Artur Zolkiewicz
Photo: Courtesy

When you count A-list celebrities, models and billionaires as your clients, you know you’ve got this fitness thing down to a science. That’s exactly what celebrity fitness trainer Artur Zolkiewicz has achieved with his London-based personal training company, fitnessartz. Bringing his expertise to Southeast Asia this summer, the modelesque coach is taking up a wellness residency at The Sanchaya, Bintan’s ultimate luxury retreat. In his 10-day stay at the resort, he will work with guests to balance their fitness goals with their mental well-being, as well as tips to lead a healthier lifestyle. Ahead of his residency at The Sanchaya, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore speaks to Zolkiewicz about health hacks when you’re travelling, cheat meals and more about what to expect from his wellness programme at the luxury resort.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception or myth about fitness and well-being nowadays?

I think the biggest misconception is that you can reach certain goals without putting the hard work in. Many people think they can get amazing results with almost zero work. You can reach your goals faster if you train smart, but no shortcut will be as good as hard work and commitment.

What is the most important part about leading a healthy lifestyle today?

Consistency is definitely one of the most important aspects of leading a healthy lifestyle. The busy lifestyles [people lead] nowadays make it harder to commit to eating healthily, moving and sleeping enough.

I always tell my clients to plan ahead: Book your training sessions in your calendar and treat it as if it was an important meeting at work. Try to prepare your food in advance. Don’t buy unhealthy food so you don’t have it at home when the cravings come.

Artur Zolkiewicz
Photo: Courtesy

Your passion for fitness began when you started karate training as a child; how did this background and your additional dabbling in Brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing affect the way you come up with training regimes?

Karate is a great sport that teaches you not only how to move well, but also how to be disciplined and consistent. These are the two qualities I appreciate the most about this traditional Japanese martial art. Karate has also helped me to understand my body in a better way.

I like to incorporate elements of diverse martial arts whenever I think it’s appropriate for my clients. A mobility drill from Karate, a floor-based movement flow from Brazilian jiu jitsu or a conditioning routine I learned from boxing coaches—I always have something up my sleeve, which makes my coaching a little bit more interesting and multifaceted, a trait that will be prevalent throughout my classes at The Sanchaya!

Related article: 6 Ways Boxing Can Improve Your Mental Health

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Do you think there has been a change in the types of goals clients have now as compared to when you first started personal training in 2012?

Essentially, it’s always about getting fitter. Getting fitter however means different things to different people. Almost everyone wants to look good. However, there are many people who enjoy the process more than the goal. They strive to get better at what they do in their workouts and the looks come naturally as a consequence of smart training.

What is a quote or mantra that you use to motivate clients (or yourself) to push on in training or in life?

There is a quote my mum once gave me written on a small piece of paper which I always carry with me everywhere I go.

It’s a quote by Richard Bach:

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”

Do you think that your lifestyle has influenced how the people around you live?

There is this saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, and I always try to be a valuable part of someone’s average! I definitely have influenced a few people, including my parents, my sister and my friends. I think as a coach it’s important to practice what you preach—this will help you to impact people’s lives in a positive way.

Artur Zolkiewicz
Photo: Courtesy

How does an ideal day in your life look like and how does that differ from reality?

My ideal day starts after 7.5-8 hours sleep with a morning routine consisting of some basic mobility work. Then, ideally, I want to learn something new or write, with a cup of good black coffee of course!

My workout is next in line and takes around 1.5 hours. I also like to do some productive work everyday. In the evening I like to read, stretch and go to sleep fairly early.

The reality is that, as a coach, I work a lot. My day usually looks as follows: I wake up at 5:15am and see a few clients between 6:30am and 11am/12 pm.

I then train, have some lunch (I do intermittent fasting so I don’t eat breakfast). I start my afternoons with admin work and see two to three clients in the afternoon. In the evening I either go to a Brazilian jiu jitsu class or hang out with my friends.

Related article: You Need To Check Out These Luxurious Fitness Sanctuaries In Singapore

How do you ensure that you maintain form and healthy eating habits even while overseas?

Travelling and working as a model has taught me how to maintain form and healthy eating habits while overseas. Admittedly it’s hard to stick to your habits when you travel—the temptation of trying new, local food is always big. It’s also significantly easier to find an excuse to skip a workout! Usually, one of my first activities when I arrive at a new place is finding a gym. I also enjoy going to grocery stores in new countries and searching for new healthy products.

What is your go-to “cheat meal”?

There is a pizza place in North London and they make a really mean pizza with fried aubergines and Parmesan cheese. I can’t resist! I also enjoy a good cheesecake and consider myself a cheesecake connoisseur.

If you had to pick one favourite and one most hated exercise to go through in training sessions, what would they be?

I’m not a huge fun of running on a treadmill. I get bored easily and it’s definitely one of my least favourite activities in the gym. Having said that, I enjoy pretty much every sort of movement.

My favourite exercise is probably bench press. Simply because it was my biggest weakness and I managed to get reasonably good at it.

The Sanchaya
The Sanchaya. Photo: Courtesy

You will be hosting a fitness residency at The Sanchaya in August. What can we expect from your residency there?

During my residency at The Sanchaya in Bintan, I will be holding daily fitness classes, in addition to one on one sessions, helping students learn how to maximise their fitness potential. The classes will be kept small, with a maximum of 12 participants each, ensuring a high standard of coaching is maintained so participants feel as though they are in a one-on-one training session.

I will also be hosting Q&A sessions, allowing guests to ask questions specific to their personal fitness goals and lifestyles. Specific advice will help participants to maintain their healthy lifestyle in the future.

I will be hosting two sessions daily, each of which will have a slightly different focus—the morning class will help to strengthen the body and provide a good start to the day with a full body workout, whilst the afternoon session will focus on stretching and mobility. Combining workout styles helps to keep things interesting, making participants more likely to stick to their plan after their stay at The Sanchaya.

From the 13 – 23 August 2018, Artur Zolkiewicz will kick off the first of The Sanchaya’s fitness residencies. For more information, visit www.thesanchaya.com.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.