Last updated on October 1st, 2023 at 11:09 AM
Love Island Star and fitness icon Adam Collard recently launched his second fitness centre in the north-east in collaboration with celebrity-favourite UK strength brand, PRIMAL.
The first Sculpt Fitness site opened in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2018 to rave reviews. The second site, Sculpt Ashington, opened in August this year at Hedley Trade Park in North Seaton, Ashington.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the remarkably talented and multifaceted Adam Collard where I got to into the depths of his transformative journey from personal trainer to a globally recognized Celebrity wellness advocate.
Congratulations on the launch of your second fitness centre, Sculpt Ashington! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind collaborating with PRIMAL for this venture?
It was a really easy decision to make. They cover all niches in fitness and have this welcoming community vibe which was perfect for me.
My background and my passion when I first got into fitness at first was to lose weight and look better and I was, what I’d call, a very basic gym-goer. I’d go three times per week, a bit of running. Then I fell in love with a little bit of bodybuilding after looking at certain influencers in the early days before Instagram when it was just YouTube.
I then did a bit of CrossFit and did a bit of competing in that and then HYROX and then, fast forward to today, I’ve pretty much done a little bit of all of them, and I felt that every brand that I tried to work with didn’t cover all bases, they’d cover one and not the other.
The reason I love my gym with PRIMAL so much is you can walk in on any given day and see a grandma alongside a powerlifter alongside a CrossFitter alongside a bunch of girls doing a class and every single person feels welcome. That is the difference with PRIMAL. That is the community that I wanted to create.
The first Sculpt Fitness site received rave reviews. How does Sculpt Ashington build upon that success, and what exciting new features can fitness enthusiasts expect from this second location?
Firstly, it’s about five times the size of the first Sculpt site which from a structural point of view is great. It’s also commercial. The first site does really well but it is completely based on coming in for a PT session and it’s not open 24 hours a day to the public.
With the new site, we wanted to build on the reputation we had gained from having 1-2-1 sessions with top-quality personal trainers whilst having a commercial side alongside it for people to come and train independently.
Some of the key features would be all of the PRIMAL strength equipment. We’ve got all the functional fitness equipment like the bumper plates and the dumbbells and everything you need to do a personal training session like we have in the first site, but we also have loads more cool bits of equipment which have reignited my love for bodybuilding and strength training.
The emphasis on state-of-the-art equipment is evident. Can you highlight some of the cutting-edge technology and premium offerings that set Sculpt Ashington apart?
The entire gym floor has been strategically planned to have a seamless flow and maximise efficiency. There are dedicated zones that cater to every aspect of your workout, like the spacious strength training zone and the cardio zone with all the latest PRIMAL technology.
PRIMAL has been key in every aspect of the gym’s design, from concept to creation. Strength training equipment and cardio machines, light fittings to flooring, every inch of the space we worked together on.
We’ve got cardio machines that transport you to virtual landscapes, resistance machines that cater to every muscle group, a massive range of free weights. It’s a special place that will empower people to push their boundaries and achieve their goals.
Alongside all the tech on the gym floor, we’ve got recovery areas with saunas, and you get all the expert-led classes included in your membership.
Your goal is to provide the best hour of everyone’s day through this fitness hub. What specific elements or experiences do you believe will make Sculpt Ashington a memorable and enjoyable place for its members?
Just the proper community feel that we have here. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your goals are – everyone is welcome to come and train at Sculpt.
Your journey from Love Island to fitness influencer has been quite a transition. Can you share what inspired you to pivot your career towards health and fitness?
A big misconception about me is that I went from this reality TV star to a fitness influencer which isn’t the case.
I was a personal trainer from the age of 18, worked at Reebok, opened my first gym at the age of 21. Love Island came second.
I had the first gym for nearly a year before I went on TV, and everyone always assumes it was the other way round. I actually used the experience of going on Love Island to grow my business. It was a gamble, but I think it’s paid off.
What key lessons have you learned that you believe are crucial for others embarking on their fitness transformations?
The best thing I can say is that if you spend so long letting yourself get out of shape, how can you expect results to come overnight. People beat themselves up thinking that results are going to come really fast when in reality you need to work for it.
Secondly, I remember when I was a kid, I had a photo of a guy as my screensaver on my phone who I wanted to look like and he was my inspiration but even when you finally get to that point, it’ll never satisfy you. You’ll never look like that person anyway because everyone is different.
Having goals and inspiration is great but once you start getting closer to that point, your goal will just go further. I think the key thing to remember is that even that person on your lock screen had a day one.
From personal training to social media influence, you’ve built a strong brand. What’s the most rewarding aspect of connecting with your audience?
[Adam laughs] It’s funny you say that because some of my friends take the mick and say that my Instagram account is my pride and joy.
The number of arguments I’ve had with people about making sure that all the colours and lighting are perfect in my home and in my gyms. I’ve spent a lot of money on lighting just to create that perfect atmosphere that I know photographs well.
At the end of the day, I could spend thousands of pounds on marketing but for me, the best marketing is creating a place where every single person that walks through the door wants to take a picture in front of our neon signs or in our mirrors.
Personal motivation can waver at times. How do you overcome fitness plateaus or moments of low motivation, and what advice would you give to others facing similar challenges?
From a literal point of view, and I tell this to all of my clients, is that you should pick a selfish/aesthetic goal, for example, I wanna look like such and such or I want to get a six pack. That’s your selfish goal.
The next one is to pick a physical goal, so an actual goal you can achieve in the gym. A lot of people come in and feel great when they achieve their first pull-up or they bench two plates, for example.
The last one is to pick a nutritional goal. This one tries to create better habits as you can become so focused on looks as a goal. When I was younger, I was obsessed with these bodybuilders and was watching all these YouTube videos, but I couldn’t run a mile. You change and you evolve in your fitness career, and I think it’s much healthier to have these three pillars and goals that you can work towards otherwise you just become obsessed with the mirror and that’s when it becomes unhealthy with your eating habits.
You’ve explored various aspects of fitness, including boxing. What’s your favourite workout routine and why?
I think that functional fitness is the ultimate way to stay in shape year-round and be the healthiest you can be.
The general ethos of functional fitness is key to me. Can I lift heavy? Can I run 5km if I needed to? Can I hold a plank? Do I have less back pain than I did a month ago? That’s the difference with functional fitness.
Balancing a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule can be challenging. How do you manage to stay consistent and motivated?
Motivation comes and goes but discipline will always trump motivation. We talk about this all the time with Sculpt clients. All you’ve got to do is tick boxes. Anyone can train when they feel good but when you feel good once or twice a week, it’s the things that you do when you don’t feel good is what’s the key.
You might be an average person who just wants to look good on the beach in 8 weeks and you say “I want to do 3 sessions a week” which is 24 sessions. If you only trained on the days you felt good on, you’d probably only do 4 out of the 24 sessions. But if you can get through the motions on 20 out of the 24, I guarantee you’ll smash it.
Your social media presence is notable for its focus on positivity and body confidence. How do you work towards promoting self-love and body positivity in a sometimes image-conscious world?
It’s really hard. I think people would be really surprised (apart from the people who are close to me), I’m thinking about someone I’ve been spending a lot of time with recently and she was surprised when I turned round the other day and said “Oh, I look shit compared to what I did last month when I was doing IRONMAN”. That happens to every single person.
I don’t actually think it’s a terrible thing as long as you are aware of not putting yourself in a bad place with it. What I mean by that is if you can check yourself and say “God, I’ve been really bad with myself and my diet the past few months and I should really start making some conscious better decisions”, that’s a good thing! But at the same time, as long as you aren’t getting to the point where you are creating bad habits and thinking like “I don’t look like such and such on Instagram so I’m going train 2-3 hours a day and starve myself” that’s when it turns unhealthy. It’s everything in moderation.
Travel seems to be a significant part of your life. How do you adapt your fitness routine when you’re on the go?
We actually have a Sculpt programme which is 30 workouts in under 30 minutes that you can do with pretty much nothing which I’d recommend checking out.
The reason we did that was inspired by my schedule being absolutely bonkers. Last night was a prime example. I was tired and away from home and walked into a gym and only had a few lightweight dumbbells and a rowing machine available and I just tried to do what I could in a 30-minute window.
In terms of nutrition, I just try and make very good choices 80% of the time. I will intermittent fast quite a lot when I’m on the move because if I’m on a train for four hours, why do I need to eat to fuel that? I don’t. However, I will backtrack calories to budget. A bit like saving money.
Nutrition is a cornerstone of well-being. What are your top nutrition tips for maintaining energy and vitality?
The number one tip that I can give people in life is the concept of energy balance. Understanding what calories in and calories out means for you and what that number is for you personally. That number will be different on days when you’re training and days when you’re resting but understanding that balance will take you so far.
Secondly, it’s understanding how important protein is – that will take you almost every step of the way.
What’s a relatively normal daily meal plan for you?
I try to stay as consistent as possible with a few key habits so what I will try to do is first of all, know my number of calories I need depending on my goal. Then as a generic plan, I try to delay breakfast for as long as possible if I’m not training in the morning. So instead of eating first thing I will do my first training session and then I will actually eat at more like 11am/12pm.
I try to start the day off with eggs or protein and fats as much as I can because it curbs my appetite for so much longer than stuff like porridge. Porridge just makes me drowsy for some reason. Three eggs on a bagel with bacon medallions or an omelette is pretty standard for me for breakfast.
Then I pretty much have the same meal every single day for my second meal. Anything like chicken and rice or fish and rice. I’ll go to places like Tortilla or Nandos or Subway or YoSushi to make it not boring but it’s pretty much always chicken or fish with rice.
After that, I will always have a protein bar, or a protein shake in between that 3rd/4th meal and stuff like bananas and Squares bars in and around training so I can get quite a lot of calories in. And then I eat a lot of fruit all the time throughout the day to maintain energy, especially when I’m doing a competition like IRONMAN.
My biggest meal of the day will always be my evening meal and that’s just because I know who I am – I’m a nighttime eater. That’s when I always get my cravings and so I budget at least 1,000 calories for that last meal.
So, for me, it’s more about smaller consistent meals throughout the day and then that last meal will always be bigger. Like fajitas or beef chilli and rice or a burrito bowl. I’m a pretty handy cook, I like to think. I think you have to be when you’re a PT.
A top tip for people who don’t want to track all their calories on something like MyFitnessPal is to divide your total number of calories and protein you need for that day by four. Say you need 2,000 calories and 180g of protein, then you know that each of your three meals you can have 500 calories and 45g of protein and then the same amount for your snacks throughout the day.
Your website emphasizes the holistic nature of wellness. Could you share an experience where a healthy lifestyle positively impacted another aspect of your life?
I am incredibly high functioning in all of my day-to-day life because of the discipline and routine of fitness always keeping you in check. I would say that fitness is my own version of therapy. I have a clearer head and I can process tense situations and stuff like that a lot more than some of my friends because I’m never up on a height because I let all of that out during training.
My family can always tell if I’ve trained or not in terms of my mood. If we are on holiday or something and I’m a bit agitated, I’ll just take myself away and train for a bit.
The best way I can describe it is like having a battery that goes above 100% and it spills over, and I get agitated. When I train, I bring that back down to 100% so I’m always ready to give everything my all.
Your online presence is filled with positivity and inspiration. How do you maintain this uplifting vibe while navigating the challenges of modern life?
I feel like I’ve always been that person.
My family and friends around me are so close knit and we are all just doers. Nothing’s ever too bad of an issue and there’s always a way around it. It’s very rare that I get down about something.
I think I’m very rational. I can think like “okay this is pretty shitty, but it could always be worse”.
There’s nothing that I can say that I directly do to combat that, it’s just a state of mind.
Looking ahead, what exciting projects or goals do you have in mind to further inspire your fans?
I’ve got my head very much in the gym right now. I needed to take a break after doing IronMan so I’m not really thinking about setting myself any crazy challenges right now.
I’m just focused on building the Sculpt brand.