I am now 43 years old and am in better shape now than I was when I was 33!

“My name is Mark Blyth and I am a professor at Brown University. Prior to joining Brown in 2009, I was a Professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The problem with being a Professor is that you spend and entire career not moving about. You sit behind desks, or rummaging through archives, cleaning data and the like. And after 15 years of this you end up looking like this:

As you can see I looked like the type of sausage that you find in a hotel breakfast buffet – fatty, overcooked, and with an unhealthy pink undertone. I had back-ache, a beer-belly, size 36 pants, and a future as ‘that fat guy’ looming ahead.

On the left is what I look like after spending three days a week for nine months with Al. As you can see this is quite a difference.

Al Perez doesn’t just change lives, he saves them.

I was on the fast track to ill health and all the problems of being overweight. He not only got the weight off, he changed the way that I thought about the gym, exercise, and my body. Academics tend to think of their bodies as containers for their brains. Doing so leads to neglect and breakdown. Al showed me how to rebuild in such a way that what I did with him I now do on my own, three days a week. This is my new normal. My body is now an equal partner with my brain.

Through Al I learned about the importance of strengthening my core. I learned fifty things to do with a balance ball and a bosu. I learned how to walk into a gym and never be bored or at a loss for what to do. I learned to like it.

The first two months were tough. I had the flexibility of dead horse and learned to hate foam rollers. But once my flexibility returned, so did my strength. And to feel strong again after so long, to have pectorals you can show off on a beach (rather than a gut you try to hide on the beach) is a hell of a feeling.

I am now 43 years old and am in better shape now than I was when I was 33. I went from 185 lbs to 171lbs and shifted 30 lbs of fat for 20 lbs of muscle. I was a 36 inch waist. I am now a 34, heading to a 33.

I had to have every single shirt and suit I own retailored to fit. I had to replace all my jeans. It was worth every penny.

If you work with Al Perez you can get where you want to go. Trust me on that. Just do what he tells you, and like me, you will look younger, feel fitter, and be stronger than you ever thought possible.”


Mark Blyth, Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at Brown University, Faculty Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies

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