Sam Callahan may have shot to fame thanks to his time on The X Factor, but the young star has done something impressive in maintaining public interest years after his stint on that show. He may not have taken home the top prize, but he did earn himself legions of loyal fans who still to this day celebrate his work.

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

Not only renowned for his voice, Sam has been on a fitness journey for as long as we can remember, and looks to be in the best shape of his life. Here, he talks all about his exercise routine, what others can do to get started, and some of his personal goals.

You’ve been on a fitness journey for some time; can you tell us a little bit about when you first decided you wanted to get in the best physical shape possible, and how you started?

So I’ve always been in a fairly good shape; I played a lot of sport when I was young and then I used to dance for the shows that I did as a teenager which has gone on to mean that I have good muscle memory which is very lucky for me!

During my time on The X Factor I had to eat for my voice, which meant no dairy, nothing sticky or spicy, and nothing salty. I drank nothing but water or warm honey drinks and avoided anything too sugary as well.

During my time in the [X Factor] house, I created the gym that we had in the garage and I used to run laps around the huge garden too… At the end of my time there, I was in the best shape I’d ever been in!

After the competition we embarked on the 42-date arena tour. In complete contrast with my diet during the competition, on tour I ate terribly! We’d finish the shows at around 10pm and by the time we got to our hotel the only thing available to eat was usually Domino’s Pizza. The tour bus often stopped at McDonalds if we were no route to another city through the night and then on our days off, there was nowhere to work out, and we’d eat out for two to three meals a day anyway!

As I’m sure you can imagine, my body changed drastically throughout my time on tour; I lost any definition I once had, grew a bit of a belly and grew thicker in the face, etc.

After the tour I knew I had to do something about this and I thought if I do a public fitness transformation, it’ll add to the pressure for me to stick to the dieting and the fitness plans!

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

How do you keep your knowledge when it comes to fitness up to date?

I think that’s the best thing about fitness: you don’t really have to! Some of the best workouts and regimes are also some of the oldest tricks in the book; it’s not really about being “up to date” with it all. It’s more about finding what works for you and being consistent about it.

What are some of your biggest personal fitness goals?

Well, I’m riding the London to Brighton off road this weekend which is 76 miles, so for me, fitness is as much about pushing the boundaries and finding your personal limits as it is about looking good and staying in shape. I like to push myself; it’s always cool when you hit a new milestone with a weight you’re lifting, or a time that you complete a run or cycle route!

So I think the great thing is that the goals continue to grow and that it’s not like you get to a point where you’re ‘done’, as such.

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

What advice would you have for those who would love to get in shape, but don’t know where to start?

I think the key is doing SOMETHING rather than nothing! We all know the basics, right? Exercise burns calories and builds muscle, and we should eat what we know to be good for us; that’s all you have to do to start. It doesn’t matter that you’re not a fitness guru and don’t know all the facts.

You’ll learn the more extensive exercises and the nitty gritty of dieting along the way, but so many people just can’t get past the first goal post and that of course, is taking the first step and using what you already know to create a new routine for yourself.

What’s your regular schedule and routine when it comes to exercise?

I now train six to seven days a week which isn’t possible for 99% of people I know! But that wasn’t always the case; when I made the fitness transition that people know about, I had the discipline to eat well and I ran along the streets near where I live. I didn’t even have a gym membership, I just did push-ups and crunches in my living room to grow muscle.

I think people also use ‘healthy food is expensive’ as another excuse; I think it can be, if you’re eating steak every night and choosing everything organic. However, if you’re just wanting to get started, fruit and veg is one of the cheapest things in the supermarket, and you can get great sources of protein for not much money, like a box of 15 eggs for less than £2; three tins of tuna can be about £1; 1kg of frozen chicken for £4… It’s all there, you just need to look for it!

Personally I try to stick to one cheat day a week when I can eat whatever I want, but even then you don’t really go mad, because you know that whatever you take in, you have to work off on your next few workouts. Training is hard work and I feel like eating bad is just me standing in my own way!

I usually train in the morning to get it out of the way so I can go about the rest of my day feeling fit, fresh and ready for whatever else I have to be able to tackle.

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

Many say exercise and fitness really helps their mental health; is that something you’ve experienced personally?

Absolutely, 100%. I still train four or five days a week now when I’m not trying too hard to look muscly or lose body fat, just because training is like my own form of meditation. If I have a bad day, going to the gym lets off some steam; if I have too much on my mind, training clears my head.

If I am honest, I went through a rough patch where my mental health was really tough to deal with and I didn’t leave the house for anything other than going to the gym, because it was like therapy!

I believe training and exercise can solve a lot of things for people.

How important is nutrition when it comes to a balanced diet?

I think that nutrition is of course important, but not something to get too hung up on!

I know people who count their macros and weigh their food before eating it, but at the end of the day, unless you’re trying to be an actual body builder, all you need to know to begin with is this:


  • Big weights build muscle.
  • Low weights and high reps build tone.
  • Cardio reduces body fat and builds stamina.


  • Protein builds and repairs muscle.
  • Fruit and veg is mostly good.
  • Fatty or carb-filled foods like pasta and nuts are okay in moderation, but a good thing to cut down on.
  • Don’t eat bad foods unless it’s cheat day, i.e. – crisps, ice-cream, chocolate, biscuits, cheese etc.

The more complex details will come as you grow along the way with your own fitness journey.


Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Photography @benmarkphoto

Follow Sam’s fitness journey and find out more about his upcoming new music by following him on his socials! All links are below:




You can also follow Ben Mark Photography on Instagram, @benmarkphoto

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