YOU’VE SERVED IN THE ARMY AND DONE LOADS OF SURVIVAL TV SHOWS, BUT WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL COME FROM INITIALLY?
I grew up on the Isle of Wight and learnt to adventure in the outdoors with my dad as a kid. He was a former Royal Marines Commando and we used to do a lot of boating and sailing together, and we always loved to climb in all seasons. It was our special time to bond, and scaling the sea cliffs even in terrible weather set the foundation for a love of adventure that has never left me.
WERE YOU ACTIVE AS A KID? YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A CLIMBER…
I was lucky enough to live on an island that allowed me to be mega active and live a really outdoor lifestyle growing up. I was able to run and explore, tinker around on boats, make things, climb, mountain bike and even paraglide at a young age. It was all a great way of dodging schoolwork!
DID YOU OR DO YOU EVER PLAY SPORT?
I took part in most sports at school but was never amazing at any of them. But I got really into martial arts when I was a teenager and worked really hard at that to become one
of the youngest ever-2nd Dan Karate black belts in the UK. That gave me a confidence at a young age that I didn’t always have, and I have kept my martial arts up ever since. I also got the chance to start a climbing club, which endures to this day.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KILLER MOVE TO WORK THE WHOLE BODY?
It has to be the full Reverse Push up/Bridge push up. A killer move that challenges my whole body and helps maintain mobility in my spine. After breaking three vertebrae in a parachute accident, spinal health is key to helping me stay mobile and fit for my job!
YOU’RE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY STRONG. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM… YOUR TIME IN THE ARMY? PRESUMABLY THERE’S NO OTHER KIND OF FITNESS THAN COMBAT FITNESS… IS IT AS BRUTAL AS IT SOUNDS?
The military instils, above all, self-discipline and my training with 21 SAS gave me the confidence to look after myself when the chips were really down. The training was obviously very physical but it was geared towards endurance; being able to cross the mountains, in all weathers, day and night, carrying huge weights for long distances. That required a mental resolve and is designed to test your spirit rather than just your aerobic fitness. The SAS require the determined above the super athlete – and one of the key Commando traits is cheerfulness in adversity – that ability to keep positive when it is grim!
TELL US WHAT A TYPICAL WEEK MIGHT CONSIST OF IN TERMS OF YOUR TRAINING. YOU DO CIRCUITS FOUR TO FIVE TIMES A WEEK, IS THAT RIGHT?
I aim to train five days a week for no longer than 30 minutes with two active recovery days. My workouts are intense and I love using express training methods like HIIT, Tabata and density rounds. I use a mix of disciplines including bodyweight, Primal Power Stretch and Kettlebells.
PRESUMABLY A LOT OF THAT TRAINING IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS AND DYNAMIC/EXPLOSIVE TRAINING, GIVEN THAT YOUR RELY ON BEING ABLE TO LIFT, PUSH, JUMP WHEN TRYING TO SURVIVE… TALK US THROUGH A SESSION:
All my workouts start with a great dynamic warm-up and include whole body movements progressing from low-intensity moves, like inchworms, through to higher-intensity moves, e.g. push up
to T-stands. And my favourite workouts are our BG EPIC training Hero workouts [see panel].
I run occasionally but to be honest I prefer to work the whole body in these intense 30-minute total-body circuits that BG Epic do. These hit cardio, strength and flexibility all at once, and
they have become my staple. But every now and again I still run – and running outdoors, barefoot, is always fun.
WE’VE SEEN YOU RUNNING IN FREEZING CONDITIONS IN SIBERIA AND ROUND A TINY ISLAND IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, BUT WHERE HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO RUN?
Probably up and down the 250ft high hill on our small welsh island that we own. It’s a killer!
YOU’RE A YOGA FAN… WE TRY AND PERSUADE READERS TO TRY IT IN THIS ISSUE. WHAT WOULD YOU
SAY TO ANYONE WHO HASN’T DONE IT?
We run these yoga-inspired workouts called Power Stretch Training that is a real workout as well as giving you all the benefits of yoga. For me they help strengthen and lengthen muscles, improve posture, increase flexibility, increase balance and co-ordination and they activate the core, so for my line of work it is a winner!
WHERE DOES CLIMBING EVEREST COMPARE TO SOME OF THE OTHER SURVIVAL CHALLENGES YOU’VE DONE?
Everest was a unique and frightening time. It was a lot of hard work, years of preparation and physically and mentally exhausting. We were on the mountain for over three months and during that time four climbers lost their lives. Two of us from our team finally made it to the summit but genuinely by the skin of our teeth. I had dared to dream it from a young age when my dad had given me a picture of the mountain, and to have achieved it meant so much. My dad died soon after that ascent. I am so grateful to have made the summit, but I feel so blessed to have survived an expedition that had taken the lives of so many that year.
TELL US ABOUT THE EPIC TRAINING…
I love it! Our EPIC Training consists of express workouts that will change the way you train and think about fitness. From Primal Power Stretch, Core Survivor through to our Hero workouts, each one is designed to give you maximum results in the minimum amount of time. There is nothing more humbling than receiving letters and tweets about how EPIC is improving individuals’ self esteem, reducing body fat and weight and giving people confidence to go out and live healthier every day lives.
And our children love EPIC too; they love to help design the choreography and moves for the kids’ workouts. In the latest release, Huckleberry, our youngest inspired the Eagle poses for the children’s power stretch; at six he is already a strong natural athlete and he thrives in our BG Kids workouts.
YOU’VE TAKEN A WHOLE HOST OF STARS WITH YOU ON SURVIVAL TRIPS… WHO IS THE ONE PERSON YOU WANT TO TAKE WITH YOU THAT YOU HAVEN’T YET?
We have just secured eight dream guests for our new season of Running Wild on NBC –so wait out to see these!
YOU SEEM FAIRLY UNBREAKABLE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY, BUT HAVE YOU EVER BEEN REDUCED TO TEARS?
When leaving the family for a long stint away filming I am always a wreck!
LAST MONTH WE LOOKED AT SOME OF THE HOTTEST NEW SOURCES OF PROTEIN, WHICH INCLUDED CRICKETS… WE KNOW YOU’VE EATEN SOME RANDOM STUFF IN YOUR TIME, BUT WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST POTENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN YOU’VE FOUND IN THE WILD?
Scorpions and goats testicles.
AND YOU ENJOY THE ODD BLOWOUT… WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE NAUGHTY FOOD AND POISON WHEN IT COMES TO BOOZE?
Pizza and piña colada! An embarrassing weakness!
WHEN YOU’RE FILMING YOU’RE IN SOME VERY REMOTE PLACES WITHOUT ANY ENTERTAINMENT… HOW DO YOU AND THE TEAM KEEP YOURSELVES OCCUPIED?
When we are actually out there, it is always just so all consuming surviving – it’s like being on 24/7- I always say that survival requires your all if you are going to succeed. But when I am traveling I love to watch movies, listen to music and read mountaineering or boating magazines – oh and send silly messages to the kids!
YOU’VE TRAVELLED THE WORLD: IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO EXPLORE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Greenland – a vast wilderness of unclimbed peaks and mindblowing terrain.
“WE RUN THESE YOGA-INSPIRED WORKOUTS CALLED POWER STRETCH TRAINING THAT IS A REAL WORKOUT AS WELL AS GIVING YOU ALL THE BENEFITS OF YOGA.”