Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Weekly Training Regime That Got Outlander's Sam Heughan in Top Shape

By James White, Men's Health South Africa

James White is the founder of Roark Gyms. While Sam Heughan was in South Africa shooting a season of Outlander, it was James’s responsibility to get him strong, fit and shredded for his physically grueling role… and his cover model shoot for Men’s Health SA.

**Editor's note: If you would like to own this edition of Men's Health, SA, here is the link!  Buy a digital copy of the August issue of Men’s Health South Africa, featuring Sam Heughan




Sam Heughan sweated for every fibre of muscle on his cover model body, under the expert guidance of his personal trainer. Here’s how he built his formidable physique.



A typical week of training Sam would look like this:

  • Monday: Upper body work with a hypertrophy (muscle building) bias.
  • Tuesday: Legs day with a real focus on front squats as his quads, glutes and midsection needed strengthening and building.
  • Wednesday: Hellish mix of weights and cardio.
  • Thursday: Upper body hypertrophy again.
  • Friday: The 1000 Rep Challenge – a session in which we did 1000 repetitions made up of different exercises. This may sound like a huge amount of work, but we used it as a recovery session with the weights being light and the heart rate staying in a fat burning zone between 100 and 120 beats per minute.
  • Saturday: Weights and cardio, similar to Wednesday in that we really dialed up the intensity of the session.
  • Sunday: Steady state cardio, usually a 1h30 walk or slow cycle, once again staying in the 100 to 120 beat per minute zone. This serves as recovery as well as an essential part of the leaning out process.

One of the secret ingredients to getting lean is this steady state cardio work.

Most people would be surprised at how hard it is to walk for an hour and a half. It requires a lot of dedication to set aside this amount of time, but it’s the only way to build a big fitness base while burning fat without impacting on muscle growth. It’s a technique that body builders have been successfully employing for years.

Photograph: Sean Laurenz

You’ll notice that we only had two days a week where we went really hard in the gym.

Most people have no idea what ‘hard’ truly entails and there’s only one way to find out – by doing it.

The difficulty of these sessions involves a hybrid between duration and intensity, where the person exercising is required to produce more work, at a greater intensity, the further they go into the workout. An example of a hard session would be:
30 rounds of 30 seconds of work on the rower, 90 seconds of ‘rest’ doing push ups. Start at 151 metres of work in the first 30 seconds, and increase by 1 metre each round, therefore ending at 180 meters in the final 30 seconds. In the 90 seconds ‘rest’, perform 10 strict push-ups.

The above format requires the participant to row further in the same time period as the workout progresses. This will result in roughly 5000 meters of rowing at a high intensity, as well as 300 push ups.


Photograph: Sean Laurenz

I love using the Assault Bike, Concept 2 Rower and Ski Erg for these sessions. These machines are extremely simple to use which almost completely eliminates the risk of injury. Their computers are also very accurate and provide a lot of valuable information that’s useful to compare the output and performance of different training sessions.

I love ‘hiding’ work from my clients.

We predominantly used bodyweight movements as ‘fillers’ during warm ups or in between sets. If the workout is properly set up with varying spikes of intensity, most people will focus on the weight they lifted or the cardio work they did as opposed to the push ups or pull ups – which are just as valuable – that they performed in what would normally be a rest period. 
The takeaway here is don’t waste time. Set an hour for yourself in the gym and fill that hour with as much constructive work as possible. If you’re doing five sets of five bench press as your strength set, why not get on an exercise bike in the three minutes between sets and get your heart rate to 120 beats per minute? Instead of taking arbitrary breaks during your warm up, why not fill that time with push-ups or air squats? It’s very easy to do five push-ups every five minutes during your hour gym session. Most people wouldn’t even consider this a lot of work, yet if you did this five days a week for a year you would have done 14,400 push ups you wouldn’t have ordinarily done. Imagine having that base of work banked in your body.

Photograph: Sean Laurenz

Sam had fantastic results, but they didn’t come easily.

Just because he’s famous doesn’t mean he doesn’t hurt the same as you and me. I feel that the main thing he learnt from training with me is that there’s a time to reign in your intensity and there’s a time to let it loose. In managing his intensity levels and heart rate Sam was able to get to a single body fat percentage while not losing any weight, meaning he packed on some muscle in the process.






Caitriona Balfe Talks Outlander Season 3, Romantic Reunions, and Sam Heughan

By Antonia Blyth, Elle

What's going to happen when the star-crossed lovers finally reunite?


Okay, she might have thought Jamie was dead, but still, when Outlander's Claire went back to her 1940s life, leaving him to deal with the Battle of Culloden in ye olden days, it did seem a bit harsh. But fear not—as we've seen in the Outlander season three trailer, our favorite time-traveling couple will finally be reunited after 20 years on Starz come September. Sounds like the most romantic moment ever, doesn't it?

But, according to Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire, reality might get in the way of the mushy lovefest we're expecting. "I think maybe the obvious way of doing the reunion would be violins playing, and angels singing, and a sun shaft coming through the window," she told ELLE.com at Starz's TCA party in Los Angeles. "I hope that what we've done is try and ground it as much in realism as we can. I think it's really awkward, and funny, and sweet, and endearing."

It's only natural that after 20 years apart, a lot has happened to the two as they've lived separate lives. Claire and Jamie have a daughter he's never seen, Claire's become a doctor, and there's major drama with her husband Frank. So, just a few small issues then.

"I think Claire and Jamie have both had each other on pedestals for 20 years," Balfe said. "So when you finally see the object of your love and desire again in the flesh, it throws out everything you thought you would do." Their separation doesn't sound like the kind of thing that a quick catch-up over coffee would adequately cover, but luckily it sounds like the pair's off-the-charts chemistry will win the day. "I think they're not quite sure what to do with their bodies or their words," she said. Sounds like things will get pretty steamy, then.

But will the couple stay together for good this time? "I think that physically and emotionally, even though we don't show this part of the journey ever, of her passing through time, I think it takes an awful lot from someone," Balfe said of Claire's time-traveling. Still, given just how difficult her travel through the stones is, she's not going to undertake it lightly: "I think each time is quite dangerous. You're never sure if you're going to land in the right time, or any of those things. I would have to imagine, and I don't know, because I have not read past book four, but I would have to imagine that once she finds Jamie again, she's not going to let him out of her sights for too long."
It also helps that Balfe doesn't hate playing opposite the gorgeous Sam Heughan as Jamie. "I feel very fortunate that I have a partner like him to work with, it's all good," she said. Then she gave us a cheeky smile and added, "He's a god, let's be honest. He's as good in real life as he is on TV."

A god? Good, we're on the same page then.

Outlander | Parallel Lives | STARZ

“Outlander” Showrunner Reveals When Jamie and Claire Will Reunite in Season 3

By Linda Ge, TV Editor, The Tracking Board


Photo: Steffan Hill/Starz


showrunner Ron Moore revealed that Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) will reunite about five episodes into the third season during the show’s panel at the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour Friday.

The showrunner also said Season 3 of the Starz fantasy drama could have been split into two seasons due to the high page count of Voyager, the Diana Gabaldon book upon which it is based.

“We did talk about that before we approached the season, just in terms of page count, it’s the biggest book, we thought, well maybe this is too much material for one season,” Moore said. “But once we put the cards on the board and we saw, well there’s five episodes right here just in Jamie’s story and in the reunion of the two characters. So now you’re almost halfway through the season and that felt like about the right pace… I don’t think we were too tempted to stretch it out. Sometimes sheer page count in a novel doesn’t translate to pages on the screen.”

Moore also said the show is not bound to cover one book per season going forward, though each of the first three seasons thus far have covered one book each.

“Each season we approach with fresh eyes,” he said. “We’re not bound to do a season a book, we haven’t said we’re going to combine them or split them or anything, we’ve just said we’re open to whatever is the best way to tell this particular era on the show.”

Outlander Season 3 premieres Sunday, September 10 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.