Get To Know The Coaches…

Here’s a short Q & A with each of our Coaches to give you an insight to their training, nutrition and just generally about their lifestyle.

James 

How did you get into the fitness industry?

I had always been active and loved sport, so choosing Fitness Instructor as a supplement to my BTEC Diploma in Sport in College always seemed a natural choice.

My 2nd year Fitness Instructor Tutor was also a Powerlifter, so he taught our class out of experience as well as just out of a textbook.

The passion he taught with must have rubbed off on me and as I was always naturally skinny, wanting to use the gym was always something I had wanted to do to improve my physique. I guess the two combined, I got my first job handing out towels in a hotel gym before moving back to work at QMC gym which is where I met Ben.

After building my knowledge base and gaining experience at QMC, I went self employed when I was 21 and spent a few months working between commuting to GymBox in Holborn whilst also building a business out of The Fitness Experts in Basingstoke and eventually we got to the stage where we took the plunge on our own back in 2014.

How have your perception/goals changed from first starting out til now?

Initially all you have in your head is working with Athletes and I actually applied to Intern with London Irish. The reality is the job postings are few and far between and the competition for spots is huge. Combine that with the fact I didn’t go to Uni and get a degree and I realized that my chances were extremely remote.

Now what I know is it is as rewarding to work with a complete newbie to the gym as it is working with high level Athletes! The only thing as a trainer I look for is a motivated individual; if you have that then you can achieve anything.

What does a typical day at work look like?

4.45am – Alarm

5.15am – Meal 1

5.45am – Traning Session 1

7am-10am – Clients

10am – Meal 2/Emails

11am-1pm – Clients/Admin

1pm – Meal 3

2pm – Massage/Training Session 2/Sleep

3-4.30pm – Admin/Golf

4.30pm – Meal 4

5-9pm – Clients

9.30pm – Meal 5

10pm – Sleep

What does a typical day of food look like?

My goals revolve around being as strong as possible whilst remaining relatively lean and staying around or just under 90kg (the weight category I compete at).

The things that don’t change would be a protein and fat based breakfast (I don’t remember the last time I had anything else), 4 litres+ of water per day and then the rest of my meals would be a typically paleolithic style of eating. As much meat/fish as possible, green vegetables, healthy fats and carbohydrates based on how hard/dense my training sessions had been.

(I also tend to have some form of Ice Cream for every PB I hit in training, I’ve been known to hit a new 17 rep max, just for the post training treat ;)…)

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Rib-Eye Steak with avocado and a strong black coffee

What are your own training goals?

To qualify each year for England’s Strongest Man and Britain’s Natural Man u90kg and to ensure I’m getting measurably stronger each year. I aim to win the latter of the two competition’s in 2017…

What’s your favorite exercise and why?

Unquestionably Deadlift’s. They have always been naturally my strongest lift, especially a rep event and it always scores me well in competitions.

Current bests:

280kg x 1

220kg x 12

What’s your favorite type of client to train?

A motivated individual without a doubt. Whether it’s rehabbing a knee, increasing someone’s Squat by 40kg or getting someone shredded for their Wedding Day, as long as they want it enough then that’s enough for me!

What’s your favorite routine to put a client through?

Due to the nature of my sport, I love to use Strongman style equipment and incorporate it into people’s routines. Combing a heavy strength based conventional lift with something lactate inducing usually kill’s two birds with one stone nicely, watching someone’s relative strength go through the roof whilst getting leaner at the same time!

An interesting fact about yourself?

Anyone that know’s me know’s how much I love Golf and how lucky I am to get to play as frequently as I do. Currently my handicap is 7 but I’m confident on getting this much lower. I’d love to get to the point where I was a scratch golfer and could compete in some of the top events in the country as an amateur when I have to stop my Strongman competitions (hopefully no time soon!)

Ben

How did you get into the fitness industry?

I have always tried lots of different sports throughout my life, and being as competitive as I am, I was always looking how I could get the edge or increase speed etc. This naturally led me towards the gym to help me improve my performance. I think my first gym membership was when I was about 16 years old and even before that I was using my secondary school gym from year 10.

At College I studied a BTEC Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science. During this course I had the option to complete my level 1 and 2 Fitness instructing qualifications. I did so and thoroughly enjoyed it, so it felt quite natural to move into that line of work.

After my College course I got my first job in the industry which was at QMC College gym. This is where I met James; we started at very similar time and so naturally did lot learning and training together.

How has your perception/goals changed from first starting out til now?

I think everyone’s goal post completely move, most people probably just don’t realise it.

When I started in the gym remember seeing a member squatting 120KG and thinking it was insane when I was struggling with less than 100KG. After I took up Olympic weightlifting in 2014 I naturally looked to the British Champions lifting huge weights around thinking how crazy it was, now I compete alongside them, hoping to take their titles. Now I look to Olympic Champions and World Records thinking how massive they are. It’s not until I take time to reflect and look back do I see how far my view of what is strong or fit has changed.

What does a typical day at work look like?

5am – Alarm and breakfast shortly after

6am – 11am – clients

11am-1pm – My training time

1pm-3pm Lunch and admin/emails

3-4pm – Second training session/ recovery session and snack

4pm-9pm – Clients

9pm – Dinner

10pm – Sleep

What does a typical day of food look like?

Competing in a weight classes sport means I have to be pretty strict most of the time to maximise my strength while keeping my bodyweight under 77KG.

So my days start with a protein based breakfast.

A snack of a protein bar pre workout and a protein shake post workout.

Lunch of chicken or beef with root veggies from the slow cooker made the day before.

Dinner will be a mix of protein and veg with normally a bit of rice.

My diet is now slightly more flexible being an u77kg lifter rather an u69kg so the odd sweet treat sneaks in a bit more regularly now…

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Ham and eggs, quick, easy and fits a purpose.

What are your current training goals?

To be the 2017 English champion, and place top 3 at the GB Championships.

Long term to be lifting at the 2018 Commonwealth games for Team GB!

What’s your favourite exercise and why?

For me, it has to be a Squat. I love the feeling of a crushing weight on my back or chest!

My bests are 170KG front squat and 200KG back squat at around 70Kg bodyweight. This makes it almost x3 bodyweight which is pretty rare.

Shear volume means I probably do some form of squatting every session 6 days a week.

(no wonder my knees hurt!)

What’s your favourite type of client to train?

For me is when I help a client achieve a PB in something. To see genuine joy, passion and excitement is amazing and is so infectious! This doesn’t necessarily mean lifting super heavy weights as PBs can come in many forms. If a client’s best Deadlift is 50Kgs for 1, to do 45Kg for 3 is certainly a PB.

What’s your favourite routine to put a client through?

I have done some pretty horrific squat programs in my time to gain leg strength size and strength, so I give people a little taste of some volume squatting is up there.

A modified version of Omni Squats (multiple squatting variations in one workout) is a good way to get legs trashed in no time at all with DOMS lasting almost a whole week! A close second is also 6,12,25!

A few interesting fact about yourself?

One of my first comps that I completed was the London Triathlon! How times have changed!

I have Hiked to the top of Snowdon wearing a batman cape and mask for charity.

I have traveled around Philippines Islands on a motorcycle.

One of my last job titles was Professional Gambler.

Alex

How did you get into the fitness industry?

I have always been very active and competitive in sports that I have participated in. I started training for my sports (Rugby/Basketball) to become more explosive and quicker on the court. I was relatively short and slim compared to the majority of my teammates and competitors. After completing my A-levels I went travelling to Australia, and pursued a passion and lifelong dream (at the time!) of being a snowboard instructor. I then completed my summer (their winter) as a Snowboard Instructor in Perisher Ski Resort (Australia).

I came back to the UK to start a degree, in Business Economics and Finance, after 3 or 4 months of really not enjoying the commute and the course itself, I decided I would pursue my passion and where I seemed to spend the majority of my time, the gym! I was spending almost all my time scouring informational websites, reading articles, interviews with “leading” people in the industry and writing training programmes for myself and friends.

How has your perception/goals changed from first starting out til now?

I remember one of my first strength orientated goals to be to : Bench 2 plates (two 20’s either side, 100kg), Squat 3 plates (140kg), and to Deadlift 5 plates (220kg).

At the time, the largest squat I had seen in my work place (commercial gym) was 140kg, and I remember thinking how strong and capable that guy must have been both lifting weights and athletically.

Now I think that my perception has changed because I am fortunate to say I have lots of friends around the world who are towards the top of the Powerlifting pyramid, and they are the people I strive to match. To use an analogy, as I climb the mountain I’m only looking up, and comparing myself to those “in-front” of me, not looking behind to where I previously was. I think that over time, you just come to expect more from yourself and attempt to raise the bar of those around you.

What does a typical day at work look like?

5am Alarm and breakfast shortly after (I have a bit of a commute!)

6-7am Commute from Newbury to Basingstoke, I use this time to listen to podcasts and informal education.

7/8am- 1pm clients

1pm- 3pm Lunch and admin/emails

3-4pm Ocassionaly Nap/ Life admin!

4pm-10pm Clients

10:45/11pm sleep (Depending on journey home and more podcasts/audiobooks)

What does a typical day of food look like?

I will typically rotate my caloric intake around heavier or harder days of training, and lower them on off-days.

The in/decrease of calories will often be through carbohydrates. The only rules to my diet is that it fits around my macronutrient intake (Calories: Proteins/Carbs/Fats), I start the day with a protein based breakfast, and I consume minimum 4 litres of water.

As an example,

Monday – Rest day – 3500kcals

Tuesday (Off work) – Heavy day – 4500kcals

Wednesday- Moderate training day – 4000kcals

Thursday- Moderate training day – 4000kcals

Friday- Rest day- 3500kcals

Saturday (Off work) – Heavy day- 4500kcals

Sunday – Rest day- 3500kcals

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Buffalo Burger Patty and Bacon with smashed avocado.

What are your current training goals?

Over the next 12-24 months is to continue to slowly gain bodyweight having moved into the under 105kg class from under 93’s, and get stronger from a moderate caloric surplus.

In the future I would love to make the Senior GB Powerlifting team, and compete around the world in competitions such as the Arnold Sports Festival and the IPF Worlds.

What’s your favourite exercise and why?

I can’t call it between the Squat and the Deadlift.

I would say I have much more of a natural tendency to be a better Deadlift-er, and I love the feeling of a heavy weight in my hands, it’s very “caveman esq”, see a weight and you pick it up.

However the Squat has been a real love/hate relationship for me, and I have really enjoyed the process of learning how to improve and move in a way that best suits my mechanics. Having gone from a 160kg squat to 240kg in two years! I have come to love and appreciate it. I would love to close in on a 700lb deadlift (317.5kg), and a 600lb squat (272.5kg) by the end of 2018.

What’s your favourite type of client to train?

I suppose my ideal client would be someone who is passionate/driven about what they want to do. I will happily train anyone to do anything as long as they are willing to work for it!

What’s your favourite routine to put a client through?

A squat mechanical drop-set.

(Essentially working to failure, dropping the weight, failure again, drop the weight etc…)

A few interesting fact about yourself?

I used to be a nationally competitive swimmer.

I’ve broken my left wrist 4 times.

I would describe myself as a bit of a nerd.

Alex is not my real first name.

Franki

How did you get into the fitness industry?

Honestly? Through James and Ben! Having trained with them for a number of years and building a rapport with other clients through my Fat to Fit blog, they asked me to become a coach. Having lived and understood my own fitness journey from the start, I was in good stead to share my knowledge with others and inspire them.

How have your perception/goals changed from first starting out til now?

In the beginning, I just cared about losing weight. As that happened, I developed a love for strength training as I had been introduced to a completely new style of working out and pushing my body. I started to care less about how I looked and more about how strong I was getting; it was a great place to get to!

What does a typical day at work look like?

4:45am Alarm
5:20am Meal 1
6:00am Train
7:00 – 8:30am Commute to work, maybe a little extra 30 minute session
8:30am – 4:30pm Full Day at work as a Content Writer and Editor with a meal at 10am and 1:30pm
4:30 – 6:00 Commute home and me time
6:00 – 9:00pm Clients (not every day!) With meal 4 thrown in somewhere!
9:30-10:30pm Bedtime!

What does a typical day of food look like?

Meal 1: Scrambled Eggs with Sausages
Meal 2: Protein Shake, Nuts, Fruit
Meal 3: Roast Chicken, Basmati Rice and Greens or Avocado
Meal 4: Same as Meal 3

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Overnight oats are pretty yummy!

What are your own training goals?

I’m currently focussing on yoga to increase my flexibility and my inner peace! Alongside this, I am now practising Calisthenics training, with the aim of achieving a muscle up, as well as all the other cool stuff I see people do.

What’s your favorite exercise and why?

For me, it’s got to be a Back Squat. It was always my preferred exercise over deadlifts and I managed to get to a pretty good squat weight considering my bodyweight. Not to mention the wonders they do for my legs and glutes…

What’s your favorite type of client to train?

I love getting a client in who believes they “can’t do” the exercises or may even have body confidence issues. That may sound odd, but they are the clients you see the biggest transformation of, both physically and psychologically. I’ll never forget one of my first clients starting and only wanting to train if no-one else was around; fast forward just 6 months and she was doing group sessions at peak times and even had the confidence to leave a job that had been making her miserable for a few years!

What’s your favorite routine to put a client through?

Ha! I do love a Bar Routine or Card Workout and like to mix them up from the norm to give my ladies a surprise. Programming wise, Gironda sets for body comp and Wave Loading for strength.

A few interesting facts about yourself?

I am rather multi disciplined; I placed 1st in my first Olympic Lifting competition and earned myself an invite to the British Weightlifting Golden Chance Olympic Programme selection, I came 3rd in my first Strongwoman Comp and 6th in the International Fitness Championships, all in under 3 years.

My surname (Napolitano) is the Italian equivalent to Smith…in terms of popularity, anyway!

I once modelled for Woolworths

Sara

How did you get into the fitness industry?

I’ve always been active and love giving anything and everything a try.

I used to run a lot but over the winter found being outside running cold, wet and miserable so joined a gym for the use of a treadmill.

From there I found “the gym” and a new passion for all things related, I trained myself for a few years and then was introduced to EBW where my ability and strength only grew, mainly thanks to James Smith.

I loved exercising and weight training and wanted to learn more, I wanted to become more efficient and educated at being able to train myself and others, and from there decided to qualify as a personal trainer/Strength Coach.

How have your perception/goals changed from first starting out till now?

When I first started never did I think that I would be training others as much as I do now, I quite honestly only started even thinking about learning and qualifying in this industry to benefit my own training but once I’d started down this path I loved it.

When I first qualified my perception was that you needed to follow protocols and training techniques exactly and I tended not to deviate from the structure but found that it didn’t always suit every client (including myself) and their needs and abilities.  What  I have learnt having trained lots of different people with a huge range of ability is that sometimes some routines can be adapted or manipulated to work better and you don’t have to follow them to the letter to gain results.

What does a typical day at work look like?

5.30am Up with Aria

6.45am Alarm (Heaven if I get to this point)

7.00am Meal 1

7.30am Work (main job)

10.30am Snack

1.00pm Meal 2 / Cardio

4.00pm Snack

5.15pm Finish Work (main job)

5.15pm – 9pm Cram in as much as possible  – Training / Working in the Gym / Sorting the Kid / Admin

9pm Meal 3

10.30pm – Sleep

What does a typical day of food look like?

Up until I had my daughter I was an advocate of staying relatively Paleo through the majority of the week, sticking to mainly meats, fish, veggies, leafy greens, nuts and seeds etc. and keeping my carb intake pretty low, I found it fairly easy to stick to and it worked for my strength goals.

Since having my daughter however I changed and started being a little more specific and moved over to tracking my macros and sticking to a specific protein, fat, carb and calorie split each day, my goals changed to predominantly re gaining my figure post baby but actually since switching to macros I have found it actually suits my lifestyle better and its easier to manipulate depending on what I am doing and I have a far better relationship with food.

Essentially my protein in always quite high to keep me satiated, mostly coming from lean meats, I stay relatively low fat compared to my paleo days but the biggest difference is my carb intake is far higher coming from things like oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, low carb bread, high fiber tortillas, rice cakes, fruits & veggies.

Macros gives me flexibility to enjoy things like low fat ice cream and chocolate in moderation while still getting the majority of my food from nutrient dense sources.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Oats, Vanilla Protein, Flaked Almonds and Raspberries and a huge mug of Green Tea.

What are your own training goals?

Quite honestly right now I really don’t know.

Pre baby I enjoyed all things Strongwoman and loved competing, I have so much focus when I am training for something and love seeing the improvements in myself.

At the beginning of this year my initial goals were to re gain my body and my strength, I now sit relatively lean and lighter than before I had the kid sitting at 63/64kgs and have managed two Strongwoman comps this year placing 1st and 3rd.

Juggling 2 jobs, family, training and having any kind of social life makes giving everything I would want to competing quite difficult, so for this year coming I’m really  not sure  what I want to do. I love having a goal but just not sure what to do, ideas?

What’s your favourite exercise and why?

Chin ups, pull ups and every variation. Since getting my very first one these still give me great satisfaction and continue to challenge.

What’s your favourite type of client to train?

Someone motivated,  who’s willing to learn and willing to have a go, its all I can ask.

What’s your favourite routine to put a client through?

Quite honestly anything that I know is going to challenge them and make them feel like they got the best out of their workout, for some people that’s PB’s and % and for some people that’s getting a sweat on and getting those endorphins flowing.

An interesting fact about yourself?

I have four pretty big tattoos and I’m booked in for my next one December 21st

Katie

How did you get started in the fitness industry?

I started work at a well-known food and beverages company when I was 17. I took
full advantage of the discounted products in the staff shop and the combination
of this and sitting behind a desk for 8 hours saw my weight increase. I decided to join a gym and after trying a few places, I wanted to step my training up
and joined EBW. After training with James for a little while I decided to
qualify as a Personal Trainer/Strength Coach and have since been a coach at EBW. I also gained valuable experience from working alongside Tom at WHS.

How have your perception/goals changed from first starting out till now?

When I first started training initially my goal was that I wanted to lose weight but I soon started to care less about this and my aim then became to get as strong as possible. After competing several times in Strongwoman and getting up to an International standard, my upcoming wedding then became my goal. My focus then switched back to body composition again. Before I really started training, I always thought you could eat loads and whatever you fancied if you were working hard in the gym. I wish this were true. Food really does go hand in hand with your training.

What does a typical day look like?

In October 2016 I was given the best job in the world, being a mummy. So at present I’m not ‘working’ as such but here is what my day looks like.

2am-3am – Feed baby Mallie and a snack for Mummy.
7am-7pm –Meals 1,2 & 3 as well as snacks, Mummy\Daughter time!
7pm – 10pm – Meal 4 & Meal 5, tidy the house and a gym session (2 nights a week)

What does a typical day of food look like?

Before pregnancy, my aim was to get lean and stay lean! I ate 5 meals a day (no snacks). Each meal consisted of protein, fats and carbs and I would always track my macros. Breakfast would be Oats with cinnamon, half a grapefruit and 3 eggs. The next 3 meals I would keep the same (easier for food prep) and this would normally be chicken, green veggies & sweet potato\brown rice. Last meal of the day was always Oats alongside casein to keep me full through the night. Post pregnancy, my aim is to eat a well-balanced diet as well as consuming enough calories to keep a good milk supply to feed my daughter. I still stick to oats for meal 1 & meal 5 but the other 3 meals tend to be whatever I can cook and eat quickly (and with one hand), avoiding processed foods where possible. Clean carbs always feature in each of my meals and even more so now post pregnancy. I consume a minimum of 6 litres of water a day and a few mugs of black coffee. My water intake may seem excessive but 6 litres feels like the right amount for me and I don’t struggle to hit this number.

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Pancakes – Made from Oats, Eggs, Cinnamon (with a little drizzle of Honey)

What are your own training goals?

My aim right now is to shift the leftover baby weight whilst maintaining a good balance. It takes nine months to grow a baby and therefore I am giving myself nine months to rebuild my body and gain some strength back. This will however never come above looking after my daughter, family or myself. I would one day like to compete again and this will be an aim for 2018. In what, I am not sure yet…

What’s your favorite exercise and why?

I love a split squat and all of its variations. I know these are hated by most but they work wonders for your lower body.

What’s your favorite type of client to train?

I love training someone who always puts in 100% and gives everything a go, even if they think they can’t do it. It is extremely rewarding to have a client come in for a session who is unmotivated and would actually rather be at home, yet they have still come to the gym to train! And most of the time, they will leave with a little skip in their step and feeling a million times better than they did when they came in.

What’s your favorite routine to put a client through?

A Death Circuit, clue’s in the name. This is such a simple routine yet so effective. Four compound exercises, big muscle groups, short rest period; not easy!

An interesting fact about yourself?

I have worked for PepsiCo for 10 years and still love it!

I won Britain’s Strongest Woman back in 2012 and went on to compete in Worlds
Strongest Woman, placing fifth.

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