Beginning with just one tiny entry on Twitter, Paul Mumford took on the fitness world with his challenges for followers across the globe. After building a network of people eager to get in shape, Paul founded The Accumulator™

The plan, other than delivering body-weight movements and high-intensity interval training, is to completely shake up what is already on the market with a fresh take on easing yourself into regular exercise.

I sat down with Paul to ask about his journey, and quiz him behind the book’s ideals.

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An easy environment to slip up

Working in radio for 12 years and DJing in clubs meant that a young Paul found an easy environment to become very unhealthy. With the hours being so scattered, he was eating terribly and smoking too. His career in broadcasting began with a job reading travel news from a tiny plane. As you can imagine, many hours spent flying in all weathers often at low altitude meant his body took a battering and felt the effects.

“At first I just ignored my back pain and treated it with painkillers. Then one morning I woke up and I couldn’t move. Consultants at the hospital confirmed that one of my intervertebral discs in my back had burst.”

Healing physically and mentally

Following the disc herniation it was six months before he got back into the plane.

During this time, his physiotherapist taught him about core strength and he slowly became more intrigued by the mechanics of his own body.

“When I was younger, I was very unfit and quite a large kid which was uncommon in the 80′s. I was always last to be picked for games, and therefore had a complete distaste for anything sports related. During my back recovery it dawned on me that I hated sports at school because I couldn’t win against the fitter kids and not because I hated sport. Then, when a surgeon told me I’d never be able to run again, I realised that I had to start competing against myself so I could move pain free, which is where my love of exercise started”.

Finding my new focus

Initially, Paul worked as a personal trainer alongside presenting his breakfast show on SGR FM in Suffolk, UK. Then a shake up at the station gave him the opportunity to leave radio behind and pursue fitness full time.

From day 1 his ethos has been to never expect his clients to do anything he couldn’t do himself. So with a permanent weakness in his back, Paul had some work to do which helped to keep him focussed and fascinated by the biomechanics of exercise.

Then in 2013, after sharing an idea on Twitter to motivate himself with a month long running plan, he began to draw attention from all over the world and his followers then became hungry for new challenges. Slowly, The Accumulator™ was born.

“I never really sat down and planned The Accumulator™ concept. I had some time on my hands in the run up to Christmas and I wanted to see how far I could take this whole concept of a 30 day exercise plan. People seemed to like it because The Accumulator™ attracted more people and became a regular monthly plan. The book offer was just a happy accident.”

interval training_2Lose the shoes

Another challenge Paul set himself was to begin running barefoot. Yes, it’s exactly how it sounds.

“After my accident I tried running again and did pretty well but then it started to hurt my knees. I was close to giving up when someone recommended I check out a guy in California called Ken Bob Saxton, who had been running with nothing on his feet his entire life.”

“After learning how Ken Bob managed to run barefoot, it sparked my imagination and I wanted to find out more. Barefoot running completely changed me as suddenly I could feel exactly where I was going wrong.”

“I effectively learnt to run again by landing on my forefoot rather than my heel which totally changed my posture. Then by stripping away the fabric and rubber covering and protecting my feet, I could feel everything and my feet became stronger. As a result I became a much better, faster and pain free runner.

With numerous activities like bare-foot running in a world full of fat fiction and nutrition lies, it becomes irksome to actually decipher what’s good for you.

“To begin with, I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t put in my body what I couldn’t spell. Obviously the exception to that being quinoa.”

Healthy addictions

In The Accumulator™ book, Paul admits to previously smoking heavily and eating pretty badly too. Because he has made some big changes to get where he is today, it seems an achievable feat for others attempting to give up an unhealthy lifestyle.

Especially for someone like me, who’s trying to be healthier… and I just admitted to him that I don’t eat breakfast. Uh-oh.

“We all eat a diet that’s based around habits, some are good and some are bad. Not eating breakfast is just bad habit that you can change. It’s the same with the workout, by following the plan you are slowly making exercise a habit.”

Variation is key

By introducing a new exercise each day, The Accumulator™ book increases your stamina in a step-by-step guide with easy to follow instructions and photos. The plan is an excellent alternative for those who do not have the motivation or money to religiously go to a gym.

A far cry from a donkey with a carrot stuck in front you – as Paul encourages outdoor exercise and a variation in routine.

“There are many other exercise plans on the market that assume you already have a certain level of fitness, the truth is that the majority of the UK’s population are very unfit.”

“Many don’t even want to step foot in a gym. I wanted to address this and make people realise that fitness is a great addiction but you have to take the first step. So why not start slowly?”

“I’d like to take The Accumulator™ further by reaching out to more people. However I’m very aware that it’s just me at the moment – I’ve done all of this myself! My next plan is to get more people on board and take it from there.”

The Accumulator™ is not a lose-five-stone-in-six-days quick fix miracle plan. Both the book and the on line programme teach you how to build things up slowly, day by day to gradually grow muscle, burn fat and build new habits. The Accumulator™ is fresh out to play and is now available from all good bookstores.

Paul’s top tips to a healthy lifestyle

1. Keep your kitchen clean

I’m not talking about detergent. I’m referring to keeping your kitchen free from unhealthy food. We are often tempted to tuck into a treat from time to time (for instance, when watching the telly). If there’s nothing unhealthy to eat in the fridge you’ll choose something healthy instead.

2. Drink water

A whole 2 litre bottle of water can be daunting prospect to drink in a day but there’s water in food too (a cucumber is 80% water). So my advice is to look at your pee – if it’s clear, you’re hydrated.

3. Eat breakfast

Break the fast. Your body is gagging for fuel and your metabolism is at its slowest first thing in the morning. If you don’t eat breakfast you are more likely to snack on something high in sugar later in the morning as your body becomes desperate for energy. 

You can find more information on Paul’s book the Accumulator hereBe sure to keep an eye out on the WatchFit articles page for Paul’s upcoming fitness articles and plans. 

Connect with Expert Paul Mumford.

Interview by Samantha Jagger, WatchFit. Photo credit: Eddie Macdonald and Bloomsbury.

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