Photography: Joseph Sinclare
Since he was a teenager, Eyal Booker has wanted to have a slamming body. But then he realised that just because you look fit doesn't mean you are. Ahead of his new show, we asked the Love Island alum how he keeps fit..
Eyal Booker of Love Island fame is a very enthusiastic man. The sort of enthusiastic man that, on our way back from our interview, I began to wonder if he was being paid to be this ecstastic. He confirmed to me he was not: he really just loves electric scooters, F45 and Panzer’s Deli as much as he says.
F45 – the three-quarter-of-an-hour exercise class – is more than just a passion of Booker’s: he does it literally every weekday morning. It came to him at a particularly important phase of his fitness journey, one that has enveloped his entire life and taught him an important lesson about aesthetics versus functionality. The first time he did it, it completely winded him, which he wasn't used to: he'd always been the sporty, fit one.
“I become completely obsessed with things that I'm not so good at but want to get better at, so I thought, right, I need to get into this F45 thing,” explained Booker. “Up until then I thought I was fit and I wasn't, and at F45 I realised what being fit really is: it's not about what you look like on the outside, but also how you feel on the inside and how your cardio impacts your training and stuff like that.”
Booker is now over his phase on dating shows after Love Island and a stint on Celebs Go Dating: “I think I'm dated out in the public eye. I'm enjoying going back to privately dating and it's nice to have the focus on me as a person and not on what girl I'm going to chat up now.” Instead, he wants 2019 to be the year that he's in the best shape he's ever been. He'll also be returning to our screens on the quite frankly ludicrous sounding Celebs On A Ranch, which is exactly what it sounds like and will therefore become compulsive viewing.
In the mean time, we wanted to know exactly what he does to keep fit on a day-to-day basis. If you don't like the idea of exercise classes, avert your eyes.
“I wake up at about 7am and F45 will be my first port of call. I will struggle getting out of bed, I won't want to get out of bed, but I jump on my little electric scooter in my shorts and my puffa jacket and I'm on my way to F45 Tottenham Court Road. It's a 45 minute class and for me it wakes me up and it organises and clears my mind. If I can get through this class – I'm not a morning person – then my day is set and secure.
I've always been a natural intermittent faster. I'll eat up until about 8-9pm in the evening and then usually I won't start to eat until noon the next day. That's just how I work. I'll do F45 without eating before, I might have an espresso shot to wake me up, and then I'll go about my day. I've started to have a protein shake in the morning because I'd like to gain a bit more size, but breakfast doesn't really interest me. So protein is just an easy and effective way: a plant-based protein shake, because I don't think whey protein is the way forward if it doesn't have to be.
On a Monday, Wednesday and Friday I try and get back into the gym. I'll do two sessions a day, meet up with my friend at a local gym and do a more weighted session in the afternoon, to isolate certain areas and build on that.
I'll have another protein shake after that session – it's not mandatory – and then in the evening I have my biggest meal: an overload of a lot of protein, a lot of carbs and a lot of veg. I love broccoli, so nine times out of ten there'll be a lot of broccoli going on. My carb has always been rice and it's just a carb I like, it doesn't sit heavy in my stomach but it does release the same amount of energy. I don't eat a lot of red meat, I don't believe we are designed to digest as much red meat as we consume, so I try and stick to white meats and fish: a lot of chicken or tuna.
“Monday to Friday I'll be doing F45 every morning and my diet sort of remains the same every day. I'll eat quite a sizeable lunch. Lunch for me has always been sandwiches – I love sandwiches. They're easy, convenient, you can have them everywhere and anywhere, so it'll be a sandwich or two with a packet of crisps to be honest, maybe a ‘baked’ packet because they're slightly healthier.
My dream sandwich is a sesame seed bagel with smoked turkey, cheddar, pesto and tomatoes toasted from Panzers. When I came out of Love Island, and they know that I used to go there every day for that bagel, they named the bagel after me. So now you can go in there and request that bagel.
Regardless of what time my day starts, there will be training before my day starts. Because I know in my head that my day will not be as fluid and I won't be representing myself as strongly if I don't get myself trained at some point to wake up and organise myself.
If I'm on set filming something, nine times out of ten they'll have a Deliveroo option so for me that'll be a meal that is healthy in some respects: high in protein. I rarely eat fast food. We can eat fast without it being a McDonald's or a Burger King, which isn't produced from good quality food.
A coffee will keep me in check, keep me going. A juice is always something, a turmeric shot in winter I think is key.”
“A Wednesday traveling looks pretty long and boring. I don't like sitting still but you kind of have to. Again, if it's not a ridiculously early start I'll try and get my training session in in the morning so I don't hate myself.
A neck pillow is key for travelling. I have the best one, it's like a neck brace, the plane could go down and I'd survive. It is out of this world. I take a book with me – I have an overactive mind – which allows you to switch off and keeps your mind focused on something, because nobody likes a wondering mind if that makes sense.
At the end of that travel day, when you do nothing bar travel, I'm quite drained, so I'll check into a nice hotel and have a bath and that'll be my day.”
“I like to think all hotels have gyms, but a lot of them don't. So it's a body weight circuit in the hotel room just to wake me up and get me going. If I miss a day of training it's not detrimental to my life, but I know what it does for me so I try and do something. I'll put a circuit together, 15-20 minutes max of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, to get me feeling awake and nimble.
If there's a night to go out it's Thursday night. And I'm not gonna pretend I'm some angel who doesn't go out, because I do. That's one of the hardest things when you're trying to be regimented: we have events all the time and there's always things going on and people offering me drinks.
Everyone at these events is trying to get you to drink – ‘Don't be so boring!’ – but I think it's just a case of saying you're focused and they will respect it.
If I am drunk I won't sleep as well and I won't go to my gym class the next day. And I also know the repercussions I have on myself; I've been there enough and been annoyed at myself for the rest of my day.”
“When traveling home, I'll take it as a rest day. Then I'll make up for it over the next couple of days.
I've got a soup-maker recently. I think soups are amazing, I've never really known how to make them but they're so nutritional. You can throw anything and everything into a soup-maker, so I'll be making some kind of chicken and vegetable soup and just lazing around at home, watching a documentary, sitting with my dog and having a few friends over. I try and get a relatively early night but it never really happens. Just sitting around, filling time doing not very much at all. Just switching off. I try and switch off from social media, put my phone down and have an evening from 8pm, not messaging anyone because I need some alone time.
Alone time is key. As much as I love people, it gets to a point where you need a couple of hours to yourself to not think about anything and have a bath.”
“When the weekend comes, if I can train for the full five days a week, if I want to have Saturday and Sunday off, then I will, but again it's about my headspace. I'll wake up on a Saturday morning and I know I'll be the best version of myself if I train, so I'll take myself off to the gym. And I'll have a more leisurely session where I'm just going through the motions and then Sunday is normally my rest day because recovery is essential and while I hate resting I know that my body needs it. That's where I'll take my breaks.”
“I'm still active, I can't sit down. I have a dog and rest will involve taking him on a long, casual walk. I won't watch what I'm eating, I'll indulge any craving and just tidy up my flat. It's a pain as I'm not a tidy person, but if I organise my life inside I organise my life outside: chilling with friends, lunch, a Sunday roast. Just switching off from the world that we live in. It can get so full on. I'm always thinking about training, but Sundays are a nice day where I tell myself it's OK not to think about it, so I don't.”
Follow Eyal on Instagram: @eyalbooker