Ab-solutely blown away by Channing Tatum’s abs in the new Magic Mike XXL movie?
Strippers have to ensure their fitness is on point, to ensure they’re able to perform demanding choreographed routines night after night
Whether on film or IRL, male strippers have to ensure their fitness is on point, both to ensure they’re able to perform demanding choreographed routines night after night, and to guarantee they look hot enough to have the ladies drooling.
Marshall Arkley, 28, is an entertainer who gets butt naked every week as part of Adonis Cabaret, ‘the world’s leading male stripping troupe’. He also works as a muscle model and a personal trainer. Here are his fitness tips from a bloke who strips (and plays the piano with his penis) on stage – for real…
1. Use targeted training to create the illusion of a better body
“It’s entirely possible to adapt the shape you were born with – you don’t have to just sigh and settle for what you believe your chromosomes have dictated.
I weighed a ridiculous 12.5lbs at birth, so it’s no surprise I was a chubby blighter as a kid
“I’m part Geordie, part Bulgarian and weighed a ridiculous 12.5lbs at birth, so it’s no surprise I was a chubby blighter as a kid. But while I accept that genetics can have some effect upon your body shape, I’m living proof that having so-called ‘bad genes’ is no excuse for not making the best of yourself.
"Targeted training can help make a body that’s naturally ‘wonky’ look more in proportion. I’m predisposed to having an inordinately broad, thick back, which can make me look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I try to balance out my physique by developing my chest so my front matches my rear, size-wise.
I’m never going to be a Skinny Minnie, so I train my shoulders and legs to create the illusion of a tapered waist
“Likewise, my trunk has always been thick. I’m never going to be a Skinny Minnie, so I train my shoulders and legs to create the illusion of a tapered waist."
2. Eat buffalo and, err, python
“It’s hard to stick to a high-protein diet [which body builders follow to build and repair muscle] if you’re bored out of your skull eating grilled chicken and tuna day in, day out. Varying your meals keeps things fresh.
“I work with a company called Wildefeast who sell a variety of healthy yet unusual meats, including bison, camel, llama, zebra and python. You can even buy a Widefeast selection box called ‘Marshall’s Well Hung Meat Package’. It contains horse."
3. Don’t opt for the heaviest weights
“I see too many people at gyms doing bicep curls with enormous weights, but they swing the things like an old lady with her handbag. That might lift the weight into the air, but it won’t do much to pump your arms.
“When you’re doing any type of exercise, don’t be afraid to choose a smaller weight and try to connect your mind with your muscles. Focus on what’s moving inside you."
4. Keep a food diary
I couldn’t stick to any regime that didn’t allow me to have cheat days where I do obscene things with Nutella
“A lot of people think they’re eating more healthily than they are. Keeping a food diary is a great method of getting a clear, honest picture of your true habits. The free app MyFitnessPal helps you easily track your meals, snacks and workouts.You can use it to scan the barcode of products to get nutritional info on them when you’re out and about, too.
“Plus, if you’re trying out different diet or exercise plans, it’s a good way to monitor what’s working for you, because no one approach to fitness will suit everybody. Personally, I couldn’t stick to any regime that didn’t allow me to have cheat days where I do frankly obscene things with jars of Nutella."
5. Make healthy choices on the go
“We’re always travelling up and down the country for shows, fitness expos and photo shoots. Taking pre-prepared homemade foods in Tupperware is the best way to ensure you’re not consuming rubbish but it isn’t always practical, and can feel wang-witheringly dull.
Many cereal bars are cleverly marketed as being ‘all natural’ but they’re often glued together with liquid sugar
“If you end up having to buy food on the run, try to choose low glucose, minimally processed items. Fittingly, I rate Nakd bars as good on-the-move snacks, because they only contain raw fruit and nuts. So many cereal bars are cleverly marketed as being ‘all natural’ or ‘long-lasting energy sources’, but they’re often glued together with liquid sugar. They make your insulin levels spike, and can lead to you gaining weight."
6. Join the resistance
A resistance band is an excellent bit of mobile workout kit to carry
“Exercising can be tough if you travel a lot. A resistance band is an excellent bit of mobile workout kit to carry. It takes up very little space and is hugely versatile. You can attach it to almost anything, and perform a wide variety of moves that work all sorts of muscle groups."
7. Your own body is a free weight that you always carry with you
“There’s a muscle model I know who’s an ex-marine with the most incredible body. His training pretty much consists of variations on pull-ups, altering his positions and handgrip to target different muscles, but just using his own body weight to create a challenge.
Your body is one piece of kit you take wherever you go
“Your body is one piece of kit you take wherever you go, so it’s worth learning exercises that rely upon you shifting your own weight rather than a dumbbell or bar.
“In addition, as you build muscle, you’ll become heavier, and thus bodyweight exercises will become tougher – they’re inherently progressive.
8. Develop your selfie-esteem
The selfies genuinely help my fitness in a number of ways
“I’m well aware that the number of selfies I post could be interpreted as egotistical, so I make sure I have a real hoot with them – because in truth, the selfies genuinely help my fitness in a number of ways…
“Fitness models are notorious for sending retouched, months-old images to agencies, then rocking up to shoots looking out of shape and podgy. I don’t use filters on my snaps, so clients can see what I really look like; followers can see what I really look like, so I’m not promoting unachievable body standards; and I can see what I really look like, so I can tweak the bits that are lacking.
Keep your sense of humour. After all, laughing is great for your abs
“My tip is to take a pic at the same time every day, in the same light, so you can track your progress. You don’t have to publish it, although many people feel they gain motivation and support by posting to social networks. If you were studying for a maths test, you’d have no shame in whipping out your textbook to study in public, so if you’re working hard on your body, don’t be ashamed to show it!
"Just don’t be a douchebag – respect those around you at the gym, and keep your sense of humour. After all, laughing is great for your abs!"