Pride Month has been in full swing and major celebrations in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester are due in the coming weeks. June has also heralded the arrival of summer, meaning much more beach time.
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Speaking exclusively to HELLO! personal trainer, and Fitter, Confident You founder, Matt Boyles explained why aiming to transform your body in preparation for events like these isn't always the best idea. "The downside to say having a date specific, in the diary is that you're seeing it as a short term fix," he shared, adding that his aim for his clients is to focus on their long-term goals.
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However, he is quick to add that there is "nothing inherently wrong" with having certain timeframe goals, saying: "I don't want to discourage people, if working on your fitness, your body, your strength with Pride as a date is what it takes to get you moving.
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"I'm all for that because it got you moving, but all I would then do is say to take a step back and look at how can you ride this wave of goodness."
Matt launched Fitter, Confident You to help transform the fitness world for the LGBTQ+ community who he says has been "under served" by the fitness world in part due to "bro culture, or the fitness industry in general with black and white, moody, show photos, people saying that they squat until they puke" as well as the hypermasculinisation of the community which has left many with unrealistic body goals.
His inspiration for launching the brand came from his own fitness journey revealing he had "negative experiences" during his time at school, joking: "I was a spindly child who didn't like being beaten up in the mud, funnily enough." And whenever he entered a gym, he felt a pressure from everyone else and would ultimately just use a treadmill for ten minutes before heading off.
The PT spoke about his own fitness journey
When he embarked on his journey during his 20s, which started with a bootcamp, he came to realise the benefits that came with fitness and endeavoured to help other members of the LGBTQ+ community.
"I'm here for my community, I want to lift up and support LGBTQ people," he stated. "My approach is so different, it's about baby steps and breathing space and being kind to yourself. I never talk about appearance, it's not about being beach body ready or any of that guff.
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"It's about doing it because you realise it can make you feel good because you'd like how it feels because it fits into your day because it changes your mood, energy and sex drive and all of these things. The outer you will change, but don't focus on that, focus on the fitness and the strength and the feel good."
Many may feel slightly nervous to start out on a fitness journey, unsure of how often to workout or what equipment but to use, but thankfully Matt has some very easy tips. "A lot of people say I started off with maybe three ten minute workouts in a week and then it evolves as they get fitter and stronger," he reveals.
He had some simple advice for exercises to try out
"It's human nature to want to do a bit more when you see fit you can. Press ups, squats, lunges, bridge raises; it doesn't need to be more complicated than that and when you're really starting out, you don't even need any equipment."
And as for dietary swaps, he advised the Icelandic Skyr yogurt, highlighting its high-protein content, range of flavours and its accessibility, with it being available in most supermarkets. He also recommended going for a protein shake, even though he admitted it sounded like a "personal trainer cliché."
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Explaining why, he said: "If you have a bowl of cereal and a muffin 9:30 you're crashing and you're sleepy because you've had this burst of sugar and it's gone. Protein takes longer to digest, so you have a steady energy release, you don't have the crash.
"The brilliant thing is you can have another one in the afternoon and it works brilliantly in place of say, a Mars bar, and also saves you 170 calories and it gives you that 30 gram whack of protein to fill you up so you're less likely to snack again before dinner."
Matt has a book out in August
Matt's dedication to his cause has motivated him to write a book, due to be published in August, Fitter Confident Youniverse: An LGBTQ+ Guide to Wellbeing on Our Terms.
"It's a really simple handbook for anyone looking to get into fitness and wellbeing or get back into it if they've hit a plateau or in a rut, there's lots of really practical things you can do work out guidance, advice, nutrition, coaching habits that are sensible," he says of the book.
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"But it also looks from an LGBTQ+ perspective, why so many of us struggle, why things in our histories do hold us back both our personal history and our collective history, why we have this idea in our head about how we inverted commas should look like and it busts through all of those."
It also features personal stories from clients, dubbed 'Fitter Confident Younicorns' explaining what they had been trying before working with Matt and how their lives had transformed as a result.
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