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Interview with Kirk Miller: Personal Trainer & Fitness Model12/11/2016
We recently got the chance to catch up with Kirk Miller – one of the UK’s most prominent figures in the fitness industry.
We managed to discuss his meteoric rise to the top of the industry, general fitness, motivation, supplements, gym antics and more before he jetted off to New York.
Find out what he had to say and discover exactly why he has been such a huge success both in and out of the gym.
Hi Kirk, thanks for chatting with us today.
For anyone who is not familiar with you, could you give our readers a brief introduction?
My name is Kirk Miller.
Regarding my day-to-day job, I’m a freelance personal trainer and online personal trainer as well.
From a professional standpoint, that’s where I’m at with my career at the moment.
As you can tell, I’m a very busy man!
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you got involved in fitness and why you started working out?
My reasons for working out were I wanted to look and feel good while I was out, attracting girls (haha) and making sure my clothes fitted better… the usual reasons really!
But, in terms of lifting weights, I first started when I was at Coventry City Football Club as an apprentice.
At the time, my dream was to become a professional football player (like a lot of young guys) and had managed to sign a semi-professional contract.
However, the furthest I ever got was on the reserves.
I didn’t quite make the grade which was a mixture of not being good enough and a few niggling injuries which led to me getting released at the age of 19 or 20 (although I would continue to play football on and off).
I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with myself (despite doing pretty well in school).
I managed to secure one or two different jobs here and there and eventually settled on becoming a plumber as that was the “safest” thing to do because you were always guaranteed jobs as a trade.
I stuck with plumbing for about 5 or 6 years and would often fit my training in and around my job.
I slowly realised that plumbing wasn’t for me. It’s not like I hated it or anything, I just felt it wasn’t what I was put on this earth to do.
Not only this:
I couldn’t get too muscly as I was still playing a lot of football as well.
I finally made the decision to stop playing football around the age of 25 or 26, I quit my plumbing job and focused solely on personal training and lifting weights for a year which significantly improved my shape.
Looking back, I got just as much satisfaction out of lifting weights as I did with football.
I’ve always loved pushing myself and working my arse off!
All of this led me to enter the Men’s Health Front Cover Competition in 2009 which I f*cked up by missing a phone call from the Men’s Health Team and calling back too late.
I re-entered in 2010 and managed to win which propelled me in the industry.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your approach to training. What are the principles or systems you live by?
Yeah so I’ve tried many different things over the years and have been training for a very long time now.
I’ve been fortunate enough to train with some of the best coaches in the world just through meeting different people at exhibitions and sponsorships.
If there is one thing I have learned from training with the likes of Mark Coles, Neil Hill, Kris Gethin and Richard Gozdecki (World Natural Bodybuilding Champion) is – f*cking lift the weight(s) properly!
One thing that has changed with me as I’ve watched previous videos of my earlier training days is to always lift with form and intensity.
This probably sums up my training at the minute.
I think anybody who trains with me knows that I bring the intensity every session.
No matter how tired I am or not – I’ll always give 110% otherwise I think it’s just a waste of time!
With the knowledge you have now, what is the ONE thing you would have done differently when you were starting out in your early years of training?
Making my technique perfect.
I would have placed greater emphasis on training the muscles I couldn’t see with proper contraction (such as the hamstrings and glutes) more than the muscles I could see.
This will make the beach muscles you do see much more better and insane.
You’re never gonna have a great chest if you don’t properly train and retract your scapula.
Same for squats – you’re never gonna be able to get strong on those if you’ve got really sh*t hamstrings and glutes.
I’m not a massive guy but I’ve always focused on symmetry.
If your goal is to be in my field of fitness modelling, symmetry is key.
If someone says to me:
“Man, that guy’s got great abs”, it’s usually at the detriment of somewhere else on his body.
For me, the great physiques are usually where the symmetry is really good regardless of their size.
But that’s just my philosophy and there is no right or wrong way.
Alive or dead – who do you look up to in the fitness industry and why?
A couple really, but one who I’ve always found extremely motivational who is obviously not with us now is Greg Plitt (pictured below)
He was one of my first motivations because of the energy he spoke with.
I’m empowered by people who speak with energy and that guy was as good as anyone I ever came across.
I was actually fortunate to meet Greg too.
What I loved about him (and maybe that’s why I felt we had a connection) was that very much like me, although he would work his arse off and was in great shape – he’d have a beer on most days and switch off.
Because I don’t compete on stage, I want to combine the balance of training hard and having a social life.
When I’m not training or eating my diet food – I’m just a lad deep down.
I’m the most happiest when I’m with my pals having a drink or two (haha).
Generally I eat well pretty much all year round. However I do eat what I want from time-to-time.
I don’t want to be that guy who is on a “24/7” diet. I like to switch off every now and then and be let loose.
As well as Greg, my training partner who is very motivating and great to work with is Richard Gozdecki (pictured below).
I’ve trained with so many guys in this industry and I’ve never quite come across a work ethic like his.
He’s f*cking unreal.
He opened up my eyes to what “hard training” was 6 years ago.
I thought I trained hard and then I spent one week with him while he was going for his world natural bodybuilding title at the time.
That experience literally opened my eyes to how hard you can push your body. I was just sat there watching every set like, “Oh my f*cking God!”.
You could see he was physically exhausted after each movement and all of a sudden he would dish out an extra 4 more reps out of nowhere.
How did your relationship with Myprotein forge and has it always been your ambition to be a fitness model for a big global brand?
After I won the Men’s Health Front Cover competition, I got 2 more front cover shoots and signed for a fitness modelling agency within a few months.
From there, it really spiraled.
Cover after cover (about 4 or 5 with Men’s Fitness) including some with smaller magazine publications.
I was then sponsored by Grenade for a number of years which I was extremely grateful for.
I had an awesome relationship with them – even up until now.
That’s when the travel opportunities came about which allowed me to attend different exhibitions all over the world including the US, Sweden and Germany.
After a few great years with Grenade, I then decided to leave.
Although they are still a great company, I’m a firm believer that you’ve got to believe in any brand you’re pushing otherwise you’ll get found out.
That’s why I think I’ve had such longevity in the industry.
After continually working on my physique, I was then approached by Myprotein.
I was also approached by one or two other huge companies at the time (I won’t say who) but it just wasn’t the right fit.
I then had a meeting with Myprotein and the team which was about 3 or 3 and a half years ago.
I knew something special was going to happen. I just loved the buzz, the people, the passion and atmosphere in the office.
I then ended up signing for them and the rest is history.
Needless to say:
As a brand, it’s no coincidence that they have exploded and have gotten bigger and bigger (which is no fluke).
As much as I have a great relationship with Myprotein, my outlook on any sponsorship agreement is to give more than you get (and add as much value as you can).
I’ll always bust my arse for them but I’ve never been told what to do.
That’s why they are the perfect fit for me because they know me as a person, trust the qualities I bring and do not try to change me.
Let’s talk a little bit about your workout routine. What does a typical training week look like?
It’s changed a little bit since I’ve been working with Mark Coles at the start of the year.
He’s a bio-mechanical genius.
My upper chest is very stubborn, (even now I have to keep on top of it) so I train chest twice a week.
But by and large:
I train roughly 6 times a week and my training split is as follows:
Chest and lateral deltoids
Deltoids and calves
Chest and arms (I don’t always train arms)
Hamstring and calves
I’m also a big fan of the add-on work.
After a big lift, whatever your weaker muscle is, just chucking in 6 – 8 working sets 2 or 3 times a week.
Not only this:
If I need to get leaner, then I’ll do some LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio about 4 or 5 times a week.
In terms of my abs (core), I don’t train them as much as I used to.
But I might train it about once or twice a week if I’ve got something coming up.
Before preparing for a big magazine or cover shoot – what does your diet generally entail? Are you very strict or do you allow some foods in moderation?
For me, when I get up and coming cover shoots, I generally don’t take any notice.
If you’re not even somewhat ready you’re pretty much f*cked.
I’ve only had a few days notice of a shoot after a week and a half of coming back from Ibiza!
In my field, you should pretty much be in shape almost all year round.
Obviously you might back off here and there, but you should never let yourself go that much.
Apart from Christmas where I absolutely don’t give a f*ck, I forget about structure to my food and drink a few beers with my pals.
If your ambition is to be a cover model, it is paramount to never stray off too far.
If you do, you’re pretty much a bodybuilder – all of this off-season and on-season nonsense which just doesn’t cut it for cover shoots!
If I was looking to dry out and be as tight as I can for a shoot, I might water-load by increasing my water consumption to 8 or 9 litres and then cut it a little bit.
However, I don’t cut it completely anymore – I just lower it.
Genetically, I’m very ripped and vascular (with water) due to my fast metabolism so by stopping it, I’ll just look flat.
It’s all about experience really and knowing what works for you and your body.
What’s the secret “Kirk Miller” supplement stack? Any staple supplements you prefer?
I take the same supplements pretty much all year round.
But most of all:
My one favourite supplement is ZMA – period.
I don’t sleep enough because I’m so busy, but when I do, ZMA definitely helps to knock me out and put me in a deeper sleep.
For me, I feel ZMA is certainly the most undervalued supplement on the market at the moment.
What are some of the “myths” you often hear or read in the industry that makes you think, “that’s absolutely bullsh*t”?
The one I hear the most is:
“Eating carbohydrates at night makes you fat”.
That’s a complete myth. Ultimately, it’s calories in versus calories out.
Generally speaking, the high protein low carbohydrate diet or “crash diets” I see trending now are ridiculous.
With protein, whether I’m bulking or cutting my protein intake stays the same. The only thing that changes is carbohydrates or calories going up or down.
Also, common myths I’ve heard are:
“You can spot reduce fat in specific areas”.
You’re either fat or you’re not. Some people may store fat in certain points on their body, but chances are they’re also carrying fat elsewhere.
Another classic I’ve heard:
“Lighter weights get you ripped”.
Horse sh*t haha!
Big and heavy compound movements such as squats will always trump the total load of isolation exercises like leg extensions in terms of burning calories.
Unless of course, you skip leg day:
There are so many and I could go on but it would just be too long haha.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done or seen happen at the gym?
When I was at Grenade, one of the guys did a leg session with me and he’d been in the army (who was talking himself up).
Anyone who has ever trained with me knows that I can really smash legs.
He was on the hack squat machine and was beginning to hit failure, and rather than let him finish his set, I told him to do an extra 4 reps.
I’m not even kidding, I wish someone was there to film it because it would have went viral.
So while this lad was on the hack squat machine, there were two people spotting him on either side (he should’ve stopped a minute before this).
He had dodgy knees (laughs) where another spotter was holding his knees so they didn’t roll in.
There was another spotter holding the guy who was originally spotting his knees (laughs hysterically).
And if that wasn’t enough:
There was yet another spotter spotting him who was helping the guy who was spotting his knees.
Just picture it.
5 people spotting one lad especially the one holding his knees to extend the set.
It was the most hilarious thing I had ever seen in the gym and was like a scene out of the human centipede haha!
He had to take a week off the gym, he couldn’t go to work (as he had a job that required a lot of walking) and was f*cked basically.
Not only this:
He also changed gym after the incident just so he wouldn’t have to face the embarrassment again.
What are your plans and ambitions or otherwise for 2017 and beyond?
For 2017, I’m not gonna go into figures, but I have a definitive goal of having a certain amount of money I want to save.
I’m also very excited to bring out my online video trainer which will be launched at some point in January.
It’s going to combine instructional intensity workouts and exactly what I believe is required to get in shape.
I’m not a huge fan of this myth where it’s 70% diet and 30% training.
What I tell people time and time again is that the food doesn’t lift the weights, so I’m looking forward to bringing out something unique and fresh.
Also, I want to own my own gym so I’m gonna be working hard towards that. I’ll be using different revenue streams to make that happen.
Aside from the above:
My intention is to keep on learning and growing, hence why I’ve enrolled in a couple of courses – one of which is for public speaking.
I love talking as you’ve probably guessed, and I find it fascinating to be able to communicate to an audience effectively.
I find people like Anthony Robbins and other personal development experts very empowering.
The way they can captivate and motivate people is amazing.
When I’m at my best and most happiest, I’m motivating people also, so I really want to brush up on my skills.
Finally, what one piece of advice would you give our readers to get in shape/better shape?
Be consistent and never give up.
Without either of them, how are you going to succeed?
Because if you’re not consistent, you’re never going to sustain the ability to get the results.
You could have the best body in the world, but if you’re not enjoying the process, there’s no point.
You really have to enjoy what you’re doing as it will make your life a whole lot easier.
Find your thing and work hard!
More from Kirk Miller
In addition to checking out Kirk Miller on Myprotein, you can also find out more about Kirk Miller on his personal website: www.kirkmiller.co.uk
Make sure you also keep up with Kirk Miller on social media as well:
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Joseph is the Founder and Editor in Chief of CheckMeowt. When he is not sat at the computer guzzling down the nearest thing with protein in it, he can be found pulling up the world in the gym. Occasionally, he is best described as socially unreliable and easily distracte.