecomers can benefit by starting now.

Useful Stuff

Quick Change BY BR I A N BOYÉ

“Listening to the radio at a reasonable volume helps me collate efficiently.”

Do Less, Get More Done

Workaholics, listen up: Step away from your desk to boost your productivity and your mood. Your boss—and coworkers—will thank you.

© 2 0 t h C e n t u r y F o x / E v e r e t t C o l l e c t i o n ( O f f i c e S p a c e ) , M e r e d i t h J e n k s ( B o y é ) , Tr u n k A r c h i v e ( c o u p l e ) , C a r l o s Yu d i c a /S h u t t e r s t o c k ( fo o t )

1/ Take “Microbreaks” Taking a few minutes now and then can cut work stress while improving your efficiency and mood, a recent study reports. You can relax (“I’m not napping—I’m recharging!”), stimulate your mind (do something that’s not a chore; think Candy Crush, not online banking), or socialise (but don’t complain about work—chat about other topics). You like those Tasty videos? That’s fine. Maybe not before lunch.

2/ Don’t Do Email After Hours We get it: You’re a devoted employee. But checking your email after you’ve clocked out can affect your family life and lead to emotional exhaustion, new research confirms. Even if you have no emails to read, waiting for that ping can bring on something called “anticipatory stress.” So make this an ironclad rule—confirm it with your boss and coworkers—and you’ll enhance your job satisfaction in the long run.

3/ Use Your Vacation Days Already You’ve heard this before, but evidently it hasn’t sunk in: Last year, 55 percent of employees left vacation time on the table, letting companies keep $61.4 billion in benefits (which they don’t need). Those who take their vacation days come back refreshed and perform better at work, an HR sur vey indicates. Those who don’t just annoy their coworkers by going on about all their unused time off.

My sweaters have fuzzy balls all over them. Toss ’em? BILL, CHICAGO, IL

Save the sweaters! First, don’t pull at those “pills.” You’d be yanking on yarn, and that’ll definitely ruin the garment. Find a razor with as few blades as possible and no lubricating strip. Hold a section flat and taut and gently swipe upward, increasing pressure if necessary. Then wrap packing tape around your hand (sticky side out, Sherlock) to collect the shavings. Or wrap fine sandpaper around a small sponge and, holding your sweater taut, gently scrub away the pills using short, quick movements. Again, use tape to gather the debris. I’ve tried everything, but still end up with ingrown hairs. Help? GERARD, CINCINNATI, OH

Obesity: A growing problem globally

The Bene Benefits of Bare Feet Shoes can lead to overuse injuries: They trick your brain into thinking your feet aren’t working hard enough, so your legs end up working harder than they need to. The cure? Stride barefoot for 100 metres after a run. Result: stronger foot muscles, better posture and balance, and less injury risk.

A new study in the U.S. conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has found that average weight of American men over the age of 20 has ballooned by almost eight percent over the last two decades. It’s worse in women where their average weight has swelled by almost 17 percent over that same period. Experts suggest that unhealthy eating habits learned while growing have lead to increase consumtpion of junk. It’s worth noting that worldwide, approximately 42 million children younger than five years old and 155-200 million school-aged children are overweight and obese.

Try being less ambitious. Avoid any razor promising the “closest shave possible!” Razors with too many blades pull whiskers up before trimming them, so what’s left is below the surface. As coarse or curly hairs grow back, they’re more likely to get trapped under the skin. Your solution: fewer blades. I like Bevel’s traditional safety razor and Gillette’s Mach 3 Sensitive Power Razor; both trim at skin level. The new Philips Norelco CareTouch electric razor stays just above the surface. And use a preshave oil and shaving cream—not foam—for that easy glide.

Brian Boyé is the executive fashion and grooming of Men’s (Most women agree!director See the nextHealth. page.)

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 19

Useful Stuff

Nutrition Know-It-All M I K E R O U S S E L L , PH . D.

I’ve heard that if I chug water at a meal, I’ll eat less. Really? Is my brain that stupid? TIM, VIA TWITTER

Train like a dog How one man rescued two dogs, and how they both helped save his life. THE SETBACK





A sedentary life blew Eric O’Grey up to 340 pounds. He had a 52-inch waist and spent $1,000 a month on diabetes and blood pressure meds. Dinner was not one but two XL pizzas. His weight fueled isolation, and vice versa. “I was rolling downhill toward death,” he says.

As flight attendants tried to find him a seatbelt extender, the guy next to him grumbled in disgust, “I’m gonna miss my connection because you’re too fat.” O’Grey scheduled bariatric surgery, but a naturopathic doctor suggested an alternative: a canine companion.

At a shelter, O’Grey adopted Peety—also middle-aged, obese, and sad. They’d go for two 30-minute walks a day, gradually adding mileage and speed. In 10 months, O’Grey hit his 180pound goal; then they took up running in the morning. “It’s like buying your self-respect for the entire day.”

Once Peety came into his life, O’Grey learned to cook and make smoothies. The pounds melted off— 3 or 4 a week. “It wasn’t anything extreme, just light to moderate exercise and the diet.” When Peety, who’d lost 25 pounds, died of cancer in March 2015, O’Grey promptly regained 30 pounds.

O’Grey rescued another dog, Jake. They run 40 to 50 miles a week together, and O’Grey has done 15 marathons. Knowing that Jake is waiting helps motivate him when the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. “I feel like I’m 25, and I look younger than I did before. This is what normal feels like.”

$2.5k Annual savings g in healthcare by yp people p with heart conditions who increased exercise and activity levels. Source: Journal of the American Heart Association

20 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


Attack Earwax Earwax is useful. It keeps the dust and germs of this wicked world from entering your delicate ear canal. But too much of it (technical term: cerumen) leads some guys to declare Threat Level Q and attack with cotton swabs. Better plan: Put a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide in your ear 10 minutes before a shower, says Ana Kim, M.D., of Columbia University Medical Center. It will help liquefy the wax, which will flush out as you shower.

No, your brain isn’t that stupid. Hydrating is important, but chugging H2O at mealtime will not help you eat less, research shows. You’ll need to be sneakier. To combat hunger without overeating, go with a salad. You’ll still be ingesting water from vegetables, but the salad also requires you to chew, activating your brain’s satiating effect. Plus, those greens contain fiber, which fill you up—and keep you satisfied until your next meal. I love a bowl of cereal as a late-night snack. Is that a bad idea? LARRY, BUFFALO, NY

Nah, that’s okay. A latenight cereal fix isn’t a vice. In fact, consuming carbohydrates in the evening can help you relax because carbs help your body produce serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. In an Middle East study, people who took in most of their daily carbs at dinner dropped more weight and felt fuller than those who ate their carbs throughout the day. Plus, the protein in milk can help your muscles recover and rebuild as you sleep. So enjoy—but stick to one bowl, Larry. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., is the author of The Six Pillars of Nutrition and a nutrition advisor for Men’s Health.


Useful Stuff

Don’t just dump sauce onto noodles. Put cooked pasta back in the warm pot, pour in sauce, and stir. That way every bite is saucy.

Easy Style Tricks to Look Taller


Spaghetti Sauce

In Hollywood, land of illusion, short guys loom larger after visiting Jimmy Au’s For Men 5'8" and Under, a real store.

Our taste testers found the best stuff hidden among jars of sugary junk. Grab some napkins.

Hire a Tailor Extra fabric makes guys look sloppy. A good fit neatens you up and adds height, says company VP Alan Au.


Rao’s Tomato Basil Sauce It’s thick. It’s hearty. Bits of fresh garlic give it a kick. One taster called it “intense and refreshing.” It’s also pricey at $8 for 24 ounces. If that’s too much, choose your alternative carefully: You want a red sauce with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Rao’s flavour is from the sweetness of ripe tomatoes, not added sugars.

Use Small Patterns Yes, vertical stripes stretch you, but keep them slim. Large patterns or plaids can swallow up a shorter guy.


Low-Salt: Roselli’s A lack of sodium often means a lack of flavour. Not here. This has a generous hit of garlic, yet it’s not overspiced. $3/15 oz

Anchor Your Look Shoes do matter. A classic rounded toe is best; avoid square toes, which convey a vaguely stumpy look.

© D r e a m w o r k s / E v e r e t t C o l l e c t i o n ( I Lo v e Yo u , M w a n ) , M I C H A E L B R A N D O N M Y E R S ( i c o n s ) , S T E V E S TA N F O R D ( i l l u s t r a t i o n s )

Organic: Muir Glen We’re able to forgive a slightly high sugar content when a sauce tastes this good. $4/25.5 oz

Go with One Color If your pants and shirt are similar colours, they’ll create an elongating silhouette from shoulder to toe. Pick Slim Lapels If the jacket is size 40 or smaller, keep the lapel width under 2½ inches; your shoulders will appear broader.


Clean Road Rash A bicycling spill can leave parts of the roadway embedded in your skin. Flush out the grit with strong squirts from your water bottle; then grab one of the individually wrapped Preparation H wipes we told you to bring because we knew this would happen. The aloe soothes and the witch hazel disinfects.

Hang Out for Better Health You know that glow that comes from hanging with your crew after 18 holes or a softball game? It’s natural: Guys want to hang out after anything stressful—even a close game—because it helps us deal with future stress. In a study, frazzled male rats instinctively cuddled, releasing oxytocin, a bonding hormone that helps combat stress. This benefit may occur in the nonfurry (okay, sometimes furry) human male too, says researcher Liz Kirby. (Don’t worry: No cuddling required!) So for the next postgame with the guys, tell your wife you’re training your brain to handle stress.

30% Number of antibiotics prescriptions p p in the United States that are unnecessary Source: CDC


October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 21

Useful Stuff

Win the barbecue

Your best play call for an easy weekend: the simple rollout.

Yeti Tank 45 The polyurethane insulation can keep 52 drinks cold for days. (Trust us: We tested it! The ice stayed; the drinks kept disappearing.) The lid, sold separately, doubles as a cutting board. $200, Soundcast Melody Bluetooth Speaker It’s pricey, but it’s weather resistant and can blast 360 degrees of thumping sound—for 20-plus hours on a charge. We’re cranking Chris Stapleton right now! $250, Ace Hardware

STOK Gridiron 1 Burner Gas Grill Stand tall as a versatile, veritable short-order cook with this propanefired beauty. If partygoers call an audible, use inserts to convert the castiron grill grate to a kebab-and-rib rack, pizza stone, chicken roaster, or wok (all sold separately). Then fold it up to be easily rolled away. $128, Amazon

Nerf Sports Dude PerfectSmash Football Your 8-year-old nephew can catch this kid-friendly ball like Antonio Brown and throw it like Tom Brady. (It’s soft!) A breakaway target is included. $15, Briggs and Stratton P2200 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator This beast runs long and strong, and it won’t drown out the pregame trashtalking. It has two household outlets, plus a USB adapter. $630, Amazon Areaware Star Spangled Spatula Love your American sports? This spatula. Made in the USA of solid walnut and stainless steel, the tool makes you a true fan. $75, Additional research: Randy Dye, publisher, Tailgater magazine

22 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


P r o p s t y l i n g : V i c t o r i a G r a n o f /C o r n e l i a A d a m s ( o p e n g r i l l ) ; c o u r t e s y S t o k G r i l l s ( fo l d e d g r i l l ) , c o u r t e s y Ye t i ( Ye t i Ta n k ) , c o u r t e s y S o u n d c a s t ( M e l o d y ) , c o u r t e s y N e r f ( fo o t b a l l ) , c o u r t e s y B r i g g s & S t r a t t o n ( g e n e r a t o r ) , RYA N O . ( s p a t u l a )

Your week may be up or down, but firing up the barbie really sorts you out. Try these new products out...

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Driving off piste Le v i B r o w n / Tr u n k A r c h i v e ( p u m p k i n ) , C o l l i n H u g h e s / t h e l i c e n s i n g p r o j e c t . c o m ( m a n w i t h l e a v e s ) , c o u r t e s y D e b b y H e r b e n i c k ( H e r b e n i c k ) , M a d l e n /S h u t t e r s t o c k ( f l o w e r s ) , M I TC H M A N D E L ( a e r a t o r ) , d e 2 m a r c o /S h u t t e r s t o c k ( b u l b s ) , I a k o v F i l i m o n o v /S h u t t e r s t o c k ( m o w e r ) ; i l l u s t r a t i o n b y ST E V E S A N F O R D

So, you’re loaded up, ready to rock, and the car is stuck belly deep in the sand. Now what? Don’t panic. You’re never far away from a bunch of helpful people with tow ropes and simple ideas on how to free you from your sandy trap. That said, you can often rescue a situation without having to lift a shovel or even get out of the car. First, make sure your traction control is fully switched off. Traction control works by limiting wheel spin which is great on the road but disastrous on soft surfaces where you want to be able to manage that wheel spin yourself. If the underside of the car is free, try reversing: the wheel tracks you’ve already made should have compressed the sand and may offer a little more traction. Moving the steering wheel from side to side can help create more traction on the loose sand, but remember to be smooth and gentle with the throttle: huge doses of power will only dig you in deeper. Deflating your tyres will help too. If you’ve already let air out, then try letting more out. If you have a tyre pressure gauge (if you’re going off road, then you really should have one), then you can dip to around 10psi without compromising the tyres. Again, care is vital: aggressive driving could easily see you roll the tyre off the rim. If this doesn’t work, then you’ll need to get out and clear away the sand from the tyres and underbelly of the car, then have your passengers help push as you drive gently out. Always move downhill, even if that means reversing. Uphill fights are a losing battle.

At last! The camping season is upon us. Keep your outdoors gear ready to go.

What Is It About Autumn? Men love fall. Why? Part of it may be visual. Colours register in your brain as significant, like a “boom” in a quiet room. One theory: They may trigger happy memories of this busy season (camping, the outdoors, school, the festive period), and positive emotions flood back. “There’s a benefit to feeling this way because it connects us to who we were in the past,” says UCLA’s Hal Hershfield, Ph.D.

Get set for camping Now that the summer heat has past its peak, it’s time to get yourself sorted for the camping season.

Cooking Camping means cooking outdoors, so scrape the gunk off the grill, soak it in suds and remove all the caked on bits. If you’re in the market for a new BBQ, Weber’s Smokey Joe and Go-Anywhere grills are great.

Wind A night in the great outdoors is amazing - but you need to be comfortable. Bang a couple of poles into the ground and string a section of wind cloth up to cut down airborne sand. Most nights are rain free, so enjoy the stars.

Sleeping A sand mat and a sleeping bag is all you really need, but a camp stretcher gets you off the ground and away from bugs. We really like OzTrail’s aluminium stretcher; it’s easy to set up and is nice and firm.

Transport If you’re off-roading, make sure the car is up to the job. If you’re going into the dunes, you’ll need to deflate your tyres to around half road pressures. Take a recovery strap, shovel, and shackels. Also invest in a compressor.

WORKS FOR US As MH fitness editor, I’ve worked out in countless pairs of pricey, high-tech earbuds—some could read my heart rate, stream my tunes, even link up to satellites in outer-freaking-space to gauge my running pace. That’s great until the buds fall out of my ears or run out of juice. Because uninterrupted music is my priority, the pair I’ve settled on is decidedly low-tech: the Yurbuds Inspire 100. They fit, stay put, block outside noise, and don’t quit. They’re also just $20 ( —Michael Easter 23

Useful Stuff


Get in the Bawl Game We know it’s okay to show our vulnerability, but it’s still difficult. One weepy guy hopes to change that. By Eric Spitznagel Our cultural consensus on male crying can be summed up by a scene in The Godfather, where Don Vito Corleone slaps the weeping singer Johnny Fontane and screams, “You can act like a man!” We like to think we’re more evolved, that we’ve moved beyond masculinity clichés. But remember how you felt the last time you saw a man cry? When a woman cries, we want to comfort her. But when a guy tears up, we recoil and enter panic mode. “What’s happening? Did your dog die? Do you have cancer?” On some level we know crying is okay. But knowing that and acting on it are very different. Most of us would rather get advice on erectile dysfunction from a father-in-law than let a single tear roll down our cheeks. That can’t be healthy, right? We asked Andrew Reiner, a Towson University professor who teaches a seminar called “Real Men Smile: The Changing Face of Masculinity,” to talk about man tears—and whether we should rethink our relationship with them.

24 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

of the self-made man and rugged individualist came into fashion. It doesn’t lend itself to emotional vulnerability. You have to show you’re in control, that you’ve got your shit together. We want women to think we’re in control, or other men? Both, but that protective nature is strongest with our male friends. We’re wary of confiding in each other or showing too much vulnerability because we’re terrified of being found out, betrayed, or rejected. I think a lot of guys have this running loop in their heads: “What do they think of me? Do I look like a joke? Do I look weak or foolish?” That fear stops you from showing any real emotion. Again, that makes sense in theory. But what can we do? Start crying in front of our friends? Well . . . I agree with everything you’re saying, but I’m not going to be the guy in an all-male social gathering who says, “Hey, fellas, who’s up for some platonic hugging and then crying about our fathers?” It’s an ongoing evolution. You look for ways to be more emotionally honest. I’ve started drinking more wine in front of guys. Wait, what? [Laughs.] Drinking wine is more emotionally honest? You know as well as I do that if you’re out with guys and you order wine, it says something. I thought it said, “I like wine,” but now you’ve got me worried I’ve been sending the wrong signals. See, that’s it right there. We need to stop worrying about the signals we’re sending our male friends. Our friendships are key. We need to get back to the emotional vulnerability our grandparents and great-grandparents had with each other. Guys today have become more isolated and more alienated. If you’re a guy, you’ve been taught that you handle things on your own, that you don’t go around confiding in people, and it’s a sign of weakness if you seek help. But that’s bullshit.

From left: Ryan O., Getty Images

MEN’S HEALTH: Talking about crying is hard. Just the idea of it makes me want to throw a football at your nuts and then watch a war movie. ANDREW REINER: [Laughs.] Well, sure, you’re a guy. That’s what guys do. But why? What’s the big deal about crying? That’s the question. One of the things I ask my students is “What if we had a world where guys were allowed to show a wider range of emotions? What if we gave them the free pass we give to girls and women? Would the world really look any different? Would less get done?” No, sure, you’re right. But it’s one thing to know that intellectually and another to walk up to a man and say, “Just hold me, bro, and feel the warmth of my salty tears on your shoulders.” Yeah, I get it. I remember the first time I cried in public as an adult. I was on a plane with my girlfriend, and I knew our relationship was pretty much over. I just started sobbing. I didn’t hide it. When people looked at me, I looked right back. Wow. You weepily stared down strangers? That

sounds harder than the crying. Exactly. A man’s instinct is to hide his tears. But I wanted people to know, yeah, I’m a guy and I’m crying. It felt liberating, like casting off shackles. Even if it were culturally acceptable for men to cry, would we want to? Do men get the same physical and emotional relief that women do? I think so, yeah. There was a study at Tel Aviv University just last year, which found that the male brain and the female brain are structurally very similar. The way they both function cognitively is almost identical. So a lot of our behaviour that we think is uniquely male or female is just social construction. Men avoid crying for the same reasons we avoid being overcome with joy. We do? How do we avoid joy? I mean that unconstrained, unguarded joy. When you’re just so enthusiastic and giddy that you can’t keep it in. For men in our culture, that’s a sign of vulnerability. How often do you see guys running around with glee on their faces? Maybe while playing sports. Yeah, but that’s it. Can you imagine if we acted like that in our everyday lives? My god, people would think you’re completely mental. But it wasn’t always that way. Men used to laugh more; they used to cry more and smile more. Really? Because if you look at 19th-century photos, men seem to be mostly scowling. That’s because posing for those old photos took so long. People see them and think men were so hard and severe back then. That’s not true. If you look at men’s journals at the time, they were every bit as emotional as women were, sometimes more so. It was much more common for men to have very intimate friendships with each other. They shared sadness and joy. There wasn’t this stupid notion that crying showed weakness. So how did we get here? The social norms changed. This whole notion


Bonk Breaker has successfully created the world’s greatest tasting, on-the-go portable fuel for weekend warriors and world-class athletes – and now, its range of delicious energy and protein bars, and tasty energy chews is available in the Middle East. Bonk Breaker Nutrition products embody a whole foods philosophy of creating simple, high quality, real food ingredients into great tasting bars and chews that provide both a delicious snack and a competitive edge to fuel the active lifestyle. Made with 10-12 real ingredients that you can recognise and pronounce, all Bonk Breaker products are gluten free. Most importantly, they taste delicious! Bonk Breaker Nutrition Bars and Chews fuel top professional, Olympic, and elite level teams and athletes around the world.  Just as importantly though, they’re perfect for anyone looking for a tasty and nutritious snack – all of which are designed to help you avoid ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonk’. “We’re on a continual quest to make Bonk Breaker the go-to choice for healthy eaters everywhere through increasing the breadth of our product line and taking these products to the next level by utilising the highest quality ingredients possible” said Chris Frank, Bonk Breaker chairman and co-CEO. “What began

Learn more about Bonk Breaker at

as a bar baked in our cofounder’s kitchen has evolved into one of the world’s premium sports nutrition brands, plus a delicious, nutritious snack or on-the-go meal replacement for active lifestyle adults and energy-hungry kids. Our goal is to offer the best possible portable nutrition for all our customers, freshly baked with ingredients they know and trust.” As part of that push, the company says it won’t be long until every product in the range achieves non-GMO verification. Going entirely non-GMO was a natural next step in Bonk Breaker’s product development, as the bars and chews are already all-natural and minimally processed. The move also comes in response to growing industry demand for full disclosure of food ingredients, as the non-GMO verification provides total transparency. You can get your hands on the new Bonk Breaker Nutrition range here: In Dubai: Adventure HQ, Wolfi’s Bike Shop, The Cycle House, Beyond Fitness and Trek Bike stores. In Abu Dhabi: Yas Cycles and Adventure HQ. You can also order online at

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 24

26 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Fitness +Muscle

HAPPY TRAILS, KILLER CARDIO Power your strength, endurance, and mental focus into high gear by riding dirt. By Erin Beresini Aaron Dalrymple didn’t get it. Bicycling was supposed to be fun. He’d begun riding a friend’s old steel mountain bike to his job, trying to stay fit after knee surgery and two concussions knocked him out of recreational rugby. But the 12-mile ride on cement paths to his office in Fort Worth, Texas, was mostly a drag, the 39-year-old recalls. “Then,” he says, “my roommate convinced me to take the bike out on a trail.” Everything changed. The thrill of skimming over rocks, bouncing over tree roots, and not knowing what was around the next corner hooked him. Two months after his inaugural trail ride, he bought his first mountain bike. This was a sport he could love. “It combined physical and mental challenges with technical skill, outdoor exploration, and a social aspect,” says Dalrymple, who now lives in Los Angeles and regularly competes in (and wins) races; he recently captured his age group in a 23-miler in Big Bear Lake, California. But it was the camaraderie that clinched it. “Riding the trails with a posse gives you the same kind of adrenaline rush you get playing a team sport.” Ready for your own knobby-tyred adventure? With cool weather and bright colors, fall is the best time of year for riding trails. Read on for training tips, gear, and destinations to get the most out of every pedal stroke. 

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 27

1/ Find the Right Bike “There’s a lot of product out there, which is great for the new rider, but it can also be confusing,” says Ned Overend, who’s won several mountain biking world champion events. One of the easiest ways to make a sound choice is to spend some quality time at a local bike shop. Most shops offer demobike programs, Overend says. Test-riding different types of rigs is smart, because you have various tire widths to choose from, as well as three major wheel sizes (26", 27.5", and 29") and several suspension options. A good shop will match you to a bike that

suits your goals, size, and wallet and even advise you on any Dubizzle purchases you’re considering. “Your relationship with the shop is even more important than the bike you’re buying,” says pro coach James Wilson of MTB Strength Training Systems. The right staff will make sure your bike fits you and is put together safely; they’ll also inspect your rig if you crash it.

2/ Nab the Essentials You could buy a truckload of expensive biking accessories, but you really only need a handful of essentials, says Overend: an

3/ Ease into Riding You don’t need to huck off a 25-foot ridge or hop off 10-foot boulders to call yourself a mountain biker. “When you’re new at this, you’re supposed to suck,” Wilson says. Ask your shop about good beginner terrain and trails in your area. A few simple riding tips to start: You’re in the correct gear when your pedal stroke is smooth and gives you constant, steady power—no bouncing or jerking, no slack in your chain, no struggling to turn over the pedals. To brake, squeeze both sides softly and equally. One finger is enough to engage today’s high-tech disc brakes, which will stop on a dime—and potentially buck you off—if you squeeze them full-force.

Gear Up for the Ride of Your Life The world’s top mountain bikers reveal their favorite riding gear.

28 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Blackburn Airstick SL Mini Pump “Not all mini pumps are the same; this one is quite simple and reliable. I’ve had mine 10 years.” ($25, blackburndesign. com) —Pete Webber, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame member

Specialized Fuse Comp 6Fattie “Fatter tyres give hardtails some suspension and make them more fun to ride. These bikes also tend to cost less.” ($1,600, —Ned Overend, fourtime XC world champ

Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedal “It’s longer than a typical pedal, to support both ends of your arch and give your feet serious stability.” ($89, pedalinginnovations. com) —James Wilson, inventor of the Catalyst Pedal

Castelli Squadra Long Jacket “Always carry a jacket in case of a surprise downpour or temperature drop. This one is lightweight and compresses to practically nothing.” ($50, —Pete Webber

S h u t te r s to c k

Specialized RBX Pro Shorts “A good pair of riding shorts with a chamois pad is crucial for comfort during those long afternoons in the saddle.” ($150, —Howard Grotts, U23 national champion

P r e v i o u s p a g e: S h u t te r s to c k ; t h i s p a g e: S h u t te r s to c k (m a n), c o u r te s y S p e c i a l i ze d (s h o r t s a n d b i ke), c o u r te s y B l a c k b u r n ( p u m p), c o u r te s y P e d a l i n g I n n o v a t i o n s ( p e d a l s), c o u r te s y C a s te l l i ( j a c ke t)

extra inner tube, a tyre iron, and a mini hand pump in case of a flat. Practice changing a tyre at home so you don’t end up stranded on a ride. One shortcut used by racers is Stan’s Tyre Sealant ($3). It fits easily in a saddlebag and can keep a puncture repaired for as long as seven months. For your maiden ride, go with simple flat pedals instead of the kind with hardware for clipping your bike shoes into. (See our list of biking terms on the next page.) Flat pedals boost your confidence because they make bailing easier if you find yourself in a jam. If you want to splurge on something, invest in a dropper seat post, which lets you raise or lower the seat with the push of a handlebar lever. Dropping your seat on downhills keeps you safer by lowering your center of gravity, says Marc Gullickson, mountain bike programs director for USA Cycling. That reduces the risk of launching yourself over the handlebar if you brake too hard—also known as the dreaded “endo.”

Fitness + Muscle

centrate on a smooth, consistent pedal stroke.” Many beginners fail to downshift early enough at the bottom of a climb and end up with too much chain tension, making gear changes difficult. That’s why it’s better to undergear on long hills. Pick a slightly easier gear than you think you need; that way your cadence or pedal rate will be faster and you won’t exhaust your muscles with overly heavy strokes up a long hill. On shorter, steeper climbs, just stand up and crank hard. That costs more energy, but it gives you the most leverage. In both scenarios, ride with the pedal centred in the middle of your foot, which puts the least stress on your Achilles and calves and provides more direct power from your body’s big generator—your glutes.

6/ Bomb Downhill Mountain Biking Terms You Must Know Full Suspension



Fat Bike

Clipless Pedals

Best for technical terrain, this type of bike can absorb impact from the front as well as the rear.

On a bike with 29-inch wheels, you have more momentum once you’re rolling, and more wheel contacting the trail. The result is better traction and a smoother ride than you’d get on a traditional 26-inch bike.

This is an oldschool bike with 26-inch wheels. Good luck finding one at any race nowadays.

Standard mountain bike tires are about 2 inches wide. The tires on a fat bike can be nearly double that, which allows you to run lower pressure for better grip, and float over dicey terrain like sand and snowcovered trails.

Despite the name, these are pedals that shoes with compatible cleats clip into. They’re the modern version of the original toe clips—those little pedal cages that your gym’s spin bikes probably still have.

Hardtail It has no rear suspension and may have front suspension or a rigid fork; good for hill riding.

27.5 It’s nimble like a smaller 26er but has the more responsive handling that a larger wheel provides.

4/ Surf the Trail

S h u t te r s to c k

As you approach obstacles like rocks and roots, use your arms and legs as shock absorbers, says Pete Webber, a mountain biking coach based in Boulder, Colorado. Don’t freeze up or slow down. Think light hands, heavy feet, butt off the saddle— like a surfer crouched to absorb the force of a wave. Maintaining momentum makes it easier to roll up and over obstacles. Over time you should master the track stand, says Overend. That’s the ability to keep your balance while stopped or at very slow speeds rather than using forward momentum to stay upright. This skill helps you tackle features like tight turns and switchbacks that need to be negotiated slowly. So as you hang out in your driveway, try to stay on your bike

as long as you can without rolling forward or falling off. Do this: Stand up, rotate the cranks to horizontal, and turn the handlebar 45 degrees, keeping one finger on each brake and holding pressure on the forward pedal. “Stay loose and calm and focus on a point 5 feet ahead,” Overend says. “It’s really simple, but it really helps. Work up to 60 seconds.”

5/ Climb Like a Goat “There are two elements to climbing: balance and traction,” Overend says. Distribute more weight on your back wheel so it doesn’t spin out and enough on your front so you have enough grip to steer—a 60/40 split is ideal. For more traction, says Webber, “lower your chest toward the handlebar, shift your weight slightly back in the saddle, and con-

White-knuckle, roller-coaster descents are the most fun part of mountain biking— and the most dangerous. Shift your weight back in the saddle for better control and more speed. You’re too far back if you’re hanging on with your fingers and losing pressure on your palms; that pressure helps you maintain steering and braking power. If you have a dropper post, this is its time to shine. “When your seat is in the way of your hips, it messes with your ability to react and stay balanced as you bomb downhill,” says Wilson. To scrub speed, “pull both brakes evenly and at the same time with one or two fingers,” Wilson says. That’ll prevent you from doing an endo after an overly strong front-brake squeeze, unless you really want to feel the pain of a mountain biking injury like a shattered collarbone.

7/ Stick with It “Look for a local club and join some group rides,” Gullickson suggests. The members can point you toward the best trails for your ability—an invaluable service, since there’s no universal system for ranking trails by difficulty. Check out Facebook for groups in your area and for details of rides. Also, says Dalrymple, riding with others makes it easier to push yourself and learn. “You’ll see people go through or over an obstacle or blast down a tricky downhill section and it’ll give you confidence to do the same.” Eventually you’ll experience what’s kept Dalrymple addicted to dirt riding for more than a decade. “When you keep improving,” he says, “it keeps being fun.” October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 29

Fitness + Muscle

Pain-Free in One Move This simple exercise may ease lingering pain, prevent injuries, and help you accomplish new fitness goals. By Michael Easter Do your knees, hips, or back sometimes hurt for seemingly random reasons? Do running, lifting, and playing sports leave you sore in the wrong places? Do you walk around gingerly, feeling stiff all over? This three-second test may reveal the reason. Stand up and kick off your shoes. Spread your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead. Now squat. Go as low as you possibly can, making sure you don’t raise your heels off the floor or slump

skull flattening and neck stretching proved this phenomenon quite effectively. In a chair sitting position, your hip and ankle muscles shorten and your stabilising core muscles turn off because the chair supports your body. Over time, your hips and ankles tighten while the core areas weaken, explains Doug Kechijian, a physical therapist with Resilient PT in New York City. Tight, weak muscles are a recipe for pain, injury, and compromised performance.

Learning to squat might be the most important thing you can do for your fitness and wellness. It’s a life changer. forward. If you couldn’t drop your butt to just a few inches above the ground, you just discovered your problem. “Sitting in a squat position is the most natural movement for the body,” says Roop Sihota, a Bay Area physical therapist. That’s because the joints and muscles you need for squatting—hips, knees, ankles, core, quads, glutes, and more—are your powerhouses for everything from walking and running to swinging a golf club and doing yard work. If you can’t squat properly, your joints are probably too stiff and your muscles too tight. That causes you to lose your ability to move properly, which in turn affects delicate areas such as your knees and back. The result? Potential pain and injury, and decreased range of motion over the long haul. That’s why learning to squat might be the most important thing you can do for your fitness and wellness. If you’re wondering why you failed the test in the first place, the answer is simple. Humans were meant to sit in the squat position. Then chairs came along. Ever since first grade you’ve probably been sitting in a chair eight hours a day, five days a week. A chair delivers comfort, sure, but it’s also an unnatural structure that your body adapts to. Such cultural practices as 30 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

But when we spend a greater amount of time squatting, our hips and ankles don’t become tight or weak. When a muscle becomes overly tight, your brain may sense the area as threatened and send pain there as a way to entice you to move, says Kechijian. For example, sciatica— a chronic pain in the ass, literally—occurs when your hip muscles become too tight. The reason therapies such as foam rolling and stretching temporarily relieve pain is that they reduce some tension. Learning to squat correctly means you’ll loosen these muscles for good and banish your pain. Performing nearly any physical activity on tight and weak muscles is a bad idea. If you run on immobile ankles and tight hips, you risk hamstring or knee injuries because power and impact shifts to the wrong areas, says Marco Sanchez, cofounder of Movement as Medicine, a massage and movement therapy clinic outside Boston. When a guy with tight hips and ankles picks up anything from a barbell to a bag of mulch, he can’t reach the ground while keeping his back straight. So his spine bends, sending the load there. That can cause a disc bulge—and a world of hurt. Nearly every sport requires motion from the hips because your hips give your body rotational power. Take

golf: If your hips are too tight, driving a ball can lead to back pain because you’re moving from your spine instead of your hips. “An inability to squat can lead to pain or injury in every joint in the body,” Sihota says. In fact, research shows that people in rural areas of some developing countries where the “sit squat” is a common resting position have the lowest incidence of posture-related problems, like lower-back pain. In your workouts, a full range of motion in moves like the barbell squat and the deadlift is impossible if lack of flexibility in your hips and ankles make it difficult for you to drop into a full or deep squat. (And if you do it anyway, you could be vulnerable to pain or injury, especially if you’ve loaded up the weight.) That makes the exercise less effective because you engage fewer muscles and keep them under tension for less time. The result: You see less return from your workout for the same amount of effort. Learning to squat properly is more than a game changer—it’s a life changer. You’ll notice fewer aches and pains. You’ll reduce your risk of injury. You’ll build more muscle across your body. Best of all, you’re likely to see your performance improve—running faster, smashing a ball farther, punching harder—in just about every activity you do. P H O T O G R A P H B Y R YA N O .

Liftoff! Shoes with raised heels can help you shift more weight.

How to Squat These tests can help identify what’s sabotaging your squat. You may have just one problem area, or three—hips, core, and ankles. Feel free to do the fix for longer than we recommend; it’ll only help you reach your goal faster. TEST YOUR ...

Hips and/or Core


This test tells you whether your problem is tight hips or a weak core. Lie on your back and assume a squat position lying down: Bring your knees as close to your chest as you can. Can’t get them past your hips? Your hips are too tight. If you can bring your knees high, then your core just isn’t strong or stable enough to support your squat position while standing, says Sanchez.

Your ankles need to flex enough to let your knees track over your feet, allowing you to distribute your weight evenly. This test tells you whether your ankles are too stiff to allow that. Stand in a staggered stance facing a wall, your front foot 5 inches from it. Push your front knee as far forward as you can, attempting to touch the wall with it. If your knee can’t touch the wall, you failed.

G r o o m i n g : G i n a K a y / Tr u e B e a u t y M a r k s; i l l u s t r a t i o n s b y +I S M , c o u r t e s y R e e b o k (s h o e)





Hold onto a doorjamb, the frame of a squat rack, or a chair. Now drop into a squat, using the frame, rack, or chair to stabilize your body just enough to keep from falling. Your torso should be upright and you should feel your core engage. Breathe deeply in the position for up to 30 seconds. Stand up. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 reps, 3 days a week.

Get down on all fours. Extend your left leg; your knee should be above the floor. Move your right foot beneath your left leg and “pin” your right heel to the outside of your left knee. This is the starting position. Now move your hips back and forth to the right for 1 minute, feeling your right hip stretch. Switch sides and repeat. Do this drill once a day.

Do the ankle test above for 3 sets of 5 reps every day. Also foamroll each calf for 1 minute a day: Grab a foam roller, sit on the floor, and place the roller under your right calf. Roll up and down the muscle for 60 seconds. Repeat on your other calf. For a more targeted massage, you can try this technique with a tennis or lacrosse ball.

TAKE THE ULTIMATE SQUAT TEST! If you can squat well already, get down in the position and try to hold it with good form for 10 minutes (and have a copy of The Iliad handy so you don’t get bored). If you can’t do 10 minutes straight, build up to it by holding the squat for as long as you can. Rest for the same amount of time and repeat until you hit 10 minutes. This extended time “locks in” the position, helping to establish the move.

Should You Wear Lifting Shoes? You may have seen hard-core guys at your gym wearing shoes with steep, solid heels when they do exercises like squats, deadlifts, and other barbell lifts. “By design, the shoes elevate your heels and allow you to skirt around mobility issues and assume better form,” says Greg Spatz, D.P.T., of Resilient PT in New York City. If you can’t keep your weight evenly distributed through your feet and your spine straight when you do loaded squats (e.g., barbell back squat or goblet squat), you may want to find a good pair, Spatz says, like the Reebok CrossFit Lifter Plus 2.0 ($130, They’ll help keep you from lapsing into bad form and potentially injuring your lower back. “But the shoes shouldn’t be a permanent ‘fix’ to your problem,” says Spatz. So do the exercises at left, utilising the mobility-enhancing shoes until you can do the moves correctly without their assistance. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 31

Most loaves lean on sugary ketchup for taste. We prefer healthier options.

32 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Food+Nutrition COOK ONCE, EAT FOR A WEEK: Our updated recipe crams in vegetables and adds beer. No matter how you slice it, this meatloaf will be even better the next day. By Paul Kita and the Rodale Test Kitchen Hey, what did you have for lunch three days ago? Don’t feel bad if you can’t remember. Lackluster meals are often the result of a lack of planning. So next week, cook this memorable meatloaf instead of feeding at your company cafeteria. Yes, you’ll spend time, but it’s an investment in nutrition equity. This stuff is so good that you’ll relish the leftovers, either reheated or revitalized as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Start loafing. 


October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 33

Food + Nutrition ONLY $3.10 PER SERVING!

Cook It! Budget about 90 minutes to make this recipe. Two-thirds of that, though, is hands-off oven time. Which leaves you with downtime. You’ll know what to do.

Shop It

Stock It

Make It

Great meatloaf should be firm and juicy, not crumbly and dry. That’s why this recipe employs an 85/15 beef blend—that is, 85 percent muscle and 15 percent fat. Anything leaner could jeopardise the moisture factor. The addition of veal lightens the loaf, and beef bacon injects extra fat and flavour for balance. You can add in other vegies too, but this loaf is nutritious enough without them. If you’re struggling to find cremini mushrooms, swap them out for standard white mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms. They’re slightly more expensive than white mushrooms, but the flavour boost is fantastic.

2 1 1 1 ½

1. In a large skillet on medium, heat the oil. Add the next five ingredients. Sauté till softened, about 8 minutes. Add the malt drink and cook till almost dry, 4 minutes. Cool in a big bowl. 2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. To the bowl with the vegetables, add the beef, veal, oats, eggs, parsley, Worcestershire, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper. Mix. 3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. On it, form the mix into a 10"x 4" loaf; drape the beef bacon diagonally on top, tucking the ends under. Bake it to 160°F (use a food thermometer), 45 to 55 minutes. Then grill it till the bacon crisps, 3 minutes or so. Let it rest 10 minutes. Slice. Feeds 8

Remix It!


Tbsp olive oil medium yellow onion, diced medium carrot, diced medium rib celery, diced cup sliced cremini mushrooms, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced ¾ cup malt beverage 1 lb ground beef, preferably 85 percent lean 1 lb ground veal ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats 2 large eggs, beaten ¼ cup chopped parsley 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 10 strips beef bacon

Per serving 454 calories, 30g protein, 10g carbs (2g fibre), 31g fat

Leverage the leftover meat for these boredom-busting meals that won’t pop the rivets off your jeans.

The Meatloaf Mac In a bowl, mix the mayo, ketchup, and a pinch of salt. In a large skillet on medium, warm the meatloaf, about 2 minutes a side. Cover one slice with cheese; melt slightly. Spread half the sauce on the bottom bun; top with the cheesy meatloaf slice, half the lettuce, and the next slice. Add the remaining lettuce, pickles, and onion. Spread sauce on the top bun. Close and chow. Feeds 1 529 calories, 18g protein, 47g carbs (2g fibre), 29g fat

34 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


What You’ll Need 1 Tbsp mayonnaise 1½ tsp ketchup 2 slices meatloaf (¼" thick) 1 slice cheddar cheese 1 hamburger bun ¼ cup shredded iceberg lettuce 2 dill pickle slices 1 Tbsp diced onion

Breakfast eakfast Meatloaf Place two meatloaf slices side by side and cut a hole in the center. Heat a skillet on medium and hit it with cooking spray. Add the slices and crack an egg in the hole. Cook till the white sets, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, season the tomato halves with salt and pepper and put them cut side down in the pan. Cook until softened, 3 minutes. Plate, add parsley, and enjoy with a glass of OJ. Feeds 1 688 calories, 46g protein, 17g carbs (3g fibre), 46g fat

What You’ll Need 2 slices meatloaf (1" thick) Cooking spray 1 egg 1 small tomato, halved ½ tsp chopped parsley

As your meatloaf bakes to perfection, fix these simple sides to make your on-the-go meals even more nutritious. Combo 1 Peas and carrots + baked potato half with butter Combo 2 Sautéed kale + roasted beets

Combo 3 Roasted cauliflower + Honeycrisp apple

3 Food st yling: Jamie Kimm

Quick Beef Quesadilla Heat a cast-iron grill pan or skillet on medium. Add a tortilla, followed by the cheese, meatloaf, and other tortilla. Cook until marks appear on the tortilla’s underside, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and repeat. Meanwhile, grab a small bowl and mix the red onion, avocado, black beans, and cilantro. Scatter this atop your cooked quesadilla. Feeds 1 855 calories, 45g protein, 54g carbs (13g fibre), 53g fat

4 What You’ll Need 2 small tortillas ¼ cup shredded pepper jack cheese 1 slice meatloaf (1" thick), crumbled ¼ red onion, diced ½ avocado, diced ¼ cup canned black beans, rinsed 1 handful cilantro, chopped (optional)

Spicy picy Beef Lettuce Cups In a medium skillet on medium, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook till golden, about 1 minute. Add the meatloaf and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the four lettuce leaves on a plate and divide the meat, cabbage, carrot, lime juice, and jalapeño among them. Feeds 1 397 calories, 23g protein, 20g carbs (2g fibre), 26g fat

What You’ll Need 1 tsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 slice meatloaf (about 1" thick), crumbled 4 butter lettuce leaves 1 cup shredded cabbage ¼ cup shredded carrot 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 jalapeño, minced

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 35

Food + Nutrition

Lunch General Tso’s secret: He’s got a vicious sweet tooth. Just six pieces of his sticky chicken has 3 teaspoons of sugar.

Check Cold-Cut Labels A slice of Hatfield Virginia Brand Ham has 2 grams of sugar. But no man puts one slice of ham on a sandwich. Pile that puppy with five slices and you’ve hit 10 grams. Try Applegate Naturals Uncured Black Forest Ham, which has no sugar. Beware of “Healthy” Dressing Newman’s Own Cranberry Walnut, which is advertised as “light,” has 16 grams of sugar per ¼ cup. The same amount of Wish-Bone Light Western has 24 grams. Mix 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper. That’s it. Swap Out the Sweet Beans A half cup of Bush’s Original baked beans has 5 grams of fibre, which can blunt the insulin-spiking effect of sugar, but not enough to offset its 12 grams. Rinse white canned beans and toss ’em with pesto for a side.

Snack Ration Energy Bars A chocolate mint Clif Builder’s Bar harbors 22 grams of sugar, and its ingredient list features three different sugars. That’s fine if you’re training for a marathon. Otherwise, just have a handful of plain nuts. Watch Your Nuts Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans Glazed Mix has 18 grams of sugar per ½ cup. A bit of that comes from dried cranberries, but cane sugar and brown sugar provide the bulk. Buy regular old peanuts, pistachios, or almonds, or a sugar-free mix.

10 Places Where Sugar Lurks Modern men consume about 84 grams of added sugar a day—18 Oreos’ worth. Too much sugar makes you fat, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and early death. This page is a checklist that can cut your risk. By Paul Kita Breakfast Skip the Pump If you order a grande iced coffee at Starbucks, it’ll automatically come with syrup from a pump bottle. That’ll cost you 20 grams of sugar. Instead, make your order an iced coffee, black. No sugar at all! But you’ll need to let the squirthappy barista know: No sweet.

Say Just (Plain) Cheese Two large slices of Papa John’s BBQ Chicken Bacon pie add up to a whopping 22 grams of sugar. Two slices of plain cheese pizza still carry 8 grams of sugar, but if you eat a salad before grabbing a slice, you’ll blunt the negative effects associated with the sweet stuff.


36 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Drink Real Milk Cow’s milk has 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugar per glass. But that natural milk sugar (a.k.a. lactose) is absorbed more slowly than added sugar. Sweetened almond milk (with water as its first ingredient) has 7 grams of sugar, zero lactose, and 1 measly gram of protein.

Lay Off the Sauce Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken Breast has 380 calories but 27 grams of sugar. In general, choose Chinese dishes that are a combo of protein and vegetables, which go lighter on sugary sauce. Panda’s Mushroom Chicken has only 170 calories and 4 grams of sugar.


Start the Day Smart One packet of Quaker Protein Instant Oatmeal Banana Nut provides 10 grams of protein—and 12 grams of sugar. A half cup of quickcooking rolled oats has 5 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. Buy them. Cook them. Eat them with bananas, berries, or a few raisins.


Make Your Own Vegetable Chips The latest, greatest take on your favorite snack isn’t fried and doesn’t use white potatoes. Fix these yourself. Cut 100 calories a serving. Munch with zero guilt. 1. Buy

2. Prep

3. Season

Sweet potatoes These are no ordinary spuds. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C, and a host of other disease-fighting antioxidants. Sweet indeed. Cayenne Kale It’s a potent leafy green, with sight-saving vitamin A, heartprotecting vitamin K, and cancerfighting phytonutrients. Try Red Russian, Tuscan, or curly varieties.


Beets They’ve got vitamin C, nitrates (which boost stamina and may lower blood pressure), and a class of inflammation-fighting antioxidants called betalains.

Very thin slices create crisp chips. Preheat your oven to 350°F and cut the vegetables into chip-size pieces. If you’re using beets or sweet potatoes, grab a mandoline ($40, to quickly make thin slices. For maximum crunch, make sure the vegetables are dry; you can use a salad spinner, kitchen towel, or air and patience. Then toss the chips in a light coating of olive oil.



Spread the oiled slices on a baking sheet. Add sea salt and a dusting of seasoning, such as ground cayenne, cumin, freshly grated Parmesan, lemon zest, Old Bay, paprika, or whatever else you like.

4. Roast Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook the slices until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before eating. Enjoy them the same day or they’ll lose their crispiness. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 37

38 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Health SAFE OR SCREWED? You took chances back then. How much damage did you do? By Ron Geraci During the period of our youth when we had far more hair and testosterone than brains, many of us did our best to destroy our seemingly indestructible bodies. Maybe you lived on bourbon and menthols for all seven years of college. Or evaluated more drugs than a lab tech at the FDA. Or ate so much junk food that your nickname was Big Mac and all the women you dated worked at drive-thrus. If you’ve ever wondered about your risk of repercussions from these and other long-ago sins, maybe it’s time to find out—once and for all—whether you’re safe or screwed.

Don’t waste any sympathy on this dude. Keef will be fine.


October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 39


You terrified the neighbours with your subwoofers.

You spent more time in the sun than a Rio lifeguard.

You served up your skull as a varsity piñata.

Research suggests that the health risks of 10 or even 15 years of heavy smoking are drastically reduced after about 20 smokefree years—as long as you quit young (by age 35), don’t smoke or vape now (even occasionally), avoid secondhand smoke, and don’t dwell for months in a polluted city like Beijing. For each of these factors that still bedevil you, move that “screwed” arrow a bit to the right. “If you were a heavy smoker and quit by age 30, you’ve probably lost only about a year of life span,” says Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. A 2013 study coauthored by Dr. McAfee found that on average, lifelong male smokers died 12 years sooner than those who never smoked. Quitting between the ages of 35 and 44 returned nine years of that lost life span, and stopping between 45 and 64 returned four to six years. If you’d like to better gauge your lung damage, ask your doctor if your smoking history warrants a spiral computed tomography (CT) test. This hightech scan can reveal potentially cancerous tumors. Finally, use your trump card to defy the life span actuaries. “If you quit smoking, you made one of the most difficult behavior changes a person can make, and you can apply that knowledge to make other healthy changes,” Dr. McAfee says. In other words, if you kicked nicotine, then you can do anything.

If you’ve greeted many longhaired mornings with that ringing-in-the-ears sensation of the radically over-rocked, you have a fair chance of developing hearing loss and possibly tinnitus (ear ringing) a decade or three sooner than you might have otherwise. The first inkling of this is usually the “cocktail party effect,” in which you have trouble tuning out background noise to understand a person talking to you in a crowded room, says Matthew Kelley, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). “This typically happens to people in their late 50s or 60s who haven’t been exposed to loud noise, but those with a history of noise exposure may notice it in their 40s.” To gauge the damage, see an audiologist for a hearing test. If you show signs of mild hearing loss, ask if you should get an assistive hearing device. Otherwise, all you can do is protect what you have left. “You can’t reverse the damage; destroyed cochlear hair cells can never be regenerated, so it’s important to wear ear protection,” says NIDCD director James Battey Jr., M.D., Ph.D. Avoid prolonged exposure to any noise 85 decibels or higher (the equivalent of heavy city traffic). Keep the volume of your car stereo low enough to allow easy conversation and, of course, wear earplugs while mowing, using power tools, and listening to your wife talk about her day.

Sizzling your skin in the sun or on an indoor tanning bed wasn’t bright. That ultraviolet radiation damaged the DNA in your skin cells, fast-forwarding the cancer clock. “UV damage is cumulative, and there’s a tipping point when the cell flips and becomes cancerous,” says Robert Anolik, M.D., of the American Academy of Dermatology. The average American man has about a 1 in 38 chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. But if you baked for years sans sunscreen, you’re not average. Plus, if you started indoor tanning before age 35, you upped your melanoma risk by about 60 percent. “I strongly advise people to apply SPF 30 sunscreen to all sun-exposed areas daily, just like it’s moisturizer,” says Dr. Anolik. Doing this can prevent additional damage and lower your skin cancer risk. See a dermatologist every year for a full-body skin check, and do a monthly self-exam to hunt for new or changing spots or moles. Tell your doctor about anything that’s consistently bleeding, itching, or causing pain. Finally, consider taking vitamin B. In a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, people treated for skin cancer who took 500 milligrams of vitamin B3 twice a day had a 23 percent lower risk of developing new non-melanoma skin cancers than those who didn’t. Ask your doctor if a B supplement would be a good idea for you.

Eighty to 90 percent of singleconcussion symptoms resolve within three months, says Brian Edlow, M.D., a neurocritical care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. But two or more concussions or repetitive, lowlevel head knocks from a contact sport can bump you closer into the “screwed” zone. “Many men who played football, soccer, or hockey or boxed in their youth had repetitive subconcussive head blows. These don’t cause brief unconsciousness or confusion but still injure the brain,” explains Dr. Edlow. (Combat vets can suffer these head impacts from nearby explosions.) All of this increases the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease found in the football player Junior Seau after his suicide; but the degree of risk is still a mystery. “For the high school football player who had one or two concussions and repetitive subconcussive injuries, the risk of CTE is still unknown,” says Dr. Edlow. “But there’s a lot of ongoing research.” Meanwhile, he says, “manage the factors that can further damage your brain, such as avoiding alcohol and drugs and controlling high blood pressure and diabetes.” And tell your doctor if you’ve been forgetful or have trouble concentrating, or if you think your personality has changed. Research shows that it takes a significant brain blow—one that knocks you out for at least a half hour—to increase your Alzheimer’s risk.

40 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016



P r e v i o u s p a g e: D a v i d M c G o u g h / T h e L i f e P i c t u r e C o l l e c t i o n / G e t t y I m a g e s; t h i s p a g e: B e t t m a n n A r c h i v e / G e t t y I m a g e s ( H e f n e r ) , H u l t o n A r c h i v e / G e t t y I m a g e s (S t e w a r t) , M a r k W e i s s / W i r e I m a g e / G e t t y I m a g e s (J a m e s) , A s s o c i a t e d P r e s s ( Ty s o n)

You smoked more than a 1950s cardiologist.

WHERE SKIN CANCER IS HIDING To beat melanoma, you need to look in some strange places. NAVEL-GAZING MAY BE A WORTHWHILE PURSUIT AFTER

all. Just ask Vivian Bucay, M.D., a San Antonio dermatologist. In 2006, at age 45, she noticed a patch of dry, white, flaky skin on her belly button that didn’t wash away. Curious, she took a biopsy of some flakes, expecting psoriasis, or eczema at worst. She was shocked when the pathologist called with the test

results: melanoma. Further tests revealed that the cancer had spread to her lungs. Dr. Bucay’s chances of survival were so low—just 3 percent—that she entered clinical trials for an experimental treatment. The long-shot gamble paid off: She’s been cancer-free for seven years. Today, she’s warning the rest of us that what happened to her was

U n i v e r s a l P i c t u r e s /c o u r te s y E v e r e t t C o l l e c t i o n (B e l u s h i), R i c h a r d E . A a r o n /m p t v i m a g e s . c o m (O s b o u r n e), M i c h a e l O c h s A r c h i v e s /G e t t y I m a g e s (L L C o o l J), B o b R i h a J r/ W i r e I m a g e /G e t t y I m a g e s (H a m i l to n); i c o n s b y F R E E P I K

Your Back There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the warm sun beating down on your back. But there’s also nothing like a cancer diagnosis: The back is the number one area where melanoma pops up on a man’s body, according to University of Pennsylvania research. Clifford Perlis, M.D., a dermatologic surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, says “For reasons that aren’t fully understood, getting blasted with short bursts of intense sun, like when you take off your shirt at the beach, is associated with changes in cells that can lead to melanoma,” he explains, “whereas chronic, prolonged exposure to your face, arms, and hands is more likely to lead to nonmelanoma skin cancers.” DEFENSE Anytime you plan to go shirtless, first slather your body with  enough broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) to fill a shot glass, Dr. Perlis advises. Since spots on your back are easy to miss, ask someone to lend a hand. For times when you’ll be in the sun solo, use the Aquasentials Easy Lotion Applicator ($7,—it’s basically a long-handled sponge. Either way, make sure you bring the bottle with you. A University of Minnesota study suggests that 90 percent of people don’t reapply sunscreen as often as they should. All of that said, there are times when you shouldn’t bare your back. For outdoor sports like golfing or sailing, wear a sun-protective shirt with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50 or higher. DETECTION In addition to yearly visits to a dermatologist for a full-body scan,  give yourself a thorough inspection in front of a mirror every month. Ask your partner to examine the skin on your back. “I don’t recommend checking more frequently than monthly, because you’re less likely to notice changes when you look at something every day,” Dr. Perlis says. If you’re furry, have your mate check after you come out of the shower—it’s easier to see skin through hair when it’s wet. Take photos of moles, spots, or patches, and then compare them to what you see next month. Look for any of the standard warning signs that a mark has turned cancerous—in other words, know your ABCDEs. What are these? This handy mnemonic from the Skin Cancer Foundation reminds you to pay attention to mole Asymmetry, an uneven Border, a variety of Colors, a Diameter larger than ¼ inch, and an Evolving size, shape, or color. If anything’s off, see your dermatologist.

Your Head and Neck It’s no head-scratcher why skin cancer strikes a guy’s scalp, neck, and ears: The top parts of your body bear the brunt of the sun’s rays. And skin cancer above the shoulders is particularly lethal: People with scalp or neck melanomas are nearly twice as likely to die of the disease as those who develop it on their extremities, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina. Although only 6 percent of melanoma patients have the disease on their scalp or neck, these cases make up 10 percent of all melanoma deaths. Why? A dense concentration of blood vessels and lymph nodes in your head and neck could make it easy for cancer that starts there to spread throughout your body. DEFENSE The first step is obvious: Apply sunscreen on your neck and ears  before going out. Then protect your pate with a hat rated UPF 50 or higher or, at the very least, don a dark cap, since dark hues allow less UV radiation through to your skin. When you can’t put a lid on it, Dr. Perlis recommends treating your bald spots with a layer of sunscreen gel, which is generally less greasy for hairy areas than cream formulas are.

no fluke. “About 50 percent of melanomas don’t start as a preexisting mole that changes,” Dr. Bucay says. Here’s another sneaky thing about melanoma: It can lurk in unlikely places, even on your nails and in your eyes. Yes, this is one mean disease. But while Dr. Bucay needed luck to survive it, you don’t have to cross your fingers:

DETECTION “Whenever you have your hair cut, ask your barber to take a good  look at your scalp and let you know if there are any areas where the skin looks different from the rest,” says Dr. Perlis. Ask him (or her) to inspect the areas behind your ears and the back of your neck too..

Your Fingernails and Toenails Fair-skinned guys have the highest risk of skin cancer, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is off the hook. In fact, melanoma of the nail is just as likely to strike African Americans as Caucasians. And only about 40 percent of those who develop invasive melanoma on their toenails will survive the next five years. It’s also possible to develop melanoma on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet. In any case, the later you’re diagnosed, the grimmer your outlook. DEFENSE Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes these occurrences of  melanoma, but they’ve concluded that melanomas on nails, palms, or soles actually aren’t likely to be caused by excess sun exposure. Still, it’s always a good idea to apply sunscreen to the top of your feet and the back of your hands before you head outdoors. At the very least, doing so may reduce your risk of other types of skin cancer, such as basal or squamous cell carcinoma. DETECTION Skin cancer leaves several telltale signs in nails. One is bleeding  under the nail that doesn’t fade, so if you have a black-and-blue mark that lasts two months or longer, or if you can’t remember bumping that spot, call your dermatologist. Do the same if you spot a brown mark that extends from your nail onto the cuticle or nail folds, says Dr. Perlis. Another warning sign is a brown-black vertical stripe down the nail, which occurs in about two-thirds of patients with nail melanoma. If you see any of these, get them checked. You should also examine your hands and feet for moles, taking care to check between your digits.

Your Eyes Sometimes the hardest thing to spot is right in front of your eyes. And after your epidermis, your eyes are the most vulnerable area for melanoma. The disease often develops in the iris or the choroid, a lining that carries oxygen and nutrients to the inner part of your eye—which also makes it easy for the disease to spread through your bloodstream to other body parts. “Intraocular melanoma most commonly occurs in people with blue or green eyes and fair skin,” says Dr. Perlis, “since darker pigment in brown eyes may be protective against damage from the sun.” DEFENSE Throw shades at skin cancer. Although researchers aren’t sure if  sunlight causes eye melanoma, the American Cancer Society recommends wearing wraparound sunglasses that block 99 or 100 percent of UVA and UVB to protect your eyes and shield the delicate skin around them. If you drive to work, consider adding UV-blocking film to your car windows for more protection. DETECTION Make sure someone probes your peepers regularly. “Visit your  optometrist or ophthalmologist for a yearly exam to have the insides of your eyes checked,” Dr. Bucay says. Then, when you do your monthly skin scans, examine your eyes in the mirror. A growing dark spot on your iris or a change in the shape of your pupil could indicate cancer. Another clue: changes in your sight, such as blurred vision, flashes, or floaters. 

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 41


When Your Doctor Thinks You’re Nuts Your physician should be your greatest health ally. So what do you do when the diagnosis is disbelief? By Brian Fiske

42 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

“I have some bad news for you, son. You’re fine.”

for help. Many people suffering from mysterious symptoms aren’t so lucky. They can spend years and their entire savings searching for answers and trying to convince doctors they’re not nuts. Here’s one man’s story: Seven years ago, Toby Spencer, a 47-year-old bank network administrator in Maine, developed symptoms similar to McDonough’s. Spencer’s doctor referred him to an ENT who, he says, “looked at me like I had three heads” and diagnosed a vascular disorder. Spencer soldiered on for two years before reading about SCDS on the Internet. With the aid of an open-minded ENT, he finally got help. No one knows exactly how many people with bizarre-but-real medical symptoms are being shuttled from doctor to doctor without finding satisfaction. In the United States, diagnostic errors in outpatient settings hover around 5 percent, or roughly 12 million adults a year, according to a 2014 study. But another study, published in 2013, looked at 25 years’ worth of paid malpractice claims and found diagnostic errors to be the leading cause of claims (29 percent), accounting for the highest proportion (35 percent) of total payments. And an Institute of Medicine report from last year predicted that most Americans would be misdiagnosed at least once in their lifetime.

But even these disturbing numbers may not include people whose doctors have simply written them off as delusional. Dr. Lee says he’s seen patients who were on psychiatric medications to treat symptoms he later attributed to SCDS. And there are lots of obscure illnesses like that. For example, at age 18, Chris Martin, now a 37-year-old school psychologist in Sauquoit, New York, underwent a “successful” turbinectomy. This surgery removes nasal structures (turbinates) that can cause sinus pressure and other difficulties. In the 19 years since the operation, Martin has consulted 13 ENTs and eight immunologists, plus sleep specialists, pulmonologists, and alternative-medicine practitioners in an effort to correct the problems that he says stemmed from the procedure. These include chronic breathlessness, extreme nasal dryness, and gluelike mucus. Martin’s symptoms point to Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS), a controversial condition that can stem from turbinectomy. (One skeptical ENT called it “Empty Head Syndrome” to signal his disbelief that it even exists.) Through online research, Martin found support groups and advice, plus ENS-knowledgeable physicians who’ve helped him find some relief. To find relief from what’s ailing you, follow the steps on the next page. 

Getty Images

There was a time when Sean McDonough could hear his eyeballs move. About five years ago while he was golfing in Arizona, McDonough, the new playby-play announcer for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, bent over to pick up some clubs. The end of the putter tapped him on the back of the head. It wasn’t a hard knock, certainly not enough to raise a lump or leave a bruise—but enough to trigger some strange symptoms. “On the walk from that green to the next tee, my steps were really loud in my head,” says McDonough, 54. “It was ‘boom, boom’... I thought, ‘What the heck is that?’ I kept waiting for it to go away. But it didn’t.” McDonough flew home to Boston that night and kept hearing bizarre sounds. His voice resounded in his head, even when he spoke so softly that others could hardly hear him. And then there was the swishing of his eyeballs, which he first heard as he was reading the news on his computer. After two days, his curiosity turned into concern. McDonough called his sister, Erin, a vice president at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her response: “Come in and I’ll get a doctor to look at you.” McDonough saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) who ordered tests and diagnosed a rare condition known as superior canal dehiscence syndrome, or SCDS. It results from a hole or thinning in the temporal bone that separates the inner ear from the brain. McDonough’s putter tap had opened up a tiny hole there, though the bone was already so thin that a strong sneeze could have done it. The specialist referred McDonough to Daniel Lee, M.D., a surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. A few months later, Dr. Lee temporarily removed a piece of McDonough’s skull, lifted his brain to gain access to the damaged area, and made the repair. McDonough was fortunate to find a doctor who quickly and correctly diagnosed him and knew exactly where to send him


Believing the Unbelievable An eight-step action plan for convincing a busy and possibly skeptical doctor that you’re not delusional and that the symptoms you’re experiencing are real.

1 2 3 4

Make Sure It’s Not in Your Head

Sum Up the Symptoms

Ask These Five Questions

Keep an Open Mind

Being tired doesn’t necessarily mean you have chronic fatigue syndrome; feeling achy doesn’t always signal Lyme disease. Sometimes you can rule things out by focusing on symptoms that you can measure (such as a fever, with a thermometer) instead of what you feel (feverish), says David NewmanToker, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins. That said, some conditions don’t present such overt external symptoms, so move on to step 2.

If you’re convinced there’s really something wrong, write a description of it. Stick to facts rather than fears, and be concise. “Develop a clear one-page-or-less description,” says Dr. Newman-Toker, who’s spent more than 16 years researching diagnostic errors. “If you have frequent headaches, describe what a typical one feels like and note how often you have them.” If your doctor accepts email, send it prior to your appointment.

Don’t blindly accept the first diagnosis. Ask: 1. Could this be something else? 2. If you were me, what would worry you? 3. Any other diagnostic tests to consider? 4. How long before we know what this is? 5. What should I watch for as a sign that I need to come back? “If you hear ‘I’ve seen this a million times and there’s nothing else it could be,’ you probably have the wrong doctor,” Dr. NewmanToker says. “You want someone who’s willing to explain their logic.”

No matter how helpful your doctor is, don’t assume you’re hearing the whole story. Make sure you understand his or her thinking and what should happen next—the expected progression of the illness, the signs that a treatment is or isn’t working, the red flags that should prompt another consultation. If you want a second opinion, approach that appointment the same way you did the first, focusing on symptoms, not the previous diagnosis. You don’t want to skew the doctor’s thinking.

Don’t Be a Jerk

Do Research Online

Don’t Surrender

Share What You Learn

The anxiety of waiting for a diagnosis is understandable, but harassing your doctor with multiple phone calls and emails won’t get you answers any faster. “Give your medical team some time to interpret your testing,” says Dr. Lee, Sean McDonough’s surgeon. “In the end, a face-to-face followup visit with your physician is the best way to answer questions about an unusual or complex condition.”

While you cool your heels for those test results or to see if your condition improves, research your symptoms and diagnosis through trustworthy Internet sources. Start with the websites of large hospitals and universities. One of our favorites is Mayo Clinic ( It offers a Symptom Checker where you can select an overall major symptom and then drill down with more specifics to get to possible causes.

It’s a common thread for folks like Chris Martin and Toby Spencer; they kept seeking a solution and a doctor who was willing to listen. The unfortunate side of this? Insurance coverage. Martin submitted special appeals to his insurer (his care was experimental), and they were eventually approved. For people needing financial help, he suggests asking family, friends, and organisations for support, or setting up an account on

Sean McDonough’s story was featured in USA Today. Not long after it ran, he heard from a woman who’d read it and realised that the misery she’d been dealing with for nearly two decades wasn’t because she was crazy. She had the same thing he had. Her life changed because McDonough shared his story and because she never stopped looking for an answer. Share yours via social media.

5 6 7 8

4 Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions Heart Attack Of every 100 acute myocardial infarction cases, one unlucky victim is sent home from the ER. why it’s missed Symptoms can be vague, says David Meyers, M.D., of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Indigestion or shoulder pain can mean a heart attack or just musculoskeletal or GI problems. To be safe, ask for an EKG and/or blood test for cardiac markers of a heart attack. Be sure the doctor has used a riskassessment tool or fully explained why it’s not a heart attack.

Lyme Disease Tests miss 60 to 70 percent of early-stage Lyme cases. why it’s missed “Most people don’t know they’ve been bitten,” says Dr. Meyers, “and they may never develop the bull’s-eye rash.” That can leave doctors chasing vague aches, pains, and fevers. To make sure you’re in the clear, realise that screenings aren’t always reliable, so if they’re negative, ask about additional tests.

Depression Research suggests that doctors misdiagnose depression at least 60 percent of the time. why it’s missed As with Lyme, the symptoms—such as aches and fatigue—point to various possibilities. Share your concerns with your doctor. One key question to ask: “What else could this be?”



It may be overlooked 13 percent of the time, one study suggests. why it’s missed The classic signs (weakness on one side, vision and speech problems) are recognisable, but others (headache, dizziness) can mislead. Have the doc check your smile. That, plus your gait and ability to raise both arms evenly, can help with diagnosis. If dizziness is your main symptom, ask about an MRI or other tests. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 43

44 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


Before you shed 10, 20, or 50 pounds, you need to lose that first one. Thinking small can lead to big changes. By Michael Easter Losing weight is easy. We’ve all done it a half dozen times. Problem is, it’s usually the same pounds we’re peeling off and packing back on. Research shows that about 80 percent of people who drop 10 percent of their body weight aren’t able to maintain that weight loss for a year. Look, we all love a quick fix. But ask yourself this: Will you be able to follow your special diet not only today but also every day this week? Can you do your intense workouts week after week? And can you keep these habits up for the rest of your life? If it sounds difficult, go easy on yourself. 


October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 45

Weight Loss

Put your fork down after every bite, and consciously chew slower.


46 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

WEEKS 1 + 2

WEEKS 3 + 4

WEEKS 5 + 6

Put the Fork Down

Move Every Day

Join the 30-30-30 Club

Start with something really simple. Research consistently shows that being mindful at meals helps you eat less. Precision Nutrition’s Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., usually starts his clients off with this advice: Put your fork down after every bite and consciously chew slower. With something like chicken, aim for 20 chews; for an apple, do 10. Over the course of a day you’ll take in about 250 fewer calories, St. Pierre says. That may not seem like much, but it adds up over time and helps you shed fat while still feeling full and satisfied. This does not, however, grant you free license to consume foods that don’t require much chewing—like cakes and milkshakes.

Of course, you need to exercise more too. According to data from the National Weight Control Registry, nearly 90 percent of people who lost weight and kept it off did so by combining diet and exercise. Remember, small steps: Aim to walk, run, or lift three days a week for 30 minutes. The form of exercise you pick doesn’t matter, as long as it’s the one you know you’ll do most often. Find an activity you enjoy and do it as consistently as you can. As a benchmark, 30 minutes of calisthenics burns about 330 calories; running cuts 400, and plain old walking eliminates 175. Heck, even gardening burns 155 calories in a half hour.

As in 30 grams of protein at every meal. A lamb chop, a salmon fillet, or 1½ cups of cottage cheese has at least that much. Protein not only helps you build and maintain muscle but also keeps your appetite in check. People who eat high-protein meals feel fuller for longer than those who eat low-protein meals, according to a new Purdue review. So if you stock up on protein at mealtime, you’re less likely to tear open a 300-calorie snack bar later in the day. Here’s an easy trick for visualising 30 grams: If the serving of meat or seafood in question is slightly larger than the palm of your hand, you’ll likely hit that crucial 30 grams when you chow down.

Prop st yling: Brian Byrne

“Transitioning from ‘anything goes’ eating habits to a very strict diet is like going from a bicycle in the country to a stickshift Ferrari on the Autobahn,” says Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., of Precision Nutrition. “You might manage for a while, but eventually you’ll crash.” So instead of aiming for a lofty target of 25, 50, or 100 pounds, set this manageable goal right now: “I will lose 1 pound.” With the help of the country’s smartest minds in health and nutrition, your new strategy is simple. Choose just one healthy habit from the options on these pages and practice it for two weeks. That’s the amount of time people need to implement a new behaviour into their lifestyle, says Scott-Dixon, and for the behavior to lose its stress factor. After two weeks, the behaviour often becomes automatic. From there, adopt another healthy habit for the next two weeks. Repeat until friends and coworkers have trouble recognising you. When one step’s time period ends, don’t stop doing it; just incorporate the next step. Here’s a helpful tactic that Scott-Dixon uses with her clients to help them select a habit: Ask yourself how confident you are, on a scale of 1 to 10, that you could keep practicing the habit every day for the upcoming 14 days. If you answer 9 or 10, then go ahead and take it on. If it’s 8 or below, either make the proposed goal easier or pick another one that you’ll be more likely to stick to. Each of these new habits will make a difference on its own, but together they can permanently transform your body.

WEEKS 7 + 8

WEEKS 9 + 10

WEEKS 15 + 16

Prioritise Produce

De-Stress to Deflate

Have vegetables and fruit at every meal; they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Plus, they’re low in calories and help you feel full because of their water and fibre content. Here’s another way to think about the power of produce: Vegetables elbow out the more calorie-laden foods that tend to crowd your plate. If you pile on squash, you won’t have room for pasta. Think you’ll be sad missing out on mac ’n’ cheese? Maybe not: People in an Australian study who increased their fruit and vegetable intake reported improvements in overall life satisfaction. Shoot for two fist-size portions of produce at each meal, says St. Pierre.

When stressors arise, crash dieters crash and burn. So have two go-to comfort meals on deck for whenever you’re under the gun, suggests St. Pierre. One could be a giant bowl of chicken soup with two eggs and a handful of spinach. Or make a burger: In a hot, oiled pan, sear a quarter-pound seasoned beef patty, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Slide the sizzled patty into a whole wheat pita with tomato and lettuce. That’s 273 calories, 22 grams of protein, 18 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fibre. Serve it with a tall glass of milk to hit that 30 grams of protein. To fight flavour fatigue, use the same recipe but with ground turkey or chicken or a salmon fillet.

WEEKS 11 + 12

WEEKS 17 + 18

Increase Your Liquidity

Take Breaks

Hydrate and you’ll lose weight. Starting when you wake up, set your phone timer countdown to two hours. Drink a glass of water before the time runs out. Then reset it as long as you’re awake. By drinking this much water, you flush away the temptation to guzzle calorie-laden juices and sodas, which tend to total around 200 calories a serving. While you’re thinking about drinks, cut calories from your coffee by trimming adjectives from your order. A double caramel mocha frappe with whip isn’t coffee—it’s a 600-calorie caffeinated dessert. Try adding just whole milk to black coffee. Later, cut out the milk. If the flavour’s still too strong for you, add cinnamon.

Manage your anxiety and you might not even find yourself turning to food. “Stress is a killer,” says St. Pierre. “It stores fat, eats muscle, ruins health, and crushes fitness performance.” In fact, people in an Ohio State study who were under stress burned an average of 104 fewer calories in the six hours following a meal than those who had lower stress levels. That’s why taking just 20 minutes a day to unplug can improve your physique and help you make better food decisions. Try meditating, hanging with your dog, walking, reading, or even Legos. Anything that takes your mind off your aggravation may also help you take off the weight.

Illustration by ELIAS STEIN

Sleep Your Belly Off Shuteye is as important as diet and exercise when it comes to how you look, feel, and perform, St. Pierre says. In a small pilot study, overweight people who restricted the window during which they allowed themselves to eat (from 14-plus hours to 10 to 12) ate less, lost weight, and slept better. Your hunger hormone levels rise when you’re fatigued, which means you’re more likely to make poor food choices throughout the day. In fact, in a French study, people consumed 560 more calories the day after just one night of poor sleep (four hours) than they did after sleeping eight hours. So set a curfew and stick to it—no matter what’s next on Netflix.

WEEKS 13 + 14


Forgive Yourself

Pick Up a Pan

Most crash diets force you to live in a black-and-white reality where some foods are bad and others are good, says Scott-Dixon. But a guy on a crash diet might take one bite of a food that doesn’t fit into the diet’s “rules” and decide that his entire diet is ruined, says Graham Thomas, Ph.D., a weight loss researcher at Brown University. This could then lead him to ditch the diet, a phenomenon known as “abstinence violation effect.” Soon he’s back at his starting weight. To avoid this trap, follow the 80-20 rule: If the vast majority of what you eat is smart, the other 20 percent is for whatever you want. Yes, even that mac ’n’ cheese.

In a Johns Hopkins study, people living in households where they ate six or seven home-cooked dinners a week consumed 137 fewer calories a day than those in homes where hardly any cooking took place at all. Cook daily for 20 days and you’ve cut 2,740 calories. There’s more good news: People in a 2016 Harvard study who regularly cooked at home had a lower diabetes risk than those who never fired up the stove. Need help? Start with our meatloaf recipe (see page 32) or go to to take our easy-to-follow video cooking class. The requirements: five inexpensive kitchen tools, a few basic techniques, and an appetite.

Q: Why is it so easy to put weight back on? A: Blame your biology. When you gain weight, your body produces more fat cells that are larger in size, says Randy Seeley, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. This process also increases your levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates fat storage. In short, your body adapts to carrying fat. But when you lose weight, your leptin levels fall. “Your brain sees that as a problem and that you’re starving to death,” Seeley says. In turn, you’re hungrier more often and find it harder to fight off cravings. Lower leptin levels have another effect: Reduced amounts of the hormone encourage your body to burn fewer calories. So you not only want to eat more often but also have a harder time burning calories. Research shows that it’s extremely difficult to adapt to a lower weight as well as the reduced size and number of fat cells. That’s all the more reason to embrace every habit described in this story. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 47

Weight Loss

Six months ago, Men’s Health fitness advisor Bill Hartman, P.T., was like many of us: in decent enough shape, but heading in the wrong direction after years of eating on the go while working long hours. Sure, he exercised hard a few days a week and ate healthy foods. “But I didn’t pay attention to portion sizes,” he says. A snack of a handful of cashews, for example, often became five or six handfuls, leaving him with a 600-calorie tab. With the big 5-0 approaching, Hartman, a co-owner of IFAST Gym in Indianapolis, needed some inspiration. “Jack LaLanne would often do a big physical challenge on his birthday,” he says. “I thought maybe I should do something a little crazy too.” Hartman’s goal: to get shredded and regain the shape he was in back in his 20s, when he competed as a bodybuilder. He would need to muster more effort this time, because losing fat and building muscle becomes harder with every passing year. After age 35, diminishing testosterone and slowing metabolism add to the challenge. Still, the path to a bodybuilder physique is the same: strict diet and exercise. First, Hartman devised the perfect fitness plan. Next he recruited his friend, Men’s Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D., to build him a nutrition program that would satisfy his appetite and sculpt his core. “Then it all came down to following the plans,” says Hartman. Now Hartman is down more than 25 pounds, and his body fat


Bill Hartman keeps his eating plan on the fridge, because even experts need reminding.

Get Ripped at Any Age Yes, you can sculpt a six-pack like this guy did. We’ll show you the four fundamental rules to make that happen. By Michael Easter 48 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

BEFORE 195 pounds 15% body fat 2,500 calories 40% protein 28% carbs 32% fat

AFTER 169 pounds 7% body fat 1,750 calories 30% protein 30% carbs 40% fat


Grooming: Unwana Rose/ Wide Eyed Beaut y; icons by MICHAEL B R A NDON M Y ERS

By the Numbers

Weight Loss

hovers around 7 percent. Losing fat and dropping pounds also benefited Hartman’s general health by reducing inflammation and improving his insulin levels, two factors that have health implications as we get older. “Smaller dogs live longer,” says Hartman, using an example from nature. Want to get your bark back? Just follow the four fundamentals of Hartman’s program.

Why Cardio Is Your WeightLoss Turbo Going balls to the wall in the gym six days a week may actually sabotage your gains. Here’s why: Your body needs time between hard gym sessions to recover and build muscle. If you limit that time by doing tough workouts more than two days in a row, your muscle can’t rebuild. Instead, it just keeps wearing down. To make progress between his hard sessions, Hartman did relaxed cardio workouts. They helped increase bloodflow to his muscles, boosting his recovery. Hit the stair climber or do a body-weight circuit of squats, stepups, inverted rows, and pushups. Keep at it for 45 to 60 minutes. Try to keep your heart rate between 120 and 150 beats per minute.

Ease Into It Many men think the only way to develop their abs is to hammer in the gym and slash their calorie intake. But if you do too much too soon, you could burn muscle and burn out mentally. Yes, big goals require big measures. “But if you go extreme right away and then stop progressing, where do you go from there?” Roussell asks. So start by cutting 200 to 300 calories a day from your diet. Stick to it. Once you reach that plateau (usually in two to four weeks), cut out another 200 to 300 and repeat. Hartman, for example, launched his plan by dropping to 2,200 daily calories; then he cut his intake further to 2,000 and ended at 1,750.

Eat Like This, Look Like That It’s an optimal mix of carbs, fats, and protein for fat loss, muscle growth, and energy. Grooming: Unwana Rose/ Wide Eyed Beaut y; icons by M I CHA EL B R ANDON M Y ERS

Breakfast Smoothie: 1 cup kefir or plain yogurt, ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup walnuts, 1 scoop protein powder, ice, and water Snack 2 oz beef jerky; or 1 oz pistachios or cashews; or another smoothie Lunch Chicken breast and 1½ cups mixed vegetables Snack (Choose from the snack options above) Dinner Big salad and a 4 oz steak

Be Flexible in the Gym A typical training program prescribes a specific number of sets, such as 3 or 5. But because your performance can vary from day to day based on influences such as sleep and stress, that prescription might be too rigorous or too easy on any given day. That’s why Hartman based his training program around “autoregulation” sets. In those, your reps stay the same but the sets can vary depending on your performance. You do as many as you can until your form breaks down or your strength gives out. This strategy accomplishes two things: It hits your body with a stimulus that’s enough for you to make progress, and it keeps the brakes on to prevent you from digging too deep and sustaining an injury. To try it, see “The Fast Track to a Six-Pack” on page 108.

Do exactly the amount of exercise you need, and don’t go overboard. Keep Having Fun

Plan Ahead

Every Saturday for the past decade, Hartman has taken his gym’s interns out for lunch at a local Mexican cantina to talk shop, decompress, and review the week. “Obviously the fajitas, margaritas, and all the chips I could eat didn’t fly anymore,” says Hartman. So Roussell helped him find a meal he enjoyed that also worked for his diet. The solution? A spicy chicken breast on a bed of greens. “Maintaining normal rituals during your diet is key to sustainability,” says Roussell.

Midway through his transformation process, Hartman had to travel to China for 10 days. He stuck to his nutrition plan by packing 24 Epic protein bars, 10 packages of Chef’s Cut Buffalo Style Real Chicken Jerky, and four cans of cashews. “When you’re committed to a goal, your nutrition decisions need to be made beforehand,” Roussell says. At home, Hartman tacked his eating plan on his fridge so he and his wife could easily shop and cook around it. “She also lost weight,” says Hartman. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 49

Style+ Grooming

One treatment kept our intrepid reporter ageless for months.

STICK IT TO WRINKLES ...and more! Plenty of men are receiving the same skin treatments actors and anchormen are—often for reasons you wouldn’t expect. Are you next? By Dan Michel I’m not the kind of guy you’d expect to see getting Botox. I’m only 32, and I don’t get paid to read the news on cable. Thanks to years of diligently applying sunscreen and moisturiser and keeping my pale Midwestern skin in the shade, I think I’ve held up reasonably well. Yet here I am in a chair in a dermatologist’s exam room, watching as she marks potential “trouble areas”—the beginning of crow’s feet around my eyes and a barely-there crease along my forehead—with a black pen.

50 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Style + Grooming

Crow’s feet are common targets for men my age who seek the treatment, I learn. Every time I smile, laugh, or squint, my facial muscles create small creases that worsen over time, explains Marina Peredo, M.D., the dermatologist who gave me my treatment. Even if I kept a straight face my whole life, those same muscles would still flex unconsciously, creating lines that are impossible to prevent—without a little help. That’s what this procedure, known as preventive Botox, is for. It works a little like a 401(k) for your skin: The earlier you start, says Dr. Peredo, the better you’ll look in 30 years. For a lot of guys, that promise is suddenly very appealing. In fact, research shows that over the past 16 years, the use of botulinum toxin type A, which includes Botox, has jumped more than 350 percent among men. In 2015 alone, more than 400,000 men sprang for these treatments.

I look like I’ve just awakened, thoroughly refreshed, from the greatest nap of my life. Warding off wrinkles is only one reason that men are lining up for a shot of the neurotoxin. Other benefits are drawing them in. Who knew, for instance, that Botox could be the solution to migraine pain and sweaty armpits? In my case, I admit, it’s about keeping up appearances. After the doctor finishes dotting my face, she makes a dozen or so small injections—each one a quick but relatively painless pinch. I take a nervous glance in the mirror. To my relief, there’s barely a drop of blood, and only a slight puffiness that the doctor assures me will go away within an hour. The next morning I can already notice a difference. It’s not like I look 18 again—more like I’ve just awakened, thoroughly refreshed, from the greatest nap of my life. After a few weeks, I notice the areas around the injection points don’t move as much when I raise my eyebrows, but I still look natural—not frozen or numb. I’ve seen unexpected benefits, too, like the fact that I sweat less from my forehead. I can’t say for sure if I’d do it again. The cost is jarring—a year of college tuition for a lifetime of treatments. But I see why men do it and why more might start. In fact, a friend who’d expressed surprise when I told him texted me later that day. Could I, he asked, share the name of my doctor?

Botox: The Basics What It Is A synthetic neurotoxin that blocks the release of a chemical signal from nerve to muscle, reducing muscle contraction Lasts 3 to 4 months Cost $300+, depending on the amount of Botox required Beware of Bargain prices and steep online discounts, which could mean the doc lacks experience. The results will show.

Wanna Take a Shot? The potential benefits of Botox go beyond erasing crow’s feet. Consider making an appointment if any of these problems sound familiar.

1/ The Sweats

2/ Migraines

3/ Teeth Grinding

If you’ve ever had sweaty palms or pit stains before a big interview, Botox can help. The neurotoxin blocks the chemical signals from nerves that stimulate sweat glands, reducing their output, says Daniel Ahoubim, M.D., CEO of the in-home Botox service Refined Aesthetics. The result: months of sweatfree confidence.

Migraines are generally considered brain related. But by targeting four muscle groups around the eyes, forehead, and sides of the head, Botox could bring relief. In a 2014 study in the Journal of Headache and Pain, one out of four chronic migraine patients treated with Botox saw a 75 percent reduction in their migraine days over a month.

About 13 percent of people grind their teeth at night, according to the Journal of Orofacial Pain. Some doctors prescribe mouth guards, but a targeted shot of Botox can prevent the muscles in your jaw from contracting as hard without disabling them completely, says Marc Lowenberg, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City.

Other Battlegrounds and Weapons in Your Face-Saving Struggle DOUBLE CHIN Diet and exercise alone can’t always undo a double chin; liposuction and other invasive procedures used to be the only solutions. Kybella, a relatively new compound, can destroy those stubborn fat cells, which then painlessly pass through your body when you urinate. The injection causes minor inflammation, but that’s a good thing: It tightens skin, keeping it from sagging. The fat cells also never regenerate, so you won’t have to go back after you complete the two to five treatments. SAGGING SKIN Just about everything everywhere starts to sag after you hit your 40s; that’s a fact of life. Your face is no exception. Dermatologists use fillers like Juvéderm to help restore plumpness instantly, making you appear years younger. Hyaluronic acid, which is found in many over-thecounter products like moisturisers and serums, is the key to its restorative effects. For older patients, dermatologists also often combine fillers such as Juvéderm (to plump and lift the skin) with Botox (to smooth out wrinkles). The number of treatments varies depending on how much work you need, but regardless, the starting cost is about $600.

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VW takes a second shot at making the Tiguan even better. They had big shoes to fill: the first one was brilliant... THE VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SOLID CHOICE for active people. The Tiguan’s blend of sophisticated styling and functionality tends to mix well with the sort of lifestyle people in the Middle East enjoy. And, unless you’re into serious off-roading or wadi bashing, the all-wheel-drive system has always been wellmatched for occasionally straying from the tarmac. The first 2.8 million Tiguans sold in eight years to customers in 170 countries and quickly established itself as one of the most important vehicles in the Volkswagen stable. In 2015 alone, just over 500,000 Tiguans were produced – and it seems that everywhere you look in the UAE, you’ll find a Tiguan. It’s VW’s most popular SUV by far, outstripping sales of the larger Touareg nine times over. Volkswagen’s second bite at the Tiguan cherry is part of a global push to extend its range of SUVs with fresh new models. It’s the first SUV to use the company’s new MQB platform, a modular system that

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Fitness + Muscle

allows engineers to use the same engine orientation, pedal box design and front axle location across a wide range of models. It has already been used to underpin the current Golf, Passat and Audi TT. The new Tiguan gains a bit of size as a result of the redesign. It’s 30mm wider, 60mm longer and has a wheelbase that has been stretched 77mm over its predecessor. The roof sits 33mm lower too, giving the Tiguan the appearance of a much larger SUV. The boot hatch aperture is larger too. Exterior styling is far sharper. The new LED projection lamps and grille boost the premium feel of the design, while a sharp design-line along the length of the car and a crease that extends from the front wheel arch to the rear tail lights are nice touches. The result is a car that appears wider and better planted on the road. From a technical standpoint, the chassis is quite an accomplishment. Lengthening a car while also widening the rear hatch usually has a detrimental effect to the car’s rigidity. That means engineers have to strengthen the car by adding in more fabricated metal bits to reinforce critical areas. VW says that the new chassis is not only stiffer than the previous one, but the entire package is 53 kilograms lighter. Engineers saved 12 kg on the body alone,

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despite its larger dimensions. In fact, VW claims that had it built the new one using the previous chassis platform, it would have been 66 kilograms heavier. Inside, the cockpit has been designed to focus on the driver. The Active Info Display – a modified version of the digital instrument cluster first seen in the Audi TT – is standard in all models, and drivers can chose from six different displays. A new one has been added for off-road use which shows the driver where the front wheels are pointed, and your direction of travel, inside the tachometer and speedo dials respectively. An enormous 3D map fills the centre of the dash when you select navigation mode, and key information is fired through to the head-up display. VW says its new LED headlights are impressive, and the optional Dynamic Light Assist system will stop you from dazzling oncoming drivers by automatically masking your headlight’s hotspots. Also new is the three-zone climate control system which allows the driver, front seat passenger and those in the back to select their preferred level of AC intensity down to the half-degree. Those who suffer with allergies will be pleased to know that VW has improved the air quality sensor and allergen filters to strain out the kinds of things that may trigger a

sneezing fit. VW’s boffins have also fitted sun and humidity sensors to the interior to regulate the atmosphere and cut the risk of the windows fogging up. It’s not all about those in the front either. Rear seat passengers get a lot more leg room thanks to the revisions to the wheelbase: 29 mm to be precise which, when coupled with seats that can be moved 180mm back (20mm more travel than before), give taller passengers a lot more space to stretch out. Boot space has swollen too: there’s 50 extra litres available with the rear seats up, and 145 more when they’re folded down. That means you can lug two bikes around, and enough gear for a weekend trip, for you and a pal, without feeling squeezed for space. Middle East customers get a choice of two engines and three power levels. Entry level S and SE models come fitted with a 1.4-litre four cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower. Available in front-wheeldrive only, the engine comes mated to a six-speed DSG gearbox that VW claims will launch you from 0-100 km/h from a deadstop in a little over 9 seconds. If you need a little more oomph, the 2.0-litre TSI-powered versions come in two choices of output: 180 horsepower (SE and SEL models), and 220 horsepower (Sport). All 2.0-litre models come with a seven-seed DSG geabox, and all come fitted with

Brothers in big arms: Smith and his sibling Dane push each other to press on in the gym.

the 4Motion all-wheel drive drivetrain. The Sport dispatches the 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds, while the other two reach it in 7.7 seconds. The 2.0-litre/dual-clutch combination is a pleasant and responsive powertrain with a silky soundtrack. Handling is very crisp with very little body roll while cornering, but the suspension is supple enough, and the interior refined enough, to make longer trips comfortable. The electrically assisted power steering feels light at urban speeds, but it comes right on the open road. We get that the Tiguan isn’t designed to be hustled about mountain roads or on a track like its GTI stablemate but for most households with a single car choice, it’s nice to know the car has a little spice and excitement. VW says its engineers have spent a lot of time fettling with the Tiguan’s offroad capability. The chassis control systems offer a greater level of flexibility, while the optional off-road package gives the car greater ground clearance for negotiating off road trails. The new Tiguan arrives in showrooms around the Middle East this month. Prices start at $24,490 for the 1.4-litre S and top out at $36,000 for the 2.0litre Sport. There’s no news yet on whether VW plans to launch an R-version. 

1/ That engine

2/ That handling

3/ That spec sheet

4/ That safety

The 2.0-litre four-pot engine is the only choice if you plan to do anything remotely remote. If the engine seems familiar, it’s because it’s also used in the Golf GTI. The 1.4-litre engine is spritely enough, but is difficult to know just how well it would cope with a rocky slope climb which just the two front wheels clawing at the earth’s surface. VW revealed plans for a plug-and-tug electric hybrid version at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, and R-Line concepts also surfaced, but they’re keeping quiet about those plans at the moment.

Chassis engineers have become extremely adept at making SUVs handle more and more like the hatch backs and estates they’re based on. The fact that the chassis is lots more rigid than the old car helps. With a solid base to work from, the chassis boffins don’t have to dial out any inherent weaknesses befor e they start looking at then making the car an engaging thing to drive. The fact that the Tiguan, at over 1600kg, feels and performs almost as well as a more nimble and far lighter GTI is a real testament to their work. We’re keen to test the Tiguan off road.

The new Active Info Display is pretty special and almost worth the price of admission alone. But run through the checklist of options and you’ll find that you’re able to sync navigation and destination plans from your phone. App-connect allows you to integrate almost any smart phone in the world to the Tiguan via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink. Naturally, the Tiguan also comes rammed with a load of technical features like the four-camera, 360-degree view, helps monitor your surroundings when you’re rock-crawling.

Again, VW includes a lot of stuff you’ll find in premium cars but won’t further down the automotive food chain. The Tiguan gets Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, Lane Assist and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, and Pre-Crash (which tensions the front seatbelts and closes the sunroof and any open windows when a crash is imminent) which all promise a cocoon of safety. An optional radar-based adaptive cruise control can handle stop-and-go traffic, which makes urban driving far safer.

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01 Hooded top, AED1050 by Plac. Sweater, AED1100 by Les Benjamins. Trousers, AED1650 by MCQ by Alexander McQueen. Adidas Superstar, AED475.

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From track pants to zip ups, and a flash of go-faster colour, th fall-winter collections from Bloomingdale’s will get you back on track...

Photography: Ethan Mann Fashion stylist: Stuart Robertson Model: Nouraldin Al Yousuf Special thanks to ZOO Skatepark, Dubai

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02 Sweater, AED1000 by Plac. Jeans, AED610 by PS By Paul Smith.

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03 T-shirt , AED428 by Kenzo. Jacket, AED3595 and trousers, AED1800 by 3.1 Philip Lim. Adidas Superstar, AED475.

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04 Jacket, AED8750, trousers AED3900, shoes AED1700; all by Dsquared.

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05 Hooded top AED1500 and trousers AED1450, by Helmut Lang. T-shirt AED428, by Kenzo. Gillet, AED3050 by Moncler. Adidas Superstar, AED475.

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06 Hooded top, AED1050, by Plac. Cap AED400, by Les Benjamins.

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07 Jacket AED3000, trousers AED1750 and top AED875; all by MCQ By Alexander McQueen. Adidas Superstar, AED475.

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08 Hooded top AED2400, trousers AED2500, gillet AED2500; all by Moncler. Adidas Superstar, AED425.

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09 T-shirt AED875 and trousers AED1650, by Public School. Adidas Superstar, AED475.

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Lazar Angelov’s world famous physique has made him an internet sensation. He spills his training secrets ahead of his appearance at the Dubai Muscle Show.


azar Angelov’s world came crashing down around him last year when he was forced to give up training and focus on rehabilitation. The physique model and body builder had finally found his limits, and he was forced to take six months off and endure four painful operations to correct tendon damage to his elbows and knees. He lost his shape, gained weight and, for the first time in his life, lost sight of his world famous abdominals. A year later, he’s back in top form. He says he’s not quite back to where he wants to be, but judging by the pictures, he’s almost there. He says the past 12 months have been the most difficult in his life, and fighting back to his former glory has taught him that persistence and determination are the most important attributes an athlete can possess. He tells us how he got back to his physical best. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 67

Crunch those two numbers together for a moment, and then consider that Lazar Angelov’s Facebook and Instagram figures stack up alongside those of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s without the benefit of a blockbuster action movie career to fuel them. It’s deeply impressive given that the 32-year-old Bulgarian body 68 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

builder only really got on the social media bandwagon in 2011, and hasn’t really done anything out of the ordinary to push himself globally. His motivational videos are direct, and his advice is plain and simple. “Beginnings are hard,” he says in one, his deep booming voice instantly grabbing your attention. “So was mine. People think things come easy but in real life, you have to fight for everything you get. The road to success is paved with disappointment and paid. There are no shortcuts. You have to make mistakes and find the right way.” It’s just the sort of tonic bodybuilders need, and it’s clear that Angelov’s attitude works. He has an enormous following in the Middle East, and he’s looking forward to meeting fans when he arrives for the Dubai Muscle Show at the end of the month. “I know people who have been and they liked it there. I don’t know what to expect. I have been to Kuwait City and that was great, so I expect it will be even better,” he told Men’s Health. It’s tempting to think that Angelov is something of an overnight sensation but he began competing, and winning, physique competitions in Bulgaria in 2006. Having harboured a life-long obsession with basketball, he made the Bulgarian national junior squad at 16 and went on to play professionally for eight years. His dream was to one day make it big in the sport but a nine-month stint of national service in the Army curtailed those plans. “I couldn’t train basketball there, so I was only

lifting weights. During my basketball career I was still lifting weights but I didn’t have the knowledge. After basketball, it was my second love, so I turned to body building. I wanted both: to be stronger and have a better physique.” “After I left the army I tried to continue with basketball but I lost my shape, so I dropped it and told myself that I had to find a job” At 180cm tall, Angelov jokes that he was too short and wasn’t very good anyway. “But all I had done my whole life up to that point was just played basketball and I didn’t know what to do. I think this is a problem for many guys that do professional sports - they don’t know what to do when it ends.” “Then I said to myself that the only thing that I can do is lift weights, so why don’t I become a personal trainer?” Angelov was one of the first to really leverage social media, gaining a huge following. It

THE DUBAI MUSCLE SHOW - WHAT’S HAPPENING Circle these dates on your calendar: October 21-22 – that’s when the Dubai Muscle Show takes place at the Dubai International Marine Club in Mina Seyahi. The first event of its kind in the region, the Dubai Muscle Show has been organised in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council, and will see more than 100 competitions take place, over 500 athletes perform and more than 20 guest speakers make an appearance. The guest list includes legendary bodybuilders Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler, who between them have won a combined 12 Mr Olympia championships, appearing together for the first time in the Middle East.

YOUR BODY TYPE Ectomorph Ectomorphs are lean and long and have difficulty building muscle. Bruce Lee, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are ectomorphs. You should train compound lifts with heavier weights with reps in the 5-10 range and centre your cardio on HIIT. Your diet should contain healthy fats like nuts and avocado – and you can eat more carbs – around 50-60% of your diet.

So, do you amass muscle or fat more easily? Are you naturally skinny? Here’s how you can work that out. Endomorph Endomorphs are big with high body fat, often pear-shaped, and have a high tendency to store body fat. Jack Black, John Goodman and Wayne Knight are endomorphs. You should use compound moves to burn more caloeries and work in the 12-15 rep range, and do as much cardio as possible. Eat clean, eat loads of vegetables and drink plenty of water to keep feeling full. Limit carbs.

Mesomorph Mesomorphs are muscular and wellbuilt, and also have a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Mark Wahlberg are mesomorphs. You should be training in the 8-12 rep range with 30 second rests between sets. Cardio is your friend but you don’t need a lot. Keep intake at a level that maintains muscle mass.

Jay Cutler

Ronnie Coleman

The show is centred around the exhibition and main stage, but there are a number of exciting events happening too. The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness

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certainly helps that his physique is considered one of the best in the world – a combination, he says, of hard work in the gym, a dedicated nutrition plan, and ideal genetics. “I was a skinny kid, but I always had abs. When I was eight years old I had abs. I was skinny and I was really small for a kid of my age but, I had a better physique than some of the other kids. I was watching action movies and they were very popular. So I just started lifting some weights in the basement.” Qualifying as a personal trainer was his first step. His personal goals remained focused on developing and maintaining his muscular physique. “I never wanted to become a big body builder. That kind of physique model was considered skinny for a body builder. In Bulgaria is was all about being big but I didn’t want that. I liked the way my physique looked and I just wanted to improve it. I always knew my body would start paying me back but back then, I never knew how.” Social media certainly helped. Posting regular updates on his progress and professional shots of his shredded physique during his cutting stages have seen fans flock to his Facebook and Instagram pages. Some are looking for advice, most want to know his training secrets, and almost all are inspired by his impressive results and work. He’s not surprised by the adoration or popularity of his social media following at all. “Because maybe I was one of the first fitness models that was doing that kind of stuff, so to me, it was easier to build a big following. Now there is a lot of competition and I see a lot of guys trying to do the same thing that I did, but there is too much competition now. “The guys have great physiques but that’s not everything. You need to have the whole package to succeed.” His professional life is now filled with running his online training programme (he doesn’t have time for personal training sessions now) and developing a couple of clothing brands. He also has his own, limited edition watch, produced by Vostok. As a fitness model at the top of his game, Angelov has also had to face his fair share of criticism – and he’s happy to field questions about his thoughts on performance enhancing drugs. “Most people when they see a man with a nice physique, they say steroids. That’s the thing I don’t like in this sport because they clearly don’t understand how big a man can become by training without steroids. “Maybe it’s because they have tried to become this and they can never become like this, they think that if you become bigger than them, then you are on steroids I can take it in two ways when people say I’m on steroids. I can take it as a disrespect to my work, and I can take it as a compliment for achieving more than them - and I always take it as a compliment. “I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand that some people have better genetics than them - and genetics is a big factor. 70 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

If you take 100 people that look the same, eat the same, they train he same way, they won’t become the same level after a year. It’s like saying that if I train like Usain Bolt and I don’t run like him, he must be on steroids.” Surprisingly, Angelov says he’s not against other people using drugs. “People can use whatever they want but first you need to reach your genetic limit. If they were working out for three months and not get the results they want, I would tell them work for five years and then if you are not satisfied with the results, then think about option. But why take them now? First you need to reach your genetic limits naturally.” “Everyone is looking for a shortcut. But I tell people there is no shortcut, just the right way.” Angelov is well aware of the dangers of pushing those limits. Just a year ago, he started a painful series of operations to repair tendon damage in both his elbows and knees, sustained

over years of training. “Maintaining my shape, I think, was tougher than getting it - and that’s how I ended up having surgery. Getting my physique back - which is still not 100 percent - was the biggest achievement in my life.” “I was trying to raise my genetic potential and for the last three years, I was saying at the same level. I was training with 100 percent dedication every day but I wasn’t getting any bigger, and then I got injured.” His knee surgeries meant he couldn’t walk for three months. Once he was off the crutches, he then had both elbows done. It was a painful six months, and he says he is only just beginning to get back to his old self. “I couldn’t do basic stuff. Drinking water was painful. It was my tendons, and it took a long time to recover properly. When you lose everything, my shape, I started to appreciate it and how hard it is to get it back. When I have it, I

will appreciate it more - I won’t take it for granted. “I stopped my diet too. I wasn’t eating that clean and because I couldn’t walk, I wasn’t able to do any cardio and stuff like that, so I got fat. I couldn’t see my abs for the first time in my life - and I never believed that could happen.” “I gained 10-12 kilograms but I lost a lot of muscle. I’m not sure just how much because the muscle memory works well, but I’m not working with the same weights now.” Physical therapy has been a slow process. Angelov still can’t do some of the heavier exercises and weights, but he’s not so bothered by that any more. “It’s not about pushing one rep max lifts now, it’s about staying healthy and getting my shape back. I don’t care about the strength now. I love squats and bench but now I don’t do them. I don’t do squats because of the knees and the bench press because of the elbows. I only do my chest with dumbbells.” He may have been in incredible pain, but he was determined to get back on top of his game. His movements may have been limited but he knew there was always a workaround available. “People don’t know how hard it is to get to the shape I am now from being at a point where I couldn’t walk. To me, this was a lot harder than getting my best shape before I was injured. “In the beginning, I wasn’t even able to grip the weights, so I was doing cable crossovers but I couldn’t grip anything, so I was just having the rope around my elbows and doing it like that. “I just said to myself that I had to find a way. Right now, I’m just trying to find a way. I’m only doing 50% of weights prior I was to surgery but I’m doing the reps a lot cleaner than before and that puts more tension on the muscle. And I’m doing everything a lot more slowly so I can use the muscles more.” “There was a moment that I was really down because after the surgeries, my recovery wasn’t that good. I was expecting to be at the gym with no pain but the pain was still there. I still have pain but it’s not that bad.” Angelov remains as determined as ever. “I don’t know what motivates me more: The people that are supporting me and the people who want me to fall.” 

WHAT’S HAPPENING (continued from p69)

ANGELOV’S TOP FIVE TRAINING TIPS Envy doesn’t build Muscle “Stop comparing yourself to other people because you will ever be like someone else. I’ll never have Arnold’s arms or chest because I’m not Arnold.”

Want abs? Start in the kitchen “Focus on your nutrition. If you want great abs, it’s 70 percent nutrition. Everyone knows that but no-one wants to accept it.”

Don’t go too hard “Focus on the movement. For movements like squat, deadlift and bench, you need to first get the movement correct before adding weight. Get strong before building muscle. Muscle will come with the strength.”

Discover yourself “Find out what body type you are and what genetics you have, and work with what you’ve got.” If you’re in doubt, check out the info box on page 69.

Details, details. “A lot of people won’t do some exercises because they think they’re only for the girls but they give you the total package, the total look. A lot of guys have goof physiques. Details make a good physique great.”

(IFBB) Amateur Championship is always a popular event, with 350 athletes already registered for the physique competition. The event is organised by Universal Muscle Fitness & Fashion (UMFF), supported by Emirates Bodybuilding Federation. Calisthenics has enjoyed rapid growth in the region over recent years, and the Kenguru Street Workout Cup will act as a regional qualifier for the World Street Workout Super Finals in Beijing in December. You can expect to see 16 of the world’s best calisthenics stars vie for positions in the finals during the two day competition. Fight fans will enjoy the MMA Amateur Championship event too. It will see a tight group of 10 fighters pitched together in five matches over the weekend. The guest list of topline international athletes confirmed for the Dubai Muscle Show include, four-time Musclemania Champion Ulisses Jr., fitness icons Sergi Constance, Jaco De Bruyn Jason Poston, a front runner for the upcoming Mr Olympia Physique Category.

Jason Poston

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HEAVY MOVERS Witness the ultimate test of raw strength at Dubai’s first Strongman competition


hen it comes to a show of pure strength, nothing comes close to the spectacle of strongman competitions – and Dubai is to get its first taste of the sport during the Dubai Muscle Show. The sport hit its zenith in the early 2000s and has spawned superstars like Iceland’s Hafþór “Thor” Björnsson, famous for his role in Game of Thrones as The Mountain; five times world’s strongest man Mariusz Pudzianowski, and young British competitor Eddie Hall. In July, Hall set a new world record for deadlift (with straps and suit) with a lift of 500 kg, beating his own record (465 kg) set in March. The Dubai event is being co-ordinated by competitor and former Royal Marine Mark Boyd, who says the audience is in for a treat when the 12 contestants take to the competition arena. “There’s a lot of powerlifters coming in to do it because they’ve obviously seen the bodybuilders get a bit of attention and they’re feeling a little left out of things. It’s a real crowd pleaser internationally, so we really think the crowd in Dubai is going to enjoy it.” “We’d really like to build a strongman community in Dubai. It’s starting to grow now but it would be great to get something going here in Dubai, whether it’s a community, whether it’s a strongman gym, whether it’s something a bit bigger. “It would be nice to see a change from the bodybuilding. I’ve done the bodybuilding, and there’s a really big difference between the two communities. Body building is a bit more cut throat, people are out to beat each other, where Strongman - the guys I compete against are my mates - they were making sure I was getting the lifts. The comradery is like a brotherhood sort of thing.” Boyd said that while training for the Royal

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THE EVENTS Here’s what you can expect to see during this year’s Dubai Muscle Show Strongman competition.

The Atlas Stone Competitors will pick up a concrete ball weighing 250lb (around 113kg) and throw them over a bar. The event can be run in two ways: either lifting heavier stones to progress or loading a stone for reps. The Tyre Flip Giant tractor tyres weighing in excess of 500kg . The aim of this event is to flip the tyre continuously until you cross the finish line.

The Yacht Pull A speed and strength event where the athlete uses a harness attached to a yacht and drags it over a distance as fast as he can. This places great strain on tendons, ligaments and every muscle fibre you can think of. 

Marines was tough, nothing compares to the work he had to put in to becoming a powerlifter. “The heavy compound movements and manoeuvres put extreme stress on your body. Add in the mental aspect of having the confidence and drive to push through the pain, the uncontrollable heart rate and the lung crushing movements – it’s just intense.” There’s a very natural reason strongman competitors differ greatly in their body composition to the lean and depleted look of body builders. Having a higher percentage of body fat enables them to train at while also providing them with a solid recovery rate as their body will be abundant in nutrients. Boyd explains, “The sport also requires a level of athleticism in specific events such as the carry or medley events. The aim of bodybuilding is to work the slow-twitch fibres and to fill the muscle sack (fatia) with as much blood as possible in order to grow and shape the muscle group “The aim of strongman is to work the fasttwitch fibres in order to build speed, strength and power. Along the way these both of these fibres will be damaged and need time to repair,

strengthen and grow.” Facing the seemingly impossible and beating your best ever lifts are what it’s all about. “Technique and range of motion are extremely important not only for avoiding injury but the development of overall strength. A lot of people in training avoid full range of motion or depth, but great technique is required when lifting excess amounts of weight.” “It’s also extremely important to structure your training correctly. Going too fast or too heavy puts a tremendous amount of stress on your body and has an effect of your central nervous system and can take several weeks for it to fully recover. Planning your training is important for the development of strength, you should focus one week going heavy the following week focusing on lighter weight and higher reps, allowing your central nervous system and muscle fibres to repair.” Boyd trains at The Warehouse Gym where the team there has invested in all the equipment required for Strongman competition (see right). In the build up to the event, he’s also running weekend classes every Saturday. Register with gym staff. Cost iois only AED100 per class. 

The Log The ‘trunk’ of a tree (in this case, a steel tube with handles perpendicular to the bar) that has to be picked up and pressed above your head. The manoeuvre itself being similar to that of a barbell clean and press except the sheer size of the implement proves the movement to be more difficult and technical. The Farmer’s Walk A speed event that requires great grip strength. Picking up a weight in each hand (here, it will be 100 kg in each hand) and walking/running with them as quickly as possible to the finish line. The Deadlift Competitors will go head to head with a bar that continues to increase until one man remains on stage. This event is one guaranteed to push almost every athlete to failure, and is a crowd favourite.

The Warehouse Gym, Dubai With tremendous potential in a sport that is relatively untapped in the Middle East, there aren’t many places around to train. Thankfully, Dubai’s Warehouse gym has everything you need under one roof; from Atlas stones, to specialist pieces of lifting equipment like The Log, and super-heavy truck tyres. If you’d like to know more about the services offered, or the other comprehensive training packages available, contact the gym at +971 4 323 2323 or visit them online at

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The Art of

LEADERSHIP Even if your last name isn’t Franklin, King, or Jobs, you have the opportunity to step up and take charge of your life. Here are the new rules to get you started.

By Ted By ed Spi pike kerr

Fill out your skills and take command.

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To win the game of thrones, you don’t have to be ruthless.


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Leaders are vital because we look to them for cues on what to do. Duke University neurobiologists have found that male monkeys, when given the choice of what to look at, place similarly high value on the hindquarters of female monkeys and leaders of their troops. “Leadership is a way of creating order out of our complicated and ambiguous social world,” says Brad Owens, Ph.D., a business ethics expert at Brigham Young University. So it follows that the more complex our lives become, the more frustrated we feel when those in positions of responsibility turn out to be monkey butts. Amid this dearth of leadership, however, lies opportunity—a chance for you to step up. Yes, you. Leaders are made, not born, suggests research led by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Ph.D.,

of the University of Oxford. De Neve looked at whether leadership has genetic components and found that there is a genotype shared by leaders; he concluded, however, that leadership traits stem from a mix of genetics and environment. So even if your last name isn’t Lombardi, you can develop strong leadership skills. And you don’t need to be a CEO or have political aspirations to implement them. “A leader is somebody who makes all the people around him or her better, and that cuts across all levels,” says Ethan Bernstein, Ph.D., of Harvard Business School. That person can be you, at whatever level you choose. Leadership isn’t dying; it’s evolving. To step up, you just need to understand the new rules of being a leading man.

Opening spread and this page: Shutterstock

time we open our social media feed, there’s news from around the world of another leader imploding. A CEO caught with his hand in the coffers. A politician caught with his hand somewhere else. ¶ Now think of your life—the people you deal with, your kids’ coaches and teachers. How good is the quality of leadership you see every day? ¶ Inspiring? Horrible? Meh? ¶ “There’s a woeful lack of good business leaders today,” says Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last. “We have some, but we need many more. At the end of the day, it’s embarrassing that I even have a career. I write and talk about trust and cooperation. There should be no demand for my work.” ¶ Indeed, Gallup research reveals that when companies name managers, those hires or promotions fail to work out 82 percent of the time. And the latest Edelman Trust Barometer found that only half of Americans trust businesses and 39 percent trust the US government. ¶ “Most organisations today lack the leadership they need,” writes John Kotter, a professor emeritus of leadership at Harvard Business School. “I’m not talking about a deficit of 10 percent but of 200 percent...or more...up and down the hierarchy.”

Be a Humble Narcissist The Golden State Warriors came closer to regular-season perfection than any other team in NBA history this year, winning a record 73 games. Head coach Steve Kerr, 51, had a lot to do with that. Part of the reason he’s so loved and respected (Fortune placed him on its latest World’s Greatest Leaders list) is his easygoing but intensely competitive style. He has smashed his fist through a clipboard during a game, but after games he regularly deflects any credit for his team’s success. This showcases an important trait of highquality leaders today: fluidity. The new leadership isn’t about exhibiting one style all the time. Rather, it’s about having a repertoire of skills that allows you to adapt to a variety of situations. You may need to be ruthless when cutting costs at work, but you don’t need that same chest-thumping behaviour when you’re fundraising for your sports team. “There’s so much temptation to lead in a strong, authoritative way [because] that’s what’s expected,” says Owens. But the onedimensional bully leader is dead. Even though 80 percent of people in a Pew Research Center survey cited decisiveness as an essential leadership trait, today’s smart leaders understand that what precedes decisiveness is equally important—the ability to admit that you don’t know everything and the willingness to defer to others for opinions. Specifically, Owens has found in his studies that when leaders show more humility, team performance improves. One reason: In the information services age, it’s increasingly difficult for any one leader to figure it all out, he says. But perhaps the greatest advantage of humility is that it can temper perceptions of narcissism, thereby allowing a leader to remain strong without appearing dictatorial. Research in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that a leader who is perceived to have the contradictory traits of narcissism and humility is also viewed as being more effective. “It’s almost a schizophrenic process,” Owens says. Here are three ways to develop that persona: Ask questions. Pepper every conversation with them. This lets everyone know you’re considering all options and points of view. Wow, he’s listening! Act now but explain later. When you have to make a fast decision, be bold and strong. Then counter the perception that you’re an ogre by explaining to your group why the situation demanded fast action. Thank the team. Even though you’re proud of yourself when things work out, credit everyone else. Sure, it may sound cliché in a postgame interview, but not to your team.

M I C H A E L B R A N D O N M Y E R S ( i c o n s ) , M i c h a e l K o v a c /G e t t y I m a g e s ( Po w e l l )



Put Respect Before Results


Sinek recently stayed at the Four Seasons in Vegas, where he met Noah, a barista who was so sharp that Sinek left a 100 percent tip. “Do you like your job?” Sinek asked. “I love it,” Noah replied. The reason? His managers regularly ask how he’s doing and if he needs anything to do his job better. Noah also works at another Vegas resort, but he hates it there because the managers don’t care about his personal well-being or improvement. “Behaviour is based on leadership,” Sinek explains. “The CEO is not responsible for customers. The CEO is responsible for the people responsible for the customers.” To put this into practice, remember three things: Lecture less. Everything a leader does is microscoped, so be aware of the possible perceptions of your actions. If you’re 30 minutes late to work, you’re not dedicated. If you congratulate Roscoe on a good play and then ignore Troy when he does the same, you’re playing favourites. Exhibit the behaviour you desire. Get personal. Be efficient with emails and texts, but don’t let them replace talking. “Walk across the hall to give a compliment,” says Sinek. “Make people feel like you care. Email doesn’t do that. Human interaction does.” Pocket your phone. Putting your phone on a conference or dinner table, even facedown, tells everyone they’re not the priority. “When you show deference to the group, you’re repaid in loyalty,” says Sinek.

““Great “G leaders l d are almost always y great simplifi g p ers who can cut through g argument, g debate,, and doubt to offer a solution everybody y can understand.” —Colin Powell, retired four-star general

How How to Lead to Lead... ...

A Group Run “The first thing I say is, ‘This is not a race,’” says Bart Yasso, who’s led 500plus group runs for Runner’s World magazine. Talk, joke, and push, but never crush. Then detail the course. This ensures everyone makes it back and keeps the herd from having to wait (and get frustrated).

Your Kid’s Soccer Team Mix required skill drills with fun activities, and stop coaching when the game or practice ends. No drills in the backyard, no chalkboard at home. “Many kids of coaches grow to hate sports because practice never ends,” says John O’Sullivan of the Changing the Game Project.

A Business Meeting Instead of asking for opinions, which people are usually tentative about giving, say what you think up front and then ask for pros and cons. This usually makes for a more efficient and productive meeting, says Roger Schwarz, author of Smart Leader, Smarter Teams.

A Formal Dance Place one hand on the small of her back while holding her other hand up. Gently press her back in the direction you’re about to step. That’s all there is to it. Oh, and remember to smile, and thank her for the pleasure of her company once the music ends.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 77

““You can’t force your y will on people. p p If you y want them to act differently, y, you y need to inspire p them to change themselves.”

Make Yourself Accountable

—Phil Jackson, former NBA player and coach mon some courage and confront someone in a difficult situation in the workplace or even at home, use this four-part template to be honest yet constructive: Praise “Bob, I want to congratulate you on doing such a bang-up job with the sales numbers...” Criticism “...but there’s a sense that every transaction comes with drama that’s causing stress for the rest of the team.” Interrogation “Why do you think this is happening?” Resolution “Let’s figure out some ways we can keep getting good results without the anxiety and frustration some of your coworkers are feeling.”

Look Back as Often as You Look Ahead


Today, Steve Jobs is regarded as a visionary genius. But back in 2005, in his famous Stanford University commencement speech, he said something surprising: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward.” In other words, Jobs didn’t think the future should be the sole focus; it’s the ability to analyse what happened in the past that’s valuable. When you look at the arc of his career, you can see this reflected in his leadership style. From a ruthlessly honest, competitive micromanager who started Apple, got fired, launched other companies, and then returned to Apple, he evolved into a more flexible and balanced CEO who developed new skills that ultimately made Apple the powerhouse it is today. In sports, this strategy would be the equivalent of watching game film; in relationships, the periodic discussion of how far the two of you have come. In any leadership situation, it’s about analysing what you did right and wrong

How to Lead a Fast Break If you’re handling the ball, don’t head straight down the middle. Instead, veer slightly off-centre when approaching the lane. You can still pass to either of your wings, but now you can also: 1) fake the feed and accelerate for a strong layup to the short side; 2) cut across the lane to the other side of the basket (a move that’s tough to defend because your opponent will be backpedaling); or 3) flip the ball back to the trailer, which no one expects.

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so you know what to do better. To develop this skill, try these three strategies: Ask for feedback. Encourage it by entrusting people on your team to honestly tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Or pair up with a leadership buddy or mentor—someone outside the team—to bounce ideas off. Take time to digest. When you leave a meeting, instead of immediately moving on to the next thing, spend a few minutes reflecting on what happened (or take a few notes). Did everyone leave on the same page, or was there some discord? What could you have done differently? “The reflection part—to accurately diagnose the lessons you learned—is part of the continuous improvement cycle,” says Paul Tesluk, Ph.D., dean of the University at Buffalo School of Management. Track your batting average. Before you make a decision, jot down what you think will happen after it’s made. Then six months later, look back at your predictions and see how well you did. Consider what you got right and what you didn’t, and how to adjust next time a similar situation comes up.

Make Your Mission More Than a Statement In 1964, Phil Knight started selling shoes out of his car. Sixteen years later, Nike reached financial stability. If Knight hadn’t been so passionate and dedicated, he wouldn’t have turned an idea into a $32 billion business. While nobody suggests that bottom lines are rubbish, some argue that the problem with leadership today rests here: If we only judge success financially, we’re shortsighted. This is Sinek’s message, that organisations need to start with the “why” before the “how much.” “Many CEOs, when they became CEOs, don’t believe in purpose. They’re living in the economic paradigm,” says Robert Quinn, Ph.D., a professor of management and organisations at the University of Michigan. “Most executives don’t want to touch ‘purpose’ because it’s not considered ‘real work.’” A 2014 Gallup survey found that only 32 percent of workers are engaged. That, Quinn says, is also at the heart of the leadership problem. “Many companies have a purpose statement,


B y r o n P u r v i s /A d M e d i a /S i p a U S A ( J a c k s o n ) , S h u t t e r s t o c k ( b a s k e t b a l l )

In 2010, U.S. forces bombed a truck convoy in Afghanistan and killed more than two dozen civilians. General Stanley McChrystal, a top commander at the time, called the Afghan president and apologised. Being honest about a mistake that you’ve made, he explained, is crucial to building trust. McChrystal, who was later removed from his command after criticising the Obama administration, now teaches leadership at Yale. His decision to be forthright bucks a tendency shown by many leaders to either deny their fallibility entirely or sugarcoat or hide bad news in the hope that it’ll fade away. “We have a huge cultural problem, one of a lack of accountability and being so tolerant when it comes to confronting issues,” says Lee Ellis, a retired Air Force colonel who was held as a prisoner of war for five years in Vietnam. “Leaders, for whatever reason, want to be liked. They don’t want to make people upset. So they don’t have the courage to confront issues, and people say, ‘When is the boss going to do something about the problem?’” So the make-everyone-happy approach is actually doing the opposite—making everyone upset. And it’s counter to what groups want and need from the top. In that Pew survey mentioned earlier, honesty was the highest-rated characteristic, with 84 percent of people saying it’s essential to leadership. “It’s transparency that builds trust,” notes Roger Schwarz, the author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams. Ellis, who was the youngest POW in his group, says he learned his most memorable leadership lessons from the more senior POWs who endured torture in order to spare others. What’s lacking among leaders today, he contends, is one thing: courage—the guts to be honest and up front, to have adult conversations, and to ask the tough questions. “I define courage as doing what’s right even when it doesn’t feel natural and safe,” says Ellis, the author of Engage with Honor. “Overcoming fears to do what we know is right—that’s leading with honour.” Granted, this is something that’s easier said than done. The next time you need to sum-



but in most cases, it’s not real,” he explains. “But in about 10 percent of cases, the companies mean what they’re saying, and that’s where there’s payoff.” For example, Nike’s mission statement is “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)” Twitter’s is “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” These are missions people can get behind. It’s easy to lead when you’re the spokesman for them. Here’s how to create your own “why”: Mimic a 2-year-old. Why do you work for this company? Why do you want to coach your kid in youth soccer? Why do you want to run for that promotion? Instead of just articulating results (the money’s good, the current coach sucks, my job is terrible), define your fundamental drive (the company’s creating a better world, my son needs to learn that there’s more to sport than winning and losing, I want to improve my company). If you can’t articulate your whys in this way, you shouldn’t be going down that path. Here’s the thing: Even though they often use the excuse, leaders don’t fail because they lack the right people; they fail because the people don’t truly believe the leader is right. “The leader sets the environment, and we respond to the environment,” says Sinek. “People will give you their blood, sweat, and tears to advance your vision if they feel like you care about them and they feel you want to help them grow so they can accomplish more.” 

P h o t o Q u e s t /G e t t y I m a g e s ( R o o s e v e l t ) , M a t t R o t h ( B a u g h )


“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the selfrestraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. president

BE YOUR OWN DICTATOR Ever dream of ruling your own country? Meet Kevin Baugh, Supreme Leader of the Republic of Molossia. By Eric Spitznagel Inside every man is a little dictator. Not the bad kind, who invades other countries, but a dictator in the general sense—someone with absolute power who makes all major decisions with impunity. Alas, life doesn’t work like that. You don’t always get your way, and sometimes people refuse to recognise your infallibility. Unless your name is Kevin Baugh. Or, as he prefers to be called, His Excellency Kevin Baugh, President and Supreme Leader of the Republic of Molossia. Don’t bother looking for Molossia on a map. It sits on a little over an acre of land that Baugh purchased in 1998 in Dayton, Nevada, an hour or so outside Reno and its existence isn’t officially recognised by the US. Not much is involved in forming your own sovereign nation. For Baugh, it was as simple as putting up a flag. No fees, no forms to fill out. “Some folks create a Declaration of Independence, although there’s no one to really declare it to,” he says. Molossia has seven resident citizens (all Baugh family members), a post office (with stamps featuring Baugh’s likeness), a national bank, industry (well, a general store), a national anthem, and its own currency. It also has a thriving economy—an online store selling Molossian merchandise. It sounds crazy but also like the perfect expression of every man’s id. What guy wouldn’t like to create his own laws based on his personal likes and dislikes? Spinach is outlawed in Molossia, as are plastic shopping bags. And who doesn’t want a holiday to honour his pet? February 4 is Jack Day, in honour of the late First Dog. We called the 54-year-old dictator, who works by day in human resources “for a large company that shall not be named,” to find out what he’s learned from being a dictator (in his own mind) for four decades. MH: What makes you a great leader? kevin baugh: Well, I don’t really consider myself to be a great leader. It’s not like I have a dynamic, commanding personality that makes people do what I want them to do. I lead my nation because I created it. Why create your own country? Are you not happy in the United States?

No, the U.S. is great. I think things are going just fine over there. I’m more optimistic about the U.S. than most Americans seem to be. The best analogy for what I’m doing, it’s like when a kid declares his bedroom an independent country so he doesn’t have to pick up his socks or clean up. For me, it’s an extension of that. But how much independence do you really have? You pay U.S. taxes, right? We do, but we think of it as giving foreign aid to the United States. You’re married, right? I am, yes. Molossia is a family nation. If I told my wife, “I’m the dictator of this house,” she would laugh in my face. My wife and I have been married for five years, and Molossia has been around for over 39 years. So Molossia preceded her. When we first got together, she knew what she was getting into. It’s not like this is a stamp collection I can put away. How about the other citizens, like your kids? Have they resisted any decrees? It’s easy to make everybody happy in Molossia. If there’s any unrest, I just order in pizza. What’s fascinating about Molossia is that you don’t seem insane. Thank you. What we mean is, Molossia doesn’t exist, and you seem well aware it doesn’t exist, even as you pretend it’s a legitimate country. You know it’s delusional. Well, it’s complicated. Wait. You do think it’s a real country? We try to keep it light and funny so we don’t have the government rolling up on our doorstep and throwing us all in jail for being seditious. However, we do view our nation as a nation. A sovereign nation on 1.3 acres. Molossia has everything a larger, established country has but in a small package. We even have a navy. You what? It’s basically a handful of inflatable kayaks. But it gets around. It goes on the water. You want to pass this along to your kids after you’re no longer able to rule? I’m always eyeballing them, trying to figure out which one will run the country after I’m gone. I want Molossia to outlive me.  October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 79

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You don’t need to scale a mountain to reap the benefits of altitude training. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the country. By Carlin Gerbich. Photos: Ausra Osipaviciute

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t may have escaped your notice but winter is coming – and that means more of you are going to be spending time in the mountains, either skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the search for new adventure. If, like most of the population, you spend most of the year at sea-level, higher altitudes could make you feel a little out of shape, a lot out of breath or quite ill. So, before you head out and up this winter, it may be worth considering a series higher altitude sessions to help acclimatise yourself. Life at altitude is tough and the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can kick in surprisingly early, seriously ruining your fun. And don’t think that just because you’re in reasonable shape or are an experienced climber that you’re immune to the effects of altitude sickness. You can thank or blame genetics for that. Some people are simply predisposed to altitude sickness far more than others, with headaches, nausea and fatigue kicking in at just 2400m (8000ft). The higher you climb, the more likely it is that you’ll develop symptoms: at 4000m and higher, 80 percent of people will suffer the effects of AMS. Mountaineers get around this by spending weeks at altitude, allowing their bodies to adjust to the hypoxic conditions. This allows the body to react to reduced oxygen levels in the blood by creating more red blood cells to carry oxygen to your muscles in order to fuel them. But it takes time, and it doesn’t completely eliminate the chances of encountering AMS. In fact, no training method can, but the risks can be monitored and managed at sea level by using altitude chambers to help predict and control the process. Climbers will typically use a chamber or tent for sleep and exercise in the weeks leading up to an expedition. By gradually cranking the altitude up and both sleeping an exercising in hypoxic conditions over long periods, climbers are not only able to stimulate red blood cell production ahead of their trip, but they’re also able to adjust to the effects those conditions have on a day to day basis. That not only saves time and money on the mountain, but also increases the chances of summiting successfully, boosts power and endurance, and cuts recovery time after aerobic and anaerobic activity. You don’t need to be summiting Everest or Kilimanjaro to benefit from altitude training; a simple four-week acclimatising programme should be enough to make your mountain getaway or snow-boarding trip in the Swiss Alps that much easier. 82 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

There are other benefits to training at altitude for athletes. U.S. Olympic swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time Michael Phelps has reportedly used an altitude chamber for years. In 2012, Phelps told Access Hollywood that he had been using the ‘Live High, Train Low’ technique – first developed by Benjamin Levine and James Stray-Gundersen – to gain his competitive advantage. Sleeping in an altitude chamber at night for several weeks enabled his body to boost red blood cell production and cut recovery time; training at or near sea level during the day meant that he could push his training intensity to a level that couldn’t be sustained at altitude. In simple terms, training

at altitude naturally boosts the body’s erythropoietin (EPO) production, which increases red blood cells delivering oxygen to muscles and converting it into energy. It’s a natural and legal way of enhancing your performance, but the effects and results are highly individual – and not all experts are convinced that it works as well as some claim. But here’s a little fact to take in to consideration: almost all U.S. distance medallists at the Rio Olympics live or trained at altitude. Lump in the 17 others who also qualified for their finals in the 800 metres or further, and a fairly clear picture begins to emerge of the potential for results. Whatever your goals, training in an oxygen


deprived state is not pleasant experience. We booked a session at Altitude at the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club with Health Club and Recreation Director Stephen Price-Lyall to experience it first hand and, for good measure, took along UAE-based climber Toufic Abou Nader to get some feedback on how effective the room is. Stephen explains, “Unless you’re an Olympic athlete, altitude training and acclimatisation is best done over time and not intensity. You’ll get a good experience in 10-15 minutes of what it’s like to not train hard, but not have any oxygen; that happens fairly rapidly. We can definitely give you a taste of what it’s like to be on the mountain, instantly.” “If you want to increase your red blood cells, or if you want to train with intensity at a lower heart rate for recuperation, then the room is great.” The Chamber Stepping into the chamber is a surreal experience. The room can be set to altitudes of up to 5,000 metres – just shy of that of Everest base camp (5,380m) – but we’ve opted for 3,000 metres (almost 10,000 feet). It’s a fairly conservative level but, short of strapping yourself to a missile, there October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 83

are very few times in life that you’re able to make such drastic altitude changes so quickly. Plus, it’s well within the AMS zone. Toufic has just spent a month at 2500m as part of an expedition into the Krubera-Voronija cave system in the newly formed state of Abkhazia – a breakaway region of Georgia – so was expected to adapt fairly quickly to the rarefied atmosphere. At this altitude, the amount of effective oxygen available is around 70% of that at sea level, so breathing is more laboured. With less oxygen in the air, your heart needs to work harder to help deliver what little there is to your muscles. Mine has taken a bump from the usual 68-70bpm to around 78-80bpm at rest, and I already feel as though I’ve walked a flight of stairs. It’s not impossible to breathe or claustrophobic, you’re just more aware of your breathing and the little extra effort required. Stephen takes us all through the same process: a slow build up that combines treadmill walking, long strides and punches to get the blood flowing and co-ordination working, then a minute or so of overhead presses with your arms pumping like pistons. Then the exercise is repeated with light weights. It’s not easy – I’m not entirely sure it would be terribly easy at sea-level either – and the effects are quickly apparent. It doesn’t take long for the sweat to start pouring and the heart rate to soar. Everything feels just a little more difficult to accomplish, and a 90 second sprint at 15 km/h to finish seems to take an age to complete. I’m not the fastest or smoothest runner on the planet, but 15 km/h is far from my best pace over such a short distance. Despite the workout, all three of us seem to be in decent shape. Blood oxygen levels remain around 90 percent for all three, which means that we’d survive the rigours of ski trip to Colorado without feeling too bad. Recovery, however, seems to take ages. My heart rate usually drops back down to around 80bpm fairly quickly after exercising, but a full 15 minutes passes before it’s anywhere near close to 100bpm. In the 14 minutes I spent on the treadmill at altitude, I torched around 285 calories – or nearly double that I’d normally expend doing Crossfit. Higher ground On paper, 4000 metres seems a fairly reasonable altitude and the next logical step having aced our little 3000 metres altitude sampler. But there is a world of difference between the two. At 4000 metres, the amount of effective oxygen available dips to 12.7 percent, or 60 percent of that at sea-level, and 84 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU AT ALTITUDE 9000 m Everest’s peak is at 8848 m. Some manage the summit without bottled air but, with just 6.8% O2 available, it’s an enormously challenging chore. Time at the top is limited: just enough to snap a selfie and head home.

8000 m The notorious Death Zone. Above this, and on top of everything else, the body has difficulty digesting food so exposure at this extreme altitude is limited. Critical decision making and every day tasks are laboured.

7000 m No permanent human habitation occurs over 6000 m because the body simply can’t acclimatise. At this altitude, it’s important to note that oxygen is used to function normally, and not address AMS.

6000 m

experts suggest mountaineers should slowly increase their altitude in 300 metre chunks per day once they’re over 3000 metres. As this is a short term test under expert supervision at sea-level, it’s a perfect, low-risk way to experience those conditions. At this altitude, we’re breathing the same amount of oxygen you would two-thirds the way up Kilimanjaro. To replicate the conditions, we’ve moved from the altitude chamber to the main section of the gym and we’re using a Hypoxico Everest Summit generator connected to a face mask which sits over your chin, mouth and nose and is velcroed into place. This time, the step between sea-level and altitude is more pronounced, made worse by the claustrophobic feeling of the mask. The air flows, but the limited oxygen levels make it a very unpleasant thing to wear. It takes a while to get used to the feeling of both the mask and the limited oxygen. Stephen guides me on to a stair climber and sets the pace to a fairly easy cadence – but it doesn’t take long for the full effects of the altitude to really kick in. Breathing is incredibly difficult; you can never seem to draw enough air in, and that moderate pace of the stair climber soon feels like a sprint. I lasted three minutes, and it was utterly awful. The relentless cycle of the stair climber and the lack of oxygen were unbearable. Every breath was a struggle, and it took every ounce of self-control to resist the

urge to rip the mask off. Inhaling deep breaths simply didn’t help, and neither did shorter, faster ones. There was simply no easy way to catch my breath, and with each inhalation, I could feel my body fighting for fuel. Stephen constantly monitored my blood oxygen levels which, at 3000 metres had remained at around 90 percent after 11 minutes of reasonable activity. At 4000 metres and fighting for every breath, that dipped to 76 percent at the three minute point – and it was time to finally tear the mask off and haul in lung fulls off oxygen rich air. The relief and recovery is instant as that oxygen fires back around your body. I can’t stress just how awful the experience is, and just how much it highlights the need to acclimatise correctly to the conditions you’re going to face. After just three minutes, my co-ordination was fuzzy and fatigue came quickly despite being in reasonable shape. It’s clear that long-term acclimatisation is the only real way to adjust to performing at altitude – and it’s incredible to experience just how quickly your pace, performance and capabilities fall away when you push things to hard and too far. I can only imagine the difficulties climbers have when faced with making critical decisions on the mountain.  If you’d like to discuss training at altitude, then get in contact with Stephen Price-Lyall [golfandshootingshj. com / +971 6 548 7777].

5000 m

At 6000 m, you’ve surpassed the height of Kilimanjaro and are sucking in air that contains just 9.9% O2 . Only brief trips above this altitude are recommended, and you’ll probably be huffing bottled oxygen from this point on. Effective oxygen is roughly half that at sea level. Everest base camp is around 5400 m, and climbers use the two week trek from Kathmandu to acclimatise to the altitude.

4000 m Mountaineers need to be aware of the risks of developing high altitude cerebral and pulmonary edema. In the first, your brain swells, leading to critical dysfunction of your neurological systems. That messes up your coordination, and you may have difficulty walking. Pulmonary edema leads to fluid build-up in your lungs. That prevents oxygen from getting to your bloodstream. Sufferers struggle to recover and get winded while doing very simple things. Both conditions, if left untreated, can be fatal.

3000 m At 3000m - 10,000 feet to be exact - pilots in non-pressurised aircraft are required to use supplemental oxygen. Mountaineers need to monitor their progress and blood O2 levels.

2400 m The first signs of Acute Mountain Sickness start to kick in for some people. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness or light-headedness. Sufferers may also have trouble sleeping or lose their appetite.

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BREAD RISES AGAIN! It’s about time we honored the warm, crusty, freshly baked loaf as the best thing since, well, you know.

86 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

By Paul Kita Photographs by Christopher Testani

Despite what the anti-gluten hordes would like you to believe, real bread is not bad for you. Hearty hunks torn from whole wheat loaves can deliver the fuel you need for everyday energy. Real bread has fibre, which fills you up and helps you fight cravings. Plus, real bread has plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients to help your body function at its best. Worried about the ciabatta above your belt? “Good bread has gotten a bad rap over the past few years due to nutrition sensationalism,” says Jim White, R.D., of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. “All foods, including bread, can fit into a healthy diet.” So take up your baguettes! Free the gluten! Enjoy bread again!

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Avoid going cross-eyed in the packaged-bread aisle with this buyer’s guide. Many bread brands try to confuse shoppers with subtle packaging and labeling tricks that make their products seem healthier. Know what to watch for and which bags to buy with advice from Valerie Berkowitz, R.D., of the Centre for Balanced Health in New York City.

TIP #1

Don’t Judge a Bread by Its Colour “Producers can add caramel color and other dyes to make white bread appear darker,” Berkowitz says. Flip to the ingredient list and look for the word “whole” before the first entry.

TIP #2

TIP #3

Watch Out for Seedy Behavior Some loaves come speckled with sesame seeds, oats, or flaxseed on the crust. “Think of these as garnish,” Berkowitz says. “There are not enough to make a nutritional impact.”

Treat Sprouts with Suspicion Sprouted grains have only slightly more protein, vitamins, and minerals. They also tend to have fewer additives and can be good options—but not solely because of the sprouting effect. CHEW ON THIS

WHAT TO LOOK FOR Local choice will vary, so check the labels. Here’s what you need to be aware of.



Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Its first ingredient is whole wheat flour, but sugar (3 grams a slice) and soy are also listed.

Dave’s Killer Bread Blues Bread This option’s whole grains are all organic, but so is the sugar, which comes in at 4 grams per slice.

Food for Life 7 Sprouted Grains Barley, rye, oats, corn, millet, brown rice, and whole wheat (all organic) fortify a slice for just 1 gram of sugar.

120 calories, 5g protein, 21g carbs (4g fibre)

80 calories, 4g protein, 15g carbs (3g fibre)

Per slice: 100 calories, 4g protein, 19g carbs (3g fibre)

88 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

How to Make It

In a wide, shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the next five ingredients. In a large nonstick skillet on medium high, melt the butter. Dunk the bread slices into the egg-milk mixture one at a time, flipping each slice to coat and pushing it down to soak up the liquid a bit. Transfer the slices to the skillet and cook till browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. While the French toast cooks, add the banana slices to the pan and sear them lightly on both sides. Serve the toast topped with bananas; add syrup if you want. Feeds 2

Food st yling: Victoria Granof/Cornelia Adams

What You’ll Need 2 eggs ½ cup whole milk 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp cinnamon Pinch of salt 3 Tbsp unsalted butter 4 thick slices day-old bread 1 banana, sliced

P h o t o g r a p h s b y M I T C H M A N D E L (t a g s)


A: “I’d recommend no more than four to six slices of whole wheat bread a day. So say you’re a 70 kg guy looking to maintain your weight. That means you can eat as much as 300 grams of carbohydrates a day. Your average piece of whole wheat bread has about 20 grams. Theoretically, you could eat as many as 12 slices a day, but we dietitians preach eating a variety of foods. So incorporate other grains into your diet, like oatmeal, brown rice, and ame a few.” few. quinoa, to name —Jim White, R.D.




Brioche “It’s a sweet dough enriched with butter that’s delicious when toasted,” says Richard Bertinet, the author of Dough. It also makes an awesome French toast. (Find the recipe on the previous page.) 2 FOR PIZZA




This Indian bread is not only great for dredging curries but also perfect for a quick pie. Slather with tomato sauce, top with mozzarella, and broil until the cheese is gooey and bubbly. 3 FOR ROAST BEEF

Ciabatta “The baker combines the flour, water, and yeast and waits 24 hours before adding the other ingredients to make the dough. This method yields a light, airy loaf after baking,” Bertinet says.

P h o t o g r a p h s b y M I TC H M A N D E L (t a g s) , st yling: Adam Heidebrink- Bruno


Sourdough “It has a crunchy caramel crust, but it’s soft, salty, sweet, and sour inside. I eat it with pretty much everything,” says Bertinet. Some suggestions: good cheddar, egg salad, a tomato slab.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 89


GETS You’d think a six-figure income would float your boat above all possible debt problems. But you’d be wrong, because even if you’re making good money, you could still be drowning. By Peter Flax

90 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

DID YOU LOSE TRACK OF THAT financial dream your parents had, the one you thought for sure you’d inherit? It’s still there, but now it’s buried under a huge pile of debt and debris caused by a tough economy, endless career stalls, a life on credit, and the rising cost of living. Then there’s that gorgeous six-figure loan your college gave you for graduation—the gift that keeps on taking because they want it back. The damage done by the past decade to American men across all income levels is shockingly broad and deep. Once, life on the edge meant dating an exchange student, listening to indie rock, and late nights out. Then came the economy meltdown of 2008, and suddenly the edge became

the fastest-growing neighborhood in the country. Consider a trio of recent surveys: When the Federal Reserve asked 5,695 Americans how they’d deal with an unexpected $400 expense—say, the cost of two new tyres for an SUV—46 percent said they couldn’t cover it without selling something or borrowing the money. And in a Bankrate survey, only 37 percent of Americans said they had enough savings to cope with an emergency costing $1,000. Even given a month to plan ahead, only 40 percent of people surveyed by the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) would be able to handle a $2,000 emergency. This is what the American middle class looks like when


it’s drowning in debt with no savings, no plan, going down with no way up. The edge is where many of us are living right now. If that picture is yours too, think of it as a major health warning, and worry—the same way you’d worry if you got winded after a tough table-tennis rally or if your belt disappeared under your belly every time you sat down. For eight motionless hours at a time. Whether you’re overweight or underfunded, the solution is the same: To make things better, things have to change. A lot. Like, now. Because if they don’t, tomorrow’s just going to be another stressful day. How, you might ask? We have a few ideas. 

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 91

Money stress can burn in a hole in your soul.

low-income people are feeling.” A MagnifyMoney spending survey released in early 2016, just after the holidays, found that 56 percent of respondents had less than $1,000 in their savings and checking accounts combined.

Remember, it’s only money. You always have your looks. Or your dog. The point: Intense, middle-of-the-night, cold-sweat money anxiety can kill. So you need to find a way to keep it in perspective. The American Psychological Association confirms that money concerns pose a significant source of stress in the lives of Americans. African Americans, Latinos, millennials, and Gen Xers feel it to a higher degree. Bad signs: “a loss

Put a warning sticker on your credit card. “My wife

Beware the true cost of college loans. Kenny is a 35-year-old attorney at a Midwest firm. He graduated law school four years ago with $161,000 in school loans and went right to work paying down his debt, starting at $300 a month, which was less than the interest. This year Kenny will earn over $110,000; with his wife’s salary as a nurse, his household income will top $160,000. His debt payments are now $1,500 a month, and he’s chipping away at a balance that grew to “only” $177,000. 92 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Save yourself. “It’s exhausting living on that bubble,” says Joshua, 43, a Texas educator. “I feel like I can never really put anything away for a rainy day because it’s always raining.” About one in three households have zero savings, according to a 2015 analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts. And if you do manage to keep your money in a bank, you’ll get the kind of interest usually associated with a colonoscopy story. The simple inability to save is a “really big” problem, says GFLEC’s academic director, Annamaria Lusardi, Ph.D. “It cuts across society, and it’s not something only

Create a Perfect Budget et Stick to it, cut expenses, reduce debt, and save.

At least once a month, tally up your income and spending, says Bruce McClary of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He uses pen and paper, but we like Buxfer ( You can create your own categories and set limits that will alert you when you’re overspending. 1

Don’t be “house poor.” If your home eats up more than 30 percent of what you earn, there’s not enough of a cushion for emergencies. This could derail you. Downsize. 2

Prioritise credit card debt. The “ladder method” saves you the most. Pay off the card with the highest interest rate regardless of balance; then move down the ladder of interest rates until everything’s paid. 3

Set up an emergency savings fund and aim to stockpile at least six months’ worth of income. This should be a bigger priority than paying off those lower-interest student loans (but still try to pay the minimum). Once you’ve saved your six-month cushion, attack those loans. Rework your budget until you’re saving at least 10 percent. 4

Find the fat. It usually hides in discretionary spending like concert tickets and dinners out. If you’re able to save money even after paying for those small luxuries, then don’t feel guilty. But if you’re using credit to buy your steak dinners and have no strategy to pay it down, you’ll eventually have some serious debt staring you in the face, McClary warns. 5

R a y m a n /G e t t y I m a g e s (o p e n i n g p a g e), C u l t u r a R F/G e t t y I m a g e s (c a s h); illustrations by R. KIKUO JOHNSON

and I talk about doing something about [debt] all the time. That’s the simple part,” says James, a 36-year-old manager from Texas. “But the problem is that it’s way too easy to grab a card out of my back pocket—and boom.” James and his wife together earn more than $150,000, but that’s not enough to support a mortgage, car and motorcycle loans, and $29,000 in credit card balances. The average household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt, according to a NerdWallet report.

“It’s an absolute joke,” he says. “When you’re paying a bill that large and the balance isn’t going down, it’s disheartening.” Still, your goal must be to pay more than the minimum, says Jean Chatzky, author of Money Rules. “When you do that, it decreases the principal balance. And that reduces the overall interest you pay, along with the repayment period.” Kenny isn’t alone: Americans are currently carrying an astonishing $1.23 trillion in student loans.

of personal control...depression [and] suicidal thoughts,” says Brad Klontz, Psy.D., a financial psychologist and the author of Mind Over Money. In fact, Klontz adds, financial stress can lead to depression, divorce, physical pain, and even sudden death. In other words, he says, financial stress “can quite literally kill you.” Even in the less dramatic cases, the human cost is high. Jonathan, a 25-year-old sales rep who lives in Connecticut, says money pressures have affected his relationship with his wife. “I personally believe it’s diminished our fun dramatically,” he says. “We’re in our 20s. We should be having fun every other day, but every time we look at our funds we’re

like, ‘crap.’ It weighs on us; it’s something we carry around.” It hits men who see themselves as providers especially hard. “That’s just how we’re wired,” Joshua says. “We’re supposed to make sure everything is taken care of. And when we can’t take care of it, stress levels go through the roof. It’s this vicious cycle that eats you up inside.”

The big plan starts here. If being broke were the same as being fat, you’d know the first step, the one where you admit you’ve got a problem. To start with, says Bruce McClary of the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling, “you need to be brave enough to take an honest look at your financial

situation and how you got there.” Ask yourself six questions:

What’s Your Financial Type? pe?

1. Do you know exactly how much money you spend and on what? 2. Do you respect your household budget? 3. Do you know, even roughly, how much you should spend on your housing and your car? 4. Do you have a commitment to reduce the amount of your debt? 5. Do you know which costs you can control? We’re talking food and entertainment and impulse buys. 6. Do you have a plan to bring this under control?

Read the statements and answer: strongly disagree (0), disagree (1), disagree a little (2), agree a little (3), agree (4), strongly agree (5).

A. People get rich by taking advantage of others. We can have love or money, but not both. Good people should not care about money.

B. More money will make me happier.


Money buys freedom. Money would solve all my problems.



Gross salary

My self-worth equals my net worth.



I won’t buy something (such as a car or a house) unless it’s new.
















Health care



Money should be saved, not spent.




Other (gifts, travel, charity)



Always look for the best deal, even if it takes more time.

Housing R ay m a n /G e t t y I m a g e s (o p e n i n g p a g e) C u l t u r a R F/G e t t y I m a g e s (c a s h);

Debt or saving Transportation

Clothing i S to c k p h o to /G e t t y I m a g e s (n o te p a d)




Monthly net



5 Total



Source: Bruce McClary, National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Money is power.


D. People should work for their money and not be given financial handouts.

THE CATEGORIES If you score more than 9 in any category, you likely exhibit that financial personality type. A. Avoider You believe money is inherently bad or that you don’t deserve to have it. You may even give away your money. Write a list of all the good things it can provide—like housing, food, and education. The more you recognize how money, used wisely, can improve your life, the less likely you’ll be to sabotage yourself. B. Worshipper You’re more likely to spend compulsively, hoard possessions, and put work ahead of family. Try to do two things each day that make you happy and cost nothing. Eat lunch outside. Call an old friend. It’ll remind you that money isn’t the best route to happiness. C. Status Seeker You’re at greater risk of overspending, gambling, becoming financially dependent on others, and hiding expenditures from your spouse. Cut up a credit card. The more often you pay cash, the less likely you’ll be to acquire debt. When you see something big that you want to buy, wait 24 hours and see if the urge passes. D. Vigilant You’re frugal. Congrats! But too much austerity can deprive you of the pleasures that money can provide. Buy something small for yourself. Maybe it’s just a fancy cut of meat or your favourite cake, or a new tie if you have a big meeting coming up. The point isn’t to waste money; it’s to give yourself permission to loosen up once in a while.

Source: Adapted from a test developed by financial psychologist Brad Klontz (see

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 93

These are simple questions—unless you’re hip deep in a debt swamp. “I don’t think my wife and I do a good job of budgeting or accounting for where our money goes during the month,” says Joshua. “If you asked me where all my money is going, I’d honestly have to say I often have no clue.”

Keep track. As a first step, monitor all your spending for a month. You want to know exactly how much you spend eating out, the real cost of dry cleaning and pet care, everything. Adam, a California-based manager in the entertainment industry who’s struggling to pay off his credit cards while dealing with rising housing costs, was shocked to discover how much his family spends on food. “We started tracking it on the Wells Fargo site, and I couldn’t believe we drop about $2,500 a month for groceries and in restaurants,” he says. Nearly every major bank or credit union offers quality online tools to help you track and categorise your spending; these are especially useful for people who often use cards for discretionary spending. Use what you learn to create a budget.

Yes, a budget. A budget is like a will or a retirement plan: It’s something all grownups know they should have...but don’t have. “Personal finance is about achieving objectives,” says Lusardi. “People need to determine what they want and build a plan to reach that. A budget is that plan. If you don’t have a budget, then you really don’t know how much you are spending.” There are tons of places to find a template for a budget—Google Docs has one, as do money management sites like Mint. Your bank probably offers a free budget tool too. So does your old man, as he’s told you a million times. Thing is, you won’t get anywhere without a map. A budget is your financial map.

Say no whenever you can. None of this is easy. It’s hard because it demands that you set and stick to limits. You’d like to hit the coffee shop multiple times a day without thinking about it; you want to buy the kids good clothes; you want to order up another movie channel or surprise your girlfriend with a sweet hotel getaway. You want the freedom to make choices on the fly. But if you’ve racked up debt and sometimes get pinged with bank fees, it’s time to assert your freedom to live a better life than that. Realise that your financial life is complicated. Many men, even those with advanced education and a good paycheque, don’t fully understand the implications and nuances of credit and savings and borrowing. 94 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

It’s like physics sometimes. Everything is connected. If you put something on a credit card today that’s not in your budget, you’re not only borrowing resources from your future but also negating any savings effort you might be currently making. “We’ve made it very easy to borrow, and now people are relying on credit and borrowing to deal with shocks,” says Lusardi. “But the problem is that borrowing provides liquidity but not insurance. If you don’t save, that credit will become most expensive when you most need it.”

Keep this simple. Just remember that the more you borrow and charge, the more fragile you become; the point is that saving today is a lot cheaper than charging tomorrow. If you really don’t get this stuff, don’t feel bad about yourself—just use it as motivation to educate yourself. Joshua did just that and wound up cutting up his credit cards. It’s a decision he rarely regrets. (“Except when I rent a car. Then it’s a pain in the ass.”) Now he’s able to direct more money toward his existing debt. “I feel like I’m on the downhill portion of fighting this battle, and eventually I’m going to get to the point where I can get ahead,” he says. “I only have six and a half years to go on my mortgage, and I like to think I’ll get a $2,000a-month raise when I pay off that house.” Stephen, 33, a U.S. government employee married to a nurse, makes about $110,000 and has made an uneasy peace with the idea that spontaneous, pricey weekend getaways will be hard to come by for the foreseeable future. “It can feel discouraging sometimes,” says Stephen, who’s saddled with student loans and high day-care costs. “But then I remind myself that something we enjoy for a day or two could take years to pay for.” Save your sanity. Are money worries driving you crazy? You probably know which costs you’d have to cut to make the whole thing fly. So what’s stopping you? According to Klontz, the financial psychologist, your emotions and your subconscious beliefs are probably holding you back. “Everybody knows better; I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t know they need to save for the future and not spend more money than they make,” says Klontz. “And yet these problems persist. It’s not like financial education is going to fix the problem. This is where the psychology comes into play. Many people have thoughts about money that keep tripping them up.” Take James, the manager in Texas. He’s quick to admit he’s an impulsive spender, especially when it comes to his leisure time and his kids. Trips to the mall for new boots

for his daughters or Saturday night dinners have a way of veering toward extravagance. “I have trouble limiting myself.” But why? For many big spenders, says Olivia Mellan, a psychotherapist and the author of Money Harmony, “having to say no makes them feel intensely deprived.” In James’s case, when he’s asked to analyse his own spending habits, the conversation immediately turns to his childhood. “I grew up with divorced parents, and we didn’t get things,” he says. “Well, now when it comes to my girls, I like going into the store with them and letting them shop and find things and get excited, because I didn’t get to do that when I was a kid.”

Lose the shame. Without boundaries, this behaviour can lead to financial distress, obviously—and to a cascade of emotional issues that are critical to recognise and address. “There’s a tremendous amount of shame associated with money,” says Klontz. “And shame is an emotional glue trap; it wears you down, and you get really secretive and depressed. Some people are hiding this even from their spouses.” Jonathan has been down that road. In the past, he’s submitted his expense reports and been reimbursed—and then spent that money instead of paying off the credit card he used in the first place. Now his debt is in the thousands. (“It’s ballooned into another car,” he moans.) What’s more, he still hasn’t told his partner about it, even though they’re otherwise transparent about their finances. “I feel like I need to protect her, and I shield her from certain things,” he says. “But it eventually is going to come up. I know that.” When asked to describe his feelings about the situation, Jonathan immediately offers a one-word reply: “Regret.” To avoid this, Klontz recommends that you identify and then tackle the beliefs that trigger spending or block you from following through with budgetlike restraint. It’s an approach familiar to those trying to break addiction. “It’s incredible when people figure it out and get to it,” says Klontz. Joshua, meanwhile, is still struggling to get out of the woods, but already he can testify to the benefits of tackling the underlying issues. “For a long time, I attached my self-worth to how far I was traveling on vacation with my wife or what schools my kids attended or what kind of car I was driving,” he says. “That’s how I ended up being trounced by debt. Once I was able to get past that, it made my life so much easier. It made it so much easier to make adjustments to get my life right side up.”  October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 95


96 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Prepare to meet some of the billions of microbes that live in your gut (left), on your feet (right), under your arms, and even inside your belly button. But try to resist the urge to disinfect; these are the good guys in your everyday battle to fend off invaders and stay healthy.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 97

There’s a party going on in your gut. Right now, billions of microbes are enjoying one big belly dance, working together to extract nutrients from food and crowd out the uninvited guests. This gut “microbiome” has been big news lately, with plenty of probiotic foods and supplements claiming to keep the party going, which benefits health. But here’s even bigger news: Microbiomes can be found all over your body—armpits, mouth, nose, toes, and more. Collectively they can weigh 2.5 kg in a 90 kg adult—about twice the weight of your brain. “We had people swab their belly buttons,” says Rob Dunn, Ph.D., a biologist at North Carolina State University, “and found thousands of different species of beneficial microbes in there.” Microbiomes like this are thriving societies that we need for life. “We rely on them,” says Dunn, “but unfortunately our lifestyles are causing some of these species to disappear. Their loss has been linked to conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, MS, asthma, and Alzheimer’s. New discoveries about these links are ushering in a new phase of public health. Here’s a scarier way to view it: “You have at least a thousand species of good microbes on you now,” says Dunn, “which means there are at least a thousand different ways for you to get sick in new and chronic ways if you harm them.” Got your attention? Good. Let’s meet these creatures via photography done under an electron microscope. With Dunn as our guide, let’s hunt down your wild things.


Intestinal Microorganisms

SmellyFeet Bacteria



This is what the party in your gut looks like. So far, thousands of bacteria species have been found, most in the large intestine (colon). They’re highly specialised. “Some digest difficult foods, like the fibre in broccoli, with enzymes that act as microscopic knives,” says Dunn. Others help strengthen the intestinal lining. Still others may hold the keys to weight gain and mood disorders. They’re so vital that your body produces a compound that helps them clump together so they’re not easily excreted. Despite its apparent ferocity, this microbiome is delicate. And it’s built shortly after birth, so we must protect it. “Antibiotics kill the good and bad,” he says, “and you may never fully recolonise the good ones.”

These tiny yellow dandies are called Staphylococcus, and they play a starring role in the microbiome on your feet. Back when your ancestors roamed the forest shoeless, their odds of developing foot infections were high. Dunn thinks these microbes helped keep your forebears alive by producing compounds that kill fungi. Now their valiant role has been reduced to mostly protecting you in lockerroom showers. Your feet sweat out as much as a cup of water a day. “We used to think that helped cool the body,” says Dunn, “but I believe it was to favor microbes like these. Being inside shoes and socks is a whole different environment for them, so mostly they now just make your feet stinky.”

98 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

E. Coli Bacteria

We think of these bacteria as pathogens. But they’re in your gut right now, where they’re working happily with the rest of your microbiome to keep you healthy. The photo above shows them as blue capsules at low density in the colon, which is fine, says Dunn. It’s only when an E. coli species that’s new to your system or has special pathogenic genes is introduced that you can get sick and even die. “What is good and what is bad is a complex question in your body’s ecosystem,” explains Dunn. “What you want is moderation with your microbes; you want to figure out how to keep new things out while being okay with what you already have.”

Belly Button Bacteria and Fungi Spores The type of navel warfare shown here is representative of what’s happening everywhere on your skin. “You wear a cloak of beneficial microbes,” says Dunn, and it has two main jobs. It protects you from pathogens (imagine a flu virus landing in the middle of this; it wouldn’t stand a chance), and it helps create your personal odors, good and bad—your “eau de you.” “Glands all over your body feed these microbes with secretions,” says Dunn. “The belly button even has specialized glands that seem to nourish the ones in there. They’re like your body’s bird feeders.” These microbes then produce waste that goes off into the air, influencing the way mosquitoes (and people) are either drawn to you or repelled by you. Ironically, if you removed this cloak you would die, but that’s precisely what we’re doing with antimicrobial lotions and wipes or even antiperspirants, says Dunn. He advocates plain old soap and water, and skipping the pit stick on your days off.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 99

Mouth and Tongue Microbes These confetti-like strands are some of the millions of microbes that live on your tongue and mouth lining (seen here in dark red). When they’re working to benefit you, they help break down food and subdue pathogens. But your diet can make their job harder. “Hunter-gatherer mouth microbes were quite different from agricultural mouth microbes,” Dunn says. “Once we started eating sugar, our entire oral biome changed, resulting in the onset of cavities and periodontal disease. And the more sugar we eat, the more we alter the microbial battlefield.” Toothpastes and mouthwashes may also change the overall balance.

100 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


A Single Microbe Reproducing

As if hosting billions of bacterial microbes weren’t enough, these like you too.

This microscopic creature belongs to a larger group of bacteria, some of which are beneficial and others of which cause ear infections and deadly pneumonia. The image showcases a process that occurs hundreds of millions of times a day in your mouth and gut—a microbe dividing to become the next generation of itself. “This microbe is also found in some cheeses,” says Dunn. “In fact, many microbes used to make foods like kimchi and sourdough bread were outsourced human body microbes. Eating foods like these that are ‘alive’ can help recolonise your gut with good microbes.”

DEMODEX MITE Several of these are living in every one of your follicles. They’re geographically distinct, so mites on people in China differ from those in Europe. Dunn and his colleagues have studied them for years but don’t know much about them, other than that they’re fed by the follicle and, because they lack an anus, pop when full.

HOOKWORM About half of people worldwide will host an intestinal worm at some point in their lifetime. This monster siphons its food and can harm its host. But despite its evil look, it can be beneficial. “Some autoimmune conditions seem to be connected to the loss of these worms,” says Dunn. “In fact, some people are taking them as medicine.”

Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria

These golden threads are H. pylori, a species of bacteria living in most people’s stomach lining (a piece of which is shown here). Blame these for peptic ulcers and some stomach cancers. But here’s the thing: They’re not inherently evil. In fact, when viewed as part of the entirety of the gut microbiome, they’re important team players. For example, they help regulate stomach acid, thereby reducing acid reflux and the risk of esophageal cancer. They may also, in some as-yet-undetermined way, battle asthma and allergies. “So once again we have this balance,” says Dunn. “Upset it, and even good friends like these can turn on you.”

FUR MITE “One theory of why we don’t have hair all over our bodies is because critters like these once clung to us and transmitted pathogens,” Dunn says. So your nakedness is a result of fur mites past. “We don’t like thinking of things living on us,” he adds. “Yet they do. Your body is like a habitat, the Serengeti of your back hair.” October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 101

It’s one of the most important facets of strength training, a crucial component in any functional physique. But chances are you aren’t training it. Gentlemen, it’s time to . . .


The 102 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016



Rock Climber





Arm Wrestler

October 2016 | MEN’ MEN’S HEALTH 103

I’D NEVER REALISED IT WAS POSSIBLE TO GET DOMS IN YOUR HANDS. But a day after my first serious grip session, as I sat at my desk and tapped at my keyboard, I found my hands racked by a grinding ache that settled in the triangles of flesh beside my thumbs and radiated across my knuckles and down into the pad of muscle beneath my pinkies. It was an ache that felt familiar and yet foreign at the same time. Sure, I’d felt this in my glutes, my quads, my chest. But my hands? It all started a few months earlier on the tennis court. Every Friday lunch, a colleague and I will head down and hit for an hour or so. It’s a casual affair; we don’t keep score. Once we’ve both worked up a sweat, we’ll gather the scattered pills then meet at the net for a handshake. And every time he’ll get me. His purchase will be a little firmer, a little surer. My knuckles will buckle, my fingers will strain. And no matter how many forehand winners I’ve driven down the line, I’ll slink back to my desk with the bitter taste of defeat in my mouth. It’s a weekly indignity that got me thinking: why had I never – not once – made a concerted effort to strengthen my grip? Why had I ignored those ropes of muscle

that curl around the elbow joint and run down the forearm? Why had I neglected those flexors and extensors that pass through the wrists and fan into the fingers and thumbs? Vanity most likely. Hell, when has a woman ever admired the musculature of your thumbs? But from a utility perspective, these muscles are crucial. As PT and strength mechanics expert Paul Bersagel points out, the hands are invariably the first point of contact between you and an object – be it a barbell, a sparring partner or a stubborn twist top. “Your hands are like the tyres between the road and the car,” he says. “If you get good contact and initiation there, everything else will function at a higher level.” Indeed, the force you apply with your hands doesn’t just empty on to an external object – it also ripples back up your arms and into your shoulders. “There’s a lot of research that shows grip strength has a direct correlation with rotator cuff strength,” says Bersagel. “And strong rotator cuffs, of course, keep your shoulder in a stable position.” For this reason, Bersagel contends that if you’re doing any weighted movement –

from bench press to deadlifts – it’s vital that you actively engage your grip to stabilise your shoulders, providing a concrete platform for the big prime movers in the chest, back and legs to do their thing. But the significance of a firm grip extends well beyond the gym. An exhaustive 2015 study published in the Lancet measured grip strength in 140,000 adults in 17 countries. The researchers then followed the subjects’ health over a four-year period. The results: every five-kilogram decrease in grip strength was linked to a 16 per cent higher risk of dying from any cause, a 17 per cent higher risk of dying from heart disease, a nine per cent higher risk of stroke and a seven per cent higher risk of heart attack. The conclusion: grip strength is a peerless marker of your biological age. The stronger your grip, the biologically younger your body; the weaker your grip, the more decrepit your carcass. Armed with this knowledge, I made a booking at my local gym to test my grip strength on a dynamometer – a curious implement that measures the amount of force a closing hand can apply. My results – 56 kilograms on my right hand, 52 on my left – placed me at the upper end of average for a man aged 30-39. Not bad. But filling the bell curve isn’t optimal, especially with the fragility of my handshake being brutally exposed on the tennis court each week.

RUSH OF CRUSH Mention grip strength to most gym-goers and the image that springs to mind is cranking out innumerable reps on a rusty gripper that you happened to find in your old man’s garage. But according to Chad McMurren, former natural bodybuilding champion and owner of the Grip and Lift store in Adelaide, “getting a $2 gripper and squeezing it mindlessly for hours on end doesn’t do a whole lot for your grip. The fastest way to increase your grip strength is to chase a one-rep max using grippers which have specific poundages.” With increments ranging from 63.5kg for a Number 1 gripper, to an immovable 165.5kg for a Number 4, Captains of Crush grippers are the gold standard in grip training g and competition. Follow this workout from McMurren to build a knuckle-crushing grip.

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EQUIPMENT This workoutt requires require three grippers: a warm-up gripper gripp (which allows ows you to do 10 reps rep easily), a working gripper (which h allows you to 5-7 reps)) and a goal gripper (which hich you can’t quite uite close).

DIRECTIONS ►Warm-up gripper 2 x 10 reps (your effort level should be low) ►Working gripper 3 x 5-7 reps (if you yo can go higher than this rep range, you need to move up a gripper) ► Goal gripper ►Goal 3 x 1 rep (close the gripp gripper as far as you can, then hold this posit position for 3-5 seconds) ► Warm-up gripper ►Warm-up g 1 x 10 reps (focus on o maintaining perfect form)




SHAKING BEN SIMPSON’S hand is an unsettling experience. My knuckles are engulfed. My fingers don’t even reach around the sides. Fortunately, Simpson’s a genial bloke who doesn’t go in for dickswinging shows of strength, but the latent power his right hand radiates is both stunning and slightly terrifying. For Simpson, Australia’s premier strongman, an unshakeable grip is the keystone to his physical dynamism. “You can be as strong as you want in your legs and your back,” he says, “but if you

can’t hold on to the weight when you’re doing a farmer’s walk or a frame carry or a Hercules hold, you’re stuffed.” It’s a truth that applies to those who don’t hoist 130kg Atlas stones for fun. “I say to my clients all the time: what’s the point of being really strong if you can’t apply that force with your hands?” says Simpson, who also works as a PT. “In real life, it’s your hands that are invariably in contact with the thing you’re trying to lift or move. Whether you’re playing a sport or picking up something heavy in the garage, you need strong hands.” For this reason, Simpson shakes his head in bafflement when he sees guys at the local gym using straps for everything from deadlifts to chin-ups. Tossing away straps, he

contends, is the simplest and most effective way to shuffle grip work into your session. When Simpson knuckles down for a deadlift session, for example, he’ll go with a strapless doubleoverhand grip for every set until he starts pushing close to his 360kg 1RM. At that point he might switch to a mixed grip. Only when pushing for a new PB will he strap up. If strapless deadlifts provide quality incidental grip training, the farmer’s walk is the exercise Simpson typically employs to narrow the focus to his hands and forearms. “Farmer’s walks are the absolute best thing that you can do for your grip,” he says. “Every time you take a step, the weight bounces up and down inside your hand, so if you can hold a heavy farmer’s walk, that’ll improve your grip massively.” And for Simpson, heavy means heavy. A standard farmer’s walk session will see him clutching 170kg in each hand and shuffling 15 metres at top speed, a set he’ll repeat 3-5 times. A “light” session, meanwhile, might involve 140kg in each hand carried for 30m (see “Hold Tight”, right). In this way, Simpson has built a pair of hands that wouldn’t look out of place on a mountain gorilla. He holds them up and stares at them appreciatively. “They’ve gotten a hell of a lot bigger,” he says. “Looks like I’ve got sausages for fingers now.”


HOLD TIGHT Each Friday, Simpson will typically do a strongman-specific grip session. Follow his lead to build your own pair of insanely strong hands FARMER’S WALK Choose two dumbbells whose combined weight is at least 75 per cent of your body weight. Hold the dumbbells at your side and, keeping your stride short, walk 30m. Rest for two minutes; repeat 3-5 times.

STATIC HOLD Using the same dumbbells, hold them at your side for as long as possible without moving. Rest for two minutes; repeat 2-3 times. TIP Vary the numbers depending on your goals. Want to build strength? Do the above workout with dumbbells whose combined weight equals your body weight and walk 15m for the farmer’s walk. Want to hone endurance? Use dumbbells whose combined weight is 50 per cent of your body weight and walk 100m.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 105

HANG TOUGH “Repeaters”, says Kassay, are a common climbingfocused workout that not only build finger strength but also finger endurance – key components to nailing a difficult climb. Get ready for the burn 15°



Rock Climber

IF STRONGMAN training is all about gripping a weighted barbell, then rock climbing presents a more diverse challenge, with holds varying from capacious “jugs”, which can easily swallow an entire hand, to minute “crimps”, which struggle to accommodate a single trembling fingertip. For James Kassay, this variety is the seam of gold in the sport. “I love the challenge of climbing,” he says. “It’s obviously very physical, but it’s also very mental. Every time you pull on the wall you’re problem solving.” The 31-year-old Kassay has been scaling walls since his tenth birthday, when his parents signed him into the kids club at a local climbing gym. “They ran a few little competitions during that first session and I won everything,” he says. “I came home with a bottle of Coke, a chocolate bar and a chalk bag. I was hooked.” Since then, Kassay has notched more national titles than he can count, representing Australia over 30 times in World 106 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016

Cup events around the globe. He’s also opened his own climbing gym, Bayside Rock, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Kassay’s hands may not possess the stunning heft of Simpson’s, but they’re still arrestingly large, sporting a thumb-to-pinkie span of 23.5 centimetres – impressive given he stands only 174cm tall. Little wonder, given the innumerable hours he’s spent clinging to impossibly small holds on vertiginous walls. “Climbing’s all about power-to-weight ratio,” he says. “Once you’re on the wall you’ve got four points of contact: your feet and your hands. Now, your feet are obviously just resting on the holds, so your hands are doing everything else. Being able to grip the holds – what we call ‘contact strength’ – is the thing that separates a really good climber from an average climber.” For Kassay, the key to building this “contact strength” isn’t clinging to loaded dumbbells or closing weighted grippers – it’s

using his body weight to stress his fingers, whether that’s on a wall or a hang board (see “Hang Tough”, right). “Grip exercises tend to close the hand,” he says, “which builds strength in the forearms. But climbers want to build strength in the tips of our fingers because most climbing grips require an open hand position. So when you’re on a wall or a hang board, you want your main point of contact to be your fingertips. This stresses the fingers, building up your strength.” It’s a style of training that’s not without risk – climbers occasionally rupture the pulleys in their fingers, an injury that can consign them to horizontal surfaces for up to six months – but it builds fantastic strength through the fingers. “Everyone says I’ve got big hands,” says Kassay. “And I like a firm handshake. If someone wasn’t ready I could cause a bit of damage . . . ” He smiles: “But I’m a pretty nice guy.”

DIRECTIONS Choose a crimp that allows a solid hold. While climbers will typically use a hang board, you can use a solid doorframe or a chin-up bar. SET 1 Hang straight-armed for seven seconds, then rest for three seconds. Repeat six times; have a two-minute rest. SET 2 Repeat this sequence with your arms locked at 15°. Have a two-minute break. SET 3 Repeat this sequence with your arms locked at 45°. Have a two-minute break. SET 4 Repeat this sequence with your arms locked at 90°. Have a two-minute break.





Arm Wrestler The

IT IS, PERHAPS, not overly surprising that Andrew Lea got into the sport of arm wrestling via a bucks party. Each Wednesday night, he and two mates – both of them bouncers by trade – would meet in a garage and do MMA sparring. The weekly ritual was broken when one of the bouncers got engaged and decided he wanted arm-wrestling at his bucks night. “So we bought an arm wrestling table and started smashing one another,” says Lea. “Two of us caught the bug – and it is a bug; it’s like a disease. The other one couldn’t handle the pain. He dropped off and we haven’t seen him since.” These days, Lea is both the vice-captain of the Australian arm wrestling team and treasurer and

vice-president of the Australian Arm Wrestling Federation. Probe him on why he loves the sport and his words come in a torrent: “There’s technique and there’s strength, and it’s how those two interact that determines whether you’re a good arm wrestler . . . ” There are, he explains, two basic moves in arm wrestling – the inside and the outside move. If you think you’ve got a stronger arm than your opponent, you hook your hand in and pull him towards you. If you think your opponent has a stronger arm, you bend his wrist back with a move known as the “top roll” and push him away from you. “Throw the element of speed in there – who can get to their move fastest – and that’s basically arm wrestling,” he says.

While urban myth dictates that arm wrestling’s all about soaring testosterone and bulging biceps, it is, in fact, a technical pursuit that demands profound wrist strength. “When I started arm wrestling,” says Lea, “I’d been lifting weights for 20 years, so I was gym strong. But my hands and my wrists weren’t strong. So my technique was to try and put it on the biceps. But guys would take a look at me and flop my hand backwards. I was getting smashed the whole time.” It was only through a dedicated program of wrist strengthening that Lea was able to build the strength where it counted. His gym work now centres around three seminal arm wrestling movements – cupping, rotating and rising (see “Wrist Management”, below). These three movements form the basis for the inside and outside moves, so he trains each independently, hunched over weighted ropes while around him blokes punch out squats, biceps curls and bench presses. He laughs: “I look pretty weird and wonderful at the gym. I mean, on Saturdays I train my thumbs. People laugh when I tell ’em: what do you mean you train your thumbs? But the bigger your thumb is, the harder it is to get around your hand in armwrestling.” And how exactly does he train his thumbs? “I hold a

7.8kg shot put for time. You’ll find your thumb does a lot of work because it’s counteracting the four other fingers. It’s a hell of a workout. You hold that for a minute and a half and when you let go you won’t be able to close your fingers because they’ll be locked out with this weird kind of cramping pain.”

The Results After a month of thrice-weekly grip sessions – ranging from farmer’s walks to fingertip holds – I become intimately acquainted with the “weird kind of cramping pain” Lea speaks of. It’s not pleasant. In fact, it’s downright torturous. A pyrotechnic pain that feels as if I’m doing untold damage to the pulleys in my fingers. Perhaps this is why grip work is such an ignored facet of strength training? Body-weight holds with my fingertips crimped on the edge of a wooden beam bring on a scalding burn in the back of my hand I find difficult to describe. But the results are startling. A second crack at the dynamometer a month later reveals my right hand can now exert 72kg of force, my left 65 – both marks significantly above average for a man in my age bracket. And on the tennis court? I lock on with a vicelike grip that leaves the bastard wide eyed and quivering like a hooked fish. Job done. 


According to Lea, arm wrestling’s got little to do with oversized biceps and everything to do with a cast-iron wrist. Use these three moves to pulverise any opponent DIRECTIONS Do three sets of 10-12 reps for each movement, resting for two minutes between sets.

RISING Hold your arm at your side, elbow bent at 90°, palm facing in. Make a fist and drape a weighted rope over your fingers between your knuckles. Raise the weight by slightly lifting your forearm and cocking your wrist.

ROTATION Hold your arm at your side, your elbow bent at 90°, palm facing up. Drape a weighted rope over your hand or the knuckle of your thumb and make a fist. Rotate your wrist so your palm faces towards you at the top of the movement.

CUPPING Put a fat grip on a pulley machine handle and set the pulley at chest level. Grab the pulley with your elbow bent at 90° (an arm wrestling position). Cup the pulley straight back towards your forearm.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 107

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“There are no shortcuts. You have to work hard for what you want.”

The Workouts

Lazar Angleov

P. 110

The Fast Track to a Six-Pack Build the best body of your life with this four-week fat-melting fitness plan. P. 113

Build NFL Strength and Muscle This body-weight routine forges a prime-time body and never-quit fitness. October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 109

The Workouts

The Fast Track to a Six-Pack In this program you’ll work out 5 days a week. On days 1, 3, and 5, you’ll lift. Here’s how: In the first exercise, you’ll “autoregulate” your sets. Afterward you’ll complete two different circuits. See “How to Do It” on page 112 for detailed instructions. You can follow this program for anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks.

2 Dumbbell Alternating Low-Incline Bench Press

Lie on your back and hold a barbell above your chest with your arms straight and knees bent. Lower the barbell until your upper arms touch the floor. Pause and press the weight back up to the starting position. If you don’t want to lie on the floor, do a regular bench press.

Lie faceup on an incline bench set to a low angle. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and palms facing forward. Slowly lower your right arm to the side of your chest while keeping your left arm extended above your body. Press back up with your right arm, lower your left arm, and return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.

3 Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

4 Lat Pulldown

Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length in front of your thighs. Without rounding your lower back, bend at your hips and lower your torso toward the floor. Pause and return to the starting position.

Attach a lat pulldown handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Grab the handle and sit in front of the weight stack. Slowly pull the handle to your chest. Pause and slowly reverse the move.

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G r o o m i n g (e x e r c i s e s): G i n a K a y / Tr u e B e a u t y M a r k s; i n s e t p h o t o g r a p h b y R U DY A R C H U L E TA , g r o o m i n g : U n w a n a R o s e / W i d e E y e d B e a u t y

1 Barbell Floor Press

5 Chinup

6 Suitcase Carry

7 Dumbbell Front Squat

Hang at arm’s length from a chinup bar using an underhand, shoulder-width grip. This is the starting position. Pull your chest to the bar as fast as you can, pause, and take 2 seconds to lower yourself to the starting position.

Grab a heavy dumbbell, hold it at your side, and walk. Keep your torso straight throughout. Walk 100 feet; then switch sides and walk the 100 feet back.

Hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing inward, upper arms perpendicular to the floor. Push your hips back and lower your body into a squat; then push back up.

8 Standing Single-Arm Kettlebell Push

9 Deadlift

Stand holding a kettlebell in your right hand with your arm bent, the kettlebell just outside your right shoulder. Extend your left hand out to the side. Press the weight overhead until your arm is straight; then lower it to the starting position. (You can use a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell.) Do all your reps; then switch hands and repeat. Don’t rest between sides.

Bend at your hips and knees and grab a barbell using an overhand grip, your arms just outside your legs. Now stand up, pulling the bar off the floor and thrusting your hips forward. Lower it back to the floor.

October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 111

10 Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

11 High-Knee Stepup

12 Kettlebell Pullover

Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and place your right hand and right knee on a flat bench. Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbell hang at arm’s length from your shoulder. Pull the dumbbell to the side of your chest. Pause and return to the start. Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and place your left foot on a bench or step. Press through your left heel and slowly lift yourself onto the bench as you raise your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Take 2 seconds to lower your right foot back to the floor. Do all your reps, switch legs, and repeat.

Lie on your back, holding a kettlebell by its horns above your chest with your arms straight. Bring your hips and knees to 90 degrees and feet together. Take in a big breath. As you breathe out, slowly lower the kettlebell directly behind your head, keeping your lower back on the floor. Pause; then breathe in as you pull it back up.

How to Do It On your strength training days (1, 3, and 5), start with the Primary Exercise. Each Primary Exercise is done using “autoregulation” sets; that is, you’ll do anywhere from 3 to 6 sets, depending on your form. If your form breaks down on, say, set 4, you’re done for that day. Some days you’ll be able to crank out 6 sets; others just 3. This method gives you a perfect muscle-building dose. Afterward, do the circuits: Perform the listed exercises in order and for the prescribed number of reps. The workout is over after you complete your circuits. Trainer: Bill Hartman, co-owner, IFAST in Indianapolis Good for: Getting ripped

112 MEN’S HEALTH | October 2016


PRIMARY EXERCISE 1 Sets: 3 to 6 Reps: 4, using a weight you can lift 6 times Rest: 2 to 3 minutes between sets



Exercises: 2, 3, 4 Reps: 6 to 8 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: as many as you can until your form fails

Exercises: 6, 12 Reps: 8 to 10 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: 2


CARDIO: 45 to 60 minutes at a conversational pace


PRIMARY EXERCISE 5 Sets: 3 to 6 Reps: 4, using a weight you can lift 6 times Rest: 2 to 3 minutes between sets



Exercises: 4, 7, 8 Reps: 6 to 8 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: as many as you can until your form fails

Exercises: 6, 12 Reps: 8 to 10 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: 2


CARDIO: 45 to 60 minutes at a conversational pace


PRIMARY EXERCISE 9 Sets: 3 to 6 Reps: 4, using a weight you can lift 6 times Rest: 2 to 3 minutes between sets



Exercises: 10, 2, 11 Reps: 6 to 8 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: as many as you can until your form fails

Exercises: 6, 12 Reps: 8 to 10 each Rest: 75 seconds Rounds: 2

G r o o m i n g : G i n a K a y / Tr u e B e a u t y M a r k s ( e x e r c i s e s ) ; i n s e t p h o t o g r a p h b y P E T E R YA N G ,

The Workouts

Build NFL Strength and Muscle

G r o o m i n g : G i n a K a y / Tr u e B e a u t y M a r k s ( e x e r c i s e s ) ; i n s e t p h o t o g r a p h b y P E T E R YA N G , st y ling: Sandra N ygard , hair: Vanessa Schmi t z, makeup: Jamie S vay/M ar il yn A gency; Nike shor ts and cleats

All-pro tight end Greg Olsen and the Carolina Panthers do this workout to speed their recovery after a game and to build functional strength and endurance for the next one. DIRECTIONS Perform the exercises as a circuit. Start with the first exercise and do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds and immediately move on to the next exercise and repeat the pattern. Once you’ve done all the exercises once, rest 60 seconds. That’s 1 round. Do 4.

1 Box Jump

2 Reverse Lunge to Stepup

Stand facing a box and assume a quarter squat; then jump up. Land softly on the box with bent knees. Step down and repeat. Pro Tip Start with a 24-inch-high box.

Stand facing a bench (or box). Step back with your right leg and lower your right knee until it nearly touches the floor. Pause, push back to the starting position, and immediately place your right foot on the bench and step up onto it. Return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Pro Tip Squeeze your glutes and lift your left knee at the top of the stepup.

3 Elevated Pushup

4 Lateral Lunge

5 Pullup

Assume a pushup position but with your feet elevated on a bench (or box). Keep your arms straight and hands below and slightly past your shoulders. Bend at the elbows as you lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, and push yourself back up. Pro Tip If you can’t do quality reps for 30 seconds, switch to a regular or kneeling pushup.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your right knee. Return to the start and repeat, this time to your right. Pro Tip Drop your hips as low as you can.

Hang at arm’s length from a pullup bar using an overhand grip. Pull your chest up to the bar. Lower yourself to the starting position and repeat. Pro Tip If you can’t do quality reps throughout, switch to a lat pulldown.

Trainer: Brett Nenaber, athletic performance analyst, Carolina Panthers October 2016 | MEN’S HEALTH 113

The List Things Every Globetrotter Fan should know




he Harlem Globetrotters are set to return to the UAE on October 28 with another star-studded, action packed family show. The Globetrotters are celebrating their 90th year and have, since 1926, thrilled crowds with their superhuman court skills and abilities to effortless sink baskets from almost anywhere on the court. We spoke to Kris Hi-Lite Bruton – currently in his 15th season with the Globetrotters, having served two years with former NBA champions the Chicago Bulls in 1994-95 at the height of their fame - about what it means to be a member of the world’s most famous basketball team. Ninety years for the team is quite a history. Does the responsibility weigh heavily? “Growing up, basketball as my heart and soul; I wanted to play basketball, I wanted to be a professional athlete, I was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and later, being selected by the Harlem Globetrotters, that was an even bigger thrill for me. I’ve never been able to travel the world as much as I have while participating with the Globetrotters, I’ve never had so many friends - I have friends all over the world now, and we’ve played in front of millions of fans. Just being part

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of the most famous basketball team in the world, a team that has been around for 90 years, is a huge thrill. It’s also great for parents who can now get to see their children experience the Globetrotters like they did. Does NBA dial out the fun? Not at all. The guys still have fun, but that’s the part the fans don’t get to see. Behind the scenes, we’re the same kinds of people that the Globetrotters display on the court, but it’s a different environment. It’s almost like UFC and WWE; you can go from one to the other because they’re both athletic sports - but in one, it’s a lot more fun and the other is a little dialled back - but it’s the same athlete, the same person. That’s what makes the Globetrotters special: you get to see our personalities, and we still play basketball at a high level. You and your teammates seem very close. We are, and I think that comes from having the same goals. We’re driven to make that 10-year-old kid really get excited about the game: to see the awe in his face, and see his parents get a kick out of it too. That’s what we’re all about: we’re all about family. You can go to the park and see some amazing dunks, but it takes a special individual to bring families together and have a good time.

Name: Kris Hi-Lite Bruton Height: 6’ 7” Years in team: 15 Hometown: Greer, SC

Do you get inspiration from your teammates? Of course. Every night. Playing with the Globetrotters is just like any other job: you have your aches and pains but you always go out and do your best. You forget it all out on the floor, especially when the team is playing well, or one guy is hot: he’s not missing. That’s motivation for me because I want to top that and do something special. What can the Dubai audience expect when you return? We have some of the greatest athletes in the world - I mean, phenomenal athletes. Everything from the high-flying dunks to the four-point shots [35 feet from the basket]. The fans are going to see some trick shots; they love that - so they’re going to see us shooting from the stands and making so really long shots. We have a couple of guys who hold world records from doing those trick shots. It’s a family oriented fun show, so when you come to one of our shows, you get everything you want; great basketball for the fanatics, and a lot of fun for the kids and parents. We make it a lot of fun. How has social media changed things? Back when I was younger, it was very unusual to see

the Globetrotters or interact with them - but now you have Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets that make it easier for them to interact with the team. I think that’s a good thing; it’s great to get that kind of feedback from fans, and I think it’s great that players are able to write back and keeping touch. It’s so important, and I think that’s the real value for the team those long term friendships. Who were your heroes? Growing up, watching players like Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal - they’re both from North Carolina and I’m from South Carolina, those are the guys I looked up to. We’d see them on TV on the Wide World of Sports and know that they lived just a mile or so up the road. We knew it was possible to make it as world class player, and there was no separation in my eyes at least, between being an NBA player or a Globetrotter. Either way, you’re playing world class basketball for a professional organisation. It must be difficult to name a favourite place to play. It’s always great to play in front of my home town, the city where I was raised, because you’re surrounded by family and friends. Other than that, wherever that ball bounces, I’m going to have a great time and it’s just fun to be there.

Ticket prices start at AED75. See for details

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