Lean and not so mean. Summer is around the corner and for us, getting in shape is an important part of keeping up appearances. We’re not talking the next Mr. Australia. We’re talking about cutting the fat. A few minor alterations can ensure you’re more svelte than swollen.


We think breakfast is the best meal of the day. By far. Fruit, canned or fresh, can be a wonderful accompaniment to a skinny latte. No sugar, please. If you opt for canned fruit, make sure it’s in fruit juice and not syrup. If you like, low fat natural yoghurt is delicious with fruit in the morning. We like Jalna Natural. Alternatively, try smoked mackerel with rocket and a slice of Ryvita. Don your Pugancious George shirt and you’re ready for the working day.

World heavyweight David Haye says, “I eat 24 egg whites every day, raw, which contain no fat, just protein. I stick them in a glass and swallow them whole, six at a time. I also have four tins of sardines a day.” We think this is a tad extreme, especially raw. And we like a gooey yolk too much.

Busy working days often make for challenging workplace lunches. Aim for low carb, high GI options. Consider four bean mix with baby beetroot and lean ham. A light vinaigrette can oil the wheels. One green bean is great next to a gargantuan steak, but it’s best to balance lean protein with three veggies. Supplement your steak for chicken breast, lean ham or salmon fillet. By investing in a decent non stick frying pan, you can dry fry these. We like the Tefal Specifics Black range. It’s simple and does the job well. Steam your veg and, if you must have a dressing, try balsamic vinegar or natural yoghurt with a pinch of salt and a dash of cracked black pepper.

Speeding up

Cardio. Great for fat loss, better for the heart. We aren’t talking about power walking between train platforms during the morning commute (although this can’t hurt). We’re talking about running and spin classes. Aim to exercise every other day. Start small, aim high. We recommend building your cardiovascular workout incrementally. Seek professional advice if you’re unsure, or if you’ve never embarked on a fitness regime in the past. The beauty of a stationary exercise bike is that, as you’re quads march towards a fitter horizon, you can sit back and casually read one of the American Classics. Thoreau’s Walden, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter or something more contemporary. Angela Carter was spot in the twentieth century and still is today. We like The Courtship of Mr. Lyon. Some say Carter is a drug they can’t do without. We agree, wholeheartedly.

Alternatively, if cardio doesn’t tickle your fancy, try boxing. It’s old school and it’s honest. Think of the working class man of Northern England. It may help solve your existential crisis.

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change,” says Charles Duhigg who has explored habit formation in humans.

Stay the course

You’ve identified the easy cuts and, come hell or high water, you’ve made them. Congratulations. Compliments. Felicitations. Now, stick to the plan. Easily derailed, like the Scalextric train set of your childhood, a simple summer plan is only as good as the person driving it. Stay the course and stay focussed. That lady friend you wish to walk home after a night out on the tiles will thank you. Rock on to the sound of the The Hollies. You’re the Man.


Article by Mr. Shae Courtney

16 October 2013
Shirt Tales
The Journal Of Pugnacious George
Discoveries, Musings, Misadventures

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