Sunday, 27 January 2013

29. Symbols of Swagger

It's a damn shame that the term swagger is tainted with images of spoilt teenagers, a sense of entitlement, snapback caps, Lil Wayne and #YOLO.

No, thank you.

When it comes to style, it's not just what you wear, but how you wear it. You can have a suit made of the finest fabric and put together by the best tailor. But it counts for nothing if your posture is slouched and you lack confidence. Style is as much behavioural as it is your outfit.

Should you walk around with your nose turned up and a British accent? Of course not. It's difficult to pinpoint, but a combination humility, confidence and cheekiness can't hurt. 

Take a look at this Heineken ad, for example:

Here's a man who believes in himself and is confident. He has special interactions with each 'character'. He makes other people feel special, and they love him for it. It's important to note he picks greeting someone over grabbing a beer. He doesn't think he is better than anyone else. Whilst there is a certain unreality with the clip, you can't help but love the main character and wish you were him.

A few more of my symbols of swagger:

George Clooney - generates 80% of planet Earth's suave.

James Dean - oozes cool.

Pelle Almqvist (The Hives) - absolute confidence.

John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) - expressive, humble.

Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) - confident.

Christolph Waltz - humble and polite.

Richard Pryor - storyteller. RIP.

I could go on and on, but these are a few of my favourites.

Who do you draw inspiration from? Who do you look up to?


Monday, 21 January 2013

28. Health and Fitness Special: Exercise

After the horrible Coles rejection, it was time to trim down. I figured the best way to do that was cardio. For the better part of a month, I would go to the gym twice a day and hammer out hour-long cardio sessions. I saw that I was losing weight. Unfortunately it was very little for the amount of work I was putting in.

I asked a few people who were where I wanted to be. They all said the same thing - get stuck into the weights. So I did, and the rest is history. I never had a crazy level of dedication. I would go three or four times a week and would cycle three basic workouts.

Despite common belief, girls can lift weights without looking like a muscle-bound freak. This is because girls don't secrete testosterone and growth hormone the same way men do.

Workout One: Push

3 sets, 12 repetitions - Barbell flat bench press
3 sets, 12 repetitions - Seated dumbbell shoulder press
3 sets, 12 repetitions - Incline bench press

Workout Two: Pull

3 sets, 12 repetitions - Deadlift
3 sets, 12 repetitions - T-bar row
3 sets, 12 repetitions - Lat pulldown

Workout Three: Legs

3 sets, 12 repetitions - Squats
3 sets, 12 repetitions - Lunges
3 sets, 12 repetitions - Hamstring Curls

Rest for no more than 90 seconds after each set. 

This is not the be all and end all of workout programs. It's just basic, to help get you on your way! Week after week, your strength will keep increasing and lifting will become addictive.

I would strongly recommend you organise at least one personal training session to learn how each exercise is done properly. The last few repetitions of each set should be difficult. Proper technique is number one.

If you have any questions, please ask.


*For extra credit, visit these websites:

Michael Janda - PT (if you're in Sydney)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

27. Health and Fitness Special: Nutrition

This time of year comes with a list of usual suspects. Christmas related weight gain, NYE hangovers and of course, half-arsed resolutions. The two main ones being quitting smoking and losing fat. Using a date on a calendar as a reason for change is a shitty way to shape up*.

There are two main factors to losing fat, exercise and nutrition. I'll cover the latter briefly today, as it's arguably more important. I'm not a nutritionist, so don't take what I say as gospel. Everything below is from my own experience, but is widely accepted as sustainable and healthy. 

Given that this is such a huge subject, I'll make a few key points:

1) Think long term: Eating properly is an ongoing necessity. Once you get to your goal weight, you still have to eat healthy. Remember, your old ways got you fat - don't go back to them.

2) Think natural: With all the weight loss gimmicks out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Just remember that as humans, all we need to survive is meat and vegetables. Monkeys don't need Celebrity Slim, dolphins don't need multivitamins. Why do humans?

3) Think positive: When people try to eat healthy, they often avoid things which are deemed at unhealthy. They'll eat things which are 'low in fat' or 'low in salt'. I call this negative nutrition, because  their focus is on removing bad foods from their diet. Try exercising positive nutrition by eating food that will nourish you. Eat your fill, and don't starve yourself.

4) Think sober: Cutting out alcohol will lead to dramatic fat loss. If you must - go for spirits served neat. Soda and citrus is good too. Vodka, lime and soda is a personal favourite. Low carb beers are ok, Hahn Super Dry is a good compromise. Avoid cola, lemonades or juice with your alcohol. 

Eat a high protein, low carb diet. Here's an example of a day's worth of eating:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and ham
Lunch: Chicken stirfry (refer to my Lodawg Stirfry which I posted a few weeks ago)
Dinner: Steak and broccoli

In between those meals you can have nuts, natural yoghurt, berries, green tea and protein shakes.

Your body will take about a week to adapt to your new way of eating. It's not easy, but if you hang in there - you'll get the result.

Next week, I'll cover the exercise component. If you have any questions in the mean time, feel free to ask.

- Loic

*My catalyst was a horribly awkward encounter with a checkout chick at the local Coles a few years ago. 

I lined up, saw this cute girl. She was librarian cute. Brunette, skinny and a pair of black glasses hiding the sexiest blue eyes. I couldn't resist, I had to have a crack. I was too shy to make a direct proposition, as I was fat. 
I asked her to give me a piece of receipt paper and a pen. I wrote "Hey, you're really pretty. We should have a coffee." I left my number on it. I passed it to her, she read it and promptly turned bright red. She said she would. 

We completed the rest of the transaction, except I didn't have enough money in my spending account to pay for my groceries. So I had to transfer the money from my salary account, whilst standing there awkwardly. It was excruciating.

I bumped into her a few weeks later and she gave me her number. I played it cool and called a couple of days later. We had a ten minute chat, but it wasn't really going anywhere. I knew then and there that she wasn't interested at all. I knew at that point, being a fatty wasn't for me anymore.

Oh, Amy.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

26. Travel checklist

Hi all,

The last few weeks have been extremely busy with the holiday period. Now that all the eating (and drinking) are reeling in, it's time to get back to business. I've decided the blog will incorporate other elements of men's lifestyle, not just clothing. The next couple of weeks will briefly cover health and nutrition, in lieu of the new year.

Saying that, I find myself flying home to Sydney every couple of months. Every time I go up, I always get a sinking feeling as if I've forgotten something. I took to writing a little checklist, just to make sure  I haven't forgotten anything.

I thought it'd be a good idea to share it. Note that this isn't a definitive list. You might have different needs, so change accordingly. Thanks to Rob for fixing it up!

See below:

I'll put up a link for a printable version soon. 

Next Sunday, I'll be covering fitness and nutrition.