After taking out the 2015 crown in everyone's fave guilty pleasure reality TV show The Bachelor, Sam Wood and Snezana Markoski have quickly become one of Australia's favourite couples. The engaged couple have recently moved into a new Melbourne pad and are getting ready to get married. But that's not the only project they've been working on: personal trainer Sam launched an online fitness program 28 By Sam Wood in February this year and has seen membership numbers grow every month,
Here, he chats to us about the program, how he trained fiancé Snezana and the couple's plans for the future.
28 By Sam Wood is an all-online platform. Did you expect it to work this well?
It's totally blown me away. I've been a personal trainer for nearly 17 years and worked with hundreds of clients face to face and I always thought in an online world I think I'd be able to get good results, but probably not connect quite as deeply or get quite as good results. It's actually the opposite.
The [clients] are doing something every day, I'm in touch with them daily, and it's not just workout, there's a comprehensive food, meditation and nutrition component. Plus, there's a community of people that are just like them, so they can relate [to each other] so easily.
So they all talk to each other, and connect?
Yeah, we've got a private Facebook of nearly 20,000 people on it, we send out three emails a week keeping those that are not on Facebook group in touch. We also run cool competitions, and I literally show them every facet of my life, most of it health and fitness related but some of it family stuff. Where they see Snez she's goofing around, and having a bit of a joke, and not taking life too seriously.
And every program goes for 28 days?
Yes, a new program launches on the first Monday of every month. We keep it open for three days and then we shut it. Only because the workout's progressive.
What kind of exercises do you do?
It's a 28 minute video with me every day. It's a different workout every day, and then it's a totally different program every month. They get good results, so it's all about efficiency. And we have five levels: when you sign up you choose from rookie to maniac, and whatever you choose you only get the video relevant to the level you choose.
So what does an average week look like?
It's a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday full body toning and fat burning workouts, with five different levels, so it can be hard but it's relative to your fitness level. Wednesday is more of a yoga, Pilates based workout to get through hump day so that you can hit Thursday with a vengeance. Then Saturday, Sunday are active recovery sessions, so we encourage people to do them with their families. It might be bike riding, swimming, walking, jogging - there are 10 different options to choose from.
Is it targeted for more people who want to lose weight or get toned?
We have two programs, a weight loss and a strength program. Strength's more if you're at the right weight, but you'd like to be stronger, fitter, more toned and have more energy. Then there's the weight loss which is focused on cardio and a low carb with the eating plan. We've had people that've been on the program now since February who have lost upwards of 50 kilos so it's been pretty amazing.
Did Snezana start on the program or were you training her before that?
Sort of. That wasn't really the catalyst. I've always been a personal trainer, have a PT Shed out in Melbourne and after The Bachelor I started getting social media messages saying, "Hey, Sam when are you opening a Wood Shed in Sydney?" Or "I've seen the results of people who are getting in your gym how do I train with you?" They'd ask if I could email them programs and that kind of thing. So then I created as an online program in September last year. And then I [did it for] Snez. Because Snez - not that she needed to lose a lot of weight - but she put on weight on in the house.
She didn't even look like she really needed to lose weight.
No, well she put it on in the house. Just from boredom. And these little fun sized Snickers bars were just everywhere. You're watching DVDs for six hours a day while the dates are going on.
Anyway she said, "I want you to train me." I said, "Well I've just designed this program, I want you to do it." She was in Perth, so I couldn't train her face to face anyway. She was the perfect guinea pig and once she sets her mind to something she's pretty dedicated. She did it every day and lost 10 kilos in two months. Obviously a great pin up girl.
It's great that you can do that from a completely different city and it still works.
Absolutely, look I was very confident that it would work, but Snez didn't do extra, I said, "This only will work if you only do the 28 minutes, and will only work if you only follow the eating plan as well." She's like okay, and obviously being Macedonian there's a fair few pastries, bread and stuff in there. She was like, "My mum thinks I'm nuts." Under those conditions I think she did a remarkable job!
Now she does it four days a week, and she might come in and train with me once a week just for a bit of fun and for us to catch up. We try to stay active together as a family on the weekends, go bike riding with Eve, or bush walking. She just maintains it.
I have to ask - what do you think of the current Bachelor and Bachelorette couples?
I haven't met Lee, but met Georgia a year ago when I did Movember, she was a news reporter in Tassie. I didn't know I'd met her until it was in a magazine, there was a photo of us. I've met Richie a couple of times, and Alex seems lovely as well. I think they cop a fair bit of flack.
You're lucky - you guys didn't get that.
We definitely didn't comparatively. It's interesting to look from afar. I don't know, I think the thing with my season was people loved Snez. I know why, I fell in love with her too, but because they loved her so much they were just rapt that I choose her. I think it's just people make different choices, I don't know... I guess time will tell.
Did you find it weird that people that you don't know are so invested in the relationship?
That shocks you. There was a little bit of initial backlash on my season, that took me by surprise at the time. They're watching it on TV like it happened yesterday, it was filmed three months earlier and you're in this great relationship with a girl and they're like, "You have stuffed up." No I haven't! You laugh about it, the way they get invested. We had a laugh about it, when I met Richie and Alex for the first time together. Alex is getting all this hate trolling on social media and stuff. Obviously the simple advice is don't read it, but it's easier said than done.
You probably thought, I am going on a TV show, but how many people are going to watch this?
I remember when they first told me I was the guy, Sean (the executive producer) grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "Mate, do you understand how big this is? I just don't think you understand how much your life will change almost overnight and how much pressure you'll be under."
The thing they were concerned about with me, was the show itself had got a lot of backlash after what happened with Blake and Sam Frost. He was concerned that because of that drama people would have their claws out without giving me a chance. Again I hadn't thought it through in that much detail, but then you see headlines, 'Will Sam be Australia's new most hated man?' No pressure!
Well luckily your story played out nicely. Have you guys got wedding plans?
Snez is choosing venues as we speak. I'd like to have some say, but within reason she can do whatever she likes - I don't really mind. We're getting married in Melbourne, next year sometime. The plan is just for her to find her dream location and then depending on availability and everything else, it will fall into place. We want a bit of privacy. We don't want to have a huge wedding, with paparazzi everywhere if we can help it. Just something where our closest friends and family are there would be really nice.
Sam Wood's next fitness program kicks off on November first. For info and to sign up head to 28bysamwood.com