DECEMBER is the one month of the year when indulging in the finest food and wine is standard practice.
But for a group of Edinburgh bar staff the festive period was a countdown to get whipped into shape.
The nine strapping lads have spent the last few weeks preparing to strip down to their smalls all in the name of a charity calendar.
And the men from trendy city bar Amicus Apple – as well as two Scottish internationals – were given a month to prepare for the photo shoot by Calum Mackinnon.
Calum – who is manager of Amicus Apple – came up with idea for the fundraiser which would be in aid of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Scotland – a charity close to his heart.
He said: “My father passed away from MND when I was 11-years-old and for the past few years my mum has created a charity cook book but this year she passed the gauntlet to me.
“I looked at making a cooking and cocktail book but with time I decided it would be fun to make a calendar.
“I called a staff meeting and roped in a couple of my rugby friends and every single one was up for it which was a fantastic thing to see.”
All the money raised will be donated to the MND charity and in particular to the Euan MacDonald Centre which was set up by Euan and his father Donald.
The centre was opened in 2007 after 32-year-old Euan was diagnosed with the degenerative disease.
Calum, 27, added: “MND Scotland has to raise £13,500 every week to provide the services they do and the centre was set up to try and find a cure for the disease.
“When I met Euan I thought he was such an inspiration – it really hit home for me as you realise the disease also affects young people.
“A lot of people don’t know much about it so it’s about raising awareness as well.”
The calendar photo shoot took place within Amicus Apple where Scotland rugby stars Chris Cusiter and Thom Evans posed with the bar staff like professionals.
Chris Cusiter said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and I think I would have been a bit more nervous about it if I hadn’t been doing training but thankfully we have.
“I’ve known Calum since we were about 10-years-old so when he asked me to get involved I was more than happy.
“I saw the pictures quite briefly and asked Calum to let me know if they were alright but he never got back to me – hopefully they are ok.”
Calum’s friends all played a part in the creation of the calendar with photographer Suzi offering her services for free.
He said: “The shoot was a lot of fun – I think the photographer was quite excited about the prospect of taking photos of half naked men.
“I think the boys felt a bit of pressure only have a month to prepare and nobody wanted to have their picture on the month next to the rugby players.
“Everyone was up for it and found it funny – it’s gone down brilliantly.”
Some of the chaps took the get fit challenge quite seriously – cutting out booze, carbs and taking protein supplements – and took full advantage of their gym memberships.
Chris Baldwin, Mr January, 25, said some of the staff even asked the chef to prepare salad for lunch.
He said: “It was fun and we didn’t take it too seriously but at the end of the day it was all for a good cause and we know how important it was to Calum.
“I stepped up my gym routine a bit and it was a good incentive to keep going and stay in shape during the festive season.
“It was difficult but we’re quite a competitive bunch of boys so we had a bit of fun with it. “I’m please with the photos and if Calum wanted to do the calendar again I would definitely be up for it.”
The Hunks of Amicus Apple calendar can be pre ordered at www.amicusapple.com from Monday.