It was while I was at university, aged 19.
Before I started using a gym I was a keen swimmer, so all my training was in the pool.
I was uneducated in correct lifting technique. I can remember wanting to focus on the t-shirt muscles every time I went to the gym. At that time I didn't realise the importance of a balanced training session.
Grenade launched in the UK in February 2010. It is a thermogenic fat burner that works by increasing your metabolism and fat burning potential, suppressing your appetite, and giving you an energy kick. It also contains green tea so is full of antioxidants.
Since launch Grenade have become the UK’s best selling fat burner, the fastest selling fat burner in the EU and is the fastest growing weight loss brand in the world, with over 100 countries already selling it. In mid-May they will be launching in the US, via GNC and BB.com.
Grenade approached me in January 2011 after they saw me win the Dragan Challenge at Bodypower 2010, and asked if I'd like to join Team Grenade. Since then I have had photoshoots and we have also filmed an army style workout session. They took me, and the rest of the team to London for the IFBB Grand Prix Fitness Expo in March 2011, Germany for FIBO in April 2011 and I will be joining them again in May for Bodypower 2011.
Since taking Grenade I have never been in better shape. It is a great workout boost before a training session and it has really helped me get ready for the various photoshoots.
I believe the key to motivation is setting realistic goals and targets. Nothing is ever easy and always requires hard work, but if you put the effort in, and are educated with your training and diet, then you will succeed. If I ever get to that point where I question my motivation, I remind myself of my goal which is enough to pick me up! Consistency comes with the resetting of my goals. Once one has been achieved, I set a new one.
I think the Dragan Challenge I won last year comes pretty high up the list. I started training for it in January 2010, and in my first attempt I only managed 53 reps. By making gradual increments to each session and ensuring I had sufficient rest, I won the Bristol qualifying heat in March with 449 reps. By the end of April 2010 I had cleared 1,300 continual reps. However, 3 weeks before the competition I ripped my palm open on a nail during some DIY at home. I couldn't pick up a weight until 3 days before the competition so was unsure how I'd fair. I knew I had put the training in beforehand so while on stage I kept calm and reminded myself I could do this. And luckily I did.
My gym sessions never go past an hour. The only exception is when I was training for the Dragan Challenge last year. I keep the intensity high, and utilise supersets, tri sets, drop sets and mini circuits to save time.
My rep ranges change all the time. I enjoy the pump feeling of a hypertrophy session, but also the buzz of a strength session. When I am performing circuits I will either complete the desired rep range or work consistently for 30-45 seconds before changing bodypart. Every 6 weeks or so I'll change things up and maybe do a couple of strength sessions, or really high rep sessions, just to shock the body up a bit.
Monday is usually a full body PHA workout. Tuesday will be a swim, then the rest of the week I will split up the body parts, with Sunday being rest day. I try to get in 2-3 HIIT sessions a week, so some of the days are AM/PM splits.
Click image below to download a PDF of James St Leger's Routine
6 weeks before an event I will cycle carbs. In particular I limit my carbs from starchy sources in the evenings. That means no rice, pasta, bread, potato, oats etc, but instead I fill up on vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
My breakfast is always the same, a nice big bowl of oat porridge and skimmed milk, with honey and cinnamon. The rest of the day the carbs are dictated by which day of the cycle I'm on. I also try to eat a small meal every 3 hours, each containing carbs, protein and fat, to keep my metabolism working throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water is also key to flushing out toxins, but also assisting in keeping you feeling full so you don't over eat. Other things I keep an eye on are salt intake and saturated fat.
A typical meal plan, on an AM/PM split training day leading to a photoshoot would look like this
2 x Grenade + 750ml ice cold water
Pre workout - Reflex Performance Matrix 40g, banana, 5gBCAA
Post workout - Reflex One Stop, 5g Glutamine, 5g BCAA
40g porridge, skimmed milk, honey, cinnamon
Snack – Rice cake and peanut butter, 20g Reflex Whey
Lunch – Sweet potato, Green beans, tuna and cottage cheese mixed with cayenne pepper.
Apple and 20g Reflex Whey
Pre workout - Reflex Performance Matrix 20g, 5g BCAA
Workout – HIIT
Post workout – 30g Whey, 5g Glutamine, 5g BCAA, banana
Evening meal – Chicken, Kidney bean salsa, Broccoli.
Reflex Casein 40g, CLA
I always keep a Reflex Pit-Stop Bar, Flap Jack, and Progen in my bag, along with a bag of unsalted mixed nuts in case I need extra food or if I am in a rush and unable to prepare a snack.
I have never been a fan of high salty food foods, as it really dehydrates my body, leaving me feeling tired and drained. If I am craving, instead of filling up on junk food, I’ll just have a larger portion of carbs. It's amazing how adding a few herbs and spices to your meals can make all the difference.
Junk food is often really high in fat, and although it's nice and filling at the time, the following day I usually feel groggy and my body feels heavy. The excess sugar in the sweets will also give me quite a big low once it has gone through my system, causing me to crave other food! But yes I am normal and every now and then I may have a pizza/takeaway curry!
I remind myself of the end goal. The buzz you get after an intense workout and the long term effects are definitely worth it. The pain of training is only temporary!
I think if I could fly and have superhuman strength that would be pretty cool.
I plan to establish my career as a Personal Trainer, as I really enjoy coaching others and helping them reach their goals. I will also be taking part in more fitness competitions, and I also aim to be the first person in the world to go head to head with either Dragan or Rajko Radovic (undefeated and world record holders in vertical endurance lifting) and beat them.
Find James at facebook.com/James.St.Leger.Fitness