We are going to get into the mind of Chris Emmett and get to know a bit more about his views on strength training. Being an ex-rugby player and one of the strongest members of TEAM BOX I thought I’d go a bit deeper into the mind of someone who loves being crushed in the squat rack by a stupid amount of weight.
Q: So Chris, you’ve got a solid background as a PT. What skills that you developed during your time coaching people 1-2-1 do you think are most valuable when coaching people online and what would say is the one thing that people neglect most when coaching people, both online and in person?
A: I would say learning how every client is different. They move differently, can be motivated by different things and their strengths and weaknesses will vary. There is not a one size fits all when coaching people. Someone might love training their legs, someone might hate it and relating to a client’s range of traits that make them different will help the coach client relationship. I would say this is one thing coaches can neglect and forget about. A client may not been able to get to the gym every day or just be too tired to train and you have to relate and understand this and if you can relate to a client they will buy into the process and when they do that the chances are the results will be that much better.
Q: Now, we know you are into your heavy lifting and being the strongest member of TEAM BOX is quite an accolade, but how did you develop your strength in your early years? Was playing rugby a key factor in your development? Or was it something else?
A: I am always bigged up as the ‘strongest member’ however Stephen Box can bench a lot more than me (although mine is on the way up) and now with Emil being part of the team I don’t think my PBs on back squat & deadlift are valid as the biggest anymore haha. I do however get motivated by lifting more load and I suppose a good set of squats is more motivating for me than a good arm pump (not that I don’t love the pump ). I would say yes, when you play a performance sport such as rugby you are pushed more towards heavy lifting and when I was younger I wasn’t always the biggest so try to push my strength and getting bigger was a goal. Of course I look back now and think I trained like an idiot but who doesn’t? I think my leg strength maybe came from living on top of a very steep hill and having to cycle up it most days as a kid haha.
Q: So in terms of your strength training philosophy would you say that your views have changed over time and what have you learnt through experience that you wish you could tell your younger self when you first stepped into a weights room?
A: Well I pretty much answered this in my last answer ha. Yes, they have and they continue to change. I would say the biggest thing I have changed and adapted over the last few years is listening to my body and taking rest days when needed and pushing it hard when I feel good. I would say as well that keeping things simple is very effective and you don’t need to look for the magic answer or exercise with your training just consistency and knowing that your training is always in line and effective for your personal goals.
Q: When it comes to strength training, periodisation is clearly a valuable tool in order to make the best progress. Without a plan or some kind of structure, making sustainable progress can be hard or ultimately lead to injury. How do you tend to periodise your own strength training or that of your clients? Do you have a preferred “system” as it were? Have you developed the “Emmett System of gains?”
A: I get all my clients to constantly auto regulate their training and this can allow me to keep them progressing without over training. I do things as simply as judging their soreness, intensity and motivation of training between 1-10. If soreness is 10 and motivation is 2 then you know it’s time to back off. I think people are also very impatient for progress and need to understand progress is never linear. When people don’t make progress after 3 weeks and they change their training, it can result in a constant circle of changing plans rather than giving it time for the results to happen.
Q: You’re a foodie at heart. We all know it from your amazing food posts and epic re-feeds. As a competitive bodybuilder how much of a factor was flexible dieting in your prep? Do you think you could do a prep without having the flexibility to enjoy your favourite foods, albeit in moderation?
A: I couldn’t have done the photo shoots and comp without it. I have struggled in the past with binge eating, after 2 weeks of eating just ‘clean’ foods and then having a ‘cheat meal’ and things would spiral out of control. I really do love my food and for me its more than fuel its one thing I enjoy the most in life. I can however be consistent with my diet when I need to be and have no problem when dieting and knowing that I can have a brownie each day and still get shredded is amazing. With the use of IFFYM it makes diet adherence and consistency A LOT easier.
Q: Finally, in your opinion, what skills have you developed from bodybuilding & strength training that transfer into all aspects of life?
A: Consistency. Nothing in life happens over night but give it time and hard work and doing the same thing day in day out and changes will happen. This has been the same in my career as it has been with my training. When I trained for the marathon I struggled to run 8 miles to start with then 5 months later nailed the hardest marathon in the UK in under 4 hours. When I dieted for my first photo shoot I had never really had a full six pack before but after 16 weeks of dieting I was in the best shape of my life. You can’t walk into a gym as a PT and be the best trainer or get clients straight away, you need to work hard and learn from your mistakes and with training it’s the same thing.
Every thing in life takes hard work and consistency. Don’t judge your results in training four weeks after you start but four months or four years later and then you will really see where you are hopefully some epic results.