Muscle & Strength Talks To Shredded Trainer And Fitness Model Olly Foster
What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with fitness and what do you love most and least about it?
I first got involved in the health and fitness industry at 16 where I took up the sport of rugby league. By 17 I was semi pro with a bright future ahead in the game. I was lucky enough over the years to play at a professional level and also amateur international in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
My career though was blighted with injury and eventually after several operations and discussions with my surgeon I gave up the sport in 2005. It was at this point in time my focus and direction with regards to training for a goal changed. I entered the Men’s Health cover model competition in 2005 and from thousands of entries was fortunate to win.
My relationship over the years with Men’s Health grew and since then I have graced the cover a further 5 times. Being a fitness model gives me a purpose, a reason, a desire and passion to do what I love most, training. The downside of the industry is the diet, although I’m used to it, deep down I’m just a fat guy trying to get out. Aren’t we all? Lol.
What do you love most about lifting and fitness?
I love that I can incorporate it into my daily routine. Being a personal trainer with a BSc hons degree in nutrition, I get the flexibility to work with clients around my training plan. That way there are no excuses as I have everything I need at my disposal. Also by being involved in the industry and working at one of the country’s most prestige gyms, The Third Space in Soho, London, I am surrounded by other fitness professional with vast amounts of knowledge and training methods that I can add to my data base to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of my workouts.
We are always learning and the one thing you become accustomed to is that what works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work for you. Don’t be scared to try new things and mix it up a little.
What were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivation boost?
Every time I gained a cover I felt confident, rewarded and determined to get more. I have had ups and downs in my life, like most of us have which has affected my look, but more recently my passion for this career has blown up and I am more focused and determined to grace many more covers both here in the UK and over in the USA.
Who were your heroes growing up and how did they help inspire you to get involved with fitness?
Gregg Avedon, who currently has the most Men’s Health covers, this was the guy I wanted to be. He was the inspiration that I aspired to look like, even before, when I used to play rugby.
Over the years I now have respect for all models within the industry but look up to Greg Plitt more than anyone. His achievements, passion and personality are immense and inspiring. I was fortunate enough to meet him recently and the conversation we had has given me a commitment and kick to achieve greatness in the sector.
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
My current routine has just changed from German Composition with HIT training to the following.
Monday to Saturday. Pre-breakfast cardio for 1 hour but with 30g protein and BCAAs 45 minutes before.
- Monday: Chest & Triceps
- Tuesday: Back & Biceps
- Wednesday: Shoulders
- Thursday: Legs
- Friday: No weights just cardio
- Saturday: Lactic acid/glycogen depletion circuit such as TRX squat jumps, KB swings, Plyometric push ups, Vipr and core. Abs work like this recent routine published on the Men’s Health website.
- Sunday: Rest
The beauty of this program is that I’m training almost every day. I hate taking a day off, it kills me. I’m at home in the gym and honestly can’t get enough of it.
How often do you perform cardio?
I currently do cardio 6 times a week, and at the moment I am doing one hour a day before breakfast but 45 minutes – one hour after a 30g protein shake and BCAAs. I used this method for the first time back in 2005 for the first cover I won. Since then my theories and views have been more geared towards HIIT for fat loss, however, I’m going back to old school methods because I like to change and adapt things, trial and error. Plus working as personal trainer and with my current diet I am honestly too tired to do HIIT in the morning and am unable to do my weight sessions in the morning like I used to as I’m in training with a client.
I really don’t think there is a right and a wrong way to do cardio. I mix my sessions up all the time, I don’t even lay out the exercises I’m going to do for the workout. I know the muscle groups I’m going to hit but I make it up as I go along, if I don’t know what I’m doing, my body certainly isn’t going to know and there the shock treatment is applied.
I tend to get bored very easily if I stick to set pattern of exercises over a set period of time. Therefore I change rep ranges, sets, types of contractions, muscle groups all the time.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
Diet. Most people’s knowledge or education I should say on diet is poor. This is because we are not taught or given the right information throughout our learning years as youths. I can’t stress enough how important it is, you can achieve so much on diet alone, but incorporate it with the right training programme for your goals and you can get the look you desire and aspire too.
The Internet has opened up so much more readily available information on food and the right food groups etc, get online and read, read and read. Soon you will see that what you once thought was a good clean diet, could have been off the mark by over 80%.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
I have to say I am extremely disciplined in this area. Having gained a degree in nutrition, my knowledge on what I need and when I need it is pretty good. No matter how tired I am, when I finish work I will go home and spend about an hour in the kitchen prepping all my meals and supps for the next day. Some food I cook in bulk, but my eggs, porridge, veg, etc., needs to be done on a daily basis.
Recently whilst working the FIBO expo over in Germany I stumbled across the six pack bag. For those of you who don’t know what this is and are as disciplined in your diet or even want to be, then you need to acquire this product. Honestly I should get sponsorship off them for the amount of times I’ve sold this to people. With this there are no excuses, it provides you with a functional case for your day ahead.
What does your current supplementation plan look like?
I’m very fortunate that I am a full time sponsored athlete with Reflex Nutrition and I don’t and never will take this for granted. They have supported me for over two years and I genuinely use their products because I believe in them.
Reflex multivitamins and minerals. During the day I take:
- Nexegen Multi Vit 3 x day
- Omega 3 3 x day
- CLA 3 x day
- Green Tea 3 x day
I use instant whey for my pre-breakfast cardio workout shake and at any other time of the day to keep protein levels high. BCAAs are taken again before cardio and also during my weights session.
Pre weights I will use the new Performance matrix and post-workout I use the awesome Growth Matrix. This has everything I need to restock my body of all the essential nutrients needed in that window of opportunity. The last supplement I have in my diet is Micellar Casein and I take this just before I go to bed to drip feed my body those essential building blocks.
What are your favorite meals and foods?
I love peanut butter, I’m a peanut butter-aholic. It’s the one vice I always have in my diet. I have to control my dosage though as it’s very easy to open a jar and before you know it you’ve eaten the lot. I also love oats, porridge oats with one egg white, cinnamon and chocolate and banana whey all mixed together is heaven. I’m eating this currently straight after my morning cardio and 2 hours before my evening weights session. It really is what gets me through the day.
More recently I’ve been baking a lot of homemade protein bars. I got the recipes from Jamie Eason and they are amazing. My favorite being the cinnamon swirl and using the same ingredients I made a pumpkin bar, super clean and unbelievably good – genius!
How important is nutrient timing for performance and/or building muscle?
Timing is essential. You must learn to adapt and provide your body with the essential nutrients around your daily living schedule and most importantly around your training session. It real is a science and the more you read up on it and become aware of the different requirements throughout the day, the more you will benefit from its capability.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
- “Train hard or go home.”
- “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
- “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to become a fitness model?
Anyone looking to become a fitness model needs to get in the right frame of mind set. Being a fitness model has similarities to being a bodybuilder, in terms of commitment, diet, training requirements and standard, discipline and self motivation. However, you need to realize that you are a model not a bodybuilder. I get asked many times what do you eat when you’re not shooting/off season, etc. My answer? I eat the same.
I’ve recently accustomed to the fact that there is no off season, no time outs and no binging sessions. To be successful you need to be reliable, consistent and committed to the cause. We can be given anything from a day to 3 weeks notice for shoots meaning you have to keep yourself in tip top shape all the time. Yes you can have cheat meals and yes you can go out every now and then but if let things slip by the waistline it will show and another more regulated model will get your gig.
The other thing I would say is be yourself, yes it’s ok and good to have aspiring models to look up to, but in reality you can only be the best YOU can be. Don’t be thinking I want to look like him/her or I want to look like that, because it reality and genetically the majority of the time this won’t be possible. Concentrate on you as an individual and make your own mark and brand, because at the end of the day that’s what you are, you’re a brand!
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
None, the gym is my life 24/7.
Movies and TV shows you’ve enjoyed recently?
I love Two and Half Men, Family Guy and the cartoon The Avatar. Film wise I love comedy and pretty much anything with Dwayne “the rock” Johnson in, he’s a pretty cool guy!