Nick Mitchell looks amazing at the age of 50 and through his work as Founder and CEO of Ultimate Performance he has helped improve the lives of more than 25,000 customers at UP Gyms worldwide. While he relishes the opportunity to get Hollywood royalty in shape, as he recently did with Glenn Powell for Top Gun: Maverick, the bestselling fitness author is just as passionate about inspiring the general public as he is, the ones from tinsel town to train .
So with the New Year firmly in mind, M&F caught up with the man from Yorkshire, England, who now lives in Los Angeles, to find out how we can reconnect with exercise and stick to our workouts at the gym, regardless of our age.
Congratulations on your amazing celebrity fitness transformations, including your recent work with actor Glen Powell on Top Gun: Maverick! Are you still as excited as ever to share your expertise?
Yes, I'm more excited than ever to share my expertise! I am in a very fortunate position. Understand that if you exercise, it won't change you unless it challenges you. So walking to the bottom of your garden won't challenge you, it won't change you, you won't get much out of it.
This is not only a great message for celebrities, but also for us "normal" people. How can we make better progress in the coming year?
As a gym owner, I know that you don't have to go to the gym to work out. You can do bodyweight exercises at home, you can go swimming, you can ride a bike. The most important thing is to get your heart rate up to challenge yourself. Personal training companies like mine always recommend strength training as it is the most effective and efficient training method you can do in a limited amount of time. Strength training will by far give you the best bang for your buck in terms of body composition and insulin sensitivity, which is related to blood sugar management and diabetes. Find what you enjoy and do it consistently.
As a gym owner, you need to realize that it can sometimes be intimidating for new members to enter the gym. How would you reassure people that this shouldn't be the case?
The truth is this: You might think people are looking at you and thinking, "Look at that fat fool" or "They don't know what they're doing," but be logical. body at the gym really cares about you. They either focus on themselves or they look at the impressive boy, impressive girl, hot boy, hot girl, person who lifts a lot of weights or does something extreme. they don't look at you I have 35+ years of experience in various gyms and I can tell you they are the most collegial places I have ever been. The more serious you are, the more people will want to help you. This is a place where people go to improve themselves. So when they see you struggling on a 1 percent incline when you're going 2 miles per hour on a treadmill, which is very easy for most people, any sane person would say, "Damn, this person wants it." Good for you."
Is strength training as important as we get older?
Yes. There's a condition called sarcopenia, which basically means muscle wasting. As we age, our muscles atrophy, which means they shrink and weaken. This dramatically reduces our quality of life. Consider the seventy-year-old struggling to get out of the bathtub for an extreme example. Think of the elderly who have difficulty climbing the stairs. As we get older, we look at that steep hill and think, "I don't feel like taking on this." When you were in your 20s, you jumped and jumped that hill, and you had energy and zest for life. That gives you strength training. It improves your quality of life. It also improves other things, like strength and bones.
Weight training won't do anything about the lines or wrinkles on your face, but it will do a tremendous amount for your posture, how you hold yourself, how you carry yourself. All you have to do is look at 60-year-olds and 70-year-olds who train with weights. Their faces may show their age, but their bodies don't. You look at them from a distance and they look like they are younger because they move differently, they have a better quality of life. That's because the resistance training they did, which doesn't have to be weightlifting by the way, it can be bodyweight training, gave them a jump in their strides. For older people, I recommend full range of motion and compound movements, and I would prefer tasks where you move your skeleton against gravity, for example: pull-ups, dips, split squats, those full-range exercises that allow for everything to move , because the greater the range of motion, the more control you have and the less likely you are to injure yourself.
Social media influencers are in full swing for the New Year, but can Instagram Reels ever replace the in-person consultation with a qualified personal trainer?
Very simple answer! If you are a social media influencer, your primary role is to be an entertainer, not an educator and not a coach. The accounts with the most followers are entertainment accounts. Social media is a new TV channel and we shouldn't confuse it with education and expertise. Accept it for what it is: they are great entertainers. They should never replace qualified personal trainers. You have to be very careful, even if a qualified trainer or coach is spreading their knowledge online. Let's say someone asks me online how to fix my sore knee. How on earth am I supposed to answer that? I don't know how you move, recover, sleep, eat, or your medical history, etc. Anyone providing answers online about how to help this or that one comes out of their mouth with the first two words if this is the case respect is: "It depends." That's the standard answer in training, I'm afraid.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make that threaten to hamper their progress?
Sticking to the same workout all the time is a good example. If it worked for you for a while, it must work for you forever, right? t correct. In fact, in many ways, the best workout is the workout you've never done because your body adapts. On the other hand, and this may seem like a contradicting message from me, changing routines too early or too often can also be a mistake. You need to give your body time to adjust to a program, milk that program, and then when your progress stagnates, change that program.
Another mistake people make is not trying hard enough. If you don't force your body to go somewhere it doesn't really want to go, it won't positively adapt to the stimulus you give it, so it won't change, it won't get faster or stronger, more explosive what whatever it may be.
What are some of the qualities you see in people who are able to stay consistent?
People who stay consistent with the gym or any other exercise modality are the ones who find ways to enjoy it. You need to change the mindset, "I need to go to the gym." Going to the gym is a privilege. We all get an endorphin high from slightly different exercise methods. You have to experiment. For some, the gym is a lifeline. Progressing at the gym is addictive. The results and progress can be addictive. "I have less pain in my movements, more mobility, more stamina, I can climb stairs, I can play better with my kids." All of these things are outcomes and positive outcomes for you. Learn to chase those positive outcomes and you will become addicted to chasing those positive outcomes.