Bobby Rich is the former Judo champ turned PUMA ambassador and personal trainer to the stars, trusted with keeping the likes of David Beckham and Jason Statham in serious shape. Here’s his blueprint for building your best body…
Bobby Rich, how would you describe your fitness philosophy?
It’s not revolutionary: train smart, train hard, train often, but recover well and eat clean. It’s not rocket science. The biggest things for me are accountability and consistency.
Does your Judo career [Bobby Rich won seven consecutive medals at the British Championships from 2001 to 2007] influence how you train?
Definitely. I spent a lot of time coaching competitive athletes – David Haye, for example – and there’s no reason you can’t take that methodology of performance training into the world of personal training.
Typically I break my programmes up into 12-week blocks, and within those blocks we fulfil various elements of fitness, depending on what the client wants to achieve. That’s very similar to training an athlete.
With David Haye we started off with six-week camps and as he got a bit older the camps got a bit longer. We would break them up and try to peak a couple of times within the camp, because you can’t maintain complete intensity for long.
That’s the same for someone who’s trying to perform for everyday health and wellness.
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Is there one standout mistake you think most guys make when trying to get in shape?
You get a lot of people who want to go to the gym and smash themselves to bits every single session, but that’s not sustainable: you’re going to end up overtraining, injured, or just burning out mentally.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for a bit of character building and leaving your soul and sweat on the gym floor, but not every day.
Us men like to go in the gym and lift heavy weights without paying any attention to the basics. By that I mean working on foundational strength in the tendons and ligaments, and working on mobility, flexibility and joint health.
Guys tend to worry about kilograms over form. By lowering the kilos and getting technique sorted I probably lengthened my own sporting career, and the same can be said for everyday gym-goers: by getting the basics right you will be strong, healthy and injury-free for much longer.
What’s the best way to burn excess lockdown blubber?
When it comes to fat loss, it depends on what people are doing already and what their body types are. But, really it comes down to consistency with training and consistency with nutrition.
I’m a big believer in fasted cardio in the morning: nothing crazy, just 15-20 minutes of interval training before eating.
Is there one method everyone should implement, whatever their fitness goal?
For me, mobility is the biggest thing, and one real positive to come out of the recent lockdowns has been the shift towards bodyweight training, yoga and people paying more attention to how they move.
You can’t lift weights constantly – as much as I’m a fan of strength training, you need to give your joints a rest. By having more mobile joints, you will not only be healthier and feel better, but regular lifters can take heart from the fact they will also be able to lift more.
Bobby Rich, who’s the fittest celebrity you’ve coached?
As an athlete, David Haye is unmatched when it comes to people I’ve coached. But, in terms of cardiovascular fitness David Beckham is really strong. He still holds that engine, and when I get him on the treadmill I have to stick a weighted vest on him just to slow him down.
Strength-wise, Jason Statham was one of the most impressive chaps I trained: his bodyweight strength is phenomenal.
Bobby Rich’s fasted cardio workout
- Do this two to three times per week for maximum fat burn.
- Pick an exercise or cardio machine you enjoy (Rich’s go-to is the ski erg).
- Work in intervals of 30 secs on, 30 secs off.
- For the working intervals, you want to be working at an eight or a nine out of ten.
- Complete anywhere from 12-20 sets in total.
Bobby Rich is a PUMA ambassador and performance coach specialising in functional fitness. Earlier this year, PUMA released FUSE, their first trainer designed specifically for functional fitness training. FUSE is available to purchase online at uk.puma.com
Main photograph: Mark James