Sam Wood talks to 3 of his oldest school friends as they reminisce about where they lost their way when it comes to getting in shape.
When I catch up with my great group of school mates and we reminisce about the glory days we often say that “the older we get, the better we were”. Though I had very sporty mates at school, we all hung up the boots at various stages in our 20’s and 30’s due to the demands of work and family life. Now that we’re all in our late 30’s, it’s funny to look around the circle at a very different group of middle aged men who are definitely no longer in their physical or sporting prime. We all have a different story to tell, so I picked up the phone and rang my mates to take a look at where they lost their way when it came to staying in shape.
(For the purpose of maintaining my school friendships I will use anonymous names.)
The most gifted athlete of my school friends. This guy was the first of my group of mates to get married and the first to have kids. He now has three children aged between 11 and 4. Interestingly, one could assume that he would be in the worst physical shape of all of us but as his kids are now a bit older he has found himself out the other side of the dad bod rut, is incredibly active with his kids (coaching their various sporting commitments) and pretty damn determined to show them just how talented he is on the field. Age definitely hasn’t slowed him down as he still plays footy and cricket, scoring numerous 100’s and kicking bags.
Fabio was a rowing champion at school but didn’t compete in sport once year 12 finished, drank through his Uni years and then landed his first big job in London where the long hours and boozing continued. An incredible work ethic and very successful career means the blonde flowing locks from school are now replaced with a sharp suit and a bit of salt and pepper. However, he is the first to admit that the emphasis in this area of his life has meant that his health has taken a back seat. Now that he’s back in Australia with two young children, for the first time ever it has reached a point where he has said “enough is enough” and has begun doing my 28 program and is already starting to feel the benefits.
Along with me, Stoppsy was the last of us to get hitched and was in ripping shape literally until his wedding day at the end of 2017. It’s safe to say he has become very comfortable since. A glaring insight into the difference between the single and married man.
For the first time ever, we have begun discussions about why exercise is just, if not more important, for the mind and mood as it is to look sharp and impress women. For most of us, it’s the ‘sneak up factor’ of weight gain that is the common denominator. From our late 20’s we stopped moving as much, were eating the same amount and were in the peak of our work commitments so, unsurprisingly, everything else from an activity perspective tended to go by the wayside. Even those of us with a good metabolism found that we were putting on a kilo a year and when that decade finally rolled on by the 10 kilo spare tyre had come to stay. We all have a different story to tell and unless we really take the time to reflect it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where we lost our way. The message for blokes is simple- don’t worry about where or when it happened, that is the past and cannot be changed. Understand that moving your body and eating good food is not about what you look like. It’s about energy, productivity, being able to move and play with your children, being a good role model as a father, avoiding injury and making sure you are conscious about your health. That includes going to the doctor for regular check-ups and speaking up if you need help. When you retire from the sporting field, you cannot afford to retire from taking care of your health.