Another instalment of our interviews here from coaches I respect and trust. Today is Chris Richards, a former amateur strongman and fantastic coach. As with all our interviews the coaches have a really good grasp on how real people work. Chris is someone I look up to in how he deals with clients and his business as well as his strongman record. So I am really grateful he had time to answer the questions, and hopefully all that read this share the sentiment.
How do I view my fitness business in three words?
Ethical. Community. Progressive.
How often do I train? How often do I enjoy it?
I train 4 days per week with the addition of 3 cardio sessions at the moment as I am dieting. I have a short attention span when it comes to training so enjoy it for around 6 weeks before Dan Mitchell has to change it up for me to keep progressing.
How do I determine my own training?
I have my friend Dan Mitchell coach me as it takes my own training and nutrition out of my day to day life and keeps me accountable.
What is the hardest part of getting clients to adhere?
I would say that once I have got them to strip everything back to basics and focus on 3 meals per day with daily treats then that’s when the results start to happen. The hardest part of getting to this point is when they resist due to pre-existing beliefs when it comes to the belief they are either eating too much or should avoid carbs and fats. That and getting them to view the weekend as the same as a weekday.
What 3 misconceptions would I change?
1. That protein isn’t just for bodybuilders and that insufficient amounts of it will hinder progress more than they could ever imagine.
2. That you can achieve incredible results by eating 3 meals per day and don’t have to eat every 3 hours to boost metabolism.
3. That endless hours of cardio may aid in weight loss but it will do nothing for muscle tone or improving body composition in line with what they believe it will allow them to achieve.
If I could choose one exercise?
As my main client base is women; I would have to say barbell hip thrusts as they are great for building both glutes and confidence. I even love them myself.
One piece of equipment to use forever?
Hammer Strength Glute Ham Raise. Have only used one once and we don’t have one in the gym but I loved it and as soon as I have my own facility it will be the first thing I buy.
Hands down; steak, homemade chips with mushy peas and poached eggs.
In terms of how I got into strongman and how long I competed.
I always watched WSM on TV at Christmas and one year I sat there and thought I would love to give that a go myself so went on Google and found that there was a competition local to me in April that I decided to go and watch with my then girlfriend. After watching the competition and getting a great feeling from it. I then did some more research and came across a forum called Sugden Barbell which is for strongman and powerlifting.
I found a gym in Manchester that seemed to be the hub for a lot of comps and had a lot of the equipment too so I contacted the owner and registered my interest in possibly trying my hand. He invited me down to the gym to which I accepted and he spent 3 hours running through some events with me to give me a feeling for what was involved. Within 3 hours of having a taster of strongman I entered my first competition that he was running that September. I then spent from May to September attending the gym on Saturdays; getting to know the people and the events and training for the comp.
I did my first comp; learnt a lot about myself and my weaknesses then got back into the gym working towards getting better placings over time.I then competed for 3 years in over 20 comps including local gym events and national qualifiers. I did 2 seasons in the U90kg class then 1 season in the U105kg class before retiring when my son was born.
I never really achieved anything of greatness but that was never my intention. I enjoyed it; it gave me focus with my training and allowed me to channel all my efforts into something. 5 years later I still have some great friends from the sport and would do it all again if it wasn’t for my commitments with regards to business and family as competing takes a lot of time away from home.And that’s pretty much it; when I retired my best lifts were:
160kg Bench Press
130kg Push Press
115kg Strict Pres
Catch Chris on Facebook for more insight into how he deals with health and fitness.