Prepare your muscles and your mind with lessons and workout tips from the ultra hench, mega ripped and most spiritually zen...
Punch Through A Door
Moving to Britain from Afghanistan aged 11, Sohail Ahmad became a British taekwondo champion before stepping into the ring as a pro boxer.
Play mind games
“Boxing is 90% psychological and only 10% physical. There are lots of ways to get into someone’s head.”
“Some people are boastful. I keep to myself, know my game plan and let my boxing do the talking so they won’t know what’s hit them.”
Take a beating
“I got this black eye when I was sparring. Sometimes, being a human punch bag is the best way to learn your own style and weaknesses.”
Start with the basics
“The first thing you need to learn is how to punch. Then it’s fitness. I do spinning classes and yoga to help with agility
and endurance – it’s not all punch bags.”
Get a knockout punch
“The most powerful strikes start from your ankle. You keep your feet flat and the weight comes up through your hip and your shoulder.”
Give yourself a running start
“I do a 10k jog every morning to maintain my fitness.”
“I listen to TED Talks for motivation while I’m running. They’re great for helping you think outside the box, which is essential in the ring.”
Tackle Harder Than A Car Crash
As Saracen’s full-back and one of the team’s pivotal members, Alex Goode is pitched to help lead England to victory in next year’s home-soil Rugby World Cup._
Embrace the pain
“Everyone’s going through the mill and it pulls you together as a team.”
“I’ve broken my collarbone and leg and last year, I had surgery on my shoulder. Bruises and broken fingers are a constant hazard.”
Hit the road
“Having a high level of base fitness will get you through anything. Running is the best way to get you there.”
Get a mantra
“My favourite quote is: ‘If you’re not practising, someone else is. When you meet them, they’ll beat you.’ Nobody starts as being great at everything.”
Go hard, not heavy
“I like to reduce the weights I’m lifting and go through sets quickly to increase the power.”
Ditch the squats
“The best exercise I do is called The Prowler, pushing a sled for 20 metres with 120kg weights on it. It’s a real grind that works out all of your lower body and back.”
Eat Like A Pro Rugby Player
Kick-start your morning with oats to get maximum slow-release energy into your body. Throw in a scoop of casein powder, berries and nuts for extra protein to carry you through the day.
If you’re training, then this is the time to get your good carbs – but nothing too starchy. Go for brown rice and lots of vegetables.
Most of your high-protein diets include chicken and steak but it gets boring quickly. Try eating fish instead; there are so many variations with great flavours and you don’t need to cover your food in rich sauces. They’re also chock-full of essential fats, protein and omega-3 oils.
Harness Your Zen
As one of London’s top yoga instructors at Pure Balance Yoga (purebalanceyoga.co.uk) Rachel Giffin limbers up the minds and bodies of everyone from Google employees to professional sportspeople._
Distract yourself from distractions
“If you battle with your mind, your mind will always win.”
“Yoga and meditation teaches you how to detach yourself and prioritise your energy and thoughts.”
Unlease your ‘third eye’
“Your intuition is your command centre – trusting your gut rather than dwelling on decisions increases both confidence and productivity.”
Flexibility is just a bonus
“Agility and strength are just side benefits of yoga. The important aspects are learning to focus and reaching your goals.”
5 Steps To Finding Peace At Your Desk
1. Learn to breathe
Stress makes you take shorter breaths and reduces the oxygen that’s reaching your major organs. This stops you from working to full capacity. Take a few deep breaths and count to 10.
2. Sit proud
Bad posture and feeling uncomfortable severely limits your mindset and productivity. Uncross your legs, place your feet flat and hip-width apart. Also, sit up tall and straight. You’ll project positivity.
3. Stay active
Doing something physical gets endorphins flowing and increases circulation, giving you a feel-good factor. Consider a standing desk or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Throw in some stretches towards the end of the day when you’re most demotivated.
4. Love your eyes
Staring at a computer all day strains your eye muscles. Eye rolls can make you feel more alert and reduce headaches. Open your eyes as wide as possible and trace the numbers of an imaginary clock. Close your eyes and rest, then repeat.
5. Put your problems to bed
Worry causes restless nights so don’t dwell on the negatives before bed. Reframe problems and find a positive side. The same applies for when you wake up; moaning before you even get to work will make you miserable all day.
Pumping iron as a professional bodybuilding champion and personal trainer, with 20 years’ experience in sport to boot, Roger Snipes could give Hercules cold sweats._
Get a gym in a bag
“If you buy one thing, get a TRX. It’s a suspension cable that you attach to an anchor point like a tree. It’s perfect for intense exercises using only your body weight. It’s also mobile, so you can work out wherever you want.”
Get in the kitchen
“I eat 5,000 calories a day. Around 70% of muscle gain is in the kitchen.”
“It’s not all boring healthy food. Sometimes I like to eat ice cream before bed; people could say that’s a sin, but I still maintain around 8% body fat all year round.”
Learn to peacock
“The secret to body building and looking good isn’t just tensing and posing. It’s about hiding weakness and showing off your strengths.”
Anyone can be a mountain
“I haven’t always been big. I started off doing sprint training; I was really slim.”
“I only got into bodybuilding properly five years ago. The average person can get reasonably ripped in just eight to 12 weeks, training three or four times a week.”
Don’t skip leg day
“Don’t just focus on the obvious muscle groups – it’s important to even it out. If you’ve managed to get a big chest and shoulders, great. Now you need to look at what’s missing…”
Photography: Agata Pec