My Health & Fitness Rules: **Wes Santos**
My Health & Fitness Rules: **Wes Santos**

My Health & Fitness Rules: Wes Santos


Wes Santos is the founder of Instate Fitness – London’s newest PT-led studio. On a mission to help everyone train like an athlete, Wes believes that a workout doesn’t need to be long to be effective, that we should all be eating more protein, and that there’s always a place for cardio. Here are his hard-earned training rules in full…

Fitness doesn’t need to be complicated. I like to keep it simple – move more, challenge yourself, and don’t treat your body like a dustbin. Never take your body and movement for granted. And know that the workout programme that worked for your mate isn’t necessarily the right one for you – the plan that’ll work for you is the plan you’ll stick to. Finding something you genuinely enjoy matters. Everyone’s chasing instant gratification and a magic pill but the truth is you need to build a nutrition and training programme that works for you, that allows you to enjoy yourself, and a plan you can build into your life, for life. 

Supersets are a simple way to increase the intensity of a workout. My go-to workout includes two blocks of strength movements performed as a superset. A superset is when you perform two exercises back-to-back without resting – the benefits include increased muscle growth and strength and greater muscle activation, all in a shorter workout. When I work out, I’ll focus on one primary strength movement and one accessory movement – like an elevated lunge into a press-up. This will help you get the most out of each session as you focus on the primary strength exercise (the elevated lunge) while also getting in the ‘easier’ accessory exercise (the press-up) during an active rest.

A workout doesn’t need to be long to be effective. I’m a fan of an EMOM (every minute, on the minute) workout, as well as an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). Using an EMOM structure also keeps me focused and is like a superset in that it offers minimal rest periods for enhanced results. One of my favourite ways to work out is a lower-body EMOM, including lunges, the assault bike and a prowler drag or push. When a workout is short, however, a warm-up is even more essential. I always include a ten-minute mobility flow at the start of a session, incorporating movements like crawls and lunge variations to raise the heart rate and prime the body.

Have a protein source with every meal and watch how your recovery and body composition improve.”

There’s still a place for cardio. It goes without saying strength training is vital for a stronger, more resilient body, but cardio is also important. I’m into energy system development (ESD) – a form of cardio training that focuses on improving the body’s three main energy systems. This type of training will enable you to work more efficiently, recover quicker and ultimately handle more volume. A simple way to build ESD into your workouts is to add them into the end of your session as a finisher or accessory cardio block of work. It can also be useful to establish your baseline levels for various energy systems, so you have something to improve on. Determine your fitness goals and identify which energy systems you want to target. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, you’ll want to focus on your aerobic energy system, while to build explosive strength and endurance, include high-intensity training or sprinting.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Nail the basics – learn how to squat, hinge, push, pull and control your core properly – and then overload through reps, load and time under tension. Aim to ensure the last few reps are always a challenge. When it gets easy, add more reps, load or volume. So many guys forget about nailing the basics and end up trying to build from an unstable foundation.

We can all benefit from eating more protein. Most clients I see undereat protein. If you want to look and feel better, eat more protein. Aim to have a protein source with every meal and watch how your recovery, appetite and body composition improve. As well as helping the body build and repair tissue, protein assists in energy metabolism and cellular processes. It’s also used as important building blocks of bones, blood, skin, cartilage and muscles. We can all benefit from upping our nutrient intake, too. I encourage my clients – and myself – to eat as much quality food as possible, with as many nutrients as possible, while meeting their body composition targets.

Breakfast should always be rich in protein. I encourage my clients to base their breakfast around either Greek yoghurt, eggs or whey protein. My go-to is 80g of oats with one scoop of whey protein mixed with oat milk and one tub of Greek yoghurt left in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I add 50g of blueberries and 50g of raspberries, topped with 30g of ManiLife peanut butter. When it comes to snacks, I’m a fan of Barebells protein bars, Skyr yoghurt and biltong. 

I rate Fresh Fitness Food. I love cooking, but I recently used Fresh Fitness Food for a couple of months and was impressed. It saved me so much time and the ease of having my meals delivered every morning was awesome. You can personalise your plan according to your goals – for example, the muscle building plan focuses on a high-carb, high-protein macro split to facilitate growth and recovery. If I’m cooking, dinner is based around meat with a good serving of veg – fajitas, healthy curries, grilled salmon and steak are on rotation. 

Sleep is an integral part of wellbeing. It’s far too easy to let your sleep suffer – modern life is full on and sometimes it’s hard to say no to functions, trips or just working too much. The Oura ring is a fantastic tool for providing accountability around your sleep. I appreciate the bedtime prompts it provides, which are a useful cue to ensure I’m winding down at the right time, especially with the occasional early alarm. Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep is a fascinating read – it’ll open your eyes to the importance of adequate sleep. When working with athletes, I often preach that their sleep environments need to be tech free, and as dark and cold as possible.

There’s nothing better than down-regulating with a long sauna session.”

Hot and cold therapy works for me. I know it’s all the craze, but ever since my school days I’ve jumped into ice baths. I incorporate a sauna and cold water as much as I can. There’s nothing better than down-regulating with a long sauna session, listening to chilled music to get my brain in recovery mode. 

Join a gym that cares. The choice has never been better when it comes to gyms, which is great, but some are better than others, especially if you’re a beginner or someone who lacks confidence when it comes to fitness. I know I’m biased, but if you want to see results that last, join a gym that gives a shit. Whatever level you’re at, fitness can be confusing and at times overwhelming. My suggestion is to always value yourself enough to get your skin in the game – pay for real coaching and find a gym that’ll guide you and help you make fitness and wellness an integral part of your life. 

Instate Fitness takes a fresh approach to personal training. Not everyone has the money for a PT on tap, so it offers PT-led sessions in small groups. To book a session, visit Instate.Fitness

Follow @WesSantosFitness


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