In this week's Checklist interview we speak to Ben Coomber, a man whose journey through health and fitness has seen him become one of the industry's most prominent influential personalities.
From an obese sufferer of IBS, ADHD, Asthma and Eczema, Ben's life has changed dramatically. Now an avid fitness devotee, he has the UK's number one rated health and fitness podcast, speaks around the world on the subject, writes for numerous magazines and has worked with thousands of clients on nutrition and fitness.
He's also 'Chief of Awesome' at supplement brand Awesome Supplements.
Here Ben tells us his thoughts about fitness, what drives him and what kit he carries around in his gym bag.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Ben Coomber, a Performance Nutritionist (CISSN), coach (S&C), international speaker and fitness educator. I have the UK’s #1 rated podcast; Ben Coomber Radio, I’ve coached 1000s of people in my 90-day program Fat Loss for Life, I’ve consulted and worked with everyone from pro athletes to kids playing sport, I educate the nutrition coaches of the future at The BTN Academy, I’ve worked with companies like Sky TV, O2 and Twinnings Tea, have been a headline speaker at Body Power, SFN and Be Fit for many years, and continue to try to educate and innovate in the world of fitness.
This all stemmed from my journey as an obese teenager wanting to better his health, body and mind.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on making my current business and team better so we have a strong and stable future, and then looking at new markets overseas for our products and services, all while chipping away at my new book – which is top secret of course.
What kind of schedule/program do you follow when training?
I generally hit the gym 2-3x per week in the rugby season, train 2x per week for rugby and then play at the weekend. If it's out of rugby season its 3-4 sessions in the gym and some outdoor fitness that’s fun and gets the sun on my skin.
How do you evaluate your performance of a training session?
That I’ve enjoyed it mainly, my training goals at 33 are to be fit, strong and able to live life to the full. So they aren’t strict or looking to achieve a certain thing. I’m more laid back and aim to get a good sweat on and shift some weight around.
Nothing particular training-wise, just training my brain and home environment for the arrival of my firstborn, which I’m super excited about.
What do you think will be the next big movements in health and fitness?
Plant based nutrition. We are already seeing it exploding and it will continue to explode, which for me is only a good thing as everyone benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables.
What advice would you give to someone looking to ‘get fit and healthy’?
Firstly, work out why. When you’re motivated by an intrinsic 'why' you are far more motivated to make changes as it has a deep meaning to you to achieve it.
Extrinsic or shallow goals aren’t motivating, so get privy and get honest with your goals. Then do what you can. Start small and build up, you’ll then build up momentum and confidence and that will continue to grow into an unstoppable force.
Who are the most interesting people you’ve spoken to on your podcast?
Wow, there are loads. James Haskell, Martin Rooney, James Clear, The Happy Pear, Deliciously Ella, literally loads. After doing it for 6 years I’ve spoken to some really awesome people.
Who would you really like to interview/speak to about health and fitness?
Jamie Oliver and The Rock – dream guests.
What brands do you think are doing great things in the health and fitness space?
Brands that have innovative technology. It’s going to be our access to real-time meaningful data that is likely to change the health trajectory. Also getting back to basics, such as getting outside. But hopefully, our brands too, of course.
If you could give one piece of advice to people who are at the start of their fitness journey, what would it be?
Just start with something small and manageable. Everyone wants to flip their diet and training on the head and go ‘all in’. This rarely pans out well. Start by changing 1-2 habits and then build on them, it's an approach that will stick over time as it builds into strong layers of new healthy habits.
What are the key items in your kit bag?
Training shoes: Good strong training shoes are key. I like a good cross trainer so I can do a very dynamic and varied workout and not be held back by my footwear.
Vest top: I get hot easily in training so I like nice and loose clothes see I can stay cool and train hard and fast.
Chalk: Sometimes training needs a little extra grip, so I've always got chalk in the bag for when it's needed.
Awesome Electrolytes: If you’re training hard I want to support my training, so I have my Awesome metal canteen and some electrolytes in around 750ml water.
What trainers do you use?
Inov8 F-lite 195 v2
What one item of your gear would you implore someone else to use?
Good shoes, they are the foundation to good movement and support so I would invest wisely there.
Where’s the best place you ever trained or competed?
In Twickenham stadium with a schools rugby match, now that’s how to compete, what a buzz.
What’s the exercise you hate doing the most?
Squats. I’ve got rusty old hips and it always takes a ton of warming up so I don’t tend to do it anymore.
What’s your ultimate workout song?
Friction - Ultrafunk ft. Metrik
How many push-ups can you do in one go?
About 50 I reckon.
If you could compete/train anywhere in the world where would it be?
Wherever the Rock or Arnie are.
Who’s your fitness/sporting hero?
Arnie or Jonny Wilkinson – true icons of their sports.
Is there any sport you’re really bad at?
Swimming... and I used to compete at it, I’ll blame being muscular now, ha.
What’s your favorite post-competition/challenge meal?
A big home cooked roast dinner.