Rugby and judo fanatic turned gym instructor Charlie Allen gives us five to talk about his training, love of sports and the necessity of correct nutrition.
The first sport I tried was karate when I was around 6 years old, though I was unfortunately diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis which put me out of action for a few years. I then started playing rugby after watching England win the World Cup in 2003 which kick started my career as an athlete. Since then I’ve had the privilege of playing for numerous clubs including Robert Clack, Barking, Essex, Stains and St Mary’s University. During that time I had also entered a few judo competitions which I found had a great carryover to rugby, especially as a back row player. I have recently decided to take a break from playing rugby in order to focus on my career as a trainer, though I would love to compete in power-lifting sometime within the next year.
How I got into training:
I was introduced to strength and conditioning when I was 15 by my rugby coach Mark Robinson, who I believe had a huge influence on my development as an athlete. Unfortunately, Mark was only around for a year and a half before he had to move back to New Zealand, though his influence had taught me to appreciate the value of training and hard work for both sport and life in general. From then on I had adopted strength training and nutrition as a lifestyle which has offered me the opportunity to meet a ton of awesome people and develop a career out of something I enjoy doing.
Current Training Week:
My main priority is to be as strong as possible whilst maintaining a lean, athletic physique. I’m fortunate enough to be a full time trainer at Bounce Gym in Wimbledon, which allows me to have access to a ton of awesome equipment enabling me to experiment with a variety of training methods. I strategically manipulate training variables throughout the week so that I’m able to train each facet of strength & conditioning more frequently.
Current training split:
Lower body conditioning
Bench press (Heavy)
Chest & shoulders hypertrophy
Bench press (Volume)
Chest & arms hypertrophy
Snatch grip deficit deadlifts (volume)
Lower body hypertrophy
Bench press (Volume)
Chest & back hypertrophy
My current aims are to further develop my knowledge in strength training and nutrition so that I can help more people achieve their goals. I would also like to compete in powerlifting sometime within the next year, hitting a 220-230kg squat, 150-160kg bench press and 280-290kg deadlift.
Source of Inspiration:
My main source of inspiration will always be my family. They’ve always been there for me when times are tough.
Mistakes when training:
I have made a lot of mistakes since I first started training as I’ve never really had a mentor. I never understood how to manipulate training variables in order to stimulate a particular response. I used too many isolation exercises and never tracked my progress which meant that I lacked a sense of direction. All I knew was that the harder I worked the fitter and stronger I became, however eventually I realised that a more educated approach to training and nutrition was required in order to make further improvements. Therefore I learnt the majority of what I know now via countless hours of independent reading and trial and error.
Without providing your body with adequate nutrients to fuel your training and recovery, there’s no way that you’ll be able to maximise your efforts in the gym or on the field. Therefore my philosophy is to eat a wide range of nutrient dense foods in the necessary amounts to facilitate your goals. I’m currently consuming 3500-4000 calories which is compromised of 350g of protein 350-400g of carbohydrates and 90-100g of fats, all coming from a variety of good quality, nutrient dense foods. I like to fill any prolonged gap between meals with a protein shake or bar.
Favourite thing to train:
I love squats.
Unfortunately I do enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then. I don’t drink very often but when I do It seems to go down a little too well.
Pearls of wisdom:
Understand that you have full control over the choices you make on a daily basis.
So choose to work hard, be happy and keep making progress.