For the Summer Escape Issue, we discuss getting summer ready with James Miller, Founder of Embody Fitness. And no, you haven’t left it too late.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine and how does this differ on vacation?

My alarm normally goes off around 4.45am so I can jump in the car and start my morning Ironman training by 5.30am which consists of either 2-3 hours of cycling or 3 hours of swimming and running and then a gym session. This is my morning ritual, and it ensures I start the day positively. I feel great when I do this as I train with amazing people, and I am then ready and energised to take on the day ahead. When I am on vacation I do enjoy not needing to roll out of bed before 5am but I will always start the day with physical or mental exercise but in a more relaxed and probably less demanding manner than when I am training for performance.

We have eight weeks until we hit summer vacation – how can we shape up in terms of exercise now?

Eight weeks is a good amount of time to make a very positive impact on your physique if you follow a high quality training and nutritional programme, but it will require a focused approach with little room for error. I personally prefer having these periods of really dialling in my training and nutrition, especially if I know I’m going on holiday at the end of the phase. In terms of how training would look – I think many make the mistake of panicking, doing far too much cardio or HIIT classes and eating 500 cals a day in an attempt to radically drop weight. You may drop fat but you are also likely to drop muscle mass and you may feel worse as a result of such a dramatic short term approach. You are going to want to prioritise strength training, specifically compound strength exercises that recruit a lot of muscle mass. Exercises like bench press, cable rows and different forms of squats work all the major muscles in the body and yield a higher stimulus than smaller exercises like bicep curls etc. This will help to preserve lean muscle mass while in a calorie deficit and then by dropping body fat your overall body composition will improve much more and you will see a better physique in eight weeks time. In terms of results that are achievable that will vary depending on individual start points, however if you following basic principles of a calorie deficit along with at least three, well structured, strength training sessions you will see your body change on a weekly basis. At Embody Fitness many of our clients achieve very dramatic changes in as little as eight weeks by following our expert coaches and nutritionists with a high level of consistency.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Embody Fitness (@embodyfitnessdxb)

How important is diet and what should we be eating?

At Embody we don’t just look at calories, although a healthy calorie deficit is paramount if we are looking to lean down. A healthy calorie deficit would be roughly a 10-20% deficit. So if your maintenance calories were 2000 kcal per day dropping down to 1600-1800 would be safe for the relatively short period of eight weeks. Depending on your start point, any fat loss of between 0.5-1kg per week is considered safe and sustainable. Also making sure you have at least 1.8g of protein per kilo of bodyweight is essential as this helps with muscle building and recovery. We would also go one step further at Embody – we are ascertaining what could be highly inflammatory foods for our clients from the start of their journey. We make sure you are eating not only for physique but a healthy gut as well, which is essential to optimal health. One thing I have learned from our coaches at Embody Fitness, who are all qualified sports nutritionists, is the importance of the microbiome. The microbiome is responsible for our immune system, our ability to recover from training and just about every human function. Eating foods that promote good gut health is essential to good metabolic health. Foods like garlic, asparagus and artichokes for example are all prebiotics which will help feed good bacteria in the gut leading to less inflammation (think achy joints) which one could argue would lead to better training performance. At Embody Fitness we are very focused on delivering long term sustainable outcomes, so it’s important to put foods on your plate that not only make you look good but also help you feel great and allow you to perform at your best. Consistency is so important – how does your six-week summer ready programme support staying consistent across all key factors to have you summer ready? Commitment and consistency are two of the most important factors when it comes to achieving life-changing results at Embody Fitness. Embody’s transformation programmes are all completely holistic and customised to every person to maximise their outcomes. We undertake a very detailed analysis on our clients at the start of any programme so thatwe can build the most effective and advanced programme for every individual. Personalised meal programmes and three personalised training sessions a week with regularnutrition and body composition retests are all performed throughout your two or three month programme. We also want to establish and monitor healthy lifestyle habits to ensure you are on track to reaching your target which we can do through our Embody App. With the launch of our new personalised Embody Meal Plans consistency has never been easier.

Should we be prioritising sleep as part of this process? Sleep should be prioritised regardless.

Sleep is our time to recharge, reset and regenerate. There is no such thing as over training, only under recovery. Without sleep, the foundations for everything become disturbed and our metabolism can be negatively affected, the ability to recover between training sessions will be compromised and our hormonal levels will fluctuate greatly. To positively set our circadian rhythm – which is our natural internal body clock – we need to aim to get around 7-8 hours good quality sleep each night and try to get to sleep as close to 10pm as possible. Our bedtime routine is crucial when optimising sleep. Switch off blue light (phone, tv etc) 20-30 minutes before bed and do not consume caffeine any later than 8 hours before scheduled sleep time. Supplements including magnesium, zinc and ashwagandha can be great additional tools to help suppress the nervous system in the evening and prepare the body for optimal rest.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Embody Fitness (@embodyfitnessdxb)

What is your take on doubling up on workouts in a day – does it work?

Personally, I train 2-3 hours a day from 5.30am every morning and then I also do three strength sessions a week at Embody Fitness with one of our sports performance coaches and I take ice baths at Embody around three times a week for recovery. This is a relatively high volume of training a week but it is required to be able to compete at Ironman events which are long and races requiring a high level of endurance fitness. On the other hand, training twice a day for someone that is a complete beginner or hasn’t been training consistently for months isn’t the best of strategies. Let’s take an average client of Embody for example who lives a fairly sedentary lifestyle and doesn’t do any exercise but wants to get in better shape, lose body fat, and have more energy. If that sounds like you, you’re going to see incredible results just from strength training three days a week and being more active throughout the day. Over time you could start introducing more cardio on your non-training days but you’d never have to do more than one workout in a day to achieve those goals. I say this from experience and seeing thousands of clients who have been able to transform their bodies with our Embody Fitness transformation programmes.

How important is hydration?

Adequate hydration is crucial and often overlooked because of how simple the advice of “drink more water” might seem. But if you remember that our bodies are made up of 60% water then you’ll appreciate just how vital it is to be hydrated. From regulating our body temperature, lubricating our joints, and improving physical performance, mood, and cognitive function the benefits are countless. What’s the biggest roadblock in getting summer ready in a short timeframe? A lack of commitment and not having the right plan which will lead to results are often two of the biggest roadblocks to achieving results. This is why our clients at Embody Fitness do achieve amazing results… they are definitely committed when they sign up to us and we ensure they are achieving the best personalised programme for them that ensures they see the actual changes in their body on a weekly basis. We have recently launched our Embody Online training programmes which now means for clients who can not physically visit us they can follow our expert guidance in all areas themselves so now all they need is the commitment on their end and watch the amazing results take shape.

Do you work out on vacation and what would you suggest if you a) have a gym and b) you can only use your own body weight?

Holidays are important to unwind and relax and recharge so I tend to take a lot off my training schedule during this time. However daily exercise is important to me for both physical and mental wellbeing so even if I take a walk, go for a slow jog or do some deep stretching then this is still important to me. If I am on holiday somewhere quite remote or in the Swiss mountains where I spend a lot of my time in the summer I will do a lot of hiking, cycling and swimming and a few bodyweight “full body” workouts. You can always incorporate the use of bands or suspension cables like a trx if you needed more variety in your exercise selection. However, I will always look to maintain my three strength sessions a week as this is a ritual for me and helps me maintain my strength and muscle mass on top of all the cardio training I do.

This is The Summer Escape Issue – where will you be escaping to this summer?

I spend two months in the summer in one of my favourite places in the world, Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps. I feel like I am in heaven when I am there with my family and I enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and fresh clean air in some of the most beautiful nature the world has to offer.

July/August’s – The Summer Escape Issue with Tania Santos Silva – Download Now 

– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram

Images: Supplied