Fitness, Health, Topman Talks

Interview: It’s Easier To Get Jamie ‘Grenade’ Alderton’s Physique Than You Think

When you see guys that look like Jamie Alderton you just assume the only way to look like that is steroids or such obsessive hard work that you wouldn’t know what the outside of a gym even looks like. So when we got him over to Topman to try out our new muscle fit collection, we were surprised to see that he wasn’t smashing out bicep curls between shots or drinking raw eggs by the gallon. It turns out that that view of bodybuilding is an old fashioned stereotype and that, actually, a physique like that is way more achievable than you’d imagine. We got him to fill us in on how he got into that shape and how you can too:

Topman: You’re at the extreme end of ‘in shape’ – what did it take to get you there?

Jamie: “When I left the army I was very much into this military routine and I needed to find something to channel my energy. Now this was 2010, this is when I discovered competing. To me it was a lot like being in the army, because it was like meal plan, training, cardio and you’ve got your date. Focus on the date, do the show – win, lose, whatever. And I loved it because the blinkers were on, get it done, finish it, then focus on the next goal. So I had to go to the extremes to look good. But then as soon as I looked good, it was only a week or a couple of weeks before I put on a couple stone. So although I always got myself in good shape, I was also very quickly out of shape. That sort of developed an unhealthy relationship because you build up this habit of ‘in order to look like that, you need to do that’. I needed to change the way I thought about getting in shape and fitness. I needed to come away from the all or nothing mentality that a lot of people have. I changed in 2013 when my daughter was born because I couldn’t be so selfish in what I was doing. I needed to have a good balance, I couldn’t sit and eat Tupperware, I had to look after my wife and look after our daughter.

“2014 came along, I was a professional fitness competitor then. I spent six months getting ready for a show but not to the extremes I used to. I had a good balance, I wouldn’t just eat out of Tupperware, I would track my macros and eat different foods. I wouldn’t eat the same foods, I’d mix and match – and I got in the best shape of my life. I was like hang on a minute, I know the way you’ve done it for the last 4 years worked but it didn’t last. This time I was like I’ve got in the shape of my life and I can stay here.  The things that I am doing, I enjoy doing. I enjoy going to the gym 4 times a week, I’m not going too extreme, I can still eat out with friends, I can still have a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend and like I say, look good. What changed then, is I never got out of shape. 2014 to now I have always been in really good shape and it’s because of those habits now that I have created that have kept me there.”

We saw on your Instagram you eat 1,500 calories for breakfast – what does that even look like?

“So 150g bowl of oats, 150g of total Greek yoghurt – I have some lemon fish oils in there which make it taste lemony (not like fish). I have a massive handful of peanut M&M’s in there, honey, cinnamon, some Grenade- – 2 scoops, some creatine in there. That’s essentially my breakfast. I eat the same thing every single day. The meals are different. I have a company that delivers meals to the gym – each meal is 500 calories. I know I need to eat 2,000- 3,000 calories so my breakfast is between 1,200 and 1,500. I will have 3 of those meals. I will do that each day, keep consistent with that. If I feel a little bit more lethargic because I have trained  a bit harder, my body will tell me I need to eat a bit more. So I will have an additional meal. Over a week long period I am still standing on the deficit. That’s come from being intuitive and knowing your body. Unfortunately people aren’t as at the stage – that took me 7 years of knowing my body and knowing what it needs.”

What do you generally do when you’re training?

“Usually when I am training I will do 4 training sessions a week. So I will do two upper body training sessions and two lower body training sessions. The upper body is usually split into a push- chest, shoulders, triceps. Pull is usually back, biceps, traps and leg training is usually more quad specific and the front of the legs. The next one is the back- hamstrings, glutes and calves. That’s generally my entire diet set up and training.”

We’ve got to say it’s not as extreme as I expected it to be. We think that there is an assumption with people that to get to a certain size or shape it requires a level of obsession and dedication.

“It’s a level of consistency. It depends on where you are going. If you are looking to build muscle, what you need to do is understand the fundamentals of muscle building. You need to get stronger, i.e., you need to increase the volume of weight you are lifting. If you are lifting 80 kg on the bench for 3 sets of 5, you want to be increasing that total volume over time. If you are getting stronger, you are increasing that volume and you’ll increase that size. Nutrition is the most important thing,if you’re not eating enough food, your body is not going to grow effectively.”

Is there ever a time you are like ‘I can’t be bothered’? It’s a huge amount of work just to keep your body looking a certain way.

“For me, it’s not a case of fuck that because I’ve spent so many years doing it and its something I enjoy. The things that I enjoy produce the result. Walking, going to the gym, I actually like healthy food. I spend a lot of time in McDonalds but I get McDonalds wraps, that kind of thing. For me, there’s no fuck it moment. I understand if someone is severely overweight, who has never been dedicated, not consistent, who has huge confidence issues. It’s so easy to go fuck this. That’s why you have to try and tap into why they are doing this.”

Do you do cheat days?

“To me it’s a burger and chips, it’s not a cheat meal. I don’t need to justify something with a name in order to have it and it’s the same with a lot of people. If you are looking to build muscle or put weight on, I never call it bulking because you associate the words bulk with excess. So you’ll end up overeating. If I say building muscle it makes you change the way you think. When you hear the word cheat, what kinds of words come into your head? Guilt, shame, things you shouldn’t be doing. Whenever you have those in your head, you will go to excess.”

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