There is no rest for celebrities, even when on the hot party island of Ibiza. Personal trainer and health coach Ben Camara is on hand to keep holidayers in check with these workout and diet tips
Even on the sunny Spanish island of Ibiza, celebrities are working up a sweat in their villas. Ben Camara has worked with the rich and famous who rarely take a day off, including Madonna and Kate Moss. Being flown over in a private jet, Ben’s expertise are sought after for health advice alongside his nutrition and training tips.
When he’s not travelling with clients such as Vogue photographers Mert and Marcus and Givenchy Creative Director Riccardo Tisci, Ben is transforming bodies in one of his two studios in London – co-founded No1 Fitness Gyms. Here, he and his partner Harry Thomas and 22 trainers have worked up quite the reputation over the past five years, with celebrities MNEK and Gok Wan coming in for training. Ben’s hard work with a client over ten weeks landed him the title of Men’s Health Champion Trainer, and Healthista are still trying to figure out the logistics of such an incredible transformation:
But with a wealth of knowledge (like, he pretty much knows everything), Ben is more than a personal trainer. He is a friend, therapist and voice of reason when it comes to staying healthy (AKA, a health coach). Here he talks to Healthista about his no-nonsense approach to a healthy lifestyle with a workout anyone can make time for while on holiday
Celebrity trainer secrets
What does your work involve in Ibiza?
I train clients daily whilst they are staying on the island. I will find out their schedule and program training around this which could be twice per day. I also sometimes liaise with their chefs to ensure the portion sizes are correct and also that the food is healthy so we can stay on track with the goal at hand. This could be for five days, two weeks or for the past two years, the month of August.
How do you keep people fit on a party island?
I would plan the workouts into the week before we go. If it’s party mad, the client will be dancing (although not targeted), which is still an awesome way to stay active on holiday.
I would generally say that a client should do their workout as a must before starting their day. Get up after you’ve slept and get the workout in. Some will do this anyway, but it’s a case of what the client’s mentality is like. I’ll usually bring the workouts down to 30-40 minutes to ensure the client can get through a specific program and then get back to enjoying their day.
Bootcamp, Ibiza style
Who have you worked with in Ibiza?
Kate Moss was mostly asking for health advice
I health coached Kate Moss for a week whilst she was on holiday and not able to train regularly. Health coaching is like managing someone’s health. I advise, train, or recruit to get the results the client wants. Some clients will have health related problems such as IBS, insomnia or even a lack of gym confidence and I will work with them or bring them into my network of therapists. Some clients may not be losing weight and have tried everything, so we will focus on their sleeping patterns – they recover, sleep more and start to lose weight.
Kate was mostly asking for health related advice. We looked at what she was eating daily, eliminating foods that are inflammatory or that cause bloats. Even if you change things slightly, you would see a difference within 48 hours. Unfortunately it is harder for females to stay in shape, though.
Madonna trains for two hours a day at least
I was training Madonna whilst she stayed in Ibiza and she liked to work her core and legs most. She is always travelling around the world and at the time had a trainer in each place she visited. She is as fit as a fiddle, and can train for up to two hours a day. It’s not all high intensity and strength work, but maybe some yoga involved. At this stage in her life, as she has been doing it for so long, she’s like a professional athlete.
How are your workouts structured?
If you can’t do one push up but you’re looking at people with six packs its demoralising.
If a client has just started training, they will need to go through the conditioning phase. The first few weeks will be full body workouts using tri-sets. For example, three sets of press ups into walking lunges and then an exercise that works the back. Then we would go into what’s called metabolic (metcon) to raise the heart rate. That might be pushing the prowler, ten sprints, or burpees (which most people hate!). And then we finish with another tri-set of more sculpting exercises.
I have strength based exercises that I always use. I always have clients working a lot on what’s called ‘time under tension’, which is eccentric loading of muscles. The majority of training in a gym is working on the concentric phase of an exercise (bicep curl – shortening the muscle). However, at No1 Fitness we gain strength by working the eccentric phase of an exercise (when the muscle is lengthening).
Gok Wan is a good example of someone who was a complete beginner when I trained him a few years ago. He had been very big and he will admit he struggled. You almost have to be a counsellor and explain that there are stepping stones. If you can’t do one push up but you’re looking at people with six packs its demoralising.
What did you do for your winning transformation?
Sam’s transformation took just under 11 weeks. All together we were focusing on burning fat (but not muscle), for the first five weeks. He ate a certain amount of protein and took amino acids so that he was keeping as much muscle as possible whilst losing his belly. Then the body fat started to come off, so we looked at where we wanted to sculpt.
Although I trained him, a lot of the credit goes to him. He didn’t drink for three months. His last meal was dipping a pizza into a takeaway curry. From there we moved on to completely nutritious healthy food.
How do you train to lose fat and keep muscle?
With tri-sets and metabolic conditioning you have the reps and sets burning the muscles as well as the fat burning
I find a lot of women worry about this, especially losing their bum. Many women don’t realise the bum is made of tissue, which is muscle and fat. If there isn’t much muscle there, after doing all this exercise and losing the fat, you won’t be left with much. You also see a lot of women start with lunges and squats and their legs get swollen from the inflammation. They panic and start doing a lot more cardio. All of a sudden you are left with a flat bum. That’s why if you train with tri-sets and metabolic conditioning you have the volume (the reps and sets going working the muscles) as well as the fat burning with the sprints or pushing the prowler.
Ben explaining how to correctly push the prowler
What diet do you follow?
In the UK we consume too much red meat
I’m a very big fish eater. 80 per cent of my plate is vegetables and plant-based food, and my diet has a lot of fish. I feel good that way and it’s lean protein. I’m quite big on sustainability. In the UK we only farm sustainable fish, but I think we consume too much red meat. I have it once every two weeks if that. I also don’t eat dairy and rarely gluten as I’m quite sensitive to it.
Do you have cheat meals?
Yes, totally! Most people have a thought process that having one cheat meal is going to ruin their whole day, which I don’t believe. When I’m training a client, I am immersed into their life and tracking their food. If they have a birthday party to go to, we will usually account for that the days before by reducing the calories or have super clean days. If people drink, as you can imagine the next day is a catastrophe as they can’t stop eating. Cheating here and there isn’t going to be detrimental, as long as you’ve planned it.
What are your best diet tips?
If you have a calorie deficit for a long period of time, you will lose weight
People often want to hear the secret pill, but the main thing is consistency and portion size control. First, I’d say chose a diet that is sustainable because consistency is key. If you did a low carb diet you’d lose weight and if you did a low-fat diet you’d lose weight. It’s mainly the energy expenditure, so if you have a calorie deficit for a long period of time, you will lose weight.
When I start a client on a plan I look at how realistically they will stick to it. Some people can eat the same foods and meals every day of the week to stay on track, but it would drive others mad.
Secondly, I always look at gut health. If you have any problems with slight gut intolerances it will effect the amount of nutrients you’re getting. I look at whether clients are getting enough fibre, whether they need a supplement like glutamine to help heal the gut.
Most clients at No1 Fitness go onto a diet of no anti-inflammatory food, no processed food, and sometimes restriction of gluten to see how they react. if they need to come off gluten just to have a look.
Do you think a celebrity body is achievable?
Celebrities don’t look like the images they post on Instagram
Yes I do. But what people don’t tend to realise is that actors who get into incredible shape have to do it for a role so there is more accountability. If they have to be in shape for a superhero film in three month’s time, they have to do it, because they are being paid for it. Music stars stay fit because of all the dancing. But don’t forget celebrities don’t look like every image. They post an image on their Instagram and it’s been filtered and edited. They aren’t in shape all year round.
Why do people struggle to see results?
What we find is a lot of clients, as well as trainers who come to us for in-house training, generally don’t work hard enough. It’s not a case of working people until they are sick. But they just aren’t putting in enough volume (being reps or sets or exercises in certain areas). People might go to the gym three to four times a week but are having three minutes rest between each set. There is a strict 60 second rule with my workouts!
Also, clients say they are tracking their food but they aren’t really. They will say, ‘oh I had a cheat meal but I also had a croissant in the morning. I didn’t sleep very well and when I woke up I had a mocha instead of a black coffee’. These things may be little, but they have a huge response on the body. People just aren’t strict enough.
You need at least 60 days of staying consistent to see change
People also slip up because they aren’t seeing results. It’s not going to take seven days. Most people want to get in shape especially with the nice weather. But after a week they are out in Shoreditch on a Saturday afternoon having a bottle of wine. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s a yo-yo diet. People don’t often yo-yo from large to small, but just a few kilos. Then they get depressed because they can’t budge that extra weight. It’s normally because they aren’t giving themselves enough time, being good for one week and off the next. You need at least 60 days of staying consistent, of say 1500 calories per day. It’s literally that simple.
30 minutes holiday workout – no weights needed
TRISET: 3 sets of each. 60 second rest in between sets.
- Elevated split squat. 10 reps.
- Push ups. 12 reps.
- Bent over row using resistance bands. 12 reps.
METCON: 20 seconds on. 20 seconds rest. 3 sets
Lateral ice skater jumps.
TRISET: 3 sets of each. 60 second rest in between sets.
- Step-ups. 10 reps.
- T-Stabilisation. 16 reps.
- Lateral raise. 15 reps.
METCON: 20 seconds on. 20 seconds rest. 3 sets
Hollow back plank. 20 seconds on. 2 sets. 20 seconds rest.
Side plank with knee touch. 15 reps. 2 sets. 45 seconds rest.
Cool down stretch.
No1 Fitness is London’s leading personal training service headed up by co-founder, Ben Camara and Harry Thomas. It opened eight years ago with a studio at Tower Bridge followed by a second in central London with a team of 20 trainers. They have worked with and qualified hundereds of person trainers with their educational courses, including Zanna Van Dijk, Amanda Dyram and Alex Cannon.
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