Wednesday, 19 May 2010
The summer is coming and beaches will be full of topless men; the fat, the flat, the toned and the mind bogglingly ripped guy who has just ruined your life. So why is there this craze about the perfect body? And what can be done about it?
The answer to the first question is probably not well known; Mark Wahlberg. If that name drop still leaves you lost do not fear, I shall explain.
Mark Wahlberg is known mostly for his acting career, with roles in: Boogie Nights, Planet of the Apes, The Italian Job, Max Payne and The Lovely Bones. Now none of these films scream out ‘I AM THE REASON FOR THE SIX PACK REVOLUTION’ but he is. In his youth Mark stole cars…repeatedly, on ‘TopGear’ he admitted stealing one man’s car about 14 times, and in one jail sentence decided that he would solely concentrate on working his abs and in 1992 Calvin Klein featured a billboard for their underwear which featured Mark exclusively – and so the lust for a six pack was born.
Now the ultimate body is thrown in our faces every time we enter a supermarket or newsagent, thanks to ‘Men’s Health’. However those greasy grooves and bulging biceps don’t always look like that; a possibility brought up by ‘The Times’ who recently published an article called ‘You, too, can’t have a body like this’. It goes on to talk about Daniel Martin, no stranger to a front cover shoot, who says that he has a routine that he follows before a photo-shoot; you would think that this would be 9 to 5 in the gym, protein shakes and then back to the gym yes? No. Well okay he needs to be ripped in the first place, but before the shoot he will stop exercise altogether for 48 hours and open a bottle of wine to drink alone. Then a ‘six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up.’, leaving him barely able to walk. Martin says “I’ve been on castings for fitness magazines where there are six or seven models who are so groggy and out of it that they need to grab a chair to sit down and literally can’t speak.”
Yet all this doesn’t make much difference if you aren’t already in tip top condition.
Another masterpiece in the abdominal region was the film release of 300 in 2006, which depicted, not so truthfully but quite incredibly, Spartans in all their glory…which consists of no top and a sword. Gerard Butler was the King of Sparta in this epic film, and quite rightly as I don’t think anyone would want to mess with someone who was so unbelievably toned he scared me on screen! The casts training regime, it turns out, was quite rigorous. When I say quite – I mean like torture:
Pull-ups – 25 reps
Deadlifts with 60kg – 50 reps
Push-ups – 50 reps
24" box jumps – 50 reps
Floor wipers – 50 reps
Single-arm clean-and-press with 36lbs kettlebell – 50 reps
Pull-ups – 25 reps
It may not sound like much but you aren’t supposed to have a rest in between each exercise and these guys were completing it in less than 20 minutes. If the Spartans of old were as pumped up as the ones in the film I have no idea why the Persians tried to fight them, I think most sane people would have just let them be; all be it the Persian guy in the film is a big black man who claims he is a God – with an extremely amusing voice.
So who else is to blame? Too many to look at in detail…Diego Forlan gave us a great showing in the final and semi-final of the Europa League, other models, girls and mainly I think ourselves (because we want to impress the girls).
What can we do about it then? Well as a teenager that question varies. Many people believe that weightlifting in your teens will stunt your growth and cause damage to your bones etc. However this isn’t the case, training with weights will not stunt your growth yet it won’t be much benefit either unless you’re in the late stages of puberty. Even then though you are not at your best, as growth plates in arms and legs don’t fully fuse until about 21 so our bones are slightly weaker and more susceptible to injury…that doesn’t mean to say you will get injured though. This means that going to the gym is a viable option, but you need to be going to the gym for the right amount of time; 4 or 5 sessions a week for 2 hours are more is a definite no. A little bit everyday is likely to get you further than wasting your life in the iron room, in fact 2-3 intense sessions for approx. 45 minutes has been ‘proven’ to make you better in the sack…enough said there I think.
The next option is the supplements. ‘Maximuscle’ offer a humongous range of different shakes and powders and bars and drinks but overall which ones are best? And what are the cons?
Well ‘Maximuscle’ have done a fantastic job by saying that you need to buy something, yet you also need to buy this for after, this during, this before and this all the way through. For muscle building power though, you should know this from your Biology classes, you need protein and carbs. Lots and lots of the stuff; the recommended protein intake is 2g protein to every kg you weigh, so Protein shakes are probably the most easy obtainable and easy to use answer to your problems. You must be wary of the disadvantages though.
• Firstly, they quite often taste disgusting.
• They are also not recommended for anyone under 16 (same goes for all supplements, with age guidelines differing).
• They can cause bloating and gas
• If you don’t eat enough fibre then all that protein is going to make you run for those laxatives
• Dehydration, which can lead to kidney stones and that’s just unwanted pain
• Osteoporosis, which is weakening of bones making them more likely to be fractured and broken. So all your lifting could be doing more damage than good.
• It’s also been known to increase acne…and we do not want that.
So we have two options explored so far and to me they are the only two worth considering. Natural or supplements (in moderation). After these you get stupid options like steroids, which are banned from most sports and also I hate thought of putting anything in me that has so many disadvantages, check this website out for a list of the lovely things: http://www.musclenet.com/steroid.htm
Recently I also heard of a substance which is basically like glue, which is pumped into the muscle tissue to make it look as though it was huge. Although you wouldn’t gain strength you’d look pumped…literally! But the reason I heard about this substance was that it has been known to ‘pop’ and basically obliterate any muscle you did have. This makes me feel as though it’s another method to put aside – although reportedly it’s what our good old Governor of California, Terminator, Kindergarten Teacher Cop person used when he became; MR. UNIVERSE! You should see the photos; it’s quite disgusting most of the time.
So as I said at the beginning, the summer is coming and so many of us males are going to be made to feel inferior by the site of a peer looking like they were born to be the next John Claude Van Damme or to fight David Haye.
In my opinion, I would try and get ‘buff’ the natural way. Work intense routines that don’t last an age, do them regularly but not 24/7. We weren’t all designed to have a stomach like a Spartan, shoulders like a rugby player or pectorals like Arnie; thus we shouldn’t expect to get them. We also can’t expect to work out for a week and be too hot to trot, you need to be committed.
Remember though, not all girls’ legs quiver at the sight of a hot body and can you really be bothered to go to all the effort?!