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Many of you may have noticed a new Personal Trainer roaming around Titan Fitness. Tall, handsome, chiselled, most likely sporting Muscle Republic apparel…does that ring a bell?

Born in Cardiff, Martin Silva began his fitness journey at the ripe age of fourteen. By the age of nineteen, Martin decided that fitness was his passion and became a qualified Personal Trainer. Now with over ten years’ experience in the fitness industry, Martin has an impressive list of accomplishments under his belt. In conjunction with running his own Personal Training business, Martin is an award winning fitness model and sponsored athlete. With all this happening, Martin ranked top 10 in the word as a fitness model and also won the 2015 WBFF, achieving his Pro card.

From training three full body sessions per week, admitting to once targeting his calves seven days per week, incorporating intermitted fasting into his diet and occasionally training at the end of a sixteen hour fast, Martin’s training philosophies far from conventional. When it comes to training and nutrition, Martin prides himself in staying on top of cutting edge research. If you are serious about achieving a killer physique in the most efficient and sustainable way possible, this Q&A is a must read!

You were the first ever Welsh to win the 2015 WBFF. That is a huge accomplishment! For readers who are unsure, can you please explain what this competition is and just how much training and preparation goes into it?

“WBFF stands for ‘World, Beauty, Fitness and Fashion’. The competition was founded by professional athlete, Paul Dillett. Paul decided that bodybuilding was dying as more people now aspire to have that ‘sexy’ look, as though you’ve just stepped off the cover of Men’s Health. These athletes take training to a whole new level. They are the best of the best. I mean, males have to get their body fat down to like 2-3%, which is dangerously low.

There are two categories, ‘Muscle Model’ and ‘Fitness Model’. I was in the ‘Fitness Model’ category which comprises two rounds. In the first round, the athletes go on stage in their swimwear where they get judged on everything including physique, presence and marketability. In the second round, the athletes go onstage in a suit. This is where the fashion aspect comes into play.”

How has this feat given you an edge in training clients to be the best possible version of themselves?

“Along the way you learn a lot about yourself. You also learn a lot about self-discipline and dedication as you take these to another level when you compete. However one problem I constantly see is many amateur competitors using their experience to market themselves as an online fitness coaches. A lot of these contestants are too narrow minded when it comes to training and nutrition. For example, they endorse eating eight meals a day, which I think can be pretty bad for the body if anything as the body is having to work non-stop to break down the food.

The fitness industry is always evolving. What gives me an edge in training my clients is that even after competition, I ensure that I continually educate myself and stay on top of cutting edge research. For instance, I have recently educated myself on the importance of mobility work prior to training. I have found that everyone is very mechanically different in terms of the way they move and the imbalances they have. I am now a lot more specific with the mobility exercises I do with clients to help them move better, prevent injury and consequently achieve faster results.” What is your ultimate goal for yourself in the fitness industry? “My ultimate goal is to eventually break into America and compete with the best of the best when it comes to fitness modelling. Back home I completed a few acting courses and I did a handful of small gigs. My greatest dream is to be a superhero in a Hollywood film someday. I also want to be one of the best fitness models on the planet and just be the ultimate picture of health. The main reason behind why I want to achieve all this is that it will help me spread my knowledge to the masses. My ultimate goal in life is to help as many people as I can to become healthy and fit.”

What is your current training split?

“First off, I have to shout these guys out: Mind Pump Media. Over a year ago I started listening to their podcast and they completely shifted my training paradigm. What I’ve learnt from them over the last year is just mind blowing. They talk about everything health and fitness related.

I follow the aesthetic training program created by Mind Pump Media. This programs incorporates three, full body workouts per week interspersed with ‘focus days’ where you target your lagging body parts. This regime is broken down into three distinct phases: strength, hypertrophy and muscle endurance.

My focus sessions have always been centred on training calves, shoulders and legs. During competition I was struggling to increase the size of my calves, so I would train them almost every day. Trust me, if you do this, they will grow.

Before being introduced to Mind Pump’s training philosophy, I would follow a routine which is similar to a lot of current body builders and regular gym goers. That is, the traditional ‘bro split: legs on one day, chest and back on another day and so on. I would try and hammer one particular body part as hard as I could so that it would grow. While this does work to an extent, hypertrophy is not all about damaging and stressing the body. There are much better and more sustainable ways to increase muscle mass, such as manipulating training frequency. As long as you are sending muscle building signals to your body to grow, then they will grow. My results speak for itself.”

I heard that you practice intermitted fasting and sometimes even train on a fasted stomach. Do you find that training in this state increases muscle catabolism?

“Although I don’t always train on a fasted stomach, I find that I generally feel better if I eat roughly 12-16 hours before I train. When training in a fasted state, I will eat dinner the night before and then train the next morning.

People think this is bizarre, but trust me, those who have taken a leap of faith and tried it generally feel much better. At the beginning, you might feel hungry before your session, but as soon as you start training the hunger ceases and you feel really good. I eat carbs for dinner the night before to ensure that I have enough glycogen reserves to fuel my session.

It’s a widespread myth that you are going to break down muscle for energy if you train without eating right before a session. The truth is that your body stores a lot of fat, most likely enough to take you through a one hour workout. The only exception is if you are a few weeks out from competition and are sitting at a very low body fat percentage.”

Where can people go to follow you and find out more about you?

“People can find me on Facebook (Martin Silva WBFF Pro), Instagram (@martinsilvafitness) and YouTube (Martin Silva Fitness). Feel free to drop me a message on any of these if you’d like to know more about my coaching and training plans.”

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