Written by personal trainer to the stars (and the Camerons) Matt Roberts who learnt the importance of fitness from his father, the footballer John Roberts who played for Arsenal and Wales and later trained with the sprinter and Olympic gold winner Darren Campbell.
Matt Roberts presides over a multi-faceted fitness and nutrition empire, including 4 personal training centres (he opened his first gym in an abandoned art gallery in Mayfair at the age of 22), 8 books, fitness DVDs and an exercise clothing range; he is a fitness expert for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Breakfasts, columnist and a nutrition and fitness consultant for brands including Sony, Gillette and Danone.
In his latest book, Matt encourages you to think like a celebrity, presenting two of his tried and tested fitness & diet programmes. By setting very precise, clear goals against a timeline, Matt gives his clients purpose and direction and, crucially, gets results – every time!
The basic principle of the 12 week plan described in his latest book is to combine a pretty strict diet with a rigorous, albeit short, daily workout. This, Roberts says, increase calorie usage, increases muscle activity and generally makes heart and lungs stronger, allowing time to radically change your body – sculpting your shape, stripping fat and increasing fitness levels.
The second part of the book, the 2 week blitz, describes the approach Matt uses with celebrities who are preparing for a fast approaching “red carpet” moment.
It is intensive. You will need to work out 6 days a week, with one day off for recovery. The upside (!) is that you won’t need to restrict your calorie intake too much because the programme is so intense …
The book is broken down in such a way that it provides all you need to focus on each day during the programme: “today’s diet” and “today’s workout”.
Diet is an important part and there is breakdown of your meals for each day. A small collection of easy to follow recipes are provided. Meals are typically low-fat and low-ish carb (think Portobello burger, chicken fajitas, wheat-free pasta with smoked salmon … ), and portion sizes on the small side. Meals are repeated throughout the programme, but you could substitute meals/ingredients to suit your palate, provided they fall within the plan guidelines.
Having given up my gym membership a year ago, I was interested to find out how my routine compares and what I could do differently to make my workouts as efficient and effective as possible.
As with most things worth having in life, there is no easy, quick fix or magic wand – and Matt states very clearly that in the 1st chapter of the book. If you eat too much and do too little, you will get out of shape and fatter. No short cuts!
The main thing that I took away from the book is that goal setting is absolutely key. Having purpose, direction and a recognisable end point is important for anyone who wants to be successful and this is an ethos that can equally be applied to fitness.
I was pleased to read that I am, unwittingly, already implementing a number of Matt’s exercise principles designed to achieve maximum results in the shortest possible time: interval training, super sets, compound training and MHR (maximum heart rate).
Here’s an exercise from the book, knee crossover tucks, which I do a couple of time a week: it’s great for developing stability around the lower back.
1. Assume a face down position on the ground with palms of hands on the floor under the shoulders and legs extended with the balls of the feet touching the ground. Raise yourself up using your arms, maintaining a stable, straight torso.
2. Holding this position, slowly lift one foot off the floor and raise the leg, bringing the knee across the upper body. Stop raising the leg at the point you feel your lower back bending and slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat for the other side.
Not feeling your best? Unhappy with the shape of your body? Preparing for an event where you need to impress?
Prepared to work hard + diligently and to give exercise your undivided attention?
If you answer “yes” to one of more questions, then this book could be for you.