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Matt Sallis


Matt Sallis

Five years ago in 2009, Matt Sallis underwent major lung surgery and left the hospital an extremely light 8.5 stone. After being discharged Matt instinctively knew he never wanted to be in that position again and embarked on a fitness journey that would change his life.

He began working out and discovered that aesthetics came naturally to him so he began to watch YouTube videos of Rob Riches and Shaun Stafford and was inspired to really begin lifting the weights for aesthetics around three years ago.

In fact, during his first week of serious weight training he'd lift in sync with one of Rob's videos!

Mens Health

Now, Matt is one of the best-known fitness up and comers in the industry having featured on the cover of Men's Health, competing in various events throughout the UK and, most recently, winning the first ever Mr University competition in 2014.

Not bad for someone who's only 24 and is currently in his third year at St Mary's University, Twickenham studying for a degree in Strength and Conditioning in which he's hoping to walk away with a first!

Having joined UKBFF on a four-year membership, Matt is planning to compete in more UK shows later this year but his long term goal is to step onto the international stage…

Training Plan

Session 1: Upper Chest & Biceps

  • A1 - Flat Bench Press, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • A2 - EZ Bar curl, 10-15 Failure, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Incline DB press, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - Close grip curl, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Cable fly, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • C2 - Seated Inc DB Alternate curl, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Chest press Machine, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Bicep curl Machine, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

Session 2: Back & Triceps

  • A1 - Lat Pull Down, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • A2 - Bench Pull, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Wide grip pullup, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - Dips, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Lat Pull down, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • C2 - EZ Bar Skull Crushers, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Seated Row (WG), Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Tri-bar pushdown, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

Session 3: Quads & Calfs

  • A1 - Back Squat, 10x8, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Leg press, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - Single leg press, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Leg ext (x5 sets), 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Seated calf press, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Standing calf raise, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

Session 4: Lower Chest & Biceps

  • A1 - Decline Bench Press, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • A1i - (PE) DB fly, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Flat DB press (RG), 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - DB Hammer curl, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Decline Cable fly, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • C2 - Barbell curl (RG), 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Chest press Machine (RG), Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Bicep curl Machine (NG), Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

Session 5: Shoulders and Back

  • A1 - Strict press, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • A1i - Standing DB press, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Behind head Press, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - DB lat raise, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Seated DB press (NG), 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • C2 - Shrugs, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Shoulder press machine, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Seated row, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

Session 6: Deadlift & Hams & Triceps

  • A1 - Deadlift, 5x8, 2-1-4-1
  • B1 - Glute Bridge raise, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • B2 - RDL, 4x10, 2-1-4-1
  • C1 - Leg curl, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • C2 - Nordics, 3x15, 2-1-4-1
  • D1 - Dip Machine, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS
  • D2 - Tricep Pushdown, Modified DTP finisher: 30,20,10,10,10 SS

S7: Rest

Key:

  • DTP = Dramatic Transformation Principle, find out more »
  • NG/RG/WG = Narrow Grip, Reverse Grip, Wide Grip
  • SS = Superset

Nutrition Plan

Monday

Calories: 2500-2750 Carbs: 350 Pros: Moderate Fats: Normal

Tuesday

Calories: 2800-2900 Carbs: 150 Pros: High Fats: High

Wednesday

Calories: 2700-2800 Carbs: 80 Pros: High Fats: High

Thursday

Calories: 2700-2800 Carbs: 50 Pros: High Fats: High

Friday

Calories: 3300-3500 Carbs: 450 Pros: Normal Fats: Normal

Saturday

  • Meal 1: Around 8:30am-9am
    100g Oats, 1tbsp Nutella, 3 Whole Eggs, 1 Avacado, Greens
  • Meal 2: Around 12-1pm
    200ml semi-Milk, 100g Greek Yoghurt, 50g berries, 1tbsp Peanut butter, 1tsp honey, 1 scoop Whey, 25g nuts, 1 Banana
  • Meal 3: 8-9pm
    A home cooked meal of approx. 1000-1500kcal
  • Meal 4 - Pre-Bed
    Cheese & Crackers, 25g nuts, 1 scoop Whey
Calories: 2500-2750 Carbs: 350 Pros: Moderate Fats: Normal

Sunday

  • Meal 1: Around 8:30am-9am
    Homemade protein pancakes, 100g mixed fresh berries, 1 tbsp Nutella, 1 banana
  • Meal 2: Around 12-1pm
    6 Whole eggs, 1 tin of baked beans, 1 Avacado, Greens
  • Meal 3: Around 6-7pm
    400g Roasted sweet Spud, 200g Chicken Breast, Yorkshire Puds, Greens, Gravy
  • Meal 4 - Pre-Bed
    75g Oats, Whole Milk, 1 scoop Whey, 5g Creatine
Calories: 2800-2900 Carbs: 200-300 Pros: Moderate Fats: Normal/Mod

Interview with Matt Sallis

First of all congratulations for your recent win at Mr University – but what made you enter the competition in the first place?

Mr University Line Up

This was the first year for Mr. University and its purpose really stood out for me… Students tend to get a bad rap nowadays and we're deemed to be unfit and more bothered about socialising. Me being me, I wanted to prove the critics wrong - and so did ALL of the other competitors on the day!

I guess I wanted to inspire many other students, but also the general public. There was an impressive turn out and its only going to get bigger… and I'm proud to be representing a new era of students!

Describe the moment you won…

Mr University

Well I've competed in a number of shows and have placed high in all of them… I was getting closer to a win as each competition went by and as you can imagine I was itching for a win.

When my name was announced all sorts came over me - excitement, happiness but also a great relief! I'd dug deep and made sacrifices for many competitions and for it to be recognised at last… well, there's no better feeling!

How has the experience of Mr University impacted your outlook on fitness and training?

Mr. University taught me not to be so competitive in some ways and not be let down when you don't do as well as you would like. The other competitors really inspired me that day, there were some first timers and experienced competitors but we seemed to support each other in our competitiveness!

I realised people who get up on that stage have been through the same hard work as I have and were all in the same boat with work/uni/lives to juggle- I bet they experienced most of the same feelings as me at the end.

Would you recommend others compete next year?

Most definitely. I've learnt a lot about myself through competition and as each competition goes by I learn some valuable lessons along the way. Preparing yourself to be in the best condition teaches you a lot in many ways and has a great carryover to many life situations.

My physique has therefore improved with each competition… So I say don't beat around the bush even if you don't think you're in your best shape YET, get up on stage… because the key word there is ‘YET’!

Would you like to continue competing? If so, what would your dream competition be and why?

Yes I have many plans for competing. My dream would be to step onto the Olympia stage competing in the men's physique division – it's where the best in the world compete.

How important is nutrition in helping you maintain your physique?

Nutrition is very important, but careful not to take it too seriously - it's about finding a balance and what works for you. Although some say it's 70% nutrition and 30% training… its 100% of both!

Although some say it's 70% nutrition and 30% training… it's 100% of both!

What three whole foods could you not live without

  • Potatoes
  • Avocado
  • Eggs

Do you use supplements? If so, what do you use and why, and what have you found to have the greatest results?

Protein Lifestyle Supplements

Yes but I believe in keeping it minimal. Two main performance enhancing supps I use are all by my sponsors True Performance Nutrition:

  • Performance Whey for use in my post workout shake or if I happen to need some quick high quality protein
  • Creatine, I'll add this to my Whey Shake, to maximise its uptake, as it's essential to peak performance in the gym as well as recovery

I'll also use a standard oil blend like UDOS for hormonal health and other benefits.

Do you have any cheat days or meals? If so, what's your most fave way to cheat?

Walden Farms Pancake Syrups

Depending on if and when I'm in competition prep i'll have a cheat meal/re-feed Saturday nights, no takeaways though! I like to home make a pizza or pancakes with all the toppings. When I get close to comp however I tend to cut this out, or at least minimalize the portion ☺

What's your personal stance on clean eating? Just a fad or does it have true merit when it comes to fitness?

Personally I don't believe there is such as thing as ‘clean’ eating, there's no such thing as unhealthy food in my opinion. It's food in unhealthy quantities that's the problem. EVERY food will have some benefit to us - with some exceptions.

Ok, coming to your training now, what motivated you to start and who has been your biggest workout inspiration?

Matt Salis - Before & After

So to cut a long story short, I had serious lung surgery back in 2009 came out of hospital at 8.5 stone! I knew then I never wanted to be there again so my quest for fitness began. Aesthetics just seemed to come naturally.

Then I saw YouTube videos and people competing like Rob Riches and Shaun Stafford, and these guys were my inspiration to really start lifting. I remember in only my first week of lifting weights I'd lift in syncro with one of robs videos! Ha.

I saw how these guys were inspiring the UK masses, as well as other countries. Not many English guys had this influence at the time so they had real influence over my perspective in fitness and what I wanted to achieve.

How long did it take for you to achieve your award winning physique?

It's been around 3 years since I started lifting to create aesthetics! It's a long process but if you're consistent, passionate and determined then there's a lot to gain along the way.

What's your most favourite muscle group to workout and why?

Like most guys I never used to train legs, but now it's my favourite muscle group to train. It's one of those muscle groups you can go real heavy with and pound out those reps! When you have great legs then your guaranteed to impress a lot of people.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your training?

Matt - Cover Model

Sometimes it can get tedious, particularly when there's nothing to train for. That's why I always have something I'm training towards, whether it be 2 weeks or 52 weeks away - something's always in sight.

The most challenging thing is always keeping up the intensity and purpose of each session. I can't say it's having to juggle all of my commitments, because it's my lifestyle… I choose to live my 24hrs this way so I make the time to get more things done!

What three things should people focus on if they want to transform their bodies?

  • Set yourself a goal. Anything. Break it down into smaller short-term goals and don't stop until you hit each one. Set yourself and goal that YOU want - not what anyone else wants to see. You can achieve anything if you really want it.
  • Turning bad habits to good ones, eventually good habits will turn in part of your lifestyle.
  • Stop reading and start doing. You're only going to learn about you in the gym and in the kitchen.

What's next for you?

Matt Sallis

I have a couple more competitions lined up this year, but I have recently joined the UKBFF as a four-year member so, as you can imagine, I have some goals set in place.

Long term I'm aiming for the international stage. A lot of plans are in the pipeline with my sponsors True Performance Nutrition and working with Rob.

Aside from fitness I'm aiming to bring home a first in my strength and conditioning degree and intern with some top clubs and athletes.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Would just like to say a massive thank you for the support recently. I've been using MuscleFood since you first started and it's played a big part in my physical development! Thanks for having me :)