We're very lucky to have trained with Alex Nino many times. He's one of the UK's leading mobility and gymnastics strength training (GST) coaches, and his goal is to make people strong and flexible. From his impressive ability you’d assume he’d been a gymnast from a young age – but he’s only been training like this for five years. Prior to that, he was a bodybuilder, spending £200 a month on supplements and focused with his protein intake. But as his training changed, so did his diet. Let's find out more...
A: I normally do intermittent fasting, so I have a 16-hour gap. It’s very easy. I tried to avoid any refined sugars and starch like potatoes, pasta, rice or bread. I do eat it, but I try not to. I’m pretty much good from Monday to Friday, and sometimes Saturday – but Sundays I don’t care, I eat anything. I always eat a lot of fat, like avocados and nuts. Every day I eat one avocado, sometimes two. I’m a big believer in good fats. And I eat red meat probably two or three times a week, as well as fish – loads of salmon – and chicken probably three or four times a week as well.
I eat in the realms of paleo, but some people are very strict. I don’t mind having an ice cream or a cake. But it’s not like I’m having it every day, but I would say once or twice a week.
A: I always have loads of energy, no ups or downs. It’s amazing. I am quite sharp as well, every day. It’s weird to explain sometimes, because from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, I’m very sharp. I think it has to do with the fasting too. It keeps me lean, and strong at the same time.
A: Definitely fasting, and a double espresso in the morning. And lots of water during the day.
A: Have a glass of water and brush my teeth.
A: Yes. I musthave a minimum of 6 hours. If I have less than 6 I can feel it, and I notice it in my body. 7 is optimum. 8 I get too lazy and I feel slow. But 7 is perfect.
A: As well as intermittent fasting, once or twice a month I’ll do 24 hours fasting. I can go the whole day without food no problem. It doesn’t matter whether I wait 14, 16, 24 hours, I’m the same person. I do it for the mental challenge – when I used to do bodybuilding, I would eat 6 to 8 meals a day and I was obsessed with food. After 2 or 3 hours without food I’d go crazy. But now it doesn’t bother me. I can do a hardcode session and have water and just carry on going. People always say “you’ve got to have protein” and take tones of supplements, but know I just think “really?”.
A: I don’t really have one.
A: Nothing. When I was bodybuilding I used to spend £200 a month on supplements: pre-workout, post-workout, creatine, BCAA, whey protein, casein protein… And now I don’t spend a penny. Nothing. The only thing I use is a vitamin D spray in winter. I’m 40 and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good before in my life.
Unless you have some deficiency, you don’t need anything. It’s just media making people think they need this and they need that. They don’t
A: I wouldn’t be vegetarian – I do love red meat. But saying that sometimes I go weeks without eating meat, and I could happily live without red meat, if I have fish or chicken.
A: It all depends on how long I have, If I have enough time I’ll find somewhere to have a nice meal. If I’m in a rush I’ll go to Pret and get a pot of eggs with spinach, or they do a nice acai bowl with banana and almond butter. Or I’ll go to have a nice burger somewhere.
A: There are some people who I admire: Coach Sommer is one, Ido Portal is another. There’s a guy called Tom Wexler who does a lot of movement and acrobatics. And there’s some people who teach yoga I admire as well, Mark Kan who does dharma yoga, he was the one who got me into it. And a guy who does handstands, Miguel Sant’ana.
A: I have a couple of books going on. Meditation by Marcus Aurelius, and I’m also kind of reading Sapiens but I go on and off that one.
A: Gymnastic rings. £20. Cheapest and most effective thing you can do to gain upper body strength.
A: I was doing Sudoku, and listening to a podcast.
A: The best treat would be to have a week off and go somewhere on my own, and meet people who have nothing to do with what I do 51 weeks of the year. Somewhere where no one knows who you are, you’re just another person in a village. Not have a diary to organise, so I don’t have to do absolutely anything except just be. I’d get to know the locals, what they do, what they eat, how they live. I like small places, where there’s a community. It’s amazing.
A: I think it could be anywhere, as long as I’m with my family. It’s more about the company then the place. You can be on the most beautiful beaches but if you’re on your own or if you want to be with someone…I think it’s more about who you are and how you feel at that moment.
A: Eating healthier food and moving more. It’s as simple as that. Healthier means less manmade food, less fried food, less bread, pasta and all the empty calories we eat for the sake of it, rather than eating for the benefits foods bring to our bodies.
A: Follow your instincts, and try to do your absolute best of whatever you do. And always set good intentions. Before you do anything, think what is your intention – will it bring enjoyment or is it healthy to me and other people? Don’t just do things for the sake of it. It means that sometimes you come across as an arrogant person because you say no to things you don’t want to do, but as long as you’re doing the right thing, it’s all good.
A: SO many things! I’m thinking of doing some teacher training next year. I would like to do 30 or 40 hours in a week, bringing teachers together to share what I have learnt over the last 12 years. I have about 20,000 hours of teaching, 10-20 workshops with some amazing people, one-to-one hours with some incredible teachers, so I have a lot of information, and so I want to put it into a week’s work, and share it with people interested in teaching.
I’m very excited about that. So we’d go somewhere sunny with a beach. Nice food, and in the morning do the theory, and in the afternoon do the practical.
A: Yes, I’m looking around for a space to hire and open my own little academy of classes. I’d like to keep it very small – classes with no more than 14 people, so very intimate. People come, we know their names, their aims, their goals, what they need to work on, and we can help those people. And make it very welcoming. But I need to find a place (so if anyone reading this knows the perfect spot, please get in touch!).