Q&A: Matt Roberts

Mimi ON Jan 03, 2011 AT 5:10 pm

Matt Roberts

Celebrity Trainer, Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts is THE go-to-guy for celebrities wanting to fight the fat and he’s taken the time out to answer some the queries that bother us most over the festive period.

Matt owns his own gym brand and trains some big names including Naomi Campbell, Amanda Holden, David Cameron and recently even the newest Britain’s Got Talent judge, Michael McIntyre (pictured below), so we’re going to savour every last drop of fitness wisdom he imparts to us.

So if you need tips on how to stay fit and healthy over the New Year, read our Q&A below…

So you’re a personal trainer to the stars?! Is your approach more ‘carrot’ or ‘stick’ when it comes to training your clients?

Celebrities are really just the same as any other person I train. If they want to achieve a goal and break down the barriers that are stopping them achieving results then we will support them all the way. To maintain their motivation we set realistic short, medium and long term goals and we re-assess their progress regularly to keep them on track – so I guess you’d say it’s more about “carrot” because seeing results is the best incentive to sticking to training plans.

We have a lot of techniques that we use with clients but essentially it comes down to hard work – good diet and putting aside the time to exercise. Having a set goal can really help as it gives you a time frame to work too.

Matt Roberts out with Michael McIntyre

Matt Roberts out training Michael McIntyre

What is your most common complaint over the Christmas period?

Many people ask for advice on how to deal with the party season, and I say Christmas is a time for having fun, so have some fun. Make sure to keep exercising throughout the holiday period and try to make your Christmas eating healthy. Christmas dinner does not have to be unhealthy, it is white meat served with vegetables at the end of the day. Watch your alcohol intake and aim to only drink with meals. Snacking is the big problem, try not to have too many bowls of snack food out as it is easy to pile on the calories that you don’t need from the handy nibbles. 

We’ve got a few complaints of our own with our busy Christmas schedule stopping us going to the gym as much as we’d like. Are there any sneaky tips you’ve got for us to keep active and healthy… even if it’s just at our desk?

Unfortunately exercise at your desk will never really give you proper results but I tell my clients there’s always something you can do, regardless of temperature and weather.

Interval training is a time-efficient way to get your heart rate up and to get your body burning fat- for instance 20 seconds hard followed by 40 seconds at a recovery pace. If you want to include some resistance work, PHA training is good when you’re short of time: this involves alternating between upper and lower body exercises with little rest in between so you can work a range of muscles in a short amount of time.

It’s OK to head inside and replace outdoor sessions with something else: a gym gives you that flexibility. But if you can’t get outside to run, don’t worry about it: relax, enjoy an extra bit of rest, or come up with some other way to move. Your fitness isn’t going anywhere in just a couple of days. Having said that, I used the recent snow to give my clients some really challenging sessions. Doing drills in the snow certainly shakes things up! So I’d say, if possible, adapt and get on with it. Get the correct kit and clothing and off you go. I bet you’ll be glad you went once you get out of the door.

Matt Roberts, with his client Frida Haraldsson

Matt Roberts, with his client Frida Haraldsson

On the off chance we do get to hit the gym in preparation for those party dresses, what are the best exercises for the improving the following crucial areas: lower Tummy, Bum, Arms,Upper Back.

For your lower tummy, the best way to get rid of the “muffin top” is by following a good diet and exercise programme. Depending on your fitness level, try build up to incorporating resistance training 2-3 times a week with 2 cardio interval session mixing high and low intensity, as well as a steady pace cardio session.

For bums, arms and upper back, you should be working these area but there is no such thing as “spot” reduction of body fat from a certain area unfortunately — the emphasis has to be on improving your diet and exercising three or more times a week to make a real difference. The best all-round workout depends on the individual but if you are including good cardiovascular workouts that get you sweating and out of breath as well as some resistance training then that is a great start!

To lose weight but still keep curves in the right places, include cardiovascular interval training to burn body fat and regular resistance training to tone your muscles, you will develop the shape you want to achieve.

TRX Suspension training

TRX Suspension training

Is eating healthily as important to you as doing exercise?

Absolutely! To complement workouts, a good diet consists of sources of protein from turkey and chicken and white fish such as cod, carbohydrates from varied types of vegetables and fruit and fats from nuts and oily fish. Post exercise healthy carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, oatmeal and wholemeal products help the body restock energy.

Are there any new effective gym trends/ classes we should sign up for in 2011?

The TRX and other suspension trainers are brilliant and will continue to be a hot bit of kit next year I think. They’re suitable for anyone and can be put to so many diverse uses: home, the gym, hotel rooms – you don’t need much space. You can use them to get a really decent full body workout in and they’re a brilliant fallback if you are pushed for time/space/kit. I also think everyone should have a good heart rate monitor with GPS: it gives great feedback and is a good motivational tool. There are a lot of apps out there which I think will be huge once they’re perfected. None are quite there yet but I think apps in general will be the biggest thing in the industry in the near future.

The Workout Mix 2011

The Workout Mix 2011

You’ve released ‘The Workout Mix 2011’ to keep us all entertained and motivated during our workouts. What made you do it and what can we expect when we download it on our iPods?

Music can be a motivating factor for anyone; I think it’s an instinctive thing; we move in time to the cadence and rhythm of music. Without realising it, music can help you speed up. On the other hand, some music can flatten your performance and decrease your motivation.

With The Workout Mix 2011 the tunes build up really naturally, then peak, then decrease gently. The music builds until it reaches an overload point where it helps you push harder, go faster. They’re between 45-60 minutes, ideal for most workouts, and there’s stuff in there too for interval training (see the website).

I’ve done a voiceover which motivates you, keeps you going and pushes you a little, whilst giving you useful tips. It’s essentially like having me there doing some personal training except I’m just in your ear! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned about what motivates clients and put them here: we know that clients work harder with me (or whoever their PT is) talking to them and working alongside them. The idea is that it will give you a lift and bring something to your session which you might struggle to find if you were going it alone. It takes what I do with my own clients and puts it onto a download for anyone to access.

Personally I have all sorts on my own playlist! Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta… I make lots of playlists, particularly for running. And, yes, I do use The Workout Mix 2011 myself! The music is all really current and it’s a fun mix.

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