Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-gladiators-sabre-and-apollo’s-workout-routines-revealed-–-including-the-12-physical-tests-as-part-of-the-show’s-‘gruelling’-selection-processAlert – Gladiators Sabre and Apollo’s workout routines revealed – including the 12 physical tests as part of the show’s ‘gruelling’ selection process

They have wowed audiences each Saturday night, showing off their athleticism and strength as they battle contenders. 

But how exactly the Gladiators get, and stay, in such incredible shape is something fans are dying to know.

Gladiators Sabre and Apollo, aka Sheli McCoy and Alex Gray, spoke to the Sunday Times about how they train, recover and eat, in order to remain unstoppable in the arena. 

The show’s stars need to be near-impossible competition, and Sabre and Apollo revealed that the selection process was ‘gruelling’.

Consisting of 12 physical tests, wannabe gladiators are put through their paces as their cardio, speed and strength are tested through CrossFit-inspired workouts.

Gladiators Sabre and Apollo, aka Sheli McCoy and Alex Gray, spoke to the Sunday Times about how they train, recover and eat, in order to remain unstoppable in the arena (Pictured is Sabre)

Gladiators Sabre and Apollo, aka Sheli McCoy and Alex Gray, spoke to the Sunday Times about how they train, recover and eat, in order to remain unstoppable in the arena (Pictured is Sabre)

The show's stars need to be near-impossible competition, and Sabre and Apollo revealed that the selection process was 'gruelling' (Pictured is Apollo)

The show’s stars need to be near-impossible competition, and Sabre and Apollo revealed that the selection process was ‘gruelling’ (Pictured is Apollo)

A walk in the park for Sabre, who is a CrossFit professional and weightlifting champion. 

The Scottish star, who grew up in Fife and can deadlift 160g, trains in CrossFit for 16 to 20 hours a week, consisting of full-body workouts which tackle ‘speed, stamina, strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, co-ordination and balance’.

She said she also swims, runs, cycles and rows, as well as taking on obstacle courses in a handstand position – definitely a skill for those who are more advanced.

For those keen to reach Sabre’s heights, a sample CrossFit workout could include using a barbell, running 400m and doing five muscle-ups – where at the top of a pull up the athlete flexes their arms and pulls their torse over the bar. 

But simply getting through that is not enough, Sabre says, as she would do that circuit ten times.   

‘I’ll always do push-ups, handstand push-ups and single leg squats,’ she added.

Apollo on the other-hand, focuses his training around pushing very heavy things.

Privately schooled Apollo started out as a Rugby player, signing up for the Newcastle Falcons when he was 17.

Sabre, who is a CrossFit professional and weightlifting champion trains in CrossFit for 16 to 20 hours a week, consisting of full-body workouts which tackle 'speed, stamina, strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, co-ordination and balance' (Pictured in 2022)

Sabre, who is a CrossFit professional and weightlifting champion trains in CrossFit for 16 to 20 hours a week, consisting of full-body workouts which tackle ‘speed, stamina, strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, co-ordination and balance’ (Pictured in 2022)

Sabre said she also swims, runs, cycles and rows, as well as taking on obstacle courses in a handstand position - definitely a skill for those who are more advanced (Pictured in February 2023)

Sabre said she also swims, runs, cycles and rows, as well as taking on obstacle courses in a handstand position – definitely a skill for those who are more advanced (Pictured in February 2023)

He briefly played for England Sevens and then tried out American Football – even making it to the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. 

Weighing 112kg, standing at a towering 6ft6in and able to deadlift 270kg, Apollo is a machine. 

Perhaps less than some would expect, Apollo works out for four hours each day.

Mondays start with speed work, followed by lower body weights, and Tuesday is focused on upper body weights and cardio. 

Wednesday is often a rest day, before his Monday and Tuesday routine is repeated on Thursday and Friday.   

‘With strength work, a lot of it is built around power movements — so jumps, plyometrics and lifting — then into compound lifts such as your squat, your bench, your deadlifts,’ he said.

Plyometrics training helps to build muscle through high-intensity, short bursts of activity.

Opening up about his weaknesses, Apollo says his size means his downfall is cardio, so instead he focuses on resistance sprints using bands for ‘explosive power’.

A key part of staying in top shape is recovery, which is why rest days, massages and physio are so important. 

Privately schooled Apollo started out as a Rugby player, signing up for the Newcastle Falcons when he was 17 (Pictured in 2017)

Privately schooled Apollo started out as a Rugby player, signing up for the Newcastle Falcons when he was 17 (Pictured in 2017)

Sabre tore her hamstring in 2023, so said she gets a sports massage twice a week and occasionally braves an ice bath as part of her ‘rehabbing’.

Amid her recovery, Sabre is unable to sprint, run long distance or push heavy things.

Sleep is a priority for Sabre and Apollo, with Sabre needing eight and Apollo, nine – with both operating under a 10pm bedtime. 

It is proven that building muscle is heavily dependent on what you eat – and how much. 

Retaining muscle comes with eating a lot of food, with many body builders and athletes sticking to strict diets to ensure they are getting a consistent amount of calories, carbs and protein in each meal. 

For Apollo, who eats 4,000 calories a day and drinks 3.5 litres of water, a standard breakfast consists of six eggs on salad with two slices of toast, and porridge topped with berries. Lunches and dinners always include a variation of chicken, fish, steak, rice, potatoes, pasta and vegetables – but his ‘fast-carb’ guilty pleasure is a post-training bowl of cereal. 

Sabre meanwhile, aims for 2,700 calories each day and starts the morning with porridge and either a protein shake or bar, sometimes adding a bagel with ham. 

Protein-heavy meals are Sabre’s go-to, usually based on a meat and two veg style, and peanut butter-topped rice cakes are her favourite snack.

Apollo briefly played for England Sevens and then tried out American Football - even making it to the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons (Pictured in 2018)

Apollo briefly played for England Sevens and then tried out American Football – even making it to the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons (Pictured in 2018)