Meet Paul Mumford, Personal Trainer and creator of The Accumulator workout. Sundried find out what gets Paul motivated and what it takes to have a successful career in fitness.
Have you always been so dedicated to exercising and eating right?
Not at all. At school I was the fat kid who hated anything that brought me out in even the mildest of sweats. I’d take great pride in creating a myriad of excuses as to why I couldn’t do cross country on any given week and always got picked last for any team. As a young adult I drank, smoked and ate pretty much what I liked while working crazy hours as a DJ. My light bulb moment came in the shape of a big back injury sustained while working in a small plane (don’t ask). I wound up in hospital on all manner of drugs followed by months of physio. I guess you could say that I got a big kick up the backside and that, coupled with an inspirational Canadian Physio made me realise that I wasn’t all that indestructible after all.
What persuaded you to pursue a career in fitness?
I guess it was that whole back injury thing that did it. Primarily my physio taught me how to use my core to protect my permanently fragile lumbar spine. At the time, my surgeon telling me I’d never run again was not a big problem but as I got more fascinated by the control I had over my own body I decided to prove him wrong. Sixteen years later and I’m a barefoot running coach. I proved him wrong big time.
Now though I totally get it. I understand that we have amazing bodies that can do amazing things given the right input.
What made you decide to start The Accumulator workouts?
It really happened by accident. I wanted to motivate myself one Sunday morning while out running. I had an idea to run a total of 50k over one month and tweet a photo every time I added to my goal. #50kinmay caught the attention of hundreds of people and by the end of the month I had been tweeted many photos of total strangers running in some pretty amazing places. By the end of that year I had dreamt up several similar challenges and more and more people came along for the ride. Finally I wanted to see how far I could take it and filmed 30 videos, one for each day with a new exercise added each day. The Accumulator was born and here we are nearly 3 years later.
With hindsight I can see that The Accumulator is incredibly clever (I can say that right)? It’s a perfect tool to motivate the unfit to change their ways because it’s gradual rather than many programmes of its kind that put people off by expecting you to ‘go hard or go home’. At the same time it challenges the people who already love exercise (many of my original members are still doing it). Also by taking out the need for equipment, much space or much time it ticks many other boxes and deals with many of the excuses people use to get out of exercising in the first place.
What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out?
Ooh, let’s go with two things, real simple.
- Your perfect body will not arrive tomorrow. If you haven’t looked after yourself for years it will take time to feel different and look different. However each day is one day closer to where you want to be and one day further away from where you are. That was a bit deep wasn’t it?
- Any temporary change will only give you temporary results. I love this quote (don’t know who said it). I could expand but there would really be no point. Quick diets and six week plans don’t work. You need to do this stuff forever.
If you could do any workout and every condition was perfect (weather, kit, space) what would you be doing and what is your favourite bit of fitness kit, how long have you had it and why?
OK let’s answer both at once here. Favourite bit of kit? My body. I’ve had it for 47 years, it was given to me for free and it gets better the more I use it. Oh and I can take it everywhere with me so I can exercise whenever I fancy.
So logically my favourite workout uses my body and nothing else. The variety of exercises I can do are virtually limitless and there is always a new way to challenge myself so it never gets boring. Also I never split my body up when I exercise. My body is one muscle hanging in 640 different places and not 640 individual muscles.
How do you balance being a writer, PT, parent, training and a social life as well as making guest appearances on TV and radio?
Well firstly my family and the ones I love are my priority. They are always first. As far as everything else is concerned, I truly believe that by doing what I love it will never feel like work and never be stressful. So if I don’t want to do something I won’t do it. I’ve had to learn this though, once upon a time I said yes to everyone and everything. That was stressful. I guess learning to say no once in awhile can be a good thing. Plus I think I am more valuable to someone if I’m enjoying myself.
What made you decide to work with Sundried?
I love helping people, that’s why I do what I do. Nothing gives me a buzz more. In business I always try to champion companies and brands I believe in. I’m proud to walk into a gym and stand in front of a camera wearing Sundried clothing because I believe in the brand. I have been nothing but impressed by the quality of the product and the people who deliver it.