Yes I was in great shape when this photos was taken.
The best, in fact, of my 35 years on this earth. I had worked solidly for three months, watched what I was eating, and been super-strict in the final week (salmon and broccoli five times a day, anyone?!).
However, the above picture is also a product of a great photographer (Max Ellis), good lighting, a smoke machine, a black and white filter and 'muscle sheen' (it's like Mr Sheen, but for your body). (Hat and bow-tie, model's own).
But on its own, with no context or frame of reference, it's just a picture, which is what you see staring out at you from the magazine racks.
I believe in 100% honesty and transparency, which is why I'm going to tell you that two months after that picture, I don't look like that anymore.
In fact I ate three Krispy Kreme donuts yesterday. And they were delicious!
However most of the fitness industry doesn't want you to believe the above, and in fact, wants to sell you a lie.
When you see a model on the cover of Men's Health or similar, they do not look like that all the time.
The actually will only look like that for the photoshoot, and even then all the other ways to tweak the image that I listed above will be used to the Nth degree.
And don't even get me started on steroids (if a body seems unreal/unattainable, then there's a very good chance at some point they've been on steroids).
What I'm saying is that it's fine - good in fact - to have a goal to work for, fitness/health/body-wise.
And don't let anyone tell you it's vain/selfish or something else negative to be doing it just for looks and appearance.
Improving your body will do wonders for your confidence and general self-esteem, so go for it.
However, don't feel put off by the fitness magazines; don't feel that if you're not getting the six-pack/guns/chest you've seen photoshopped on a cover, you're doing anything wrong - YOU'RE NOT.
Here's what to do: take photos of yourself every month and use them to track your progress, as long as there is some level of consistency in your workouts and diet, and you WILL see change and progress.
And I can help with that, should you feel you need some support or maybe a bit of a nudge.
Matt "cover THIS" Boyles