FIGHT­ING FIT? 41.1KG

PT / 10.2017 ARE YOU RE­ALLY 41.6 7.5%

Men's Health (UK) - - Mh Event -

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.

SKELE­TAL MUS­CLE MASS WAS WEIGHT WAS BODY FAT WAS

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03 01\ Qual­ity kit and smart prep proved cru­cial to suc­cess 02\ Pro box­ing coach Gary Lo­gan helped Mark learn the ropes 03\ Three months of graft led to big phys­i­cal changes 04\ His first real bout left Mark de­ter­mined to progress fur­ther

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