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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
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Oli Pettigrew went from flab to fab
by Charlene Chua

Don't call Oli Pettigrew roly-poly.

The once "doughy" TV host had recently transformed into a well-chiselled hunk in a matter of eight weeks.

For the longest time, Pettigrew's dream was to front his first magazine cover on Men's Health (Singapore).

So the Hong Kong-born British former model approached the men's magazine a few months ago and made them an offer they couldn't resist.

Pettigrew, 31, told The New Paper: "I asked them if they would feature me on their cover if I lost all the weight and attained a smashing body.

"They agreed, so I started training for it end of June and made it for this month's (October) cover.

"For the Men's Health picture, the only thing they had to do was to use spray tan on me as I'm very pale, but there was no digital imaging done.

"I remember that the only other time I did a shirtless shoot was back in 2003 for Female magazine."

He is so happy with his new physique that he did a photoshoot with his wife's best friend Zurina Bryant, a day before his Men's Health shoot.

Pettigrew married US model-TV host Linda Black, 37, in 2006.

Telegenic couple

The telegenic couple met here in 2003 when he moved from Hong Kong and she from the US to slug it out in the local modelling industry.

The couple have two kids, Ewan and Tia, both four years old. Black gave birth to Ewan in 2008 and the pair adopted Tia last year.

While Black acknowledged that his new body is "amazing", she said the drastic transformation took some getting used to at first.

The Texan native was in the US for a family reunion when her husband decided to transform himself into a Greek god.

Black told TNP: "When I came back, it was like I was hugging a stranger. He was all muscular and it was just weird for me, I feel him but it isn't him.

"The next day, he looked at me and said he was sure that I didn't like (his new look)."

She added that it took her "a whole week to get used to it, before I could feel normal putting my arms around him".

Black also lamented that their relationship has lost some "spontaneity".

She said: "I used to ask him, 'Shall we go out for drinks and dessert?' I can't do that now as he can't eat any of that stuff."

So how did he turn from flab to fab?

The Cash Cab Asia host credits his new physique to trainer Ian Tan of Thrive - The Gym.

For the last eight years, Pettigrew said the hours spent being a gym bunny had been wasted because he was doing all the wrong exercises.

He had gone to see Mr Tan in June to engage him as his trainer. But the latter, in a bid to test his commitment, asked him instead to train on his own for two weeks - doing only sprints and chin-ups.

Pettigrew did just that, and Mr Tan agreed to handle him after he saw the new definition to his physique.

The gruelling weight loss process - the 1.82m-tall Pettigrew used to weigh 77kg but is now 68kg - included sprints up Telok Blangah Hill and pull-ups on his chin-up bar at home.

Pettigrew said that running long distances would raise one's metabolism for only one hour after the exercise. But sprinting for even 20 minutes would "shred you" and keep one burning fat for up to 14 hours.

He has also given up on his bicep curls and bench presses, trading them for medicine balls and chin-ups.

Intensity and full body workouts are the key to losing bodyfat, he added.

Of course, no exercise programme would work without an accompanying diet plan.

Pettigrew, who used to have a 32-inch waist, can now fit into a size 29 jeans, admitted to indulging in beer and sweets.

Former food junkie

These days, the former food junkie will have only steak, chicken, bacon, ham and lots of organic vegetables, such as broccoli and tomato with baked almonds.

While his colleagues on set are having chicken rice, he would be enjoying his protein shake.

But every few weeks, Pettigrew allows himself a "cheat" day. The last one saw him consume 8,000 calories in a day, when the average intake for men is about 2,500 according to the US Department of Health.

He wolfed down three double quarter-pound beef burger meals with fries and milk shakes, along with pizza and beer.

Said Pettigrew: "The next day I was back to what is now my normal diet, I love being carb and sugar-free as it keeps my mind clear and I feel so healthy.

"The only alcohol that I still have now is red wine."

Pettigrew may have attained new female fans, courtesy of the Men's Health cover, but Black isn't worried about the extra attention.

The candid babe said it was humour in a man that turned her on, so it didn't matter if her spouse was toned or not.

"What I like most about Oli is that he can wake me up in the morning and tell me something really funny that I'll just crack up at," she said.

"His new body doesn't make me feel insecure about mine, I've always been tall and thin," added Black, who is 1.77m tall and weighs 57kg.

"But I have to accept that he is public property now, people come up to him and want to poke his abs.

"I'm not worried about the women who want to look at him, let them enjoy it.

"They can have the magazine cover, I have the whole package."

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