Stay young at heart
Personal trainer Matt Roberts is known for keeping celebrities in shape - supermodel Naomi Campbell, singer Natalie Imbruglia and British Prime Minister David Cameron have all worked with him.
But as a father of two he’s got children’s fitness at heart, and while in town for the ongoing Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, he took time out to put the Rashid School for Boys through their paces.
Matt has launched a pilot fitness scheme for London schools, which he is hoping will be introduced across the UK. He was also keen to see if the Dubai kids would need any extra help too.
Matt said: “My passion is child fitness and we want to do something to improve those fitness levels. Life is different to when I was growing up – children don’t get to go out and play on their own now.
But in London, just giving a sample group 20 minutes of games a day, we’ve seen fitness levels go up by around 42 per cent. We did the same tests with 100 children here – squat tests, press ups, running.
“The running tests were quite telling. They all went off like the clappers and then faded quickly. So stamina was an issue, but what was encouraging was they all wanted to try and worked really hard.” A professor at London Metropolitan University as well as a successful businessman, Matt is a busy man. But family time is also key.
After an early morning run with 7DAYS around Festival City, he explained: “Remember you are a big role model as a parent. So take the kids swimming but don’t just don’t drop them off – join in! Get active with them, introduce exercise into their lives – remember children have to be active every day – ideally for at least 45 minutes.”
Matt Roberts has worked with many top names, but he admits Michael McIntyre was a joy to work with – once the funnyman stopped clowning around. “Initially, when working with Michael, it was just great fun. He is a funny guy and wants to make you laugh so it is very distracting. This notion of the sad comedian is way off, with him anyway!
“But he was needing to lose some weight ahead of some TV stuff so after a while I had to get serious and lay down the law about getting fit. He’s strong minded and likes his food, but he focused hard on changing his attitude and he ended up losing a couple of stone. But you can’t just order someone around, you have to be subtle about change.”