1. So Faisal, let’s talk ‘PMA’(Positive Mental Attitude)… how did it come about? And how can we get more of it in our lives?
PMA is something I apply to everything in life and I encourage every single one of my clients to do the same. The mind is unbelievably powerful and you need to work out your brain as well as your body, because you need a mental shift to succeed in life. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you approach life with a positive mind. You make braver decisions, take chances you’d normally be too scared to take and reach higher than you normally would, because you truly believe in yourself.
2. We found out, through the grapevine, that you were originally an actor by profession, how do you think that has influenced your fitness training?
Good research! I used to do a lot of extra work on Hollywood movies and in the film industry you need to stay in shape, so I guess it all stemmed from there. On set, there was always a lot of waiting around and I used to spend my downtime with the stunt teams learning new exercises and moves. It’s weird to have them in class now and be teaching them what I know! Fitness has always been a focal point in my life. I started training properly at the age of 16 and loved the changes in my body so never looked back.
3. Would you care to share a few of your diet staples with us?
Meat. I eat a lot of meat! Our fridge is always well stocked with pre-prepared chicken, tuna and eggs. Eating right during the week is really important to me, but I do allow myself a cheat day on a Sunday and I don’t hold back! You can’t deprive yourself completely because you will never stick to eating healthily if you’re constantly craving naughty things, so my cheat day is essential.
4. Why is it important to you to begin the week with a Motivational Monday video (which we absolutely LOVE by the way!) as opposed to any other day?
Nobody likes Mondays, not even me. But if you let that Monday feeling beat you, you’ve set yourself up in a negative frame of mind for the rest of the week. I prefer to use it to set my goals for the week and focus on what I want to achieve. I always do a Motivation Monday video on Instagram wherever I am in the world. Even on honeymoon in the Maldives I fit a video in…I don’t know if the wife appreciated that one as much!
5. So with Ellie Goulding among your clientele, could you let us in on the secret behind her killer bod?
I would love to take full credit for Ellie’s body, which is looking insane right now, but the credit has to go to her. She works hard and has a great attitude towards exercise, which makes her a pleasure to train. At the moment we are doing track runs in preparation for the Nike Women 10k on June 21, but boxing and plyometric work are also firm favourites.
6. You’re an inspiringly positive kinda guy, but what is it that gets you up and raring to go in the morning?
I’m very grateful to be in a career I love, teaching amazing clients day in and day out. Barry’s Bootcamp is like a family, and so is Nike, so it never really feels like work. You can’t really wake up in a bad mood when you’re living a life you love, can you?
7. What does a typical day in the life of Faisal Abdalla look like?
I am usually woken up by my kitten climbing on my face, and then grab breakfast- normally porridge with some fruit like banana and blueberries, or I will have avocado and poached eggs on wholemeal bread. I teach two Barry’s classes a day, and fit my personal clients around that in various locations. I try to fit in three Barry’s sessions myself a week to keep my fitness up, and also train myself at Equinox Monday to Friday. Other than that, you will usually catch me at Primrose Hill doing hill sprints, or running around Regents Park DRIPPING in sweat.
8. What would you say is your favourite form of sweat-worthy exercise?
Anything high intensity. Barry’s is perfect for me because it allows me to get some sweaty high intensity interval runs in and stepping into class, I get to find my weaknesses and work on them. It never gets easier, but YOU get better, and I can’t deny I love having a race with the clients. I’m very competitive.
9. So we heard that you have recently taken on the position of Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, what does that entail?
I was honoured to be made a master trainer at Barry’s. It was one of my goals this year so it’s nice to tick it off the list. As master trainer I’m able to help source and coach new trainers, which I love. It’s important wherever you go in your career that you continue to help others on their way up and I love meeting trainers that share my same passion for fitness.
10. Now you know that you’re ours, who would you consider to be your own personal fitspiration?
I take fitspiration from everywhere- the clients who step into Barry’s having never stepped foot on a treadmill are hugely inspirational to me and there’s nothing better than watching them leave with their head held high after doing things they never thought possible.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is another one of my fitspos. The guy is a legend. An absolute machine. What he achieved in the early stages of his career is dumbfounding, and if I’m gearing up for a monster training session, I like to watch his videos on YouTube to get me pumped.
11. After a long day of Nike events, Ellie training and BB classes, how do you like to unwind in the evening?
I don’t get home until 9.30pm each night so I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time I walk in the door. I always find time to eat though!
I usually sort my playlist and classes for the following day and then fit in a bit of TV before bed. Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea are my guilty pleasures – shhh, that’s top secret!
12. What’s your dream holiday destination and why?
I went to the Maldives in December and fell in love with it. I was lucky enough to come face to face with a shark on a snorkelling trip which was pretty epic. This December I’m going to Thailand for the first time and I’m looking forward to doing lots of Thai boxing, beach runs and rock climbing. Watch out for the Motivation Monday video, I might get a few elephants in as extras!
13. What advice would you give to someone starting out on their fitness journey?
Just starting is the first step, and the first step is often the hardest, so well done. I would say while it’s great to have an end goal, don’t forget to stop along the way and look at what you’ve achieved. Focus on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you’ve got to go, and never forget to give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it.
14. Just a quick one to feed our intrigue. If you could have dinner with any Sports star, who would it be, and why?
Mo Farrah, without a doubt. He has inspired an entire generation, even people not into fitness themselves, and there’s nothing more inspiring than watching him race, with his quiet determination and his eye always on the prize.
He is a family man and a committed Muslim, as am I, so I can relate to his approach and what drives him, as well as the training adjustments he needs to make when fasting. Faith shapes you as a man and an athlete, so I think we would have plenty to talk about.
15. And finally, with a blossoming career in full swing, what can we expect next from you?
2015 is set to be a very busy year. Barry’s is due to open in its second location very soon, which we are all very excited about and there are some exciting things in the pipeline with Nike, which I’m probably not allowed to talk about yet. I also have some cool stuff lined up with a leading men’s magazine, but I don’t think I can talk about that either!
I’m due to launch a new fitness YouTube channel and website in June as well, which you will have to check out when it goes live. Then the next stop is global #PMA domination…BOOM!