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Interview with Phil Graham: Fitness Coach & Sports Nutritionist10/06/2017
Last week we managed to sit down with former distinguished bodybuilder, sports nutritionist, author and all round fitness expert Phil Graham for an exclusive interview.
Phil shared with us some practical insights into training, managing your diet, staying motivated and overall life in the health and fitness industry.
Hi Phil, thanks for chatting with us today. To kick things off – could you give our readers a brief introduction and tell us a little bit more about when you started out in the fitness industry and why?
I’m Phil Graham, a sports nutritionist from Belfast Northern Ireland. I’m 29 years old.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when was 16. I automatically took ownership of my condition and fell into bodybuilding and researching nutrition and exercise science at University.
I considered health and fitness as two wise investments for helping me control my condition and improve my quality of life.
The knowledge I acquired from University and my own personal study allowed me to improve my health, and compete successfully all over the world as a junior bodybuilder.
There was a high demand for my knowledge and experience with people requesting personal training and nutrition guidance. At the time I was working for the health service and decided to take a leap and do something I truly valued.
I set up my first business Clear Cut Health and Fitness when I graduated from Uni. It was a huge success, and I became known for getting great results. I worked with a range of clients from the general public the whole way through to local celebrities and athletes. Nutrition was my speciality.
As my coaching business grew, I had to take time away from competing in bodybuilding. I was getting more satisfaction helping people. I began doing public seminars, appearing on radio, TV and a host of other media outlets to spread my message.
Bear in mind this was in the very early days before social media kicked off!
Nowadays, I no longer coach the public. I coach trainers how to deliver a more effective service and build better businesses. I work with coaches all over the world and love the fact I have the opportunity to serve even more people.
In 2016 I also wrote my first book – The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide which is an encyclopaedia on all things health and fitness for people with diabetes. The book has sold all over the world and helped inspire many.
- What were some of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome in order to be in the position you’re in today to help coach, motivate and educate thousands of people around the world in health and fitness?
There were two things really – confidence and the fear of success.
In terms of confidence:
I had to develop a very high level of self-belief. This required saying yes to a lot of things which opened up many opportunities.
It’s easy to complain, procrastinate and not take action. Your comfort zone will never grow you. Put yourself in prime positions to grow now.
Regarding the fear of success:
The people that don’t want to see you do well, see in you, what they are missing. Acknowledge this, and use it drive yourself forward.
- Being diabetic, what is your general philosophy towards nutrition? Do you generally include or exclude anything in your diet? How do you manage it?
I eat a wide and varied diet. I love food – especially cooking. It plays a huge part in my life, from sourcing ingredients, to cooking, serving and eating out socially.
The only considerations with respect to diabetes are keeping lean, and ensuring my blood glucose levels are controlled. Since my diet is varied I have no reason for deficiencies or cravings.
What’s the worst piece of advice/pseudo science you’ve ever heard brandished at the gym?
There are so many, but the worst two I’ve ever heard are having no carbs after 6pm and not mixing carbs and fat in one meal.
- Given the amount of contradictory information people are exposed to, from your point of view, what is the one thing people fail to notice which can greatly improve the way they might look, feel and perform?
Get accountable to someone who has been there and done that with themselves and many other types of people. The proof is in the pudding!
- What is your current weekly training schedule? Are there any unique exercises or body part splits you prefer from others?
I train 6 days per week which is split between a mix of upper and lower body parts. I train all 5 human movements: Hip Hinge, Squat, Push, Pull and Weighted Carry.
- How do you balance the need to maintain your health, stay in shape and manage your own business in a 24 hour period?
For me, I live off principles every day that supports good health, body composition and performance.
A few of these include having or making room for:
· A calorie controlled diet.
· Frequent training stimulus.
· Adequate essential nutrient intake (omega 3 and protein).
· Adequate rest (includes down time from training)
· Stress management.
· Self-reflection and journaling.
If you could go back in time, what were some of the mistakes you made earlier in your career which you would’ve avoided regarding bodybuilding, personal training or developing your business? Why?
In the early days, it would’ve been eating too much protein, spending a lot of money on the latest supplements and coming to terms with why I was exercising to get in shape in the first place.
The first two weren’t necessary at all as a varied and balanced diet would have been enough.
The last point would’ve helped me focus a lot more and avoided a few roadblocks and frustrations along the way.
- For the personal trainers who might be reading, what one piece of advice would you give to help them grow their clientele and ultimately thrive in the industry?
Place value over success. Always!
Being valuable means bringing together everything you have learned (past and present) to provide a service to others today.
If your objective is to simply obtains goals and seek rewards, you’ll be phased out quickly.
There’s no value in being successful, but there’s success in being valuable.
- Do you have any go-to supplements in your cupboard currently? What’s your favourite?
I don’t have any one favourite supplement in of itself but I do like to take the following everyday:
· Fish Oil
· Vitamin D
As a fitness professional with more than a decade of experience in every aspect of training, dieting and competing, what is the most frequently asked question you receive? What are the next steps you give people to help realise their goal?
I get asked the following questions a lot which I have summarised as follows:
- FAQ #1 – Why is my body weight not dropping?
The scales should never be your sole measure of fat loss progress.
There are many other important factors to consider, including appearance, comments from others, clothing fit and training performance. All of these aspects will tell you something about the effectiveness of your approach.
- FAQ #2 – Am I allowed this meal?
I encourage people to review their diets on a whole. Not on a meal per meal basis. It’s what you eat across the entire day that matters most. Not one single meal.
Other than your own, what 3 books do you consider a “must read” on fitness, business or self-development?
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Chip Heath
- Given the recent success of your book, podcast and online/face-to-face coaching business – what’s next? Anything in the pipeline you’re working on?
There is a lot on!
I’m launching my Diabetes fitness and bodybuilding member site in August 2017 www.diabeticmuscleandfitness.com
Since the book has been sold all over the world, there will be a fairly large international reach with people all over the world
I’m also writing a book on the business of personal training and launching a new mentorship program for trainers.
Super excited for this!
- Do you have any final words of advice to offer our readers?
Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.
More from Phil Graham
If you’d like to find out more about Phil Graham be sure to check out his personal website: www.phil-graham.com followed by www.diabeticmuscleandfitness.com for science-based information regarding nutrition for diabetics, training advice and much more.
Don’t forget to give Phil Graham a follow on all major social media channels as well:
Did you learn something new from Phil? Let us know in the comments section below who you’d like to see us interview next!
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.