Luke Jacobz's work commitments weren’t the only thing that grew in 2012; so did his biceps! The popular X Factor host added fitness to his list of achievements last year finding a new passion in the process; cycling.
We sat down with Luke to chat about his new healthy attitude and how his fitness focus has transformed both body and mind.
Have you always been a gym junkie?
I’ve always been into the gym but I could get a bit slack with it sometimes. It wasn’t until an important photo shoot came up at the beginning of 2012 that I decided to take fitness more seriously. I started training about 6 days a week with a personal trainer and loved the results I was seeing.
How did your love of cycling come about?
It was my best mate who got me in to it. He suggested I try it on top of my usual gym sessions to help speed up the results. Not only did I see great progress but it was also a great release for me; a way to switch off and have time to myself.
As I got more into it, I found out about charity rides and decided to start training for events.
At the end of April I completed my first big ride from Sydney to Canberra for Lymphoma Australia. It was exhausting but such an accomplishment. It felt like my fitness had an extra purpose and I was hooked!
Do you have any more rides coming up?
Well I’ve just completed an 800km ride from Thredbo to Manly for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and I’ve signed up for two more this year; a 1000km ride for Camp Quality and Tour de Cure’s 1600km ride from Adelaide to Sydney.
Training for these charity rides must be hard on the body, have you changed your diet?
Yes 100%. I’d changed it before I started cycling anyway as I wanted to improve my general health but the intense cardio I’m doing now means a totally different diet.
During a big ride I can burn around two and a half thousand calories a day so I have to eat huge amounts of energy dense food. Breakfast could be lasagne, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast-the lot! Then I have to eat again a few hours later!
Do you eat like that even when you aren't training for an event?
It depends what exercise I’m doing as to how and what I eat. I generally eat a lot of fresh healthy foods which are high in protein. At the moment I’m trying to put on weight and build my size but because cycling strips body fat so quickly, it’s a real challenge.
What are the big changes you've made to your diet?
I guess swopping white carbs for brown carbs has been a massive change, as well as the way I cook. I always steam things and never fry food anymore.
With your busy work schedule, it can’t always be easy to eat healthily. How do you manage it?
It’s all about preparation, there’s no excuse for me to eat badly. I often cook a big batch of food at the beginning of the week so I have it on hand and can take it to work with me too. The key is making it easier and quicker for me to eat a healthy home cooked meal than it is to order a takeaway!
Do you have any unusual tips for keeping your diet healthy and exciting?
Yes, chili and spice! I add it to everything! It’s great for flavour and speeding up the metabolism. I also heard lemon juice helps release protein in broccoli, so my veggie servings usually have a citrus twist!
What have you learnt on your fitness journey?
So many things! Mainly, that our bodies are machines and need to have the right fuel for what they’re doing. If you’re taking a leisurely walk with the dog, you won’t need the same amount of energy as you do for a 20 kilometre run.
I’ve also learnt that it’s true what they say; healthy body, healthy mind. Combining exercise with a healthy diet has definitely improved my mental capacity. I’m more focussed, alert and confident than ever before and best of all I survive on 5 hours sleep a night, which used to be unheard of! I definitely have a new lease on life.