Men's magzines flex their muscles

A New Year, a new you. They all promise it, but how do the men’s magazines show their readers, bursting from Christmas excess, how to achieve this?

Men’s Fitness has the most imaginative plan, inviting readers to ‘Get An Action Hero Body”. The piece looks at how eight superstars got super-fit for particular roles. It reveals tough guy Hugh Jackman did girly yoga and pilates – as well as two hours of weights five days a week for four months – to put on 7kg of extra muscle to play Wolverine in X-Men 3.

Daniel Craig took the same amount of time to get in shape for Casino Royale, but with very intense 45-minute daily circuits to give him the strength to do stunts over and over again. Tobey Maguire, in contrast, worked for six months, six days a week for three-and-a-half hours, doing core training, karate, cycling and gymnastics to prepare for Spiderman.

If weight loss is your thing, then follow Russell Crowe – in preparation for Cinderella Man, playing a 1930s pugilist. He lost 20kg in four months by ‘method’training – eschewing weights for kayaking, swimming, running and biking.

Men’s Health goes for the more traditional approach with ‘Fat to Flat in Seven Weeks’– a 16-page cut-out-and-keep guide packed with information on exercise and diet. There’s how to work out at home, headed ‘I hate the gym”, a fat-burning eating plan, and details on how to build strength without bulk.

But my favourite fact in the whole pull-out was in the food swaps section. For ‘a salty, crunchy fix”, the magazine claims, switch a tube of Pringles for a jar of pickled mini-gherkins –’they only pack one calorie and will cover both cravings”. Really, a whole jar? So, a lithe body, but shame about the breath.

The ever-stylish Esquire does not concentrate on a fitness makeover, but continues its ‘No-Nonsense Guide to Looking Buff’with a feature on interval training. This is all very serious and explains why cardiovascular work is important to avoid getting out of breath running for the bus (do Esquire readers use the bus?)

My attention kept getting drawn to the more interesting Grooming Doctor piece below on how dandruff can be eradicated by keeping the second application of shampoo on for a few minutes to act as an exfoliator, loosening and getting rid of dry flaky skin. But maybe that’s because I’m a girl.

Finally, FHM concentrated on shedding Christmas pounds with ‘Lose Weight Like Ricky Hatton”. Written before that big fight in Las Vegas, the mag says hopefully he ‘may have already been crowned the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world”. Or not. But whatever his title, it’s true to say he is terribly good at losing weight quickly, usually more than three stone in 12 weeks, with the first stone in the first fortnight.

He does this by working out in the gym and running five miles every night, eating six small meals a day and drinking an astonishing eight litres of water a day. And, then, after the fight, it’s back to the Chinese takeaways. Crispy duck, anyone?

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