We talked with Roo Hamer in April, 2020.
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey! I’m Roo Hamer, now 30 years young and still keeping fit. I grew up in Surrey, England. I’ve lived and worked in London almost ten years since finishing university.
I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD but I do know that if i’m cooped up for too long I’m going crazy for sure!!
I’ve always participated in sports, whether on the weekend with friends or at school. Water polo, football, rugby and athletics were my preferred sports at school.
During the weekend I’d back doing crazy stuff in the garden or skateboarding; anything to keep adrenaline levels high and life interesting. Who would want a boring life???
Yes I broke a lot of bones and have many scars all over my body from who knows which fall or crash or accident but the point is I made it through each one of these incidents and am older and wiser today. If you learn from accidents rather than being upset, you can really improve your skills and movement knowledge.
I finished school and went to work in Brasil as a kite surf instructor. I got way better at Portuguese and kitesurfing and had a fantastic lifestyle.
I returned to England for a degree and 5 years of serious bodybuilding; on a mission to get simply as big as I possibly could.
After injuring my back at 21 I decided to become a personal trainer and learnt how to train without the need for weights. I began my journey into Calisthenics, the art of becoming strong using only your body as resistance.
I took a functional movement course and met my girlfriend Emily who is the head of yoga at Core Collective (somewhere I run classes in Kensington on a Wednesday night and Thursday morn).
She introduced me to Yin Yoga which is meditative stretching; stretches are normally held for upwards of 3 minutes. The session allowed me to embrace calm in discomfort, a discipline I had never embraced before.
Since then I have become much more flexible and mobile in training. It doesn’t prevent injuries depending on the risks you take in life, but it can prepare you for the next level of training. A ready body is important, be prepared.
I since have done a free diving course, which doubled my breath hold time to over 4minutes on a single breath, something I could not have done without the previous skill of being calm when you are tested. It’s always a challenge, but in the right mindset, can be controlled better.
I haven’t done an entire weights (bodybuilding) session since becoming a trainer. I feel there are many many things to master, too much for a life time, to be good at everything.
I miss the instant thrill of lifting heavy and the endorphins and pump gained from those sessions. However from eating close to 10,000 calories as a bodybuilder I now eat sometimes only twice a day and train randomly, but move every single day. I still skate, kitesurf, surf, snowboard, anything with a board.
On a day to day basis, I cycle probably 1 hour each day, in between clients and work. I do demos and mess around in studios at many small opportunities during the day,
I’m on my feet constantly and probably average about 20,000 steps a day. I never run.
Keeping your movement up throughout the day is important to keep a good metabolism and be burning the fuel you are putting in.
I like to think of myself still as an animal, not a robot scheduling food. We need to go hunt for our food and water, we need to scavenger/hunter endorphins. Sometimes we don’t find what we searched for, but still burnt the calories to look for it. So I ignore the “you should eat this much a day, in this many meals” etc.
You need to balance the energy going in and going out. If you’re looking to lose weight, don’t put in more than is going out IT’S THAT SIMPLE, if you’re looking to be always energised and to grow in size, put more in than is going out!!
If you’re trying to lose weight and don’t even know what it’s like to feel real hunger, to be desperately in search of a meal, moving, and to not find it, for days, but go out the next day, hungrier and more determined, your body won’t adapt and strengthen until you feel these things.
I do handstands, stretch and do some sort of strength work each day as well as cycle. But no one in a city should feel ashamed that they aren’t able to do this.
There’s a serious problem with the sedentary lifestyle of the city worker, but it’s not their fault, it’s how many people earn enough to go and buy their food etc! But now we have to find a way to make their bodies deserve that food, not just their hard working minds.
We should be moving every single day of the week, not 3 x 45min sessions a week.
Describe a typical day of training
I love both training alone and training with others, but if there’s something serious on my mind, or I’ve had one too many coffees and I want a really decent exertion of energy, I like to be on my own to focus hard.
Headphones I and music loud can help if you’re the kind of person (like me) that will talk to anyone.
As much as rest can be good during a session, to build explosive energy, sometimes talking/listening to others, can take you out of the zone you arrived with, forgetting intentions for training; then again sometimes it can lead you into new things learnt so don’t always stick headphones in.
I go with a plan, or something I want to work on. During every session I go upside down in one way or another, it feels really good to be upside down. Handstands have been a daily practice for the best part of 10 years now and i’m still no expert!
How do you keep going and push harder?
If I want to eat and reward myself with rest, I need to earn it, it’s that simple. I genuinely have mood changes if I haven’t moved around enough, whatever the movement, it’s important to use the body you’ve been given, don’t take limbs and breath for granted. Use it for things you enjoy, while you can!
Breaking bones made me realise there’s always different training to be had. Find different ways to challenge yourself. Don’t let operations, or set backs be the end of you. Find another way.
Breaking a leg doesn’t mean you’re fat in 3 months later. I’ve come out of operations and injuries looking almost the same.
Test yourself to be stronger and braver than yesterday. Use what you’ve learnt to your advantage. Learn and adapt.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Training is strictly bodyweight as this is the principle I sell in my business.
I do miss the heavy weights sessions but honestly, I don’t see that much difference in my body these days apart from being way more flexible.
Since putting the weights down I train in the park all year round and in climbing walls or studios I run classes in. I don’t have to look at the number of kgs on the weight i’m picking up, my reflection in a mirror, or the number on the scales I stand on.
These days I’m concerned about WHAT my body can do, rather than what it looks like. This is what’s important to me, not what I look like, but what i’m capable of.
My only hope for the future, is that my body is capable of more than today 🙂
Things like the plache, and one handed handstands, surfing waves and being able to walk and do pull ups as an old man would be incredible.
I am by no means complete or perfect, far from it. But what i’ve learned so far, I want to teach.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Injuries, obviously, SUCK. I hate being cooped up and taking time off training as you always worry you are going back a step, or that you’re aren’t going forward any steps in that time.
But sometimes, depending on the injury, you genuinely come back stronger, learning from mistakes during physio and rehab. You may discover whole new movements, that, had you known before the injury, could have prevented it.
Some people are guilty of overtraining certain areas of the body and when you come back fit and healthy, that thing is suddenly way better than before.
Rest and rehabbing the body is very important, I massage myself and stretch daily; massage guns (I have a hypervolt) are amazing.
Concerning sleep, I don’t need more than 8 hours, under 6 hours and I’m a bit cranky!! I’m definitely a night time kind of guy and can handle being awake for long periods and finding rest when it’s appropriate- dark and quiet. I’d like to learn to nap!
I’ve had so much cuts from rocks and reefs, it can be tough not to go surf again when you’re away and have the chance but this can lead to infection and scars; both of which i’ve had ;).
Bones wise, I’ve broken my fingers, thumb, wrists, arms, collarbone. Many of which happened while skateboarding, if you’re reading this and have never tried, it’s great, but dangerous!
One positive about breaking arms is sometimes you break your non dominant side, and get to work on a whole new skill set.
Whisking eggs with my wrong hand is still difficult for me. But even when my bones aren’t broken I practice things both sides. Paying attention always to my weaker/or less used side.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I have been with the same sponsor for 8 years now NRGFUEL and they’ve looked after me so well, putting a whole page spread in mens fitness mag for years, putting me in gyms and on vans and for sending me all the sups!!
I don’t always use supplements daily, just if I know I have a high demand energy day coming up and no time to cook something, I have a shake. Their BCAA drink is great as a squash if you have a sweet tooth and usually buy ribena or coke or something or the sort
The protein shakes really fill you up and give you the energy you need to last until your next meal. I eat eggs daily and a big meal in the evening. Usually 200g of meat and loads of vegetables and some form or carb; brown pasta/rice etc.
I always think about lying when I’m asked this question but I have a huge sweet tooth and take down Haribos/Choc daily (whole bags, whole bars). Doing it mainly makes me worry about my teeth, rather than my body. Everyone has their naughty side.
I notice a lot of other trainers love to eat candies, I think we are all energy junkies, both on the intake and output of it!!!
I don’t count calories, or have specific times when I eat, I like a random lifestyle. Routine makes me bored… Life should be about adventure and fun, not getting through a plan.
I also think water is a massive issue. People are always advising water amounts and to be constantly hydrated. I don’t walk around with water bottles, I drink at locations when I arrive at them or leaving them, as we would in the wild, you drink from a source.
We don’t NEED to hydrate on the move, it’s just nice to. Those who can afford it often have no idea what it feels like to really NEED a meal or drink…
What has inspired and motivated you?
Looking at other animals and seeing what they have to endure to be alive inspires me to work hard, moving every single day. You have to earn your food by movement. Hunt = kill = eat. Search = water = drink.
Music, I really do have to say it helps get me in the “hunt” zone.
Although it should be the other way round, my clients motivate me. Seeing them actually do some of the hard stuff i set for them, it fires me up and i take some of that energy back that they are giving out, it’s not wasted!
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Don’t leave it to another day to start on something. Because first comes practice, then habit. Start practicing and do it more than you think is often to make your habit a decent one.
Stick to a programme and be energetic. Help people, be tidy, help others be tidy. Add exercise to your day by walking up the escalators. Stand more. Eat less. DO MORE!
Give me a message on my Instagram @Roohamer for advice on training, lifestyle and tips to move and make better choices.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I’m always open to expand my client base, I usually do one to one’s but offer classes too.
I’ve spent 9 years in the industry now and train many personal trainers on how to work their own bodies better. I have the knowledge to tell you which parts of your body are stiff and know the mobilisers and stretches to improve your life!!
I really enjoy what I do and have changed many people’s lives during my career as a calisthenics specialist.
I’m always keen to be invited on your journey with you. My job is to teach you skills that you can take with you for life. To ignite relationships between brain and muscle that you’ve never had before.
Where can we learn more about you?
Facebook page @Roohamerfitness
Email [email protected]