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Celebrity trainer secrets: PT to I’m A Celeb’s James McVey reveals how he got him jungle ready

How did I’m A Celebrity contestant and Vamps band member James McVey get himself and his body ‘jungle ready’? We find out exactly that from personal trainer Max Rogers 

It has been revealed that James McVey is now engaged to his girlfriend Kirstie Brittain. In an interview with Hello! Magazine, The Vamps lead guitarist said he proposed to Kirstie during a romantic weekend in the Lake District, where he presented her with a platinum and diamond cushion cut ring.

James met model girlfriend Kirstie four years ago, he explaind how his time in the jungle convinced him to pop the question sooner than he originally planned.

‘I think when you’re in the jungle you have nothing to do but think and you really figure out the sort of person you are and the things that mean the most to you,’ said James.

‘I already knew I wanted to propose to Kirstie this year and I didn’t see why waiting six months would make any difference. I missed her so much when I was in the camp and I really struggled.’

The Vamps’ James McVey, 24, is the band’s lead guitarist and back-up vocalist. The pop-rock group have celebrated huge success with their chart-topping hits Can We Dance, Just My Type and Somebody To You, to name a few.

The young and attractive musician is sure to have caught the eyes of a few female members of the public during his time so far on this years I’m A Celebrity.

The most recent Bushtucker Trail that James has had endure aired on Monday evening’s show. Fans watched James with fellow celebrities John Barrowman and Rita Simons take on the Bushtucker Trial, the Australian Outback challenge.

The three celebrities had to abseil down a vertical cliff, zip wire through the jungle and crawl around in very claustrophobic looking caves, while also running to each challenge point in a race against the clock.

The Vamps star seemed fit and able to complete all tasks, with the three of them bringing home ten out of 11 stars for their fellow camp-mates.

James insta
James (left) with Nick Knowles (right) during a Bushtucker Trial

There is certain amount of pressure to look good when you enter the jungle, and fans are always keeping a beedy eye out for those famous I’m A Celebrity shower moments. Think back to Myleene Klass, Vicky Pattinson, Peter Andre, Joel Dommet and Ola Jordan – and those are only a few names when this famous shower scene comes to mind.

Most celebrities do reveal that they ‘worked out’ prior to the show, knowing full well that the public will be watching them ‘warts and all’ for three and a half weeks in the run up to Christmas.

As the second-youngest camp-mate, James is likely to be popular with the younger female fans of the show, and he does look in particularly good shape if we do say so ourselves.

So what did he do in the run up to the show? We quizzed personal trainer Max Rogers on his own fitness philosophy and exactly how James stayed in shape before he entered the famous jungle.

What is your most reliable type of exercise for all round fitness?

‘Big multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and the abdominal bicycle are best for all round fitness. James wanted to maintain his muscle mass but stay lean at the same time, so these exercises were perfect to do just that.

‘My advice for women is to not be afraid of resistance training or high intensity interval training (HIIT). Both these types of training will always be more beneficial than steady state cardio – always’.

What is your favourite fat-busting exercise?

‘My favourite fat burning movements are sled pushes, weighted carries and the assault bike. These are big full body movements that burn through calories quick.

Resistance training should be done three to five times a week for around 45-60 minutes per session.

‘Try 45 seconds on and 15 off and repeat in a circuit fashion. Women shouldn’t be afraid of these types of exercises, they will give them great shape and keep them lean due to the huge calorie burn and metabolism boost’.

How often should we be lifting weights?

‘Resistance training should be done three to five times a week for around 45-60 minutes per session. James was a keen gym goer for years so he lifted around five days a week even whilst travelling but three times a week is more than enough to help you reach your goals’.

‘Women should aim for the same, three times a week on resistance training and twice a week completing any type of HIIT training with the exercises stated above’.

What is your philosophy when it comes to keeping fit?

‘Keeping fit must become a lifestyle. Find what you enjoy and stick with that. For some people its running, for others it’s Crossfit, but it really is all about finding what you look forward to doing and then keeping it consistent.

‘I always tell my clients to try and get their training done early in the morning, before work. Too often people are exhausted after work or busy with work commitments like staying late or going to events. If you get your session in early, there are no excuses and you’ve already won the day before 8am’.

James McVey insta pic

How do you stay motivated?

‘I love my job so training for me is part of my daily routine. I don’t feel right if I miss training so the motivation is always there for me, sometimes I even feel sad if I haven’t trained, I guess that’s the lack of endorphins you get after a workout. Plus your body is your business so it pays to look good’.

‘James was super motivated even with his busy schedule, he always found time to train wherever he was which shows his commitment and love for training. This really helped him get the most out of his sessions with me.

‘My tip for finding motivation is once again find some form of exercise that you truly enjoy. It may be classes for the social aspect or running to clear your head after a long day. If you enjoy it then you are more likely to continue doing it’.

What diet do you typically follow?

‘I am on my feet a lot and train very hard so my diet consists of lots of whole foods and meat. I eat the foods that like me and not the foods I like (sadly this means I eat for health and not always for taste). If I know something I eat is going to cause me to bloat I try my best not to eat it. I do this so I have minimal bloating and it means less stress on my digestive system.

‘I am strict the majority of the time but I always count my calories which gives me slightly more freedom if I want to eat out one evening. I try to ‘bank’ calories in the day if I’m going to eat big that night’.

What diet did you suggest James followed?

James was doing intermittent fasting leading up to the show as we were trying to prepare his body for the low calories they are given in the jungle. James is also vegetarian, so he had his last meal around 7pm and didn’t eat for roughly 16 hours in the day.

James was doing intermittent fasting leading up to the show as we were trying to prepare his body for the low calories they are given in the jungle

‘Weight loss is down to calories in vs calories out so if you give yourself a smaller time frame to eat, you are most likely going to stay within a reasonable amount of calories. Intermittent fasting isn’t magic, although sometimes the results can be so great it may seem like it, but in general intermittent fasting is a helpful tool to help you eat less and lose some unwanted weight’.

What do you suggest for anyone who wants to lose some weight before their indulgent Christmas feast?

‘I would suggest ditching routines 30 minutes on a cross trainer or treadmill for starters. Give 12-15 minutes of true ‘High Intensity’ cardio a go.

‘Try 15 seconds of MAX effort on a spin bike or rowing machine followed by 45 seconds recovery, repeat this five to eight times and you will soon know about it. This is the best way to stimulate fat loss and requires half the time’.


‘Try and track your calories also by using an app such as MyFitnessPal or keep a food diary, so you know exactly what you’re eating. You will be surprised by the hidden carbs in so many of the foods you eat.

‘If counting isn’t for you, try fasting, it is a simple tool to help you eat less throughout the day by giving you a smaller window to eat. Lastly, if you know you’re going out for a huge Christmas dinner or a big meal, maybe opt for a bigger breakfast over eating both breakfast and lunch. Also aim to complete some HIIT cardio sessions in the morning. This will give you a lot of calories to play with in the evening and can keep you on track with your weight loss goals’.

What were James’ aims body-wise?

‘We trained together whilst he was in London but he had a hectic travel schedule with the band. I gave him some workout templates that he followed whilst he was away’.

James wanted to keep his muscle mass but also maintain a lean physique. ‘James is already very lean so we kept the training hard and the weights heavy which allowed him to come into the jungle retaining as much muscle as possible’.

Were there any specific exercises that James particularly liked?

‘James enjoyed following a push pull legs routine which consisted of training his chest, shoulders and arms one day, back and biceps the other day and then finishing with legs (his favourite) we would repeat this cycle twice so he would train three days on and have one day off, then repeat’.

What is one piece of advice that you give to your clients?

‘I would say it might be time to ditch the trusty gym routine that may not be working anymore. Try and step away from the steady state 30-40 minute slow jogs and use big full body exercises to ramp the heart rate up as high as possible.

Fall in love with the process and don’t get so caught up with the final result

‘Fall in love with the process and don’t get so caught up with the final result. This is something I still have to tell myself everyday too’.

What is your best nutrition tip?

‘Earn your carbs! Do not fear carbs, carbs do not make you fat, too many calories overall make you fat. You can over eat on any of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates included, but they aren’t a bad thing and you will need them for energy’.


Do you recommend counting calories?

‘I do count calories but it isn’t for everyone. James didn’t count calories as he had a good relationship with food and didn’t have a weight problem. For somebody who is looking to lose weight, I would definitely suggest counting them for a few weeks just to get a better idea of what is in foods you are eating and what you can and can’t eat’.

What do most of us get wrong when we aren’t seeing results?

‘We want results yesterday. You can’t outdo five years of bad eating with three cardio sessions and a greens shake. Don’t expect your body to change overnight, stick at it and don’t give up – consistency is key’.

Is it possible to get a celebrity’s body?

‘Of course, with consistency and applied effort you can achieve any realistic body goal. Stay at it and learn to love the journey and not the end result’.

Max Rogers Bio shot

Max Rogers has been a part-time personal trainer for 6 years. He spent 5 years as a commercial diver but in the last year has put all his time into personal training. Starting at David Lloyd’s, Max will soon be joining Ultimate Performance in Mayfair in January. Max believes that fitness is the best medicine in the world.

Follow Max on Instagram: @maxrogerstraining







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