FIGHTING FIT? 41.1KG
PT / 10.2017 ARE YOU REALLY 41.6 7.5%
About three years ago I appeared on the cover of this magazine and, in the process, became a poster boy for training driven by aesthetics. I zealously adhered to a split of chest, arms and back. Cardio wasn’t even on my radar. But though I’d never looked better, my motivation soon waned and notable changes to my body were harder to come by. More than that, I felt immobile, my posture hunched. My legs seemed small in comparison to my pumpedup torso. I wanted to move – to be fast and powerful, not just to look like someone who might be. I wanted to stop ‘exercising’ and start training.
So I took up the last thing anyone expected, myself included: boxing. I’m not a fighter by nature, but I wanted to learn a skill that placed athleticism above aesthetics. Nevertheless, I had concerns. Would all the cardio undo six years of solid muscle-building? Would I get punched in the face and, if so, how much would it hurt?
My training was far from spit-and-sawdust, mind – my base was state-of-the-art boxing gym BXR in London’s Marylebone. To help me learn a sport so completely out of my comfort zone, I was coached by head of boxing Gary Logan and strength and conditioning coaches Dan Lawrence and Doug Tannahill. I couldn’t have asked for a better team in my corner. And I would need them, because becoming an athlete is no quick fix. It’s tough as hell, in fact. But the months of dedicated training
Former cover model Mark Peacock used to be fit for little more than photos, but a spell in the ring taught him to think – and train – differently. This is how he built a body for elite performance, and how you can too “I WANTED TO BE FAST AND POWERFUL, NOT JUST TO LOOK IT”
(and not a drop of alcohol...) taught me far more than technique. The process changed my entire outlook; the man I knew in the mirror faded, replaced by a single-minded boxer. It’s an amazing feeling, believe me.
Then they signed me up to fight. After a 12-week camp, I was going to compete at a white-collar boxing event. Dan and Doug forbade long, steady state runs. Cardio came from sparring with Gary, and strategically designed circuits combining short bursts of energy with one-minute rests, to mirror the conditions I’d face in the ring. Everything was geared toward honing fast, dynamic and functional fitness. I dropped 5kg and cut my body fat by 6% while increasing my muscle mass. I felt truly ready.
Gary agreed. If the fight was purely a test of fitness, he knew I could last the distance, which is exactly what a coach hopes to achieve through a fight camp. He also told me I needed to land the first punch, which I did. My opponent, however, wanted to land the rest. Which he did. That first bombardment sent my body into shutdown. With only 30 seconds left in the first round, the ref and I both knew the fight was all-but-over.
The sting of defeat did not last long. Because, after all those years of looking in the gym mirror and counting up my likes on Instagram, I’d discovered a new way of thinking.
Fast physical change is possible. We at Men’s Health are experts in the matter. But transforming your mentality is a constant work in progress. A six-pack should be a byproduct of hard work, not the end game. Who knows if I’ll compete again? My focus now is on developing my skill set. Because becoming a better you is something worth fighting for.