WHL meets The Lean Machines

4 May 2017 by
First published: 9 May 2017

We love chatting to people at the top of their game, and this week WHL meets The Lean Machines, the coolest guys on the fitness scene.

Otherwise known as John Chapman and Leon Bustin, The Lean Machines bring a refreshing burst of charisma to the world of health and fitness. The duo connect with their followers via regular workout videos, vlogs and tips on how to live a healthy life. The Lean Machines have recently teamed up with Philips for its #HealthyHabitSwap campaign to show everyone just how easy living healthily can be by making small changes to your daily routine. John and Leon chatted to us all about their fitness journeys, filming with idol Jamie Oliver and what it’s like being YouTube sensations.

How did the two of you become The Lean Machines?

We’ve been the best friends for over 15 years now. We worked together in our local gym, learning our trade and building our knowledge as personal trainers, then five years ago decided to take it to YouTube to see if we could help even more people out there in the world feel awesome!

Has living a healthy lifestyle always been important to both of you?

We’re both very active in and out of the gym and genuinely love exercising and pushing ourselves. We both want to be around for as long as we possibly can and experience as much as we can in life, so in order to do that it’s very important to keep ourselves healthy.

Your YouTube channel, TheLeanMachines, has a whopping 369k subscribers and more than 20 million views. When did you realise how popular it had become?

To be honest, we weren’t the first to notice – it was our friends and family. We’ve spent our time just creating videos and talking to our viewers and followers on social media. We’re extremely proud of the community we have. For us, it’s all about seeing how our videos benefit and change people’s lives – that’s why we do what we do.

What are your favourite and least favourite workouts?

Least favourite, burpees. Does anyone actually like doing them? Because we don’t. Favourite is CrossFit. It’s epic and we’ve met loads of great friends through working out together.

What do you typically eat before and after a workout?

It depends on the time of day, but generally we work out in the morning, so pre-workout would be something like oats, raisins and whole milk. We also love a pre-workout coffee – it’s a must!

In your opinions, what are the pros and cons of fitness trends spreading on social media?

The main pro is the fact that it’s undoubtedly got people more interested in fitness and well being. But sadly people see a lot of confusing and inaccurate information, which means they don’t get the results they deserve.

What challenges have either of you faced on your fitness journeys?

The main challenge, which is also the beauty of health and fitness, is the seemingly forever changing and evolving research and training styles. When we were younger and less knowledgeable about how our own bodies responded best, it was always hard to stay committed to a certain protocol. As soon as a new one came along we just had to try that, which would more often than not leave us never really knowing what worked.

Which kind of videos do you enjoy filming the most?

Vlog-style round-ups, which have an equal mix of training, tips and a hell of a lot of positive vibes. The key for us is to always give our audience as much as possible in every video to help them go away feeling epic, motivated and like they’ve learned something through watching us.

You’ve filmed videos with an array of famous guests, including the likes of Tom Daley, Lewis Hamilton and Jamie Oliver. What’s the funniest anecdote that you can remember from one of your collaborative videos?

The funniest was when we filmed with Jamie Oliver. We are HUGE fans of him and were incredibly nervous when we found out that not only were we going to meet him, but we were also going to be cooking together! The whole shoot was a bit of a blur to be honest. It seemed to be going great until the final take of the shoot where I [Leon] suddenly had a moment where I thought ‘Oh my days, we’re filming with Jamie Oliver’! As we signed out during the shoot I said some rambled nonsense and finished it off with ‘Check out the recipes, they’re nom nom good…’ I have no idea where that came from, but it was a great moment!

Do either of you ever find it difficult leading a healthy lifestyle when you have such busy schedules?

For sure, it can be really tough, especially when we’re on the road a lot. The easiest way for us to build some good, long-lasting healthy habits is to plan ahead and change one thing at a time. When we get time, we always prepare food to take away any unnecessary temptation on the road. Then it’s just a case of making the best choices with what’s available.

Another really important thing is to get as much nutrient-dense single-ingredient foods as possible, especially pre- or post-traveling, as the healthy options can be limited massively on the road. This is where the Philips Avance Collection Juicer can come in very handy to help keep you topped up on all the good stuff.

What drew you to the Philips #HealthyHabitSwap campaign?

The campaign focuses on making sustainable healthy habits rather than a quick-fix solution, which we can relate to. Whether you want to kick-start the day with a healthy juice instead of a morning coffee or swap a sweet snack for a juice to stop the afternoon slump, the Philips juicers allow juicing to be a convenient healthy habit to fit into busy lifestyles.

Our favourite thing about the juicer is its FiberBoost technology, allowing for 50 per cent more fibre in your glass for a more wholesome juice. Everyone has their own personal tastes, particularly about the texture of their drink, so we find the juicer caters for everyone at home!

What healthy habit swaps would you advise?

Rest as much as you work out, if not more. Experience has taught us that burning the candle from both ends is not a good idea for long-term results and optimal health, physically or mentally.

Use a training style you enjoy. We used to just lift weights well because we thought that was the only way, and everyone else around us lifted weights too. But we never really invested in the plans long-term. It was almost like a yo-yo diet for the training side of things. Since discovering activities such as gymnastics, climbing and now, more recently CrossFit, training has become as much fun as it is challenging, which holds our attention and keeps us motivated.

What would you say to anyone struggling to find the time to maintain their health and fitness?

The first thing we would say is that everybody has the time, but not everyone has the same amount of free time as each other. Whether you have five minutes per day or two hours per day, results can still be achieved. It just comes down to using the time you do have effectively.

We’d also recommend starting with small changes rather than a complete lifestyle change, as you’ll be much more likely to stick to this. Even if it’s just swapping out fizzy drinks at lunchtime a couple of days a week, you can slowly build this up and will notice changes in your energy levels sooner than you think.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Just being part of the health and fitness world and seeing just how much it evolves over the next 12 months. The industry is starting to change and become more health- and happiness-based, which is where it should be heading in our opinion. The body is only as great as the mind controlling it.