I’ve given up reading Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness and the like. There are all sorts of reasons for this. I’m not keen on working out for the sake of working out for a start. I’d rather go for a run or a ride or even have a swim than spend even 10 minutes pushing weights in a gym. The sad fact is though that I need to be stronger to run faster for longer so I’ll have to spend some time over the winter doing just that.
One of the more annoying things about a lot of physical fitness mags is that there is always something along the lines of Lose Your Gut in 15 Minutes, seen on the current cover of Men’s Fitness. I know that when you read the piece, the writer will outline a 15 minute workout for you to do every couple of days or so but the premise of the cover is that you can go from flab to fab in fifteen minutes and you can’t.
You don’t only find this waffle in fitness mags. I’ve seen similar tosh in Runner’s World and Men’s Running. This time you only have to do this series of workouts and you’ll have instant PBs. Want to run a marathon? Here is your plan. I know that to a certain extent that’s true, it downplays all the hard work that has to go into setting your PB or running a marathon. I don’t want anyone to think that running is so hard that they needn’t even bother starting but I’d rather people prepared themselves for the work.
I spotted Shalane Flanagan’s picture of her doing a core workout on a Swiss Ball. You’ll find it on her Facebook page and here on her Instagram feed. She’s working in the gym to be stronger to be a better runner. It’s part of a never-ending process of improvement that elite runner like Shalane have to do to be ready for competition. It’s also inspiration for those of us who will never run a 2:30 marathon or pull on our national vest because if Shalane has to work this hard and she’s already very good, then we have to do similar things to achieve our goals too.
So, if you want a six pack instead of a barrel, train hard. Alternatively, do what I did this morning and have a coughing fit in front of a mirror. As well as having the veins on your neck pop out, your rock-hard abs will suddenly appear. Sadly, this appearance will be so brief that it would take the the next generation of detectors their building for CERN to capture an image but it’s true. In a moment, I had Men’s Fitness Abs.