Cutting weight: 85-87kg
Bulking weight: 93-95kg
When and why did you start working out?
I started working out purely due to vanity. I wanted to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club and Ryan Reynolds in Blade! It was second in line to all the sports I played until I hit 17 and my groin/abdominal injuries began, which coincided with me getting a job at the local leisure centre, pushing resistance training up my priority list.
What is your Job?
I’m a personal trainer, swim coach, co-owner/founder of LDNMuscle & have recently graduated from the University of Birmingham.
How long have you been training for?
I’ve been involved massively in sports all my life; competing at a high level in rowing, football and triathlon, and partaking in almost every other sport under the sun! I dabbled in the gym from the age of 14-15, but never really hit a routine till I was 19.
I would say I’ve been properly training for nearly 3-4 years now- hitting all muscle groups evenly- although chronic groin/abdominal injuries, shoulder issues and past-naivety have slowed my potential gains undoubtedly.
What keeps you motivated to train?
I feel healthier, leaner, fitter and generally better when I’m deep into a training plan. I love the feeling of smashing PB’s and it keeps me sane as I can’t properly compete in any sport currently, which I used to be involved so heavily in as far back as I can remember.
How often do you currently work out (including cardio sessions)?
Resistance: 5-6 times weekly.
Cardio: 1-3 times weekly (football or HIIT).
What is your favourite exercise and why?
Weighted pull ups, overhead (tricep) dumbbell extensions and hack squats. These are my favourite exercises purely for the range of motion and the way you can really destroy the target muscles as you feel them working the whole way through the movement if completed properly.
What is your favourite workout?
Back day. I always look forward to training back, which I usually team with the secondary muscle groups: rear delts, and biceps.
Best body part?
My legs (excluding my calves- probably my weakest!).
Worst body part?
Shoulders and/or calves, I can’t decide which is weaker. I really have to smash these muscle groups consistently for a prolonged period in order to see any minimal improvements.
How do you overcome a training plateau?
Take a few days, maybe a week off the gym completely to stretch and work out any niggling injures. Then come back, diet and training wise, at 150% as motivated as ever. De-load or taper weeks are also employed when necessary.
Keep mixing up your training, weights, reps, etc. Staying one step ahead of your body is key to avoiding long plateaus in performance, when it adapts and things become comfortable is when stagnation sets in.
Creapure (creatine monohydrate), as it’s the only one that I feel works and is actually worth the money!
What is your diet like?
It has only really come together to a point where I’m happy in the last 18 months. I don’t go very low on carbohydrate or calories as I’m a monster-eater and my overriding aim is to gain muscle size and strength. I prefer to turn up the cardio rather than exist on rations when it comes to cutting! I employ flexible dieting over the rigidity of clean-eating also.
I also have the occasional epic cheat meal. I would recommend against these and rather fit your cravings into your daily macronutrient targets, but for me these do occur, and my body seems to tolerate them well- luckily!
What do you do when you’re not training (besides eating and sleeping)?
Working with/for clients, answer tweets and emails, hang out with friends, watch sports and occasionally do some university work.
What were your biggest mistakes as a beginner; with regards to training and nutrition?
Training: not warming up sufficiently and neglecting certain stubborn muscle groups like shoulders and traps.
Nutrition: lack of protein intake in early meals; I never really consumed adequate protein until dinner, and even then it wasn’t the best form of it. This continued till I was 18 and started cooking for myself at university.
I also went very low carb for one Spring and Summer (2011) teamed with high cardio; this was a massive mistake and I had a terrible relationship with food and training here. I got very lean for a holiday and managed to pile on a lot of fat over the 7 day duration.
Biggest mistake you see others make when training?
No heart or drive when lifting- too many people go in the gym more concerned with others around them and showing off rather than concerning themselves with destroying a session. These people need to learn to get their heads down and work, rather than talk sh*t and demean others around them, whilst working only their upper body with terrible form and joint-destroying loads.
Do you still set yourself goals when training?
Yes, of course. You have to have short and long term goals otherwise you’re wasting your life aimlessly lifting things up and down in a room with no concrete motivation.
Short term: slowly lean down for mid-late July; hitting around 10-12% body fat on relatively high calories and carbs.
Long term: gain as much muscle as possible and build the capacity of my metabolism (reverse-diet). Increase muscle symmetry, proportion and be injury free for a sustained period!
Favourite motivational quote(s)?
“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”
Charles F. Kettering (Engineer and Inventor.)
“You can have results or you can have your excuses. You cannot have both.”
Who do you look up to in the industry?
Lots of people, you’ve got to appreciate everyone for their good points regardless of their flaws. My top three would be Layne Norton (everything), Dorian Yates (training mentality and style) and my brother @LB_LDNM (general knowledge and ever-growing interest/skill base).