An evolution of form.
The gym and I have had an on/off relationship since my mid 20s. I had been through various fitness fads and achieved a form I was happy with 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 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 maintain 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 with 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 the constant travel required for my job. I was also struggling with a relationship at the time which completely repressed, if not mostly destroyed, my confidence and self-esteem. And for 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 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 that year, I began a bold transformation that would change my life for the better.
I ended my toxic relationship and was finally liberated. I took a long, hard look in the mirror and asked myself: “Is this what I want to look like? Is this what I want to be?” I celebrated turning 40 in February 2013 with tremendous positivity and a new attitude.
A renaissance of body and mind.
In the spring of 2013, I began a regimen of seriously hitting the gym. I overhauled my diet. And ever since that summer, I’ve remained committed to keeping fit and have refined my health focus. Another motivator has been the aging process: after turning 40, I noticed my friends aging, my parents aging, people I looked up to in my youth aging. It became apparent 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.
On average I hit the gym four to five times a week, and I spend about 60-75 minutes there for each session. In recent years I followed a push/pull workout routine. In 2018, I changed my approach and targeted muscle groups (chest/shoulders one day, arms another day, back/abs other days). As part of this routine, I reduced overall weight and increased repetitions. I rotate squats, leg-presses, deadlifts, and other leg exercises into my program. I often walk or cycle to the gym and of course walk everywhere around London, which rounds out my activity.
Clearly there are thousands of exercise programs to explore. If I were to offer advice it would be to do research, give some different routines a go, and see what works for you. As long as you have good form and know how muscle groups work together, you'll likely get into a rhythm that works for you.
I monitor my workouts through an iPhone app called Strong and I’d highly recommend it. Tracking your workouts and progress is essential. The app is integrated with HealthKit in iOS, and of course works wonderfully with Apple Watch. I enjoy following trainers and fitness sites which I find motivational and inspirational. Check out Nathan McCallum, Milestone, Buff Dudes, and Andrew Tracey.
In terms of nutrition, I use MyFitnessPal, which is another fantastic app that's so useful to track your daily calorie intake. It too syncs with HealthKit and Apple Watch, and has been a key tool to helping me transform my body. I'm not fanatical about my diet, but I do monitor overall calorie intake which has the biggest impact on my weight, size, and definition. If you want to lose weight and monitor your overall nutrition levels, MyFitnessPal will do the trick. The best part is that once you use it for a while you'll become very aware of your overall calorie intake and empowered to make better food choices.
I weigh myself weekly using a digital smart scale, which is insanely great to track not just weight, but also muscle mass, water, and other factors. The app also syncs with HealthKit and MyFitnessPal. Use smart technology to your health advantage!
Body positivity, confidence, and nudism.
Now that I'm in my mid-40s, I am more focused than ever on my current form and fitness goals. As evidenced by this site, I’ve invested in capturing my form and growth through many photographs, taken by talented photographers or through ubiquitous selfie…all of which encourage my personal body positivity. 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 artistic nude photographs taken as part of my body transformation as well as exploring naturism with my husband, Luis. I've come to appreciate the freedom and intimacy, vulnerability, and connectivity naturism brings — especially living in Europe which doesn't stigmatise nudism the way America does.
I am very fond of beautiful photographs of the male form. If you wish to review a collection of what I find attractive and inspiring, you can visit my Tumblr, where I have a set of images tagged accordingly (note: some images feature artistic nudity). Much like this website you're reading right now, my Tumblr is best experienced on a desktop platform with a large display, since viewing it within the Tumblr app or through the Tumblr dashboard ruins the layout and visual intention of the site.
To conclude, if I were to give anyone fitness advice, it would be to:
Realise that it's never too late to transform yourself and your life;
Take care of the one and only body you've been given;
Stay motivated even when you feel the need to give up;
Always strive to be proud and confident in your own skin; and
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.