Half way there

My Body Transformation 8 week challenge at the gym is now half way complete and I’m feeling great for it. I can see a bit of a difference in my torso and the definition in my arms and I generally feel better.

In the week just gone my diet wasn’t as strict so today I’m getting back into the task of food preparation. I think being organised is the key. It’s very easy to make bad decisions if you haven’t got a good meal already prepared. The main problem with food preparation is getting some variety into the diet. I have no desire to eat the same thing every day, especially if it’s not tasty.

I’m a bit nervous about keeping up the momentum for the last four weeks. Hopefully by focusing on feeling and looking good for Europe as well as making the most of this opportunity is enough motivation to keep me on track.

After the four weeks I won’t have access to all of the classes that I do now, that comes at a membership cost that is a bit out of my budget at the moment. I’ll be able to do two classes a week and use the gym as much as I want which I think will be fine. My thinking is that I’ll do one strength/gymnastic style class and one high intensity cardio based class a week and do my own thing the rest of the week.

Getting closer

It seems to be my habit to book a big holiday well in advance. Some people book an international holiday a few weeks out and that makes me very anxious. By the time I get on the plane I need to know I’ve got flights everywhere I need them and most accommodation sorted.

The upcoming European adventure was no different. I booked my tickets right at the very start of November last year, nine months in advance of the actual trip.

The countdown is now at 6 weeks. At this time of day in 42 days I’ll be at the airport, checked in and enjoying an overpriced beer at the airport, doing some serious people watching. I mean, have you even travelled if you haven’t fallen in love from a distance with a handsome stranger in the airport? The answer is no. Try it. You sit there and you spot a gorgeous man and from there you imagine you are off on a romantic global adventure.

In my head I’m going to take beautiful travel photos and record hilariously witty but gorgeous vlogs of my travels while I’m away. Travel and landscape photography is not my strong suit and I’m such a lazy vlogger but I’ll do my best in between eating delicious local foods, getting naked and hopefully making the acquaintance of lovely handsome strangers.

Well that’s odd

Everyone in this crazy world thinks differently and has different expectations about situations. On the weekend I met someone that made me realise how different we can be. It wasn’t even that big an issue but it seemed quite odd to me.

A model approached me a couple of months ago asking if I was interested in collaborating and he had a great look so of course I said yes. He lives interstate though but he was planning on visiting Sydney so we made plans. It turns out he was staying in a hostel in a dorm room and he hated it. I woke up on the morning of the shoot to a message from him asking if I had a spare bed or anywhere for him to crash. Um, no.

All he did was complain about how he was hating Sydney and how he wanted to go home but he had another shoot a few days later. After the shoot he even hinted that he wished he could stay at my place. Then he couldn’t get hold of the friend he was meeting to catch up so he was angling to settle in at my place and relax for a few hours til he heard from her. Um, no.

It was so odd to me that he would ask me, a complete stranger if he could stay at my place for several days and at the least just hang out for hours. Sorry buddy but I don’t have complete strangers stay and I’ve got plans and things to do. Thanks for the shoot though.

It’s been a while

Back when I was living in London a little show called Pop Idol started in the UK. It went on to spawn American Idol, Australian Idol and a bunch of other idols. It hasn’t been on in Australia for some time now. The first winner of the UK Pop Idol title was Will Young.

Will made an impression on me not only for his beautiful voice but for his intelligence and his sense of justice. That shouldn’t be any surprise considering he studied politics at University before the Idol experience. Shortly after winning and having a number one single he came out publicly as a gay man. As well as a music career he runs an entertaining podcast called “Homosapiens”.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought one of his albums as they don’t get much press over here so a few have passed me by but after a bit of a hiatus in his musical career he’s just released the cracking “Lexicon”. I’d forgotten just how beautiful his voice is and I love the album. There are some fantastic songs on it. I guess I’m just recommending you go and have a listen!

Awesome

If you’re having a low key, lazy Sunday like I am then you may just be stuck in a YouTube vortex too. Inspiring myself and feeling lazy in equal measure I’ve been watching “People Are Awesome” compilation videos with people executing awesome feats of physical prowess.

It’s amazing what the human body can do with a bit (whole heap) of practice. I have no desire to fly a wing suit through narrow canyons but I can watch people do things like that for ages.

I’ve also, oddly been watching lots of videos of people recycling old materials into beautiful furniture or household items. One guy turned dozens of old skateboards into a spectacular board room table. If I were in a financial position to do so and needed to decorate a home, I would commission a table very very similar as a dining table.

Last night and the night before I was Master of Ceremonies at the 20th Anniversary shows my circus school put on and there were some beautiful routines on show. Maybe it’s the rediscovered enthusiasm for working out but I’m feeling like I need to do some more circus stuff and finally get round to putting a routine together.

In short, this post is saying that people are awesome. There are a lot of amazingly talented people in the world in all sorts of fields, sporting, creative, scientific and many more. It’s nice to feel inspired rather than depressed by all the other shit going on in the world.

Making progress

Two and a half weeks into my eight week challenge I’m pleasantly surprised by the progress I’ve made. It’s funny how a change of scenery can really shake up how you feel. I’d been with Fitness First for 16 years and it had been a long time since I was motivated. The atmosphere at the new gym, combined with not wanting to let them down after they gave me this opportunity, has worked wonders.

The food preparation is still by far the most daunting and challenging part of the process. Trying to incorporate some variety into my diet while eating tonnes of vegetables and keeping the meals as healthy as possible and hitting the right calories and breakup of protein, carbs and fats is a lot to get your head around.

I wasn’t sure how much progress I was going to make but I’m doing three high intensity/cardio based workouts and three strength based workouts a week as well as eating right and cutting out alcohol. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s making a difference. As of the two week mark I’d only lost about half a kilo (1lb) but I’ve dropped from 20.2% body fat to 18.1% and put on a kilo of muscle mass. More muscle and less fat is a good thing in my book even if it doesn’t in the end mean that I’ve lost much weight.

Let’s see how the next 6 weeks pan out. I’m feeling really good, sleeping like a baby and looking forward to working out. The vanity side of it is also good motivation. If I look and feel good in Europe then that is a huge win.

It’s not me. It’s you!

Way back in 2003 I came home from living in London at the lightest I’d ever been thanks to a youthful metabolism and working long hours on my feet all the time. So I joined Fitness First to build back the muscle that I’d lost while I was a poor backpacker. Since I was staying with my parents in a different city I joined there and with that chain knowing I could use any of their gyms.

Sixteen years later I’ve started the process of terminating that membership. Unfortunately I predict there will be arguments when they try and keep taking my money. Fitness First are also known as Finance First because of how hard they work to not let members leave. If only they worked as hard at retaining members by keeping them happy or just focused on the millions of members they have rather than just getting new members in the door.

At my new gym, Lift Performance Centre it feels like a very supportive network of trainers and clients. Sure, I miss out on the locker room experience but that’s not why I go to a gym. It’s not just the 8 week body transformation challenge that is motivating me. The gym has a vibe that is great and I’m really enjoying the atmosphere. In the middle of week 3 of the 8 week challenge I think this gym will be good for me.

If you sign up there, tell them I sent you!

Encounters

Grindr, Scruff and all the other options out there have created a very surreal world where you can have casual, anonymous, dial-in sex at pretty much any time and almost guarantee that you are going to run into these people again because you’ve harvested from the crop of local guys in your immediate vicinity.

Sure, if you live in a more suburban environment those guys are going to be more spread out and in rural regions someone may have driven an hour for a random hookup so that lessens the chance of an awkward encounter.

I’ve just got home from a quick pub dinner with friends (I didn’t drink and I ate a very healthy meal to fit in with the body challenge) and at one point they waved to someone who came over and said hello. They introduced us and we both looked at each other and laughed. We hadn’t actually met before but we’ve spoken online and were both part of a group chat trying to organise some group sex at one point.

It was actually refreshing that both of us acknowledged it. It’s a strange world that has come about from all this easy-access anonymous shenanigans. I think we’ve all had the situation where we see someone we’ve been naked with and been inside of or had them inside us, but in public they refuse to make eye contact.

Working hard

A few weeks back I headed down to our nation’s Capital city, Canberra to work on a photography project with a mate of mine. That particular project is still in the works but while I was there we decided to squeeze in another shoot for a download.

Tom has been in two previous downloads, Early Morning and River but now he’s on his home turf. He’s lucky enough to have a gym set up at home in his garage and isn’t adverse to working out nude, so we thought we’d capture that.

We all know I’d love to work out nude but there aren’t any gyms in Sydney doing nude workouts. Oh well. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t look anywhere near as hot as Tom anyway.

If you want to buy Home Gym, Early Morning, River or any of the other downloads, click here!

Is that good?

Today marks the end of week two of my 8 week body transformation challenge. I’m not going to lie, while I’m loving the workouts and the gym itself, the food changes have been tough. Eating the right amount of calories at the same time as getting the right amount of carbs and protein etc is quite a lot of work and obviously it means eating differently to the way I was eating before.

One of the other things is not drinking alcohol. I found out on Tuesday morning that they don’t want you to drink any alcohol while you are doing the challenge. Australia seems to be very geared to socialising around alcohol. One of my mates even joked that he’ll see me in another 6 weeks when I can be fun again.

I’m not a big drinker by any stretch, but I do have a drink or two a few times a week when I’m catching up with friends. Non-drinkers in Australia tend to get asked a lot of questions about why, why not, when did they stop drinking etc etc. and some people just don’t understand.

Now that I’m not allowed to have any alcohol it’s forcing me to reevaluate how often we drink and why. There are times when I’d just love to have a beer after a long day at work or over a meal with a friend but at the moment that’s not an option and I’m looking forward to seeing how much it helps.

Man on man

Gay sporting clubs are providing a safe space for LGBT people to meet other LGBT people out of the realm of night clubs and sex venues and they’ve been increasing in popularity for several years now.

The Silverbacks are Sydney’s gay wrestling club and while still a small club they have a core group of regular guys and a coupe of women who turn up to train, spar and socialise. Each year they release a calendar and have an exhibition to raise money for charity and they approach a bunch of Sydney photographers to donate images to the cause.

This year they have asked me to be a part of the project which is very flattering and last night I went along to their training space in a very cool boxing gym here in Sydney. The shoot needs to happen in the next couple of months and I’m wracking my brain to come up with a concept that hasn’t been thoroughly over done over the years.

Given that my photography is mostly nude, I’d obviously like to stick with that but making sure the shots are suitable to be aligned with a charity and also to work within the comfort levels of the guys from the club that I work with. Time to do my research on imagery and see what I can come up with.

Just plain insulting

One of the stipulations I have when I send images from a photo shoot to a model is that they don’t add any other filters to the shots on social media. Last year I had a big argument with a model because he had decided to face tune the hell out of them because he didn’t think I had done the photoshop that we’d agreed. I don’t do Hollywood retouching and I had even done more than normal for him.

Today a set of photos were released by a very well known celebrity portrait photographer, Martin Schoeller. He had done portraits of the top 32 drag queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race over the seasons. One of them, Brooke Lyn Hates had edited hers with extreme face tune and added a caption “The non homophobic version”. Clearly she’d taken it personally that the photo portrait a human with real features, even hidden below truck loads of makeup.

Firstly, the photographer is very very talented and it’s disrespectful and insulting to his career, skills and time to decide that you know better. It’s just rude. He’s been working for a very long time developing his signature look and all the skills to reproduce it consistently.

Secondly I have a real problem with the flippant use of the word “homophobic”. In a time in History when homosexuality is still illegal in some countries, Nazism is on the rise under the guise of being a “good American” and gay bashings and murders of trans people are still common, calling someone homophobic because they didn’t obliterate your natural features is juvenile and irresponsible.

Above are the portraits in question as supplied beautifully by Martin Schoeller himself. No extra retouching needed.

Gaining momentum

I’m very late to the party when it comes to watching Sense8. I’ve tried a couple of times but never got hooked properly. I’m finally starting to gain momentum with it. It’s so cleverly done and I find myself thinking that logistically it must have been a nightmare to film and plan.

Of course, the fact that all the actors, both male and female are beautiful doesn’t hurt, especially when you take into consideration that they all seem to get nude. I’m still on season one but we’ve already had an orgy and Max Reimelt seems to have no qualms about frontal nudity. Let’s hope a few of the others follow suit. I won’t complain at all if Brian J Smith wanders around naked a bit.

I have a few more episodes of Season 1 to go, then all of Season 2. At the rate I’ve been watching it that may take another year but I’m picking up speed so I doubt it.

There haven’t been many series that have managed to hook me of late. Always happy to take recommendations from my lovely readers.

This will be different

Drinking with work colleagues and a couple of our former colleagues on Friday evening, we discovered that one of the women I used to work with and her fiancĂ© are going to be in Sardinia at the same time as me. They haven’t made any plans for the time they are there so I said, I have a camper booked with enough room, come hang with me.

They are prone to getting nude on beaches as well so they won’t be cramping my naked style, and they are great fun to hang out with. It will be quite different for me to hang out nude with a female former work colleague but since we are all nudies it won’t be a problem. Of course I’m expecting a few seconds of awkwardness but then it will be fine.

She is also an art director so I know if I get her to snap some cheeky instagram nudes then they will be great shots!

Sudden change

Every year at the start of Winter, we Sydney-siders get a surprise when cold weather hits. Compared to North America or Europe, we don’t even really get cold but for a solar powered reptile like me it’s plenty cold.

We will be back into the low 20’s next week apparently for a few days but it’s been under 20 for a week or so now and it’s been rude. On my list of places to see and bucket list things to do is to see the Northern Lights, Antarctica and many more. Neither of those, nor several of the other things on the list include warm weather. Even in Iceland two years ago when it was above freezing I was still uncomfortably cold at times.

When I do go to the cold places on my list, like Finland I will be making the most of their sauna facilities to warm myself up and to keep my nude activity quota up.

Being in the snow does provide opportunities to do silly things like nude snow angels and those opportunities should never be passed up. Just because you grow older doesn’t mean you should ever grow up.