active

'Why it's not too late for gay men to get body confident at 50'

Former Blue Peter presenter and anti-ageing expert Stuart Miles reveals how he fought to regain his fitness.

2019-10-22

'You can achieve a body transformation at any age'. These are words I never thought I would hear myself saying, let alone achieve in just 16 weeks.

Having turned 50 this year I wanted to make a change, but some accused me of having a mid-life crisis.

While many gay men tend to look after their bodies, sometimes as we get older we get forgotten, especially if still single. Young bodies, fit bodies - youth often rules on a night out.

Well that doesn’t have to the be the story: older gay men are becoming much more desirable, so-called 'daddys' are being celebrated for their mature looks and getting the attention they deserve. We are all different but what really matters is that when you look in the mirror you should like what you see.

Without that you may lack the confidence and self-esteem to get yourself back out there. That is down to two things, accepting and liking what we can’t change and doing something about the bits we can!

It’s easy to give up and think 'I will never be able to compete', but remember as a mature gay man you have so much more to offer.

I am not going to lie and say it was easy, but at a time in my life when I felt that genetics meant that my body was slowing down, with expert help I took back control and the opposite happened. I ended up feeling more confident, not just about how I looked but how I felt about myself as I get older.

Often our work life and other commitments drain all the energy from us, leaving little left. Despite us all feeling like this from time to time, I proved to myself that by taking control of how you look and feel as you age you can feel better and not worse.

I have never really been one of those tops off kind of guys, in fact quite the opposite, I can be painfully shy at times. On the other hand, I never looked at myself thinking I was hugely overweight, but it turned out that I had accumulated much more body fat than I realised!

It was only when I looked at these results I saw how I had just accepted how I looked instead of challenging it.

Of course, it’s important to find the right help.

I sought the help of personal trainer and nutritionist Henry Ives. We developed a 16 week programme that fitted around my hectic work schedule.

Various actors and celebrities achieve this sort of thing when it is part of their job, but it’s important to remember they are often paid to do it and most of us need to juggle it around our busy lives.

Mine was hectic, as well as presenting various breakfast shows for BBC radio, my day job as a TV development producer and my writing work took up a lot of my energy, yet it still turned out to be possible.

To lose the body fat I needed to be in a calorie deficit. Henry calculated the weekly total for my calories, and from there was able to show me where my daily calories could be - the macros (how much protein, fat and carbs I should have) was set also set, but it was explained to me that as long as I focussed on the total calories, we would achieve a calorie deficit.

Obviously the only real way to make sure you are in a calorie deficit, is to track that you are actually losing weight on the scales – we checked this every week alongside measuring my body’s skinfolds to make sure we were on track.

The most important principle that in order to lose body fat you must be burning more calories than you take in is simple, and there different methods that can be used to achieve it.

Because we knew the total number of calories that I should consumer across the week, I was given a plan that meant on days where I had a lot on I could go over my daily calorie allowance as long as I compensated with less on the quieter days. It also meant I didn’t have to always cut out the foods I loved, it made my life a lot easier.

My weight training sessions were intense and I was worried I may not have the energy and calories required to build muscle. I soon learnt it’s a myth that you can’t gain muscle whilst on a calorie deficit.

As long as you are eating enough protein and getting the correct structure to your nutrition and training then gaining muscle and losing body fat at the same time is possible.

I am really happy with the results. I don’t have the best body of any 50 year-old by any means, but I definitely feel a real sense of achievement with what is possible at this age.

Maybe many other men who feel like they have given up on themselves a bit might realise it’s not too late and challenge themselves! I feel stronger physically and mentally than I ever have and somehow this feels much more satisfying at 50 than it would have at 25.

Follow Stuart on Instagram @mrmilesyoungerSee more of Stuart’s transformation in Healthy for Men Magazine on sale now in Holland and Barrett nationwide.