Place Englishman Martyn Ford next to any bodybuilder, and he’ll make them look like tiny versions of themselves. When you weigh 320lb you tend to have that effect on perspective. A promising cricketer, Ford suffered a serious injury, leading him to try bodybuilding instead. Now an actor, fitness influencer and soon-to-be MMA fighter, here’s his unique take on how he became one of the most muscled men alive.
Train By Feel
“I’ve never really been one to worry too much about numbers in the weights room. I don’t train for numbers, I train for performance and stressing the muscles as much as I can with the least weight possible. This is to avoid injury and maximise longevity in this great sport.
Attention To Detail
I make sure my plans are balanced and that I train each body part in the same manner – slow, controlled with full reps, giving nothing but 100% for each working set. I make sure I do 1 push for every pull (movement) that I perform, making sure each body part is balanced to avoid being unbalanced, but also avoiding injury. I approach training in a clear and clinical way. I know that, for me, training is the special tool that allows me to elevate myself above the competition. Stay sharp and stay ready, you never know when you will be called upon.
The Right Fuel
For pre-training, I don’t have a specific meal, I just make sure I’m getting a good serving of carbs, normally from rice or oats and protein which tends to be chicken or eggs. My post workout meal is very similar, and I don’t add massive amounts of fats pre or post-workout meal as I want the nutrients absorbed fast.
Adding fats to meals can slow down digestion and delivery of nutrients. I stay lean by being sensible with my food. If I feel I’m getting too heavy, I will adjust my carbs and pull out a meal or two when it’s not so essential. For me, carb meals are necessary, but mainly for the first meal of the day, followed by pre and post training. Also, the meal I find adds the most muscle mass is rice and steak. If I’m looking to lean up, I will add white fish and sweet potatoes into my diet, which works well.
A Winner’s Diet
For my current diet, I consume six meals on rest days eating around 400g carb, 100g fat and 400g protein. On training days, I up my carbs to around 550g and take my fats down to around 75g and have seven meals per day. I stick to eggs, chicken, salmon, steak and cottage cheese for my sources of proteins with sweet potato, rice, oats for my carbs, almonds and avocado for my fats, while eating plenty of greens at every meal.
Nutrition on the go
When I’m filming or on tour I always make sure, before I leave, I have a gym either at the hotel or close by that I can use. In today’s world, a gym is never too hard to find, so it’s just about researching and planning ahead. Whenever I travel, if I know food is going to be an issue, I pack loads of pre-cooked rice, tinned tuna and tinned vegetables.
Top food tip for today’s busy man would be a pre-made salad from any supermarket, packet of rice and chicken breast, then invest in a microwave and George Foreman grill. This is a healthy balanced meal literally anyone can make in less than 10 minutes, so you have no excuses!
For cheat meals, I have one per week. I don’t count calories in them, I just eat what I want until I’m full, and I don’t force feed myself. That would be my only guide. I prefer refuel days, however, if I’m dieting. These are high-carb days normally. I find a refuel day instead of a cheat day leaves me feeling much better mentally and physically.
Supplements have improved greatly without a doubt. However, in my opinion, far too many companies are pushing out supplements which are not needed and encouraging taking tablets over eating healthily. I’m a huge believer in food first, and adding supplements only when they are required.
I would seriously consider investing in a good multivitamin and mineral as a back-up plan when training is at its peak, keeping all the vitals topped up. We all need to consider a good recovery drink regardless of our goals; we need to look at glycogen replenishment, protein synthesis, muscle recovery and replacement of electrolytes. That being said, I would look for whey isolate, maltodextrin, BCAAs, electrolytes. Creatine is also very useful if you’re looking at packing on muscle mass, strength or endurance.
My lifestyle is exactly that, it’s my ‘life-style’, so there is never a time I feel like it’s hard or a chore. It’s just a case of being sensible, knowing what foods are good and bad and planning your schedule ahead of time, being methodical. Too many people make too many excuses. I believe I motivate people more with what I have achieved rather than what I actually look like, so it’s a self-belief I try to pass on to others. People see what I have done not only once, but twice!
For my current training plan, I am running a push / pull plan where I am hitting the whole body twice a week. I find this keeps me fit and in relatively good condition all year around. I split my sessions into a heavy session followed by a lighter session on my second session of the week. Not only will I alter my rep range, but also my exercises, so I go for large compound movements in the early part of the week when I’m going heavy and more isolation towards the end of the week where I’m putting more emphasis on the volume I’m using.
If you are an advanced athlete, I recommend you try adding some advanced techniques, such as forced and drop sets for the heavy sessions and rest pause, supersets and pre-exhausts to the volume sessions.”