GQ (Australia) - - FIT -

From Chris Pratt to Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds to Chris­tian Bale, Kevin Hart to av­er­age Joe on which­ever un­der­per­form­ing TV weight loss pro­gram – we’ve all seen the var­i­ous trans­for­ma­tions from mere mor­tals to body­builder sta­tus in a mat­ter of months, bi­ceps and six-packs to envy. News ma­chines are ob­sessed by such sto­ries, so, seem­ingly, are the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. But the ques­tion is, how many of th­ese Adonises can run 10km without keel­ing over, cy­cle 40km without break­ing sweat, or row 2000m in un­der seven min­utes on any given day? In­vari­ably, we tend to judge an­other man’s fit­ness on ap­pear­ance – we’re all guilty of it – but to find out the dif­fer­ence be­tween look­ing aes­thet­i­cally fit and ac­tu­ally achiev­ing true fit­ness, we spoke to Chris Feather, a Bri­tish ex-rugby league player-turned-fit­ness-ex­pert at Rus­sell Crowe’s well-re­spected Syd­ney gym, 98 Ri­ley Street. Oc­ca­sional trainer to the likes of Jai Court­ney, Feather’s forte is to have a good all round mea­sure of strength, power, mus­cle en­durance, flex­i­bil­ity and en­durance, so we fig­ured he’d be able to put us straight. “My phi­los­o­phy on train­ing for gen­eral health and fit­ness is that you need to be able to move your own en­gine,” says Feather. “Un­less pow­er­lift­ing is your sport, hav­ing a 150kg bench press in the gym is pointless if you can’t walk up the stairs at work without get­ting out of breath. It’s like hav­ing a Fer­rari with a one-litre en­gine. You need to train for ac­tual fit­ness over ap­pear­ance. Too many peo­ple th­ese days think be­cause some­one has a six-pack they’re ‘fit’, but that’s not the case.” Gen­eral strength, Feather adds, should be mea­sured by per­cent­age of body weight. “For ex­am­ple, I weigh 120kg and can dead­lift 250kg. But I train a guy who is 75kg and can lift 210kg. I may have the heav­i­est dead­lift but strength-wise, I’m nowhere near the 75kg guy. And the same ap­plies with car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness. Say you’re 6ft 5 and 120kg, you should be able to row a sub seven-minute 2km – your size lends it to this kind of test. A smaller guy would gen­er­ally find this test much harder as they are not ‘built’ for it but the op­po­site can be said for a 100 burpee test, which lends it­self to the smaller guy.” As a good gauge of how fit you re­ally are, Feather’s de­vised a Gen­eral Phys­i­cal Pre­pared­ness (GPP) test. It lays the ground­work for spe­cific phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion (like that fit­ness event or chal­lenge you’ve signed up for later in the year). Com­pris­ing a list of 10 ex­er­cises, each is a sim­ple gym-based move­ment. The mea­sures may not be ground­break­ing, but if you can hit all of them at any given time dur­ing a ses­sion, then con­grat­u­la­tions – you have a good state of GPP, and as far as Feather’s con­cerned, are ‘ac­tu­ally fit’.

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