Tweed Pig Pin-Up - Zen Martinoli​

Zen Martinoli​ is a London-based boxing and fitness trainer, and latterly the MD of exciting new sports clothing brand British Vintage Boxing, which includes a Henry Cooper-inspired range. That's Zen in the photo above looking as perfectly in shape as a man could ever hope to be. How might we attempt to cinch in the old bod to achieve similar results? Don't shake the head. It's not impossible, but I warn you now, there aren't any shortcuts.

Cinch in the old bod
For the latest in the Pin-up series, I thought we might try something a bit different and take the opportunity to pick Zen's brains as to how we might ever resolve to achieve a physique like his own. As Zen acknowledges, any regime to stay in shape is a big topic, touching on areas such as diet and lifestyle. But Zen cheerfully agreed to provide a useful summary. Thanks Zen.
Never Mistake Kindness for Weakness
First of all, let me say that I have found Zen to be one of the most likeable and modest people I have approached on behalf of The Tweed Pig. Nothing was too much trouble and any suggestion was given due consideration. I compare this with the pomposity and conceit we get from other operators and I wonder how they stay in business. Another seriously likeable Londoner is Martin Brighty from Peckham Rye who has always shown great generosity and support. As the legendary Leonard John McLean once said, we should never mistake kindness for weakness. Nice guys finish first.

Zen and The Art of Anatomical Maintenance

I will now pass you over to Zen.

'The photo above was a publicity shot taken for my boxing coaching business in 2015. Now aged 46 staying in condition is as much a prerequisite as it has ever been and a challenge within my work/life balance equation. But exercise I must. It’s a commitment I make to myself, not just for physical dexterity but also for mental agility and well-being. I always use the analogy that our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to ‘work’ for their food, a natural harmony in calories consumed and expended. In a world where considerably more people die as a result of obesity-related disease than starvation there is much room for concern.

'Fear not! It’s quite simple to start exercising and eating a sensible diet. Don’t misconstrue ‘diet’ for less, instead a combination of the right macro-nutrients to support a healthy, active lifestyle is key and integral for success. Eat a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates – there is a plethora of advice on the internet, but a good rule of thumb is omit all things white (all are processed and packed with sugar, white bread, rice, pasta etc.) avoid sugars wherever you can, and of course keep the booze to a minimum. Lots of greens; broccoli, spinach, asparagus and kale are my favourites and lean meats, fish, nuts, beans and so on for protein. Find your good fats in oily fish, nuts, olives and seeds. Of course if you are vegetarian or vegan you’ll have to plot your path with even more consideration!

'There are myriad ways of approaching a new fitness regime; much depends on age, medical and fitness history so consult your doctor before you start any exercise plan. Start with a low impact exercise like walking, then gradually increase tempo over time. Body weight exercises light squats, jumping jacks and press-ups (modified) are good starting points. Getting a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise for your circulatory system, muscles, tendons and bone density is key not to mention benefits in functionality and stability. I would advise finding a local gym, make a commitment and get cracking. And if you have the spare cash get a trainer!'

Zen provides some really useful advice here. I have never heard of the avoid white foods thing. And we have to appreciate that it's no use thinking about exercise in isolation. Diet and, indeed, rest are equally important. I'm thinking about rest as I read Zen's advice, which is probably not the best reaction.

Zen Spars with Baxter Dury
Zen is friends with musician Baxter Dury. Are you familiar with Baxter's albums? I thought you would be. They're really rather good, aren't they? Baxter is the son of the late, great Ian Dury, which you can tell immediately in his vocal delivery.

You can see Baxter and Zen sparring in the video for Prince of Tears below, which is taken from Baxter's album of the same name released by Heavenly Recordings.


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