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Go Out to Swim to get fit

Aquaphobe Matthew Jenkin is tempted back into the pool by the prospect of achieving his Olympian goal and the promise of a party
The team from Out To Swim hit the streets of Soho to promote their pool party in Brockwell Park
Photo by Tristan Galindo

I don’t do swimming. Unless the pool in question has bubbles and a bottle of chilled champagne within arm’s reach, I won’t even dip my toe in it.

It’s not that I hate the water. On the contrary, I quite enjoy the splishy-splashy thing. But the chlorine gets in my eyes, dries my skin, bleaches my hair and I couldn’t think of anything more tedious than plowing the water length after monotonous length.

But like most red-blooded gay boys, I love a near-naked man in Speedos and am willing to take the plunge if there’s the chance some flesh will be flashed.

And Sunday’s (10 June) pool party in south London’s Brockwell park is the perfect opportunity to slip on a pair of budgie smugglers and show off the six-pack which is finally beginning to burst through after almost three months of hard graft in the gym.

With the help of Maximuscle, the UK and Europe’s number one sports nutrition brand, I have been lifting, crunching, shredding, ripping and molding my body into what I hope will resemble at least the shadow of a svelte and defined athlete before the Olympic Games in London next month.

And according to Gareth Johnson, the president of gay swimming club Out to Swim, who are also the organizers of this weekend’s party, swimming is a perfect sport to help achieve my goals.

‘Because swimming is not a resistance based exercise, it will help you burn a lot of calories and is very good for a cardiovascular workout,’ Johnson said.

‘If you are doing short sprints, it’s very good for interval training and will make you physically stronger generally.

‘But because you’re in water and your muscles have a different type of resistance, it’s not going to give you muscle growth necessarily or muscle definition.

‘You’d need to combine that with a resistance based training and a good diet as well.’

While lap swimming can be boring, and mine is a common perception, aquatic sports don’t have to be, Johnson claims.

‘While there a lot of benefits to doing lap swimming, in terms of training, discipline and building performance, there’s actually lots of variation in aquatics to make it a bit more interesting.

‘Some people use music to zone out but if you’re looking for a way to spice it up a bit, there’s things like swimming in open water, like lakes and oceans.

‘You could also try water-polo, which is a water-based game which has a bit more action and excitement.’

Open to both men and women of all abilities, Out to Swim offers all of the above, as well as synchronized swimming and soon diving.

And pool partygoers on Sunday will be treated to an all-male display of the popular discipline.

It seems despite my reservations, if I want the body of a titan, I may have to eat my words, swallow my pride and dive in with the rest of the mermen and maids.

Just have my vodka martini shaken and ready for the party after. And it better be a dry one.

The Out to Swim Pool Party runs from 5pm to 10pm. To find out more and to buy your tickets, click here.

Along with a healthy diet plan recommended by Maximuscle nutritionist Gareth Nicholas, I have been working out three or four times a week, including taking the Maximuscle Promax Cyclone shake, Maximuscle meal bar and Thermobol supplement.

Follow my Olympic body challenge progress on Twitter @matthewjenkin

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