Alex Brooker is hitting fat head on.
The C4 Paralympic and Last Leg presenter is delving into the world of male body image as he sheds some light on how men really feel about their figures. In his own battle with fat he's hoping to win the war with weight, lose two stones and get a six-pack in just two months.
Women’s magazines notoriously scrutinise the female form, applauding the flat stomachs and pointing the finger at the lumps and bumps, proving a self esteem crusher for the average woman, but do men's magazines have the same affect on the average fella? Are the boys as conscious of their muffin tops and bingo wings as their girlfriends?
A study in 2012 revealed that 1 in 3 men would give up a year of their lives for their perfect body. In the same year, it was reported that 80 per cent of men were concerned about body shape, whilst in February of 2013, the NHS and Social Care Information Centre stated that 65 per cent of British men are overweight.
Self-confessed ‘perennial porker’ Alex, thinks he might be one of those overweight ones. He's always been the biggest of his brothers and his male friends, and even confesses to hitting the junk food after a big night out, but it's worse than he thought. After donning the speedos to have his body fat measured, he's incredulous to hear that he's in fact considered clinically obese.
To kick start his new svelt self he follows in the footsteps of Beyoncé, and does a week of cayenne pepper diet. It's a harsh start, especially the salt water flushes, but he sticks it out and loses 10lbs in seven days.
But how far are men willing to go, and where do they get their perception of perfection from? The porn industry is a big player in the world of male body image, and now more so than ever, male porn stars are more ripped and stacked than their previous counterparts. Meeting Demetri XXX a well-known porn star and porn producer Justin Ribero, Alex discovers how the pornification of society has influenced the way men look.
And it's not just the porn industry that influences male body perception. Ex-Deputy Editor of Men's Fitness magazine, Joe Warner, wanted to prove to readers that an average 30-something guy could turn his body around and be a front cover pin up with a six-pack in just 12 weeks and its just the added incentive that Alex needs. With these fast turnaround fitness plans becoming all the rage Brooker tries out a DVD called Insanity - it is madness but why are blokes doing these things, does it all come down to vanity?
Alex’s dad is part of the generation that can’t understand the new found male obsession with weight and image – it certainly wasn’t a talking point with his friends when he was Alex’s age. But Alex’s mum, has a different tale to tell as she gives some touching and revealing insights into Alex’s history of weight issues.
With Alex’s girlfriend Lynsey saying she loves him for who he is, not what he looks like, the question now is will Alex become one of the vain, body conscious guys out there, will he lose the weight in time for the yearly lads holiday and will he finally win his lifelong battle with fat?