Sam Whitaker

Vital Statistics Current
Height 5'10"
Weight 80kg

Sam Whitaker has built up his knowledge on health and fitness from when he first lifted a weight 13 years ago. Since then, he found his passion for helping people get in shape and reach their goals - which was when he created Body Target.

This AFL diet comes from a LOT of research into all aspects of the fitness industry – leading him to provide really helpful, transparent advice to hundreds of people.

As a 16-year-old lad, he started small and inconsistently like we all do… Lacking proper knowledge meant he never really had the drive to see it through. However, when Sam started to take things seriously in his early 20s, the results improved dramatically.

Sam's focussed on growing Body Target into a household name and going to a powerlifting meet - something which he turned away from doing on the big stage… The idea of competing has never really attracted him, rather preferring the performance side of it and nailing your own personal challenges.

When it comes to eating healthily, his advice is simple – don’t see things in black and white. All food can be enjoyed, given it fits within the goals you set for yourself.

So here we have a man on a mission to help others transform themselves through good dieting and regular exercise, one person at a time.

Sam before and after

Meal Plan

My meal plan varies from day to day, but I follow a simple template:

Training Plan

  • Monday - Heavy Bench Press + Upper body hypertrophy work
  • Tuesday - Heavy Back Squat, Deadlift technique work + lower body hypertrophy + core
  • Wednesday - Upper body hypertrophy work (back & shoulder focus) + core
  • Thursday - Walk or bike ride as active recovery
  • Friday - Heavy Deadlift, back squat technique work + lower body hypertrophy + core
  • Saturday - Chest & Back
  • Sunday - Long walk or bike ride
Sam Whitaker: the interview

Hi Sam, it's great to talk with you! We're going to dive straight in, so tell us, what is your athletic background and how did you get involved with the fitness industry?

I played at lot of sport when I was young - mainly football but also rugby, golf and athletics. I started lifting weights when I left school at 16, although not consistently. Plus I didn't really know what I was doing back then, so the first few years weren't that productive.

In my early 20's, I started taking it a little more seriously and as my knowledge increased, the better results began. It wasn't really until my mid-twenties that I actively started looking to improve my knowledge on diet and training. With that change, my results improved even more.

When my friends and family saw the results I was getting, they started asking me to help them get in shape, which I did. I discovered a lot of enjoyment helping people get in shape, reach their goals and improve their lives. So I thought I'd see if anyone else wanted my help and it grew from there.

What inspired you to set up

Sam in body target jumper

As mentioned above, I enjoyed helping people get in shape & reach their goals and I wanted a way to help as many people as possible.

I realised that I could only work with a certain number of people directly, so wanted a way to reach many more people. Body Target became the vehicle that allowed me to do that.

You've done a LOT of research into all aspects of the fitness industry – what’s been your most shocking discovery?

How depressingly slow you can actually gain muscle. I can't remember the exact figure, but it's nowhere near the '10lbs in 4 weeks' the magazine covers claim.

In your experience, what is the most common mistake people make when trying to lose weight?

Simple - Black & white thinking.

Many people look at foods as either good or bad. They are either on their diet or off the menu. There's no middle ground.

This is a mistake because they swing from one extreme to another, either eating ultra-healthy or eating everything in sight once they fall off their diet. The key to dieting success is to be found in the middle somewhere.

Taking a more flexible approach has been shown to lead to better long term dieting success than a rigid approach.

No such thing as good or bad food

What's been your greatest achievement to date?

For me, it was launching I'm really proud of what we've created and what we continue to develop.

I truly believe we can reach and help hundreds – even thousands - of people get in great shape. The pride and job satisfaction that goes along with changing people’s lives is unbeatable in my opinion.

Current professional and personal goals?

My professional goal is to grow Body Target into a house hold name. I want to work with a national gym chain to provide our personalised diet plan services along with the gym memberships they offer, for a fraction of the cost. I also want to work with employers to provide our services as part of employee wellness programs.

Personally, I want to compete in a powerlifting meet, hopefully in 2017 and cycle the Whitehaven - Tynemouth Coast 2 Coast route in 1 day - which most people attempt over 2-3 days.

Your physique obviously takes a lot of dedication - what keeps you motivated?

I try not to rely on motivation really. Instead, I look to create habits and set up my environment so that it's easy for me to stay on track with my diet & training.

In the event I need a little boost, my workout playlist on Spotify usually does the trick.

Sam Whitaker In The Gym

Have you ever thought about competing?

Only very briefly, but I decided it's not for me.

It's a massive sacrifice and really tough to get lean enough for a stage. And for someone like me, who isn't naturally lean, it would take even more sacrifice to get lean enough, which doesn't really interest me.

I'm all for looking good and being lean, but I prefer the performance side of competing - even if it's just setting yourself challenges like the coast 2 coast cycle I want to do.

What was the best advice you've received?

Always track your workouts.

I can't remember who/where I received this from… I probably heard it from several places, but it's really made a massive difference to my progress.

I think tracking your workouts is a must for anyone wanting to get optimal results.

Which body part are you most proud of?

I'm quite self-critical, so I wouldn't say I'm overly proud of anything. I'm always looking to improve, but probably my back if I had to pick one.

And the one you think needs a little more work?

Legs. Hopefully my legs aren't so underdeveloped it looks like I skip leg day! They're the body part I always want to grow more so than anything else.

Sam on a bikeride

What about cardio – are you a fan?

Yes and no.

I don't like the term cardio when it refers to walking on the treadmill or plodding aimlessly on the elliptical machine (although this can be useful for some people).

But I am a massive fan of getting outside and walking, hiking, or riding my bike.

We haven't evolved to be sedentary or stay indoors all day, so I think it's important to get outside as much as possible.

Top 3 training tips for someone looking to undergo a transformation…

  • Have a plan before you go to the gym and track your workouts.
  • Focus on progressive overload across a variety of reps ranges. I.E. get stronger/do more volume
  • Train each body part at least twice a week

How would you describe your diet?

I would say that I take a flexible approach.

I track my food intake each day and have a certain calorie & macronutrient to hit. I aim to get around 80-90% of my calories from whole, nutrient dense foods with the remaining 10-20% coming from more 'unhealthy', processed foods.

This allows to me stay on track without feeling the need to have a cheat day, and eat a load of unnecessary calories.

Sams Muscle Food Choices

What's your favourite pre and post workout meal?

I love some overnight protein oats with berries + a little dark chocolate as a pre-workout meal.

For my post workout treat, I like to have Sweet potatoes, piri piri chicken & veggies. Nothing special really, but I love it! I also like something sweet afterwards, which is ice cream at the minute.

How do you like to cheat?

I don't tend to cheat really. As I follow a flexible approach (and have a fairly high calorific requirement due to my love of exercise & staying active), I can usually fit most of the foods I want into my weekly meals/snacks.

Pizza being one of my favourites to fit in, followed by my ice cream

How do you feel about supplements? Must have additions for results, or a waste of money?

Whey Protein

No supplement is a must have, but some are really useful to help supplement a modern lifestyle and diet. Most are a waste of money though and make next to zero difference for most people. You just have to see if a supplement fits your goal.

Personally, I take fish oil, vitamin D3, creatine monohydrate & a basic, low dose multivitamin & mineral. I also use whey protein, but don't really see this as a supplement per se.

When you're not working out or dishing out the great advice - how do you like to chill?

I’m watching loads of movies & box sets! Alongside this I get out and do some walking while listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Perhaps surprisingly, I'm a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger fan. I love his autobiography - Total Recall. What he has achieved, in many different careers, is so inspirational. It just goes to show what can be achieved if you work hard and never give up.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Sam showing off his physique

I've recently published an eBook - The Body Target Weight Loss Blueprint.

It’s a beginner’s guide to eating a healthy diet, starting an exercise plan and creating a healthy lifestyle. In this book, I’ve written the blueprint you need to create a healthier lifestyle to enable you to look and feel as fantastic as you should.

The book includes information on the power of habits and how they play a vital in creating the best version of you. You also get a dietary template for you to follow and adapt to fit your food preferences and your schedule.

Plus, I’ve thrown in specific recommendations and access to workout plans you can follow, as well as giving you the information to adapt them to you.