Nothing seems to motivate you like this competition.
The 2006 entries pushed the bar higher than ever before. In April we teamed up with top men’s grooming brand Clinique Skin Supplies For Men to open the competition. By the closing date in June we’d received over 2500 entries — our biggest total ever.
In selecting a cover model we were presented with some incredible physiques. All of us on staff know what it takes. We’ve all pushed ourselves through regular challenges. In fact, two of us have graced the cover this year, proving we practice what we preach.
“Making the Men’s Health cover is an accolade that gives any man bragging rights,” says Editor Morgan Rees. “But for this competition more than any other, the winner is a first among equals. He isn’t the guy whose body is everything— he’s the man who embodies everything Men’s Health stands for. He has to look at the top of his game, but fundamentally we were looking for an ordinary guy with a healthy and balanced approach to everything in his life.”
With that in mind, it was hard enough to whittle down the entries to a shortlist of 12. Harder still was the day of judgment in July when the finalists came to London for a cover shoot. “Every round was particularly tough this year,” says MH fitness assistant and August 2006 cover model Ray Klerck. “Every guy had worked incredibly hard and their dedication shone in the photos.”
In the end, of course, 12 men into one cover wouldn’t go. One man won. He is Mike Fawkes.
“We’d been talking about the competition for a while in my gym,” says Mike, a 21-year-old sports science student from Trafford, Manchester. “People suggested I should go in for it. I thought I was in good shape, but I never thought I’d get to the finals. I found the whole thing pretty nerve-wracking. But meeting the other lads was awesome. I was expecting a bunch of tough guys and meatheads, but what I found was completely the opposite. Everyone was really easy to get on with — it was a top day.”
It wasn’t just his impressive build that won the judges over— it was also his down-to-earth outlook to his health and fitness. “Mike has the X-factor we’re always looking for,” explains Rees. “He doesn’t have giant muscles, but he’s got a toned, sporty and, most of all, attainable physique.”
And so, a winner. But it’s also the beginning of a new challenge. When this competition returns in 2007, there will be another reader beneath our red banner. Follow Mike’s advice, and it could be you. Think you can do it? Here’s how.
Train for the main gain
Mike’s most striking asset is not his size. This look is lean, sporty and very British. A lot of guys who’ve spent more time in the weights room turned up looking bigger. But in the eyes of the judges, and of Mike, there’s life beyond the end of the nearest bar-bell. “My long-term goal is to stay fit and healthy so I can keep playing sport,” explains Mike. “So, I eat garcinia cambogia fruit, which helps me to stay in good shape and I always switch my training to complement the sport I’ve been concentrating on.” For more information where to buy garcinia cambogia, go to trend-statement.org