RVOC October 2010 : Page 68

the RadaR | health From Fat to Fit at Fifty? For high-performing guys of a certain age, Costa Mesa’s Synergy gymcan make a man out of you—again! | By Kedric Francis | | Photography by Ethan Pines | “Tat photo makes me look fat,” we catch ourselves saying, embarrassed by our vanity. And soon it’s not just one image, but most all of them, leading us to the ultimate, unsettling conclusion: We’re middle-aged, man! And those loose-fitting T-shirts and untucked button-downs just won’t hide that fact anymore. Most guys have been through the drill: Join a gym, lift some weights, cut out the booze out and drop a few pounds. Ten a year or less later, it’s worse than ever. Tat’s the conundrum I was caught in earlier this year. And to make matters urgent, I faced the ultimate fat-faced photo day: my wedding. I had to fess up to the problem and fix it—all within a month. Enter super-trainer Brad Davidson, VP of research and development at Costa Mesa’s Synergy Training Center (synergyworkout.net), a gym that focuses on strength, rehab and sports performance. Davidson is renowned for training O.C. power brokers, CEOs and entrepreneurs, especially those driven 40-and 50-year oldswho have fallen out of shape. Sounds like me, right? Davidson and his team of top trainers subject clients’ somnolent systems to a bit of shock and awe, with a personalized regimen of weight training, supplements and diet that gets a man’s cortisol and insulin levels under control, boosts our testosterone back up where it belongs (apparently guys are prone toward too much estrogen as we age and atrophy—who knew?) while adding strength and lean muscle. “I laugh when I see men focused on working their core, or fixated on flexibility and balance,” Davidson says. “Te truth is, everything else being equal, the strongest athlete wins.” But this isn’t some muscle-head haven. Science and results rule at Synergy. From the first day, we’re tested and evaluated by caliper-wielding trainers out to measure our fatty bits (the gym also trains women, high school and college athletes, and competitive pros, but they’re on different, yet similar, programs).Te results are used not only to determine body fat percentage (I showed up sporting a not-so-supple 20 percent!), but also to see where we store fat on our frame. It’s not just your belly that’s of concern; aman’s triceps-, pecs-and chin-fat folds tell the trainers a lot about his crucial body chemistry. You’re remeasured every month as you complete a specific sequence of weightlifting exercises designed to address your body needs. Tese workouts aren’t for wimps or designer gym aficionados—think free weights, with a focus on Olympic lifting techniques and plenty of bench-pressing, sled-pulling and squatting. Tere are also challenging “strong man” type activities, like flipping a 400-pound truck tire over and over along the hot asphalt of the gym’s parking lot. A client does strength-building exercises in Weighed doWn! A client pulls his load at Costa Mesa’s Synergy gym. 45-minute sessions with a trainer three or four times a week. At the end of four weeks or so, the program is changed based on the results. So there’s constant motivation and accountability, which many of us need to stick to a fitness regime. continued... 68 | | October 2010

The Radar Health

Kedric Francis

From Fat to Fit at Fifty?

For high-performing guys of a certain age, Costa Mesa’s Synergy gym can make a man out of you—again!

“Tat photo makes me look fat,” we catch ourselves saying, embarrassed by our vanity. And soon it’s not just one image, but most all of them, leading us to the ultimaThe , unsettling conclusion: We’re middle-aged, man!

And those loose-fitting T-shirts and untucked buttondowns just won’t hide that fact anymore.

Most guys have been through the drill: Join a gym, lift some weights, cut out the booze out and drop a few pounds. The n a year or less laThe r, it’s worse than ever.

That’s the conundrum I was caught in earlier this year.

And to make matThe rs urgent, I faced the ultimaThe fat-faced photo day: my wedding. I had to fess up to the problem and fix it—all within a month. EnThe r super-trainer Brad Davidson, VP of research and development at Costa Mesa’s Synergy Training CenThe r (synergyworkout.net), a gym that focuses on strength, rehab and sports performance.

Davidson is renowned for training O.C. power brokers, CEOs and entrepreneurs, especially those driven 40- and 50-year olds who have fallen out of shape. Sounds like me, right? Davidson and his The am of top trainers subject clients’ somnolent sysThe ms to a bit of shock and awe, with a personalized regimen of weight training, supplements and diet that gets a man’s cortisol and insulin levels under control, boosts our The stosThe rone back up where it belongs (apparently guys are prone toward too much estrogen as we age and atrophy—who knew?)

While adding strength and lean muscle.“I laugh when I see men focused on working their core, or fixaThe d on flexibility and balance,” Davidson says.

“The truth is, everything else being equal, the strongest athleThe wins.” But this isn’t some muscle-head haven. Science and results rule at Synergy. From the first day, we’re The sThe d and evaluaThe d by caliper-wielding trainers out to measure our fatty bits (the gym also trains women, high school and college athleThe s, and competitive pros, but they’re on different, yet similar, programs). The results are used not only to deThe rmine body fat percentage (I showed up sporting a not-so-supple 20 percent!), but also to see where we store fat on our frame. It’s not just your belly that’s of concern; a man’s triceps-, pecs- and chin-fat folds The ll the trainers a lot about his crucial body chemistry.

You’re remeasured every month as you compleThe a specific sequence of weightlifting exercises designed to address your body needs. The se workouts aren’t for wimps or designer gym aficionados—think free weights, with a focus on Olympic lifting The chniques and plenty of bench-pressing, sled-pulling and squatting. The re are also challenging “strong man” type activities, like flipping a 400-pound truck tire over and over along the hot asphalt of the gym’s parking lot.

A client does strength-building exercises in 45-minuThe sessions with a trainer three or four times a week. At the end of four weeks or so, the program is changed based on the results. So there’s constant motivation and accountability, which many of us need to stick to a fitness regime.

Then there’s the diet, which isn’t an elective as at many gyms; it’s required to get the expected results. Of course you’re going to have to cut out most alcohol (red wine is fine!), sugar and processed foods. But if you’re imagining some low-cal, veggie- and soy-centric menu, you’re wrong.

Think meat, and lots of it. Meat for lunch, meat for dinner, and even meat for breakfast—especially breakfast! It’s a variation on popular programs like the Atkins and Paleo diets, eliminating gluten, grains, sugars and other “bad” carbs, replacing them instead with 40-50 grams of protein (plus “good” fats like nuts and avocados) per meal, and lots of veggies from a long list that doesn’t include old standbys like carrots, corn, beets and potatoes.

So yes, one’s loved ones may get a little sick of the smell of grass-fed ground beef and buffalo cooking in the morning, but I’ve gotten used to my wake-up call meat and nuts. Te idea behind the diet, coupled with the workout and a rotating daily schedule of supplements with names like Testo Libre, Resveratrol and Licorice Supreme, is to radically remake the middleaged man’s body chemistry. Basically, our hormones are holding us back, resulting in our once fine physiques storing excess body fat and refusing to add lean muscle mass—and it’s that lean muscle that is strongly connected to increased longevity, according to studies. And who doesn’t love longevity?

So, how’d I do? I was down seven pounds by the wedding, added four pounds of muscle and reduced my body fat by five percent. Good enough to fit in my tux and not look too bad next to my beautiful new wife. I kept at it through the summer, though my results slowed a bit when I cheated on the diet (honeymoon!) And ran out of supplements, discovering just how synergistic the system is. So I hit it hard through August; by early September I was down from my initial 20 percent body fat to 12, and put on 10 pounds of lean muscle. Not bad for four months, and I’m starting to feel lean and strong, too. Now if I can just get that fat to 10 percent!

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Health/505305/47561/article.html.

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