Recipe for success: Personal trainer Matt Roberts on how to hit your fitness and food goals

While the best summers are full of food, friends, travel and relaxation, they can also come along with a heavy dose of indulgence. In order to stay on track as we head into August, we caught up with leading personal trainer and best-selling fitness author Matt Roberts, who has worked with the likes of Tom Ford, to hear his top health and fitness tips.

Read on for a boost of motivation, then grab a ticket for Matt's Beach HIIT Workout on Thursday 11 August at Fenwick Brent Cross' new Athleisure department...

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What does the word ‘healthy’ mean to you?

I want to make people feel that exercise is something you need in your life, rather than something done out of duty. Being well is often a matter of choice and I want to guide our clients in the right direction.

How did you get into the fitness world?

I went straight from being a student to working as a personal trainer with the sole intention of starting my own personal training clubs. I wanted to create a brand that could be used in a number of linked ways and I had the idea for this when I was 15 or 16 and stayed focused on it.

We established Matt Roberts Personal Training in 1995 and are the longest running one-to-one personal training provider in the UK and one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Over the years we have helped countless people to achieve their goals. The fact we really listen to our clients and can draw upon our breadth of knowledge and expertise to deliver those people real results is what makes us different.

How often do you recommend working out?

A general rule is to aim to move every day, whether it is a walk around your park or an hour fitness session. An important rule is to not set yourself up to fail. Take small, realistic steps to get yourself towards a goal. For example, if you want to run a marathon and it’s your first time, it is much more satisfying to complete a 5km race than sign up for a full distance and not get around!

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Do you think people are becoming more aware of the benefits of strength training over cardio?

Strength training has definitely become more popular! There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding strength training for its connotation of building enormous bulging muscles. However, strength training actually relates to any exercise that has a positive effect on the muscles of the body. Strength training provides a number of benefits, such as improvement in posture, better support for joints and reduces the potential of injuries. An increase in lean muscle tissue can also improve your metabolism, which helps with long-term weight loss.

What does your typical diet look like in a day?

I eat a clean diet and eat about five times a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks. Protein is high up on the agenda too, whilst dairy and gluten are kept to a minimum.

A good diet consists of sources of protein from turkey, 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.

What are your tips for staying motivated?

Staying motivated is not always easy. Having a goal, and an achievable goal which can be broken down into smaller steps helps keep you motivated. Creating a clear timeline for goals, with targets at certain days or weeks help you stay focused to avoid ‘drifting’ from your goal. Working out with a partner, personal trainer or group can increase motivation and also keeps you accountable for your workouts.

You’ve worked with some A-list clients – what do their regimes look like?

Celebrities are really just the same as any other person I train. They want to achieve a goal and break down the barriers that are stopping them achieve results and we support them all the way.  To maintain their motivation we set realistic short, medium and long term goals and reassess their progress regularly to keep them on the track. A number of our celebrity clients can have tighter timescales if they are getting ready for a film or big event. Discretion in this business is absolutely key so I can’t say too much more!

Clean Chicken Salad Recipe

matt roberts chicken slad

For the salad...

  • 120-150g boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 30g baby kale
  • 30g rocket
  • Palmful of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • 150g roasted sweet potato

For the dressing...

  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

By Alison Millington