The fat has fallen off them, they are feeling fitter and they're fuelled up with knowledge on nutrition and health.
Our four volunteers have finished their six-week-long Men's Health: Small Change, Big Gain challenge. In their final posting, they tell us how their lives have changed after training with Lee-Anne Wann and following a controversial high-fat, low-carb diet.
Herald deputy editor
I've learned loads about nutrition and loads about exercise. I've learned some proper boxing techniques and that there are many ways you can be in pain while using a Swiss ball. I've also learned that humans have an amazing capacity for self-delusion.
Seven weeks ago, I thought I was a bit overweight. Looking back at the pale, puffy face in my "before" pic, I realise I looked like Darth Vader without his helmet in Return of the Jedi.
I'm far from perfect now, but at least my body fat level has gone from signifying morbid obesity to approaching decent.
It's been a remarkable experience. I'd go as far as to say life-changing.
I'm leaner, sharper and have been better able to cope with some challenging situations. I'll carry through the good habits. Sayonara sugar, ciao carbs.
I'm going to keep up the boxing, and enjoy being more mobile on my mountain bike. I still hate running, though. My enduring thanks to Lee-Anne and to Gus Lam, my boxing trainer.
And special thanks to Winston. He put a packet of cookies on my desk in week one. They're still there. Untouched. He thought he was testing my willpower but ended up cementing my motivation.
The Hits radio content director
It's all over - 6 weeks and I'm done. Well, not really. This is more of a beginning for me.
I was quite nervous for my final measurements, even though I knew I had improved. Had it made a big enough improvement? I think so.
I have dropped 6.5kg, and 3.6% body fat - I'm really proud of myself. I am feeling so much better, and these results explain why.
Now the key is to continue balancing my lifestyle. While I am never going to be a high-performing athlete, I do need to look after myself. This process has helped me to identify a few things I need to focus on.
The first one is making sure I eat the right foods. That means as little sugar as possible, a big reduction in carbs, and much less alcohol than I was used to. The second is around work - keeping my stress levels down, and making sure I get enough sleep at night. And the final big one is actually the easiest: making sure I drink enough water.
I have more weight and body fat to lose, but now I know how simple it is to do. It just takes some focus, a little bit of time, and changing a few bad habits. Lee-Anne, thank you for all your guidance and belief.
You have shown me that it isn't as hard as I thought to make meaningful changes to improve my health and life.
Herald travel editor
The most telling thing about my weight loss over the past six weeks is that my first reaction when I saw I had dropped 7.1kg in 42 days - a helluva drop in a short period - was one of disappointment. I thought I had dropped even more.
I had two basic aims - to get healthier by carrying less excess weight and to be more likely to get mistaken for Sonny Bill Williams than Bilbo Baggins when I'm out jogging. We ticked the first box, the second is a work in progress.
At the start, I thought it'd be great to be 5kg lighter and on track to losing more. Ultimately, I dropped from 109.2kg to 102.1kg - and it was easy. Well, kind of easy. Here are the key changes I'll keep:
•Processed carbs are gone. It's arrivederci to bread, pasta, noodles and cereal. I might have muesli once a week, just to break up the eggs-for-breakfast routine.
•Sugary snacks are gone. In their place are whey protein shakes and a nut-and-seed mixture.
•I had two days a week with alcohol during the project - down from pretty much seven. I'll aim to keep it at three days.
•Long runs are out. I'm doing more interval training. And, whenever possible, I'm exercising first thing in the morning.
Now then, I think I've earned a couple of Christmas drinks ...
SkyCity chief executive
Well, the weigh-in! 6.2kg of fat gone, muscle mass up 1.2kg, net weight loss down 5.1kg - from 112.3kg to 107.2kg.
Body fat down from 27 per cent to 22 per cent - nearly a 20 per cent reduction; all in six weeks and really all without too much pain!
Long blacks with cream; breakfast of poached eggs, spinach and avocado (at Gusto); salmon sashimi, broccoli and asparagus for lunch (at Masu); lots of water plus the zinc tabs. Oh ... and a little exercise (probably should have done a bit more) and a little less wine (actually ... a lot less!)
I see this very much as an education - a course I've just completed in Understanding Men's Health. I can't believe how ignorant I was. Armed with this knowledge, I'll keep going.
I still want to achieve 20 per cent body fat by Christmas and have another weigh-in with Lee-Anne just prior - and, going forward, an aim of reducing body fat to less than 18 per cent.
And the other benefits - my energy lasts longer and is more even throughout the day, I'm happier, stronger, more active and want to ride more.
I'm really looking forward to the New Year. 2015's going to be fantastic! Thanks, Lee-Anne!
Six weeks and we come to the end of the programme but the beginning of a whole new way of living for these men. The results have been great but what I'm most excited about are the small changes they have incorporated into their lives as part of their routines now. Many of us don't start programmes or health regimes simply because they seem too challenging or we don't have the time to commit to them, so this was really about incorporating small things into our daily lives that really, truly have a big positive impact on how we feel, look and manage the challenges day-to-day life can throw at us - never underestimate the power of the small things.
Weight change 116kg to 109.5kg
Body fat change 24.1% to 20.5%
Muscle change 88kg to 87.1kg
A great result for Jason considering he is still not a fan of exercise and likes to indulge on occasion. It's about knowing where his equilibrium is and how much he can get away with and what he needs to do to make sure he doesn't get on that slippery slope.
Weight change 97.2kg to 91.9kg
Body fat change 24.6% to 19.7%
Muscle change 73.3kg to 73.8kg
Fantastic - Chris has had great focus and commitment the entire programme and his results speak for themselves. It's about starting to be creative with real foods and finding new options to create masterpieces. As he's armed with a whole new bunch of recipes, I'm hoping I get a dinner invitation from the family soon. Something Chris is going to focus on is snacks. As we discussed, it really is hard finding "real" food for snacks and again this is about looking at new ideas and combining foods for different options. I can't wait to see where he is in three months.
His abs were already showing at the end of his programme.
Weight change 112.3kg to 107.2kg
Body fat change 26.9% to 22.3%
Muscle change 82.1kg to 83.3kg
Age is no barrier as he has gained the most muscle in the group - no easy feat! This is not the end for Nigel but just the beginning. The change in just six weeks has been inspiring and his enthusiasm to get back out road cycling and find ways to eat great foods while travelling and at events is amazing. Nigel has taken everything on board and found ways to work small things into his routine, and the payback is obvious.
Weight change 109.2kg to 102.1kg
Body fat change 20.9% to 16.6%
Muscle change 86.4kg to 85.2kg
Winston looks so healthy and fit now. Forty-two days, as he says, and the changes he made were not overwhelming or difficult, even for a travel editor. I'll be super excited to see how his training progresses, as he's a demon in the gym and enjoys a good outdoor run, which can be done anytime. I'm really impressed with his ability to stay with the changes while travelling and looking at simply finding the best worst choice rather than stressing about being perfect.
Read previous stories in this series here: tinyurl.com/nzmenshealth
6 Tips to stay healthy through Christmas
1) Make your best worst choices
Don't fret about being perfect. Often we're in situations or at events where we can't make great choices of food and drink so just make your best worst choice. Choose a glass of red wine over cocktails, add a sneaky sparkly water and lemon in the mix so it looks like a drink, and choose foods high in protein, such as prawns, nuts and eggs, when having canapes.
2) Water, water, water
We often underestimate the importance of water and around the merry season it's even more important for us. Keeping well hydrated can help minimise cravings, reduce appetite, help burn fat and reduce the impact of hangovers. Aim for 39ml per kg of bodyweight a day.
3) The first three hours of the day
Get this sorted and the rest is much more likely to fall into place. It's been known for years the first thing you eat in the morning will determine your behaviour and food choices for the rest of the day. Start with good protein and natural fats such as eggs, avocado, nuts, salmon and chia seeds.
4) Go for short, sharp exercise
Keep it simple and intense: we want to break a sweat and we don't want to spend all day exercising. Aim for three to four 15-20 minute effective sessions a week to keep in shape. That makes it easier to fit in and is more effective for fat burning and managing mood and energy.
Take time over the break to get extra sleep and let the body catch up. Sleep is imperative to function optimally, lose body fat, manage stress and recover. Doing less is sometimes doing more for body and mind.
6) Hangover option
If we overindulge, a favourite of an American nutritionist is to suck on an umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) the morning after for an hour or so. Works a treat combined with extra water and a short - yes, probably challenging - run or walk.