Photography by Mr John Balsom | Styling by Mr Dan May
Words by Mr Benjamin Seidler
Whether it's eggnog in the US or fruit cake in Germany, festive treats from around the world all translate into the same dreaded three-letter word: fat. When the festive joy has subsided, leaving you with nothing more than a hangover and a gut, there's only one way to stay happy - get those endorphins flowing with a bit of exercise and reap a ripped body as a reward. Personal trainer Mr Andy Vincent of renowned London gym The Third Space emphasises the importance of choosing the right diet, exercise and place, whether indoors or out. After an intense work-out at London's dewy Battersea Park in some of our favourite fitness wear, Mr Vincent tells us his recommendations for strength and stamina in 2012.
How does one choose a gym?
You can tell a good gym by its trainers. Trainers make the gym because they'll give you advice on what to do. Always look for machines that you're unsure of how to work, because they indicate a more forward-looking gym that keeps up with the times. Befriend staff and ask loads of questions when you join, as that's how you'll get results.
It's a given that lots of people will have indulged over the holiday period, so what's the first thing they should do to get back in shape?
Sort your diet out before you start going to the gym. Get a regular meal plan that involves eating smaller meals six times a day. Eat every few hours; that is, have your three main meals as you normally would and snacks in between. Only eat carbohydrates that are grains or slow releasing. Substitute pasta, bread, white potatoes and rice for sweet potatoes, quinoa and couscous. For snacks, keep the carbohydrates low and the protein high - cottage cheese, oatcakes, yoghurt with seeds and nuts, and vegetables are all good ideas. The average Western meal can be halved in size. Your body can't process more than an average of 300 calories in an hour and our meals often contain four times that. You can avoid putting on weight not by changing your calorie intake but by pacing your meals. Then there are the obvious things such as cutting out sweets.
What's the area most men have issues with?
Reducing body fat in the midsection is normally a priority. In terms of putting on muscle, it's normally the calves. Calves are under tension all the time, so you have to put in a lot of work to get definition.
Are there any simple things men can do that they might not even realise could help?
As men, we can maintain our muscle fat relatively easily as we produce a lot of testosterone. But to do this you've got to make sure that you eat a lot of protein. A carbohydrate-free breakfast such as an omelette with spinach or turkey breast will yield really good and quick results. As far as exercise is concerned, doing cardio and weight training with lots of joint movements and heavy loads means you gain strength and burn fat at the same time.
How do you know if you're doing the right exercises?
My favourite method is to choose an item of clothing you love that doesn't quite fit any more. Do a work-out for four weeks, and if the item still doesn't fit, you'll know the work-out is not getting results - you won't need to kid yourself that it's working. The right work-out with a controlled diet will produce results in four weeks. That's three one-hour work-outs a week, remembering that rest is important and more is not necessarily better.
What's makes a great fitness outfit?
I don't like seeing board shorts and vests in the gym, and we see a lot of those in Soho. I'm into the layered T-shirts and tracksuit bottoms look.
Is there a difference between working out indoors and outdoors?
Yes, massively. In a good gym you can change the intensity or load that you lift, going up in increments week by week. Outside, you've got very little control but you can put together a good cardiovascular work-out.
What made you want to have such a muscular body?
I'm 6'2" and my base, untrained weight is 13 stone. When I was 19 I could see my ribcage and hated that, so I went on a mission to make sure I could never see it again. There are certain physiques you can work towards; some will be achievable depending on body type, while some won't.