A focus on fitness.
The gym and I have had an on/off relationship since my mid 20s. I had been through various fitness fads and probably was in my best form when I was around 28 or so (and, according to Men's Health, men reach their muscle mass peak at 30). My body responded well to the gym then, with my youth still in full swing and my metabolism in its prime.
Throughout my 30s, however, the gym became more of a ‘nice to do’ than ‘must do’, and I suppose I’d say that I was casually keeping fit. I’d visit the gym once or twice a week, if at all, just to keep some kind of form. It was clear that my aging body wasn’t reacting as quickly as it used to and it became more of a distracting effort to see disappointing results.
The real eye-opener happened after my relocation to the UK in 2011. As one might expect, with this move came an entirely new way of life. New job, new food, new day-to-day routines. It was challenging to get into a rhythm with my constant traveling for my job. Additionally, I was struggling with a relationship at the time which completely repressed my self-esteem. So for almost two years, I did not prioritise staying fit.
At the beginning of 2013, I was at my lowest. I was on the cusp of turning 40 and certainly out of shape and overweight (see the photos directly below). My relationship was drowning me, my self-esteem was pretty much gone, and I no longer felt like the person I used to be. I had lost my spark, my energy, and was entirely not myself. So within the first few weeks of 2013, I began a bold transformation and renaissance that would change my life for the better.
First and foremost I mustered up the courage to end my relationship, and finally felt free. This gave me the confidence and self-assurance I needed to turn my attitude around and I celebrated turning 40 in February of that year with tremendous positivity. Then I began a regimen of seriously hitting the gym and overhauled my diet. Ever since the summer of that year, I’ve remained committed to keeping fit and have refined my health focus. Another motivator has been the aging process: after turning 40, I began to notice my friends aging, my parents aging, people I looked up to in my youth aging. It became apparent to me that in order to remain and feel youthful, I needed to invest in the only body I have. This is something that is front of mind for me all of the time now.
Now I’m fully committed to keeping fit and focusing on my health. Ideally I prefer to hit the gym four to five times a week, and I spend about an hour and a half there on average during each session. I follow a push/pull workout routine, focusing on pushing muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders) on one day, and pulling muscles (back, biceps, abs) on opposite days. I incorporate squats, leg-presses, deadlifts, and other leg exercises into these routines. I also cycle to the gym and of course walk everywhere around London, which rounds out my activity.
I monitor my workouts through an app called Fitocracy, and I’d highly recommend it. Not only does it allow you to track your exercises (which several apps do), but this one is unique in that it gives you points based on the complexity or duration of the exercise. I find this to be highly rewarding. The app has some fun social features as well, which makes it more interactive. I also enjoy following a few gym trainers and fitness sites which I find motivational and inspirational. Check out LDN Muscle, Nathan McCallum, Milestone, Buff Dudes, Josh Hopkins, and Andrew Tracey.
As I cruise confidently into my mid-40s, I certainly plan to maintain my current form and remain focused on my fitness goals. Ever since my serious transformation began in 2013, I’ve invested in capturing my physical form through photographs, either taken by others or through ubiquitous selfies — all of which have contributed to my body positivity and a return to feeling great about myself. It's fulfilling to showcase your hard work and have it reward you with positive self-esteem. As my confidence has grown, so has my courage, comfort, and interest in nudism. I've enjoyed having nude photos taken as part of my body transformation as well as exploring naturism with Luis when we've been on holiday. I've come to appreciate this natural state and the intimacy, vulnerability, and connectivity it brings — especially living in Europe which doesn't stigmatise nudism the way America does. If you're curious about my adventures with nudism, let me know and I'll be happy to discuss or share my experiences.
If I were to give anyone fitness advice, it would be to 1) realise that it's never too late to transform yourself and your life; 2) take care of the one and only body you've been given; 3) stay motivated even when you feel the need to give up; 4) always strive to be proud and confident in your own skin; and 5) don't be ashamed to show off all of that hard work. After all, you've earned it.
Want to chat more about fitness? Let me know.