We sat down and had a chat with Personal Trainer/Fitness Coach Jack Gadd (Links can be found below). Jack is a very knowledgable and amazing coach who has been coaching for a while now. We sat down to discuss all things fitness and health. Touching on Social Media and how it effects, to even PED’s and their effect on people. So let us get started and jump straight in with this interview with Jack Gadd.
Q: How did you get into Fitness and the gym?
I have always been a very active person growing up, My dad was very active, he was in the military, so was my brother. We always had this competition, like 24/7. All the time! They were very into fitness so that would be the natural route I would go down. My path went more towards the bodybuilding and lifting kind of things. In college, I was a very skinny kid throughout. Never had abs or any muscle. I was skinny fat on the lead up to college. When I got to college all these guys obviously play rugby, they lift good weights and I was like “That looks quite cool, I would quite like to look like that”.
Jack Gadd in fitness Continued……
From there I kind of dove into the research and started watching shows like pumping iron and that kind of paved the way for me to start my fitness journey. I kind of wanted to take my competitiveness towards competing on the stage. Which is what I did in 2015, that was the first time I thought that the fitness industry is something I wanted to go down. That tends to be the way that someone does a contest prep and they come out wanting to be a coach and they want to do fitness, but for me, that was the right journey and I loved the process of the prep, I loved being coached. I think that was the main thing for me that made me become a coach, having had it done to me already.
Also, little things like throughout that journey itself while competing and helping people out at the gym and then they would go away and come back in a few weeks or months and say they lost X amount of weight through the advice I gave them. For me, that gave me a good feeling, a feeling my day job at the time didn’t. I never really had satisfaction from the day job.
Q: What was your Day Job?
I was previously an electrician so nothing to do with fitness what’s so ever, but being able to hear those things from people. How I helped them made me know this was my kind of path I want to follow down. Since then it has just gone from strength to strength, with the coaching and I competing again in 2018. Now I am solely focussed on helping men that were in my position years ago. That kind of Skinny Fat, not really knowing what to do and know ideas where to start. Reading endless articles online and wanting to cut through the bu****it really.
I didn’t want them to have to spend years to try and figure it out. Because that is what happened to me, from about 16 to about 19 it was all just trial and error. Being able to direct people the right way saves them time and the headache.
Q: Do you feel like a lot of PT’s are still old school? 6 Meals, chicken and rice and a workout plan?
I think what has been good to see over the last years is a transition away from that, to an element. There is still a lot of people in the industry that are like that, I think mainly because of the way course and the way PT degrees are taught. It kind of teaches that you will be eating X amount of meals a day, and X protein and you have to hit it and can’t go out and have a life. I still think that is taught around social media. It is nice to see a slight transition away from it now.
For me, It was also about wanting to show people that you can have a life, because I have been there and done, and my clients do it every single week and year. To be able to diet and have a tub of Halo Top or a chocolate bar and have some biscuits with your tea. Something so silly like that, but to be able to do it and show people that you can still get in great shape doing it.
Once people realise that it is actually the truth and isn’t just me talking about it and claiming that it happens it becomes more of a reality. I think so many people read my content and think “Yeah, he is kidding, you can’t have that!” Or “I look at this biscuit and I get fat”. It is coming around to the realisation and being consistent with calories and being sure you have balance and everything.
“The best way your client is going to get results is if it is a back and forwards relationship.”
Q: What would you say makes a good and a bad PT? What is a red flag?
I think a bad PT is showing the same person (In Terms of photos, results and testimonials) all the time. It is very to get results with a young guy who is very dedicated, can train 6 days a week and will and can do everything you tell him to do under the sun. That is easy. I find pride in getting results from the people that find it hard to get results. People that struggle with food, struggle with eating, they struggle to go to the gym. For me is a good sign as a coach if you can get the people in those starting position to the result, that is amazing. That’s how I feel as a coach.
That is actually why I transitioned away from coaching contest prep athlete to more of the general population. It was challenging but there is a lot more. For me as a coach, of a benefit, how if feel helping. I feel better as a coach doing it.
I think in terms of a bad coach or PT, I think one of the things is being too robotic and being too “you have to do this and have to do that”. The best way your client is going to get results is if it is a back and forwards relationship. So having them telling you what they want and you tell them what they need is an important balance. You need to find the balance between knowing what they need and doing what they enjoy, there is a fine line between that and being too robotic. It might end up being too demanding and telling them what to do.
Q: You mentioned transformation pictures. Do you think people use them in the wrong way, a lot of manipulation to get clients?
Um, yeah! I think nowadays it is very easy to see if someone is not being transparent with their transformation pictures. There is always the telltale signs to look out for, like, they don’t tag the client or don’t say their name. They could have just found it on google. There are a few other signs but the biggest one I look out for is if they are tagging the person or saying their name. Are they telling their story? That’s the thing when people talk about the story of a person it becomes more real that way? It is more of a real person when you talk about their transformation story.
Q: So, how do you think Social media has effected health and fitness in general?
I have got a lot of mixed opinions on social media. In terms of what they put out. I think the downside of social media is not telling people enough of what people need to go through to achieve that transformation. Do you remember the shred scam? They were all using Photoshop.
That is a perfect example of how social media couldn’t be used badly. One to make money, two to show people and unrealistic approach of how people can get to where they want to be, by taking this certain supplement or following this 90-day meal plan.
That is what happens, a lot of people with a lot of follows can’t coach everyone on a one to one level. They will sell very cheap meal plans and very cheap training plans with very limited contact or no contact at all. Then, that person will have a bad experience and be led down a path to believe that online coaching is something that doesn’t work, but they haven’t had something of a level they need. A coach that is for them. I think that is something that is not known enough of or perceived in the industry enough. Is the quality of what is there against a lot of the crap.
Q: You mentioned you have competed in the past, do you look to compete in the future?
I have been asked this one a lot lately because a lot of my following is competitors. After all, the last three years it has been all about competing. All you need to do is just scroll down my feed to see that is all it was about. The more I stepped away from competing and being in that audience the more I found more joy in my coaching and fitness. I think that’s fine, a lot of people compete every year because it is just normal to compete, however, I think we need to normalise that it is something that you don’t need to keep doing. Just to stay relevant.
That for me that was hard to come away from, to decide to not actively want to keep coaching prep clients. Actively moving away from prepping was difficult but I am happier now in terms of my mental aspect and my goals when I go into the gym. I am not trying to progress everything by the absolute minuscule. I am going into the workout and to have fun. Still progress but I am not bummed out if I am not doing what I need to every single day.
For prep you need to, you need to be on it! Always thinking about the next time you step on stage, so that is now out of my head a little bit. Now I can focus on clients and building a following from that “general” population, which I want to do now more than ever.
Q: What is your current goals, Split and Diet at them moment?
I was on a 5-day split, so I was on a push, pull, leg, Upper and Lower. I train for about an hour a day when I do that split, so it’s not too long, training for like two hours. The goal now, and this is something I never would have thought I would ever want to work towards is just to get to a level of leanness where I am happy, and just maintain that year-round. I have never been the type of guy who wants to maintain a year-round lean physique. However, now I am stepping away from the stage I realise what I enjoy most. I never really enjoyed pushing my body weight up to the point where I was about 40lbs above a good level of leanness.
So my goal is to get to that level and just to show that it can be maintained year-round. Obviously, it gets harder when you are on that amount of food for that amount of months. The light is at the end of the tunnel when you can start to bring the food up and start to maintain it there. That is what I am working toward. Obviously, Corona Virus disturbed that many times last year! We will see what the path this year looks like.
Q: it is already not looking too good is it?
Not really No, I am currently home training! I have got a few bits being delivered next week. I have got dumbbells and resistance bands, which is fine for the majority of people. The issue for me it is motivation. I like having some bigger weights to play with. I’ve got a big enough space in the garage. I have got a barbell and some squat stands coming so should be able to get a half-decent workout in with them when it all arrives. Home training has been fun and kind of not fun in the last few months.
“I think it has shown people that you can get really good results without needing a gym.”
Q: Speaking of Corona Virus, how do you think that has effects fitness in general?
I think in a strange way it has had a positive impact on a select few people. There is always going to be people that will not do anything when something happens, you can’t change that person mentality like straight away at the time. There will always be the people that won’t train or do anything, they are all or nothing. However, for a big majority, I think it has shown people that you can get really good results without needing a gym. I think it allowed more people to focus on nutrition and your expenditure.
When people think of fat loss they think they have got to be in the gym and hit cardio or train like 5 or 6 times a week. When the reality is training is a small part of your full transformation. Training allows us to keep the muscle moving and keep the muscle there while we diet down (or whatever our goal is).
Obviously, it is a bigger part when you are gaining and building muscle, however, the majority of people want to lose body fat. So I think it has opened a lot of people eyes that body fat is something that can be controlled by nutrition and steps, with a little bit of training sprinkled in. So I think Coronavirus has been, for me especially, has been something to open my eyes of what people need to focus on in terms of their programming and everything. However, it has still been a pain in the ass with everything.
Q: What do you think is a mistake a lot of people do when they begin to Diet?
I think setting themselves up in wanting to see results too quickly. The biggest thing I always do with my clients, is whenever I set someone up I give them their target for the long term, but we will also have a weekly goal, and immediate short term goal to work on. Something that allows them to pursue that goal in a given week. Instead of something that is likely 12-15 weeks away. So many people want the result, but we need to do these little things every single week. Which will lead to the final result.
So if we can set them targets, even if it is something silly like doing your step goals for the week, hitting you nutrition within a number of calories or doing your training however many times. If they could do that every week and hit new goals (Hitting your steps, Sleep or nutrition habits) they will get to the end result when the time comes for it. When it’s been years of doing the wrong things for your physique, we need to accept that it’s not going to come overnight.
Q: Do you keep up with Bodybuilding much? Olympia?
Yeah, I still keep in touch with it, It isn’t something that’s totally gone out of my life, I still like to see what people are doing, like with the Mr Olympia competition late last year. Just to see what people were coming in like and how their physique change. It is instructing to see, that in the open they are going towards the big, mass monsters now. I am not a massive fan of Big Rammy’s physique if I’m honest. It’s ok, but it is just big, there is no shape.
“So it is nice to see people like Chris Bumstead really bringing that all back. I would love to look like him over anyone else.”
Q: Do you think there is a more of a shift towards classic now? It is getting more attention now? Do you think we are slowly going back to more 70’s and 80’s bodybuilding?
I think so, in the ’90s and ‘2000’s there has been a focus on the mass monsters, the Ronnie Coleman’s and the Lee Haney’s and everything. However now with the classic division back in place, it seems everyone is going back to the “old look”. Which is kind of the reason bodybuilding kicked off. It’s hard to argue that that look didn’t start bodybuilding. Back in the day with people like Arnold and Lou Ferrigno people wanted to look like them. They had the big lats, big arms, a big chest and a skinny waist, but now it is just big everything. So it is nice to see people like Chris Bumstead really bringing that all back. I would love to look like him over anyone else.
Q: I think Classic is what people want to look like and Open is what people want to look at.
Yeah, even the physique Division now is a very inspiring look, like ten years ago physique guys us to get the piss taken out of them because they look liked they didn’t train, but now, your physique guys are what people would love to inspire to look like. They have shredded abs, they got the arms, big chest and big shoulders. Those guys now are what I would class as one of the most ideal looks for people and I think that is why it is getting so much attention.
In the UK, the natural bodybuilding. If you go to a UK natural bodybuilding show, you will find that most of the competitors will be physique guys because it is so popular, and it is an easier look to achieve (Naturally).
Q: Do you think PED’s are an issue in the sport? Or do we just have to accept them?
I think it is something we will have to accept, it will never go away. People will always look for that edge, a quicker result! The result is quicker, I have seen it myself with friends that have done them. You can see within 12 weeks how someone will be able to pack on more muscle mass and size and also lose more body fat.
However it also comes with health implications, and that is the downside of it, it is not doing the right things to counteract what you are actually doing. There are obviously long term health issues, and people don’t spend the money on the things that actually counteract that, or at least keep an eye on it. Like blood work, kidney, liver all of those things that people just forget about. There are a few people in the industry that talk about it openly and I think there needs to be a few more as I don’t think there are enough.
Q: I think education is a big thing, people do PED for short term goals, when they should of stayed natural.
Yeah, I am on the side that if you aren’t competing there portably is not much need for it, because, I know you are going to be able to get bigger and get stronger, but you aren’t actually using that for a competitive advantage or anything like. It is just using for it using it sakes. It is a tough one really, that is just my opinion. I think if you are competing, cool, that’s fine, do what you need to do to be at the top of the game, as long as you are safe doing it.
However, when I see young lads (17 or 18) who don’t have an interest in competing, they just want to be bigger and they are doing this stuff, it’s the implications of ten years down the line that they need to know more about. I have seen it with people who are friends who have been on it for years and they now have to take certain doses every day to make sure their levels are natural because they are low when they come of it. These are the things that people just brush over thinking they won’t happen to me. It just needs to be talked about more.
Q: Where can people Jack Gadd Online?
Mainly on Instagram, but I want to be more active on other platforms. I have my men’s fitness community group on Facebook, which is literally called “Men’s fitness community”. Those would be the main ones.
A very insightful chat with Jack Gadd! Please check out his Instagram page, and if you are looking for a coach then drop him a message. Thanks to Jack Gadd for taking the time to chat with us and speaking to us about the subject above. All his links are below if you want to find out more.
Jack Gadd Links:
We have a few interviews lined up and there will be more and more getting posted. Please check out this page for a full list of Interviews that are currently live.
Make sure to give us a follow on Instagram to keep up to date with everything!
Written by Kieran Blacker
Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.