Over the last few months I’ve been building a lot of muscle, and naturally people have been wondering why. People have been asking me whether I’m training for Celebrity SAS or Dancing on Ice. Some people have even asked me whether I’m preparing for a film. Hopefully those people didn’t feel let down when they found out earlier this week that I’ve actually been preparing to be Men's Health’s January cover star.
I’ve done a dozen Men’s Health columns now and, as much as they’ve inspired some of you, I’ve really used them to help me focus and to help me be even more accountable. I’ve always known that I can't be preaching stuff to people and then just not actually doing it. Knowing that I’m doing the cover has taken that to another level.
When Men’s Health first asked me, I said, ‘Will it involve me taking my shirt off?’ And when they said it would, I was like, ‘Oh, fuck’.
So, before you all start comparing me to the current MH cover star Anthony Joshua, hold on. I'm not going to be on the cover with a six pack and ripped to shreds. But you’ll definitely see my before and after, and it'll be a big shock to people who know me. You’ll also be able to see the work that I’ve put in over the past 18 months to two years – the training, the diet and the dedication.
It’s been hard, but it's also been achievable. I think that's the key. Don't get me wrong, there's been loads of sessions that I didn't want to do and loads of sessions where I felt sick in the middle of it, so I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I am saying that anyone can do it.
I know that I've had access to resources, like training advice, diet plans and coaching, and the idea is to make those resources available to everyone come January. But a lot of what I’ve achieved has been done through discipline. No one's busier than I am, so fitting everything in is my struggle. At the end of the day, you've still got to get up and do the training. Like today, I landed after a nine-hour flight, went to the office, got changed and went straight to the gym.
Everybody has challenges and I’ve got mine. When you're on the road or you're on a plane, it's so difficult. Try and eat 250g of protein a day without having access to Marks & Spencer or Tesco to go and buy your chicken and prep your food. I might have two or three sessions, hit my calories every day and then I’ve got to get on a plane. During that 15 or 16-hours flight, I’ll get 80g of protein, but I’ll also eat three rolls and it's really difficult. I’ve felt at times that I was losing momentum during the ten-week period that I've been training for the cover, but there have been highs too.
My old man, Barry Hearn, who’s probably one of my biggest critics, came into my office the other day and said, ‘You’re fucking looking well. I'm telling my mates, my boy's got veins in his arms.’ Every time someone says that I’m looking well, that just gives me that little bit of impetus and it definitely becomes addictive.
Hearing all the positive stuff means a lot to me because when I was really young, probably even up to my mid 20s, I was quite conscious of how I looked, and I was never genetically blessed. I had mates who were ripped to shreds, and I was just this puppy-fat kid who was in no shape at all. I wasn't massively overweight, but I just had a bit of a weird body shape.
Me and my mates used to banter each other and say stuff like, ‘You're hardly a Men's Health cover model yourself.’ So to be on the cover now, and not just any cover, but the cover of the biggest issue of the year, I find it funny.
I've still got a long way to go, but I feel pretty unstoppable both mentally and physically and even my strength is respectable now. I can go down to the gym where I train, which is full of absolute lumps, and I used to be quite embarrassed. I used to find it quite funny because you’ve got all these men banging dumbbells on the floor and then there’s me with the little pink ones or red ones.
My bench press is still something like 90kgs, so it's still poor, and I can only just about do one chin-up. So there's much more I can achieve, but I know if I stick with it, I'm going to get there.
The difference with how I’m training now is, with two weeks to go until the cover shoot, I’m not going, ‘I can't wait until this is all over. I'm going to go out, have a massive pizza and ten pints.’ That's how I felt after I did a marathon. I was like, ‘I can't wait to just eat whatever the fuck I want.’
Now, I feel great, the best I've ever felt in my life. So why would I want to change that?
Because I'm arrogant and big headed, I hope you all buy the January issue and it becomes the best-selling copy of Men's Health of all time. But even if you don’t or can’t, don’t worry because I'm going to be walking around with a copy constantly under my arm regardless.
You Might Also Like