You have to have been living in an internet-free cave, to have not heard of UNILAD – one of the world’s biggest social media content platforms.
Whether you like it or not, we’ve all cried with laughter, dropped our jaws in shock or cut our attention span short with UNILAD content but who is behind this madness? Sam Bentley, the CEO of the social phenomenon, spends endless hours attending business meetings, taking trips all over the world and working tirelessly to keep track of what’s trending and as we all know, being busy can take its toll on your body.
The question is, could UP’s personal trainers take on the challenge of transforming the CEO of the biggest Facebook page in the world while he continues to expand his business worldwide?
How was your health before UP?
Before UP, I worked 14 hour days and it gets to a point where you keep putting off the gym, and you get home and think, I could either cook a meal for an hour or order a Deliveroo and I get an extra hour to work. So my diet was always based around working, and the gym would close at 9.45pm, so I’d work until the very last moment and fit in a quick 20-minute session. It would always be a half-hearted session because I’d still be checking my phone throughout it. I was very addicted to work and still am to a degree but what UP did was help me bring a sustainable balance into my life.
It has helped me in the long run because having a fitter body and a healthy mind has helped me stress less at work; it’s made me think clearer and not be depressed about my weight. I used to feel sluggish in the mornings, so it’s definitely made me more active. That balance is such a valuable thing, and it took UP to show me that that balance is possible because the business has still been successful while I was doing the 12-week transformation. Before that, I wouldn’t have thought there’d be any way to get fit and run the business at the same time, but I did, and that’s just a testament to the guidance and the trainers here and a bit of determination from myself of course.
It’s easy to give up at any point and come off the programme but the fact that there is a nice group of people, a family of people that it makes you almost feel that you’d rather let yourself down than let them down.
That’s the motivation, not that I’m letting myself down but that these people are putting so much time and work into me that I can’t let them down. I didn’t have that before, and it’s really important.
How was your nutrition before UP?
I actually think the way products are marketed is a massive problem. You can go to a supermarket, and things have green packaging, or they’ll say they are ‘high in omega 3’ or whatever but the real components like saturated fat and artificial sugars (that they don’t mention), they obviously don’t sell that to you because they don’t want to put you off it. So even when you try to eat healthy, you don’t realise there is a third of my daily sugar allowance in this juice drink; I thought having an orange juice was healthy.
No-one tries to eat fat foods all the time but I was trying to be healthy, I was just ignorant to what a healthy diet actually was.
Before with that diet, I would feel sluggish; I would have ‘sugar peaks’ and ‘crashes’ more often. I’d be drowsy in the evenings or be really awake at 3 am because I’d have a can of coke or whatever.
Now I can maintain a sustainable energy level, so I don’t peak and I’m a lot more chilled; it’s a stressful business that I work in, managing a lot of people at a young age is a lot of work, and it’s easy to get stressed out but having this diet has allowed me to take a breather and just chill. Everyone in the office has noticed and said
you’re a lot more relaxed than you used to be.
You have to stay cool in this environment when everyone starts panicking around you, so it’s been really important in my work life as well as my social life. Feeling better about yourself is never a bad thing, is it?
How has fitness affected running UNILAD?
UP gave me a diet that now gives me enough energy to work in the environment that I work in but also to have enough energy to contribute and add value to the business. I do think it’s difficult as a business owner because you do get invited to lunches and dinners or you’ll grab a pint or a coffee and you don’t want to be the guy who kills the vibe and says ‘I’ll have a water’ but these things do add up, especially if you go to 5 of these lunches in a week; it’s a lot of calories so just being aware of that situation helps.
As a business, I think more people should get involved in it because maybe we can stop that ‘binge culture’ of ‘grabbing a pint’ and instead let’s go hit up…I don’t know, a water fountain 😉
I also think what happened with me in the UNILAD office is that there’s not a lot of healthy eaters.
At the start everyone looks at you and wonders why I’m having kale, spinach and salmon everyday and then when they see the results and see that it actually works, it’s like “what?!”.
It’s easy to look at a picture of a random person’s transformation and think that’s fine, but it’s not me or someone I know. But when it’s someone you can see day-to-day, right in front of your very eyes, it’s different. It makes the whole transformation process far more achievable.
Now I’ve motivated a handful of people in the office, maybe not to my levels but at least to re-evaluate what they eat on a day to day basis. You can just pick up a Greggs or a Gabbots from The Arndale, and you don’t really think about it cause you’re working – you’re not even concentrating on the taste of the food, you just have something to fill yourself up.
I think people should take some time to think about what they’re putting in their system because a lot of it is dangerous. I’m actually quite scared for children having Ribena every day in their lunch box and sweets, there’s just not enough education around it and for me that was the biggest learning curve with Ultimate Performance.
I’ve been going to the gym for years but I’ve never gotten these results.
What they did is teach me about my diet and how it’s going to affect my body – I think that’s the biggest selling point.
What was the training like for you?
The training side of things, I had Mark and James as my two trainers and sometimes other trainers to fill in too, but every trainer knows what they are talking about. They are on your back; they can see if you’re not pushing yourself 100% and they’re not scared to tell you to go that extra mile.
Sometimes you don’t even know you can do it yourself, but maybe that’s what it takes, someone from the outside to tell you “no, you’ve got another three reps in you” and those are the three reps you’ll lose in a typical gym session; maybe there’s a queue behind you to use the bench or something, and you think you know what, I’ve been in for half an hour, I’ve done enough.
When I go to the gym at home, I would take my phone, and one session would end up being an hour because I’m on my phone for 25 minutes messaging and stuff. But the fact that when you walk out of the changing room at UP, there are no distractions, it’s ‘right, this is what we’re going to do, there’s a minute rest and then we’re on to the next one’, it works your body so much better. So even though the exercises may have been similar, I would usually think ‘oh I’ve done that many reps’ but that doesn’t matter, you’ve got to wear out your muscles and do it with this many breaks rather than having a 5-minute rest after each one.
Then when it came to form, I’d go to the gym and there would be a crowd of guys that I don’t know so I’d think ‘I’m going to push the biggest weight I can’ because when I step off I want them to go ‘wow he was doing quite a lot’. But it makes you realise that was a load of ‘ego bullshit’ and that it’s all about the form and controlled exercises because that’s what’s going to work better for your body. Now it re-evaluates how I look at people in the gym before. I’d think that guy is barely doing anything but that guy back then probably knew ten times more than me, and that’s why he had a better body than me back then, so the form is so important.
I think the sooner, the better.
If I could have done this 5 years ago I would cause you teach yourself the wrong way and you live with that bad form and not only can that make you unfit but you can damage your body in the long run.
What do you feel you’ve achieved?
I feel a lot more educated and less ignorant. I always talk about the diet, but the simple changes you can make such as choosing sweet potato over chips and diet coke over full-fat coke. It’s just little life differences, you don’t have to sacrifice everything so when you go out, you don’t have to have a chicken and salad all the time.
I’m not comfortable with getting up early that much and for UP I had to get up at half 8, which doesn’t sound early to most people but for me, I was thinking how am I going to do this for 12 weeks?! I was in the gym at 9.30am, and that just showed that I could do it. I think the longer you do it and get into a routine the better it is. In the evening I used to go to the gym, and you’d be tired, you’d have had the whole day, and you just want to relax, watch some TV or something.
Emotionally it’s made me a happier person; it’s easy to look at your body in the mirror at the end of the day and be depressed, but now people don’t recognise me who haven’t seen me in a while, and that’s a really good motivation tool. And clothes!
I tried on jeans the other day; a 34 waist and they were hanging off me, and I was like “what?!” It’s incomprehensible that this has happened in such a short period.
It makes you think ‘how did I ever let myself get to that point?’ and ‘if this never happened where would I be, would I be even worse now?’
Is that how you felt before the 12 weeks?
It’s definitely made me feel stronger about those things; they were already there because I’ve always had a big problem with how people advertise certain products. I wonder just how do they get away with that? I think it’s easy for people to think they’re eating healthy when they’re not and they get tricked into it with all of these expensive juices and stuff. So I did feel a little like this before but my transformation journey has just shown me the effect it had on me and made me look back on how I lived and ate and you think “wow, I can’t believe I ever did that, that’s insane”, and it just shows what it does to your body.
It’s cool that I’m looking better, but when you can see you’re getting happier, it makes you wonder what all of this added sugar was doing to my body.
How has it changed you physically?
When I started I weighed 84.6kg; my body fat was 34%, and after the 12 weeks, it was 20.6% body fat and 74kg. You know you picture that as raw fat, that’s a lot of fat, a 10kg dumbbell’s worth of fat and seeing that go off your body.
I think what’s really useful with UP is the ‘before and after’ photos. The way I got fat is because day to day you don’t see that much difference and the same with losing the weight, day to day I wouldn’t have been as motivated than when Mark showed me “this is your before and this is after 2 weeks” and I’d be like “what this is two weeks?” and then you think “I wonder what I can do in 4 and then 6 weeks”. The photos I would then share with people at work and with family and they would say “Oh my god, you’re doing so well”; getting that kind of support and having my trainer say “this is incredible, you can do big things” is amazing.
Would you recommend UP and why?
Yes, I would definitely recommend UP. It’s a massive investment into your life both emotionally and physically. It’s going to make your life so much better because you’re more educated, you’re going to be in a healthier state of mind to love someone, to commit to work, to invest in yourself, be so much more confident and become the best version of you.
When you do a UP transformation, you can see that you’ve done something – I’ve been determined and smashed it. Imagine if I could apply this kind of determination to other aspects of my life, with that sense of drive I can do anything; I 100% recommend them.
On a personal level, I think the people here are proper nice; you can come in, and it feels like family, chatting in the changing rooms and just a nice group of people. They’re nice, but when they need to be hard, they know how to turn it on.
What would you say to those people who doubt the results?
To anyone who doubts the before and afters, essentially what you’re doing is giving UP the biggest compliment they could ever want. Saying “this can’t be possible”, well it is, look at all of these photos (points to a wall filled with UP transformations).
You know it doesn’t matter because we know it, those people know it, and that’s the most important thing. So anyone saying that is paying a massive compliment and it’s a testament to everyone’s hard work here, to every individual who comes in and works however many hours outside of their working hours to become like that and do it. I’d just say “thanks”. I don’t think anyone, in particular, has doubted mine but if they did I would just say “thanks, it is pretty unbelievable isn’t it?”
Sam got in touch with UP. Now look at him. Be more like Sam.
- We show you the best, we don't show you the worst.
- We show you people who follow the plans, not those who are all talk.
- We show you those who inspire even us with their commitment to their results.
- You cannot get results exactly like these. You are unique and that means you can only get your own best possible results.
- Your results are a function of time spent following the plan; your genetic response to the right exercise and diet program; how hard you train; how consistently you come to the gym; how disciplined you are with your diet; & your starting point.
- Oftentimes the lower your starting point (poor fitness, terrible body composition) the better your results.
- We cannot do the work for you and the results you see here are a testament to the work ethic of our clients.
- Our reputation is that we are the best trainers in the world for helping you to unlock your potential, & we can lead you to the door, give you the key, even turn the handle and push the door open, but we cannot walk through it for you. In the end the result is down to you.