We talk to Personal Fitness Expert Nigel Wilkes on why it’s important to start any fitness journey mentally strong, testing burgers on the kids; why he has the fittest, leanest dogs around, and the day he met Muhammed Ali.
What is your typical clients?
The most common clients I have are concerned with weight loss, everybody wants that. Believe it or not, you get a lot of people lacking in confidence and knowledge in regards to foods, so you have some people who want confidence boosting too. My clients vary from boxers, to weight loss to building people in muscular size. I give them guideline foods to eat, for instance carbs, protein and fats etc. I also have quite a few clients doing white collar boxing.
Have you seen a big shift in the role nutrition plays in training?
It’s always been nutrition, even if it hasn’t always been about weight loss. I have changed my opinion and outlook; I’ve gained more qualifications [in nutrition]. A lot of people, won’t know the difference between a carbohydrate and a protein and that amazes me. So I sometimes feel like a teacher, where I educate people. A lot of people will shy away from carbohydrates thinking its the be all and end all, because they don’t really know what they [carbohydrates] do.
Do you encounter a lot of people on ‘traditional’ diets?
A lot new people I see will say they are on a low-carb diet and head off to weight watchers, slimming world, Rosemary Conley, or other so called diets. I don’t do that, I’ve worked together with Foods for Fitness, successfully. Because it’s not a diet, it’s a change of lifestyle and a switch to healthy, lean food.
Do you advise different foods for different body types?
I guide clients with a food plan. I won’t provide menus and recipes, I’m not Gordon Ramsey! Most of my clients are [wanting] weight loss but at the same time when you’ve got someone who wants to bulk up, they cannot believe the amount of food calories they need to take in.
What’s most important, physical, mental or nutrition?
Firstly you need to be mentally prepared to put your body through it. If you’re not in the zone, you fall at the first obstacle. At the same time you need to be prepared to listen when it comes to nutrition. All three work hand in hand, if you break the chain, that’s it.
But the first step is mental preparation; knowing you need to eat clean and you know you need to train hard and train regularly. If you eat clean every now and again, that’s no good. If you train hard every now and again, that’s no good! You need to be eating clean and trading hard regular. But beforehand, you need to be mentally prepared for that. It’s easy to lose concentration, say “oh not this again, not the gym”, but I say to my clients, if you ever get bored you need to contact me. It’s the same with the food, if you start to get bored with the food, what do you do? You go straight to the biscuit cupboard.
If you train hard and then put the wrong fuel in side your body, you’ve just wasted your time. If buy a six and half litre Lamborghini and then put diesel in it, you’ve spent all that money and then you going to put the wrong stuff in it. It’s the same as when you train hard and then put loads of crap in your body. It’s crazy.
Why do you choose and recommend Foods For Fitness?
Simon has such a strong client base in the fitness world, he’s not just your average butcher. I’ll show my clients what I eat and they’ll be surprised when they see I’m tucking into sausage and eggs and cooked breakfasts. But it is all just preparation and having the right foods to hand. It helps so much when they can come up with various flavours of sausage and burger made with lean meat. And also their egg whites and your porridge for your carbohydrates, it’s simple really. Recommending Foods For Fitness is easy, their stock is brilliant and it makes my life a lot easier.
I’ve heard good things about their Chicken & Spinach Sausages, are they really that good?
Honestly, everything is. I personally like his gammon and pineapple sausages! Compared to the supermarket sausages, the leanest supermarket sausages, and you can’t. You just can’t compare them. They are lean and clean. They are quick, convenient and that’s what we all want isn’t it?
So can you tell the difference between the food you get from Foods For Fitness and the supermarket?
Well, I did a little test with my kids, I asked them “do you want a burger?”. I offered them a Birdseye one or one of mine [from Foods For Fitness]. We put them under the grill and when we had finished cooking I said “have a look at that”, they couldn’t believe how bad the Birdseye one looked, it had all this fat over it and it was spitting and hanging. There was nothing on Simon’s burgers, it was just lean meat, nothing added. Let’s say my kids no longer eat **** burgers! So I converted them without even trying, I just showed them.
What’s your stack of choice?
Well it’s got to be the pay day stack. I have that about every three weeks. Perhaps some of the stuff I change a little, but I plan all my meals around it. To be honest the dogs love them too, I don’t mind feeding my dogs some of it because it’s better value than the overpriced dog food you get and its so lean.
It has to be Insanity, I love it.
Favourite cut of meat?
Flank Steak, marinated in mustard and some other ingredients Simon has recommended and then wrapped in foil and put in the oven. Yeah, crazy steak, but it’s gorgeous!
Nigel is a full time personal trainer teaching over thirty classes a week in various gyms around Stockport and East Manchester. His classes include boxing and some of the most intense Insanity classes around (30–60 minutes of high-intensity cardio work with a lot of abdominal work, and sweat, thrown in). His clients vary from sports-specific like boxing to those wanting to lose weight. He holds numerous fitness qualifications including Level 3 Fitness (including nutrition and weight management), Qualified Insanity Instructor, boxing coach and Les Mills Body Pump. In his previous role he was manager of Rickie Hatton’s gym where he came face to face in the ring with the legendary Muhammed Ali.