You should have been reading this column a full year ago, but there was one small problem. Actually, it was more of a big problem.
And that was that Ben Fordham felt too unfit, too heavy, to be a part of a column that was then titled Sunday Fit. But after a complete overhaul of his health and fitness began six months ago, the radio and TV legend feels ready and roaring to go.
“You guys actually asked me if I could do one of these about a year ago, and I said I couldn’t,” he says. “And the reason I said no was because I didn’t want to be fraud. I didn’t want to stand here pretending that I’m working out, because I wasn’t.
“But now I am, and I feel great. I’ve lost about 10 kilograms so far. I was 97kg, but now it looks like I might be hosting this segment in a few years!”
Like most of us, Ben says his main struggle was convenient apathy. While never particularly fit, he was also never really overweight, and so it was too easy to simply continue the way he had been living his life for years.
But the past six months has seen all that change, with Ben shaking-up both his diet and fitness regime, mostly because, with two young kids, he knew he would be setting the example they would one day follow.
“I’ve just gotten into the health and fitness thing over the past six months or so — it’s been a real game-changer for me,” he says. “Until now, I’ve been a bit lazy with it. I’ve managed to eat whatever I want, and while I’ve never been fit, I kind of got away with it.
“But then with two young kids — and we want to have third at some point as well — we want to set a good example for them.”
While stepping up his fitness routine and changing his diet helped, it was resisting the lure of his late-night sweet tooth that proved the biggest turning point. And the help for that came from the most unexpected of places; a segment on his radio show.
“I was on the radio one day, and someone called up and said the bloke who got me off smoking was a hypnotherapist, and when they said his name all these people phoned in and said he got me off alcohol, or he got off sugar,” he says.
“So I got him on and I said to him, ‘OK genius, stop me from eating ice-cream and chocolate and lollies when I’m on my own at home. And he just said, ‘OK’.
“And he actually did it. It was unbelievable. That was another complete game-changer for me.”
HACKING A HEALTH OVERHAUL WITH BEN FORDHAM
“It’s just starting the ball rolling,” Ben says. “I was doing two personal training sessions a week, that’s now three. I met a mate who goes to the gym two nights a week, so now I go with him.
From that I found out about a bootcamp on as Saturday morning, so now I do that, too.”
Shake-up your diet
“When I’m home, I focus on the food thing. It can even be just moving the bigger meal into the middle of the day, and having a smaller meal or a Man Shake at the end of the day,” Ben says.
“If I want to go out and eat pasta or something, that’s fine. But that’s lunch now. When I go out with my wife or my colleagues, I frame it around the big lunch rather than the big dinner.”
Ban the booze
“There’s no booze at home now. And I haven’t had a beer since October. Plenty of Tequila and plenty of vodka, but not a beer,” Ben says. “And I’m choosing my marks now; if I know I have something special on, then that’s going to be the day I have a drink.”
Set the goal
“I just want to keep going now. I’ve always been a hopeless swimmer. And I mean hopeless,” Ben says. “So that’s my next mission; I’m going to do one of those little ocean swims. Only a little one. In fact, I might find the smallest ocean swim in the world and do that.”
Like most blokes, I find the hardest thing to lose is the beer gut. No matter how hard I seem to train, I just can’t shake it. What am I doing wrong?
You’re absolutely right; belly fat can be the most stubborn thing in the world. The problem is that stomach fat that feels hard (or doesn’t jiggle) is called visceral fat, and it’s the most dangerous fat there is, because it’s internal, and it’s strangling our internal organs and attacks our liver with free fatty acids. The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. Things like stress, a lack of sleep, too many sugary drinks and a poor diet all play a big role. And until you work on those, no amount of gym time will see you lose that weight.
Adam MacDougall is a former NRL player and the creator of The Man Shake. Continue the conversation @adammacdougall5