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Sport

The best sport for the male physique?

 

If you’re a man looking for the ideal physique and you don’t fancy spending long and boring hours in the gym for the sole purpose of shaping your body – which are the best sports to pursue?

The obvious answer here is that it depends what type of physique you’re looking for – and to start with that ideal. For any “normal” men who don’t have any hang-ups about wanting to be bigger than the next guy – this means having quite a cut and sculpted physique – with all-round fitness and an attractive shape; the type you would expect to see at Sports Personality of the Year. This precludes many sports that seem to turn the male shape into a hulking mess including body-building for size (which isn’t a sport in the true sense of the word anyway) along with things like rugby union (certainly for the forwards), American football and other things like weightlifting, power lifting etc.

Similarly at the other end of the spectrum, most men don’t desire to be the shape of a distance runner – who often look too skinny and weak.

Thankfully, there are many sports in the middle ground that offer good levels of stamina, suppleness and strength, whilst building a good all-round physique. The best tactic is to look at the shapes of the men who do these sports and work back from there.

Here are four of the best…

 

Swimming

For some men, the swimmer’s physique is ideal. Swimming is excellent for all-round fitness and helps develop big muscles along with good definition. It does develop a rather square-shouldered look, though, which isn’t always popular with some people.

Swimming is ideal for men in middle age as it can be continued indefinitely.

 

Boxing

Boxers also develop generally excellent physiques. The intensity of training required for the fight game is like no other sport and the physique developed by boxers tend to do the talking for themselves. Apart from the super-heavyweights, perhaps, or some of the very lightweight boxers at the other end of the scale, boxers have excellent shapes and the definition is often amazing.

It’s partly for this reason that “boxercise” has become so popular in recent years. If you can train like a boxer, you’ll develop a physique like one.

Developing an interest in boxing and watching the fights can certainly help spur you on in the gym. Whoever your boxing favourite is, it’s a good idea to try to emulate his actions with a punch bag etc. and to have the kind of shape you’re hoping for in mind as you train. Just make sure this is a realistic and achievable ideal for the kind of basic body shape nature gave you – whether endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph – then work steadily towards the ideal.

 

Sprinting

It’s probably fair to say that the majority of track and field athletes don’t possess the kind of basic physical shapes that most men would like to emulate. The main exception to this rule is the sprinter’s classic shape (though some athletes like decathletes, javelin throwers and others often have excellent physiques).

The 100, 200 and 400 metre runners are often powerfully built and don’t have the overall skinny slightness of form that is a pre-requisite for speed over and longer distances.

There is a lot of information on the web about sprint-training and if you follow these guidelines, your figure will change gradually into that of a sprinter. But as with boxing, you will also need to be prepared to spend long hours in the gym. With sprint training, of course, a lot of the emphasis is on short, sharp bursts of explosive energy.

But recent research from Nottingham University has shown that such short bursts of activity (of just 20-30 seconds at a time) can have a radically improving effect on our overall fitness levels.

 

Gymnastics

In many ways, male gymnasts often have the most desirable overall male physiques. It’s easy to see why. The level of control required is amazing – so the gymnasts have to develop muscles where most of us aren’t even aware that we have them!

Just try doing a few basic and simple gymnastic moves or even yoga exercises etc. whilst holding yourself in the perfect form and position – and you’ll quickly find out what we mean. Those small, perfectly controlled movements take an incredible amount of core strength in all the muscles of the body – and are incredibly difficult to achieve. It’s similar in many ways to Pilates, although generally a lot tougher.

With gymnastics, it’s harder to just get started on your own using videos from YouTube etc. and a bit more dangerous than the other sports on this list. So whilst with all the sports on here, it’s a good idea to seek out expert help to get the basics right before you start in earnest. This is arguably even more important with gymnastics. This is also the hardest one in which to reach a level of competence without expert coaching and the hardest to take up if you’re already in your middle “plenties”. But it’s also one of the most rewarding for your physique and overall sense of well-being.

 

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Brazil 2014 – Worth It?

The World Cup is currently underway in Brazil. World champions Spain and perennial international failures England are already out of the competition whilst footballing minnows Costa Rica have upset the odds and qualified for the next round.

 

That is all very well and good but surely you are up to date with the football results? Instead we focus on Brazil itself, which has seen riots in the build-up to the tournament. So if Brazil win the World Cup, which they are favourites to do with bet365, will they manage to appease the unsettled?

Let us start with the reason for the unrest. One look at the surface of Brazil can be very deceiving. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at over $2.422billion, placing the country in seventh place in the world for purchasing power parity, placing higher than European powerhouses France and Great Britain. On the other hand, it does not take much digging to discover Brazil is a place of polar opposites. Whilst the rich get richer the poorer, who are densely populated in numerous favelas across the country, are getting poorer.

Looking at the numbers and it becomes clear that the World Cup was the last thing Brazil needed. Without looking at the problems in the country alone it is clear that the whole construction process was handled woefully. There is running close to the wire and then there is not being ready, the stadia proposed by Brazil very nearly became the latter, despite six years of preparation.

The knock on effect of this poor planning is costs, which as a result have risen staggeringly. Brazil icon Romario, a 1994 World Cup winner and critic of the World Cup, has claimed that the actual costs of the World Cup are a staggering $46billion. By contrast, the World Cup in South Africa was done for $3billion. If Romario’s claims are correct that is 15x more than the 2010 World Cup. No wonder he is calling it the "Biggest theft in history".

In a country where tax revenues comprise 36% of the GDP (the highest in the developing world), thanks to the average Brazil citizen paying 40.5% income tax, you would expect basic provisos to be in place for the less-fortunate. They are not. Whilst the lack of transparency with the money has heightened fears of embezzlement and corruption, claims that dogged former President Lula and current President Dima Rousseff.

So the national side has never been more important. In a country where football is the second religion, only a World Cup win can ease the pain currently felt by the proletariat – that may be a Marxist term but in the current climate the ruling class in Brazil are looking ever more like the Bourgeoisie that Karl Marx feared.

Of course victory will not eradicate the problems but to a certain degree it would justify the expenses of the World Cup. Some of the outlay will be recouped by tourism but tourism is a temporary measure.

Yes the World Cup is an iconic tournament to host but when you have more pressing problems in society then the expenses are hard to justify.

In sum, Neymar and Brazil have to win the World Cup. Anything less could see problems flare to unprecedented heights.

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