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Report: One of these men is 72 Can you guess which one?; We assume that while women nibble lettuce and obsess over every extra pound, men survive on pies and pints and wear their beer guts with pride. But the seven men above, aged from 21 to 72, reveal how worrying about your appearance isn't just a girl thing.

Calvin Lobendhan, 40, runs his own home improvement business.

Height: 5ft 8in. Weight: 11st

`I feel like I've been training for ever. I started doing it in my twenties and I've been working out three times a week, every week, for the last five years.

`I started because I was a 912st weakling and wanted to bulk up. Weight training is like a drug, once you start you just can't do without it. I think I look good for a 40-year-old. I wear suits to work and I like being able to carry them off.

`My wife appreciates the effort that I put into my fitness. She married me when I was skinny, so I hope she finds me sexier now. She's not a gym person herself. I think women like guys who look after themselves and it's the same the other way round.

`My mother is the first one to tell me if I lose weight, but she never tells me when I look good. So if she doesn't say anything I know I must be looking OK.

`I don't particularly watch what I eat, but I've never really liked sweet things. Staying off fatty foods has never been much of a problem for me.

`I have a 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. They are fit but I'm fitter than both of them, though it's purely because they don't put in the hours that I do.

`If I lose too much weight I get depressed, and it drives my wife crazy, because my eating habits change and I can eat a whole chicken in one sitting or lots of tuna fish. I don't think I'm vain, but I do have to feel good about myself.'

Scott Turner, 32, swimming instructor. Height: 5ft 11in. Weight: 11st

`I started weight training six years ago, although I was fairly fit anyway. I've been a swimmer since the age of four. I run or swim every day.

`I'm fairly happy with my body image but I don't like my legs, they're too skinny. My girlfriend agrees. She seems to pick on a part every month, so one month it could be my arms that are too skinny and I'll work on them, then the next month it could be my legs and I'll go mad doing squats.

`I definitely think I'm sexy but I never used to - my girlfriend has had a lot to do with changing my attitude. She's always commenting, saying I'm sexy, which makes me feel good. She's in great shape and we often run and swim together. I don't think I could be with a woman who wasn't sporty.

`I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to food. I make sure I eat healthily. Salads, vegetables, fruit and chicken are my staples. I get called a nut by some of my friends who don't think so highly of my regime.

`I know lots of guys who choose to eat the wrong food and go out drinking at the weekend. That's not for me - I don't want a beer gut or pale blotchy skin. I'm a bit of a poseur at the gym and I admit I am vain - if there's a mirror then I'll look in it. Around women I become all shy. I just smile and look coy and it seems to work.'

Ash Bhatt, 25, customer service consultant. Height: 5ft 11in. Weight: 1412st

`I'd describe myself as a fat blob. I admit I'm overweight, yet I've been told I'm attractive.

`I've always loved my food and beer. I like to pig out on kebabs at weekends. In the past, if it wasn't greasy then I wouldn't eat it. But then I went travelling to India and lost about a stone and a half, partly due to stomach problems. When I came back I made a resolution to try and stay slim and take up some exercise, although I ended up putting all the weight back on.

`I've now joined a gym. I've been training steadily for a month because I think I could look a lot better. I haven't changed my lifestyle drastically, I'm not turning into a rabbit yet, so it's not all lettuce, tomatoes and radishes.

`I don't really cook, so I'm into ready-made meals and I tend to eat in the canteen at work. I've lost about half a stone since going to the gym, but I don't think I'll ever become obsessive. Even if I had a body like Brad Pitt's, I wouldn't flaunt it. I don't strip off on holiday. I'll wear a T-shirt and shorts but I won't show my chest. It's just not me.

`I'm single at the moment, but "cuddly" is how my previous girlfriends have described me. I haven't had a girlfriend for the last year because it hasn't been a priority and, anyway, no one's interested in me at work.

`I'm not into grooming in a big way. I'm not the world's best-looking bloke, so there's no point slapping on the moisturiser because it's not going to make a difference.'

Greg Perel, 62, personal trainer and owner of Mr Fitta's Health Club, London. Height: 5ft 10in. Weight: 1312st

`I'm happy with my body, considering I only started training at the age of 44. I used to be very skinny and weighed 9 stone. It's taken me 18 years to get this physique. I split up with my second wife and decided to change my lifestyle completely. I gave up smoking and boozing and joined my local gym. It was there that I met my present wife and we started to train together.

`Within a year I could see improvements and I became an obsessive trainer. I'm as happy as a man of 62 can be with his body. I'd like it to be a lot better and I believe I still have the capacity to improve it. I work out up to four or five times a week and I know I'm in good shape because when I go on holiday, guys 30 years younger than me ask me to play volleyball, which is brilliant for the ego.

`My wife thinks I'm a little bit too self-obsessed and she's not wrong. But at my age I have the right to be a bit vain and it's quite harmless. It's not unhealthy. I'm equally obsessed with my wife's figure - she's also 62 and in terrific shape. She gets away with wearing a thong on the beach which I love because she has a great bum. I do like women to look good.

`I'm in better shape than my stepson because he's not as devoted as I am. I do this for a living so l have to look good all the time. I've got crap calves and I don't have a visible six-pack at the moment, but I'm working on it. If I wasn't married I'd be able to pull, totally. I flirt a bit but not like a dirty old man.'

Rod McLennan, 54, retired bank manager. Height: 5ft 11in. Weight: 15st

`Three years ago I had a triple heart bypass. My biggest priority is to lose weight and get fit. I've put on two stone since the operation, which I need to get rid of. Food is my downfall and I've found once you get to your fifties it's very difficult to lose weight, but I'm determined.

`I don't like my body at the moment because I'm obese. I am trying hard but I have a problem with my fridge. It should have a combination lock put on it because I pick. Cheese is my weakness. And I don't mean cottage cheese.

`I went bald when I was very young and I ended up with a complex. For a young lad of 23 it was devastating, so I've never felt attractive. I don't think I'll ever be totally happy with my body, but at my age it doesn't really matter. Who am I trying to impress? I'm divorced and where do you pull birds at 54 without being called a dirty old man? I do sometimes think I'm fighting a losing battle. I'm a slob, set in my ways. I know I'm a walking time bomb... I'm overweight, have had a heart bypass and I still have the odd cigarette.

`I'd love to have liposuction on my tummy. Or if I could lose two stone by jumping out of an aircraft at 40,000 feet, I would. I'm so desperate I've joined a gym. I try to enjoy it although there have been a couple of embarrassing incidents. I was once on the treadmill when this lady came in. She had an enormous pair of breasts. They put me totally off my stride and of course the treadmill was going quite fast so I was catapulted into the wall and crashed into a heap. All the guys were in hysterics and I suspect she saw what happened. I now focus on my training.'

Imran Khan, 21, telesales executive. Height: 5ft 8in. Weight: 912st

`I hate my body because I eat like a pig but don't put on a single pound. I've tried hard to put on weight - I'll eat anything - but it just doesn't happen. I play football and cricket to keep fit, but I do smoke.

`I think I'm sexy but I could look better. However, as long as my girlfriend is happy, I'm happy. I think she'd like me to have more of a bum. If I didn't have a girlfriend I'd be in the gym a lot more trying to bulk up to impress the ladies.

`I'm as hairy as a monkey and I guess if there's anything I dislike about my body, it's my hairy legs. In the summer guys are under so much pressure to look good that it can be irritating.

`I hope it's just a matter of time before I start putting on weight. I'd like to put on a stone but it's more of a long-term goal. I do like my girls to be heavier than me so there's something to grab hold of. My girlfriend's body is just right. She's neither skinny nor fat - she's got curves in all the right places.'

Tony De-Chellis, 72, retired boxer and bodybuilder. Height: 5ft 6in. Weight: 1112st

`I'm an ex professional boxer and I started bodybuilding when I was about 35. I won "Mr Best Britain Over 50s" in 1982.

`I will work out until the day I die as keeping my body fit is very important to me. I train twice a week for an hour but I used to do it five times a week when I was competing. I like everything about my body and want to keep what I have in good shape. The years take their toll, but I can still do 12 one-handed press-ups and about 100 normal press-ups. I'm originally from Italy and whenever I go back home people still look at me, which I think is wonderful.

`I get comments from men and women who think I'm in my early sixties. I've been married for 45 years and my wife still loves my body. I'm a full man - I've always been a sexy person. I don't go out of my way to get noticed, but when I competed I always wanted to win. I don't eat fatty foods, and I listen to my body and decide what it needs. I know when I'm putting on pounds and I've stayed the same weight for years.

`I won my last trophy when I was 64. I'm not obsessive about working out but I believe it's good for my brain and makes me feel good about myself.

`My son moved to Australia 11 years ago and won the Mr Australia bodybuilding contest, but I can still hold my own next to him. I know my children and grandchildren are proud of me but I'm not a show-off.

`My older friends always ask for my secret but there really isn't one. You just have to be dedicated. Growing old isn't something I think about. As long as I'm in good shape, it doesn't worry me.'
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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Onwu, Rachel
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2000
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