Meet Sydney celebrity trainer Neil Russell

Neil Russell is one of the most in-demand trainers in Sydney, having worked with celebs such as Russell Crowe and Laura Dundovic. He’s also an exercise physiologist, the founder of ATLETA and one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys in the biz. We’re thrilled to have Neil on the Sporteluxe team as one of our resident training experts, and love his holistic approach to health and fitness. We’re sure you will too. Let’s get to know Neil!

How do you start your day?

My alarm goes off at 5:10am. I’ve disabled snooze because hitting the snooze button actually makes you feel more tired in the long run. Once I’m out of bed I just straight into the shower and go over what I have on for the day. Then I get stuck into a healthy brekkie. Either quinoa porridge with banana, blueberries, chopped almonds, shredded coconut and cinnamon or a protein shake with similar ingredients. I’ll often do a 20 minute stretch or yoga flow depending on what time I’m start work that day.

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me being health is all about achieving life balance and feeling good. There are so many factors that affect your health. I aim to eat simple wholefoods; I do a lot of research and feel I have a pretty good grasp of which foods my body responds best to. I exercise daily, it doesn’t have to be a prescribed training program, but rather something that gets you working fairly hard. Balancing work and leisure, I think both are equally important and in your leisure time you should do the things you are passionate about. Having goals, yet being happy with where you are right now. That largely encompasses what health means to me.

How do you nourish your body?

These days I eat a diet that is largely made up of fish, chicken and meats with fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts and some grains. I also try to stay really well hydrated. That’s it. I guess it’s kind of like a paleo-style diet. You just have to do what works for your body and makes you feel good.

Any health secrets you swear by?

Spend time and money where it really counts. Focus your attention on having the healthiest food, the best bed, pillows and linen, the most comfortable clothes and access to a range of healthy lifestyle activities. This way you are giving your mind and body the best chance to be healthy.

What’s your approach to exercise?

Training or exercise? When training, train specifically for what it is you want to achieve. Every exercise, session and program should have a predetermined desired outcome. When starting out this outcome should be quite general, to develop a base level of fitness and technique. Then get specific based on your goals be it, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, strength, speed etc. Be careful not to neglect any aspect of your fitness, as they are all interrelated. When exercising for enjoyment or to be active, I try to do things I enjoy or make me feel good like sports, hiking, surfing and yoga.

How do you train?

Currently, I train four to five times a week. I do two to three gym sessions focusing on full body strength and stability. Then I go running or soft sand running twice a week. My favourite form of exercise is surfing and I go a minimum of four times a week. I don’t count it as training, but if I have a really long surf and my body is tired I might have a rest day from my other training.

Biggest mistake most guys make when it comes to health and fitness?

Overdoing it! Thinking that if a certain amount of sessions, reps or weights gets results, then doubling that amount will get them twice the results. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way guys! You can do yourself more damage than good.

What’s your fave healthy indulgence?

Getting a massage! I’d get one every day if I could, I try to go once a week. It’s a weird love/hate relationship with it as when I’m training hard it’s really uncomfortable. But when I walk out after a massage my body feels great and rejuvenated.

How do you beat stress? Any tips for bringing more balance into your life?

I use a three-pronged attack on stress:

  1. Be rested! You’re always better at coping with stress when you feel good. Think about the times things have really got you worked up, usually you’re physically or emotionally exhausted. A little R&R does wonders for this.
  2. Have hobbies, activities friends that distract you from your stress. Surfing is a great example when you are catching a wave you are fully focused on what you are doing and the problems of the world are a million miles away.
  3. Have someone you can talk to about what is stressing you. Writing music or playing an instrument can also help deal with stress in a creative way. Most importantly, exercise, which releases feel good hormones.

How do describe your personal style? What are some of your fave active wear labels and must-have products?

I’m pretty easygoing. I’ve been running in Asics shoes and apparel for over 10 years. I’ve probably had over 50 pairs of Asics shoes! I love their stuff. I also like lululemon for great casual training gear. I’m also really starting to get into some of the new Reebok range when I’m at the gym doing strength training or working with clients.

What’s in your grooming kit?

Biotherm face wash, exfoliator and moisturizer. That’s all I really use.

Personal motto?

Love, be loved, provide a service.

Name three things I can’t live without.

The ocean, the sun and a sense of adventure.

Visit the ATLETA website or connect with Neil via Instagram @atletafitness