Author - Brandon

Weekly Measurements – Week 1

I’ve made a promise to myself that I wont be getting on the scales during this challenge. I’ve gotten my head around the fact that the scales are a pretty useless tool for this exercise and in the past I’ve been way too “scale weight” focused.

I’ve been training hard, but the training is only going to get harder. And I am fueling my body correctly, so fat loss will and I’m sure has been happening, but at the same time, being on a protein based diet, I’m also building lean muscle mass. So for example, if I lose 3kg in fat, but gain 1 kg in muscle mass, the net loss is 2kg, instead of 3 kg. So this is where the scales can be off-putting and should be used as a general guide only. This is why I’m looking towards the Dexa Scan every 4 weeks to reveal precisely what I have lost and what I have gained and from where (fat vs. lean mass).

Another great way of seeing your improvement over time is by taking simple measurements. I’m taking 6 measurements on a weekly basis every Wednesday. They are:

  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Upper Arm
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Upper Thigh

I’ll also be taking body shots, both front on and side on and am just going to hope like hell there’s a substantially different look to my physique, from wobbling to rippling!

So here are my measurements for Week 1.

(cm)NeckChestUpper ArmWaistHipsUpper Thigh
Week 141.5110341009962
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

Week 1 Body Pic



Day 4 – DOMS, Diet & Determination


As expected, a day or two after completing my first training session, I’m struggling to lift an arm, to turn to my left, or my right and there are muscles somewhere in my mid-section that clearly haven’t seen any of this exercise for some time. That’s DOMS for you, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and I got it bad!

But strangely with every ache and every whinge to whoever will listen, it so far seems worth it. These are the beginnings of the journey and this soreness has to happen. Allow me to quote Mr Wiki:

The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise. It is thought to be caused by eccentric (lengthening) exercise, which causes microtrauma to the muscle fibers. After such exercise, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby soreness, if the exercise is repeated.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is one symptom of exercise-induced muscle damage. The other is acute muscle soreness, which appears during and immediately after exercise.

Yeah, thanks Mr Wiki, duly noted.


Guard Dog Aslan

So today has been the first day I have been able to move relatively freely. So under the watchful eye of our ever alert guard dog Aslan, I’ve managed to push out a number of the set core turbo-charged exercises expected of us during the Fight Fit Training Camp, which consisted of:

  • 3 minutes skipping
  • 50 Cycle crunches
  • 50 Burpees (No pushup, No jump)
  • 50 Alternating sit-ups
  • 30 Pushups (low hold)
  • 2 minute prone hold
  • 3 minutes skipping

The fatigue set in quickly, but knowing that most of this journey is mental, what else can you do, but push on, right?

So that’s where I’m at today training wise. Yep, so far, so good! Not had to reach for the bucket of shame (I’m sure that’s to come).


So on to my diet and as you will see from my intro image to this blog, it’s protein and and it’s greens/veggies. As noted in my first diet blog, Stu from Primal Food was expecting the hate on Day 4 (personally I was thinking more like 3 days, but what’s 24 hours between a person and your diet mentor). But I must say, that so far the diet and the food has been pretty good. I’ve had to get used to eating at a certain time.

  • No longer is my schedule up in the air (ie. eating at 10pm, and probably with a carb loaded meal at that).
  • I’ve had to get used to the meal sizes, which are probably half of what I would usually eat.
  • The use of nuts (unsalted macadamia & cashews) to get me around the meal sizes and get me through between meals has been really critical. It’s stopping me from going crazy about taking more food in at each meal. Fantastic trick!
  • Water consumption as up considerably. So I’m having my 800ml (minimum) water as soon as I wake up and before I get out of bed and I am drinking throughout the day. Really, not doing this comes down to laziness on my part. So I am just trying to be not lazy and keep going back for more water as a habit when I’ve run out. This also helps me stay satisfied till the next meal.
  • For the first time in a long time I’ve consumed a spinach salad, uncooked, totally raw. It was a challenge but I pushed through it. The 2 cherry tomatoes at the end tasted like the best damned thing that I’ve ever eaten in my life at the end of all that!

The diet is well on the way, I’m totally stoked that Stu has made this diet completely do-able and so far, I still like the guy. No we’re cookin’!


dadbod-so-hot-right-nowSo I find myself thinking a lot about this journey and what lies ahead, it’s almost consuming me. But I still have to work and carry on a home life. There’s no question it’s a bit of a juggle, but I’ve never been so determined to succeed at anything. And it just so happens I’m a perfectionist at heart. In the past I know deep down that I often look to easy out’s and excuses to why I can’t do the hard work. Putting myself out there like this is probably the self deprecating kick I needed to finally do what I know is right for me from a health and well-being standpoint.

Sacrifices will be made here and there. There will be some mornings I wont get to wave my kids goodbye before school. There are going to be evenings where I am home late when I know my wife needs the help at home. And to that end I feel selfish. But at the end of the day, I want to be around in 20, 30 years time for my kids and my grand kids. There’s no more important time than right now to change my lifestyle for the benefit of my family and obviously myself.

For those DadBod’s out there, who say they don’t have the time, I think you need to pull out all the stops to make the time. And it doesn’t have to be 3-4 days a week of high-intensity exercise or adhering to a strict diet that throws you into a ketosis firestorm. Walk where you can, do it at lunch time at work, get of a stop earlier for your tram and walk, get outside and kick a ball around and reminisce about the good ol’ days when you were the main man in your local football team. Skip that breakfast can of soft drink in the morning and replace it with water, drop that extra sugar from your coffee.

All these little things add up over time. Exactly the same way you got your “beer gut”, so now try and reverse that. That’s determination and so far for me, it’s all in the mind.



Day 1 – Ground Zero

So Day 1 of training is in the books. Whilst I ease myself into the diet from Monday, I made sure I didn’t get up out of bed until I’ve polished off a massive cup of water.

Rule #1: If you want to save yourself from an instantly squeemish stomach, don’t gulp down ice cold water as soon as you get up. This is where I should have listened in detail to Stu (Primal Food), to place the cup of water on your bedside before going to bed and it’s down to room temperature by the morning.

Today’s training was our first session at Fight Fit’s Training Camp, inside word was that it was going to be solid and brutal for the uninitiated. They weren’t wrong. Knowing this I made sure that I took plenty of water on board and went extreme and had a banana before 12pm.

As midday approached, which was start time for the first class, I got there a little early and met up with Sally from Fight Fit to discuss some of the finer details of how the training week would pan out the sort of content I was going to push up here. Sally has been great in supporting this initiative and she’ll be following my journey separately through the Fight Fit website. So make sure you get on over to their website and see it from the trainers perspective.

Sally also introduced me to our camp trainer Paul Fyfield for the first time. A legendary fight trainer and incredibly fit looking. This was my first inkling into how demanding the session would be. But nontheless, a very approachable and friendly chap. A love-hate relationship ready to blossom.

T-Minus 3 minutes until session start and after some awkward stretching in the corner, I look around at the types of people I’ll be training with across this 8 weeks. Mostly guys, but a couple of girls as well. All seem to be wearing boxing shoes and shadow boxing. Have I attended the wrong class? Surely this is for beginners, yes? No, this training camp is for all, but it seems that the camp has attracted those who know the quality of Paul’s training and most who attended were people that have been introduced to boxing through Fight Fit. Feel out of place much? You bet!

Rule #2: Always remember your hand wraps. Hand wraps are used to protected your hand bones, joints, ligaments and tendons from the rigors of punching. Whilst looking around at everyone, there was one thing they all had in common that I didn’t. They were all wearing their hand wraps! Rush down stairs where Sally spots me a new set of wraps and I’m wrapping like mad before the session starts. My hands looked more like that of an Egyptian mummy than a amateur boxer. Anyway, lesson learned.

Midday arrived and we all gathered and got a quick intro from Paul before kicking off training with some core exercises first. My hope was that we were going to have a 90 minute session that felt like 30 minutes. But as fate would have it, 30 minutes in and I was already starting to question myself. I was cooked. What the hell am I doing here? I felt so out of my league fitness wise.

Here’s what we did up first:

  • 50 Burpees (no press up, no jump)
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 3 minutes of skipping
  • 30 Pushups
  • 2 minute prone hold
  • 30 elbow to knee situps
  • 30 commandos (from push up position, move down to each elbow and then back up again)
  • 2x 3 minutes of shadow boxing
  • 3x 3 minutes of punching bag work

So by that 30 minute mark, we at that stage were moving into the shadow boxing and bag work and I was truly spent.

The next 30 minutes was spent with a partner and alternating between using focus pads and the gloves. As has been the case most of my life, I was not picked up by anyone and I was left to train with the only other person left, which was one of the girls. I saw her working on the bag earlier, and yeah, I was intimidated. Just a little.

I was first on the gloves and after 30 minutes of Left/Right jabs, hooks and weaves, there were a few things abundantly clear:

  • I had every right to be intimidated by my female partner. She was all business and showed me how it should be done. Great first learning experience.
  • I wouldn’t last 1 minute in a fight. That mental note to always keep your non-punching hand back on your face was highlighted by a push to unprotected side of my face by Paul. Yep, duly noted.
  • It’s all mental. Sure, being physically fit will ensure you can hit harder for longer. But if you don’t use your head and concentrate on the form and technique, you quickly become lost in a whirlwind of combinations. A number of times I was draped in the lost little boy look.
  • Holding the focus pads is almost as hard as punching at them. Not well versed in holding the pads, and being instructed to ensure I give resistance to the puncher, I found that I was making it pretty difficult for my partner to hit her target. Yep, hand up on that one, sorry bout that. It must have been frustrating as heck.

So by now, I was beyond cooked, I was extremely well done. The last 30 minutes was back into the core work we did at the start, a little less in the reps, but this is where I floundered the most. I could not keep up with the reps being pushed out by the trainer, but felt relief when I wasn’t the only one not able to keep up. Every move hurt, I certainly was not enjoying myself at this stage. And as we were finishing off by grinding out 3 minutes of skipping, which incidentally felt like I was doing them in clown shoes, Paul taps me on the back and says I should put a smile on my face. I think the fact that he sensed my discomfort made me smile. And he remember my name, so that was nice. I just hope he remembers my name for the right reasons by the end of all this and not for getting knocked out by the girl he was holding the pads for.

So all in all, it was a relief to have gotten the first one under the belt. Next session is looking like Tuesday with Dave Trotter with one of our first one-on-ones. As I write this on Sunday morning, the muscle soreness is to the point where I struggle to lift my arms up, my back, pecs and abs all feel like a grenade has gone of in them. But then the endorphin’s gained from the session are still flowing and I get that sense of gratification that if I continue down this path and stick at it, I’ll be well on my way.

What the doctors say

Whilst I’m on this journey, I want to be very definitive in terms of how much fat I have lost, and for that matter, how much muscle I’ve gained. You can use scales in a rudimentary way, you can even use fancy scales that give you a Body Mass Index (BMI) value. It does this by way of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). Yep, we’ve really stepped into acronym territory here.

Are the BMI scales accurate? Do they work? The general consensus is no, they don’t. Body type, level of hydration, body temperature and whether you have exercised recently all affect the reading. So they are really quite useless.

Is there a way to accurately measure where your body fat is at then? I mean how are you going to tell if your fat loss crusade has been effective, if at all?

Enter the Dexa Scan.

The Dexa Body Scan is a machine that runs low-level x-rays across your body for about 3 minutes and provides quite a precise view of your body make up in terms of fat weight/percentage, bone density and lean mass (lean mass is basically anything from muscle to tendons, to cartilage, to  blood, etc). Thanks to Dr Matt Shaw at Bodyscan for conducting the revealing pictures.

So to accurately measure my progress and my end of journey, I’ll be conducting a Dexa Scan at the start of the journey, in the middle at the 4 week mark and at the end of 8 weeks. The below is my current Dexa Scan, with some things interesting to note:

  • The yellow bits are fat, glorious fat!
  • I have 21.67% Fat Body Mass. The estimated weight of this fat is 18kg. For men my age and height, I’m deemed to be 2kg overweight. What makes it a struggle for me is where I carry my weight. Bluntly, sit-ups are a struggle.
  • On the BMI scale, I am rated at a 30.1. The World Health Organisation classes this as Obesity Level 1. But that’s only by .2 points.
  • A healthy Fat Mass is between 12.5 and 16kg. A lean person is between 8.5 and 12kg. Whilst Athletes usually have 2 – 8.5 kg of Fat Mass.
  • On the upside, my bone density is above average at 1.3 grams per cm2.

I feel kinda naked showing this…

Dexa Scan

The Food

Ask any Personal Trainer, Dietician (but of course), Athlete or mother what the most important thing is to a healthier lifestyle, Food is your answer. But it’s about the right food. Nonnas, look away now, because the right fuel for your body isn’t copious amounts of cheese and pasta bake, followed up with a heaped serve of famous apple pie, with an accompanying cool, crisp cerveza or delightfully fruity Shiraz.

It’s about having a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein’s and good essential fats.

Ok, ok, too complicated, just serve me another slice of decadent tiramisu.

But that’s where the mind needs to overcome the cravings for the not so good stuff. Or so I’ve been told and I’d be guessing they’d be right. I mean I think we all know when our diet is off kilter. It can affect your mood, concentration and can lead to inflammation of the gut over time and just generally make you feel flat. You do that long enough, it becomes a habit that’s hard to break and the food is too hard to give up as your body craves it. It’s an addiction.

Stuart Dods

Stuart Dods of Primal Food

This is where I bring in a pretty switched on guy by the name of Stuart Dods from Primal Food here in sunny Melbourne. Stuart is also on board with this journey and he’s going to ensure I’m eating right. Mind you, there is nothing super special that Stuart will be preparing for me, all the meals can be made at home easily by anyone. But his guidance on what to eat and when to eat it based on my training will be crucial and he knows his shit, which was evident by having my first dietary consultation. Down to the point of being able to pick on my ancestoral origin purely based on how my body reacts to the foods I take in now. I do tend to eat a lot of carbs and put weight mostly on my stomach for that fetching “beer gut” look.

Stu claims I will hate him as early as Day 4. But to be honest, I’m motivated to crush these 8 weeks, so I say bring it on. I’ll probably still hate him though. I hope that I can learn to love him before the 8 weeks is through.

He wants to see my Body Fat % come down to at least 12% by the end of 8 weeks. In conjunction with building what is termed Lean Mass. I currently have 63kg of Lean Mass and am looking to increase this through diet and training. The rule being the more lean mass you have, the less Fat Mass you have. They both are intertwined and dance a delightful dance.

The below is a bit of a look at my menu to start off with. In conjunction with the following list of sumptuous delights, Stu’s made it pretty clear the importance of:

  • Drinking at least 800ml of water as soon as I wake up, in fact, don’t get out of bed till that’s done. Yes, I’m going to bed with a very large glass of water (my wife is not jealous).
  • Must drink at least 3l of water daily and obviously more when I’m training.
  • I need to get my hands on and take in Coconut Oil (Organic Unrefined), Nut Butter (been told that the Almond Brazil Cashew flavour takes the win here) and any type of nuts (Macadamia, Brazil, Almond, Cashew, etc.). This is what I will use to get through the day between meals. Nom.
  WEEK 1 MENU   
  ProteinSide DIshFats
Day 1Meal 1Spinach OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Chicken BreastSpinach SaladNuts
Meal 3NZ King SalmonSteamed BroccoliNuts
Day 2Meal 1Spanish OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Asian Chicken SaladNuts
Meal 3Hopkins River SteakGreen Beans
Day 3Meal 1OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Roo BurgersGarden SaladNuts
Meal 3Veal SchnitzelSteamed Veg ComboNuts
Day 4Meal 1Boiled EggsTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Portugese Chicken (not Nandos!)Cauliflower MashNuts
Meal 3Lamb SkewersSmashed PeasNuts
Day 5Meal 1OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Mediterranean Tuna PattiesGreen BeansNuts
Meal 3Roo BurgersPumpkin MashNuts
Day 6Meal 1OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Chicken BreastCarrot & Parsnip MashNuts
Meal 3Boreworse SausagesRatatouilleNuts
Day 7Meal 1OmeletteTbs Coconut Oil
Meal 2Turkey BurgersSmashed PeasNuts
Meal 3Portugese ChickhenRoast VeggiesNuts

The Training

Self preservation aside, the training is a pretty obvious component of the next 8 weeks. As the name of this site would suggest, the route to physical fitness lay in the Gentleman’s Art of Boxing. I personally felt that there was a very technique and technical approach to boxing in general after having a couple of introductory classes. Old school BoxerIt’s obviously high intensity and in the hands of skilled boxing trainer, there’s no doubt you should end up on your back by the end of it and I felt that was going to give me the best chance of achieving my body fat goals by the end of the 8 weeks. And I also learn how to kick ass handle myself if I find myself in a hairy situation. Always good to know I’ve got my own back!

This is where I introduce the guys & gals at Fight Fit Boxing Centre in South Melbourne, Victoria. I’ve been to a couple of “Boxing Centre’s” and this one just felt right. Handy location, great people, experienced people and they’re all on board for this journey and will pull out all the stops to make sure I achieve my goals. Fight Fit will also be posting updates from time to time on my journey.



Dave Trotter

My pain instructor for the next 8 weeks, Dave Trotter

So what will my typical training schedule look like? Generally, it’ll consist of between 2 & 3 one-on-one training sessions with a qualified boxing trainer per week, in this case it will be Fight Fit’s resident Commando, Dave Trotter , who has had both local and international MMA fights (gulp). When I can’t train with a trainer, I will be substituting that with one of Fight Fit’s full-on classes. All sessions will run for 1 hour and I’ve been unequivocally told that I will vomit and possibly want to run out of the establishment screaming like a little girl. So this is no doubt going to test my mental strength to hang in there when the going get’s tough.

In addition to these wonderful sessions, there will be a fortnightly 90 minute session conducted on a Saturday as a part of Fight Fit’s Training Camp run by Paul Fyfield, a well recognised Kickboxing trainer.

Fight Fit Training Camp Instructor Paul Fyfield

Fight Fit Training Camp Instructor Paul Fyfield

I really don’t know which gentleman is scarier, but I’ve been guaranteed that if it’s results I want, these are the guys to deliver. No Pain, No Gain has never been a phrase that’s rung truer.

Is it too late to pull out now?










The journey starts here, oh gawd…

Welcome to my very first post in what I hope is going to be an informative and dare I say it, inspirational, blog aimed fair and squarely at the Dad Bod’s out there.

Over the course of the next 8 weeks, I’ll be aiming to take this soft and sensitive “Dad Bod” of mine through a rigorous, but theoretically achievable training and diet regime to see exactly what can be achieved by your average 40-something Dad & Husband.

I guess a bit about me, I’m 40 years of age, married to my wonderful and supportive wife Petra for 15 years and have two fantastic kids in Isabelle (10) and Kai (7). We live where the city meets the country in Victoria, Australia and my entire working life I’ve been into the IT sector, so a rather sedentary work life.

Despite being what I now realise is mildly-semi-committed to staying fit by way of Personal Trainers (hope you’re enjoying your holiday in Europe for the next 2 months by the way Adam), I can see that I have never been truly committed to the cause of losing the extra weight and getting my level of fitness up to where I really want it.

I want to be able to run around the oval with the football with my son and not feel like I’m having an coronary event. I want to be able to walk up the stairs at work 2 levels without hoping there’s oxygen and a paramedic on standby once I exit the stairwell.

I also want to either prove or disprove the idea that you can get supremely fit and get ripped in this 8 week tour of pain. I’m frustrated by watching the “Six Pack Shortcut Guy“, or the “Athlean-X” guy, or our friends over at “Freeletics“. So let us put the commitment required to achieve the results, and by us, I mean me, and see what can actually be achieved by an average every day kinda guy.

In general terms though, the goal is to reduce my Body Fat weight by at least 50%, of which I have a healthy 18kg worth, and really work hard to get myself very fit. The mixture of training and diet will get me to these goals.


It’s tough carrying this Dad Bod around all the time, so for context and by definition, and I take extreme artistic license in where I choose my source for definition, “Dad Bod” is referred as…

“Dad bod” is a male body type that is best described as “softly round.” It’s built upon the theory that once a man has found a mate and fathered a child, he doesn’t need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.

Personally, I let that description set in for a moment, and was then hit with a more apt analogy of this common affliction…

If human bodies were cuts of meat, the dad bod would skew more marbled rib eye than filet mignon; or, if human bodies were sea mammals, dad bod would be more like a grazing manatee than a speedy dolphin. The dad bod is more mudslide than mountain, more soft serve than sorbet, more sad trombone than clarinet, more mashed potato than skinny fry. The dad bod is built for comfort.

Yeah, ok, that’s pretty much me, but clearly I’m not the only one with this “terrible” subscription. As if going through with this is not throwing myself under the bus enough, I’m certainly throwing myself under a bus that just so happens to be full of 120 kilo-a-piece construction workers by saying that there’s plenty of “us” around. At work, at your kids soccer practice, whilst waiting in line at the grocery checkout.

But this is where I say, NO MORE.

Slowly watching my belt buckle disappear, running out of breath walking to Mustafa’s Kebab Emporium and most importantly, not having the energy to get through the day and spend that quality time with my family.

There will be pain, there will be tears (real men cry) of both Agony and Ecstasy and their may be the odd vomiting scene that’s for my trainers enjoyment is likely to not be edited or censored in anyway.

So away we go and I  hope you enjoy the journey as much as I’m likely to cry through it…