Daz Hallett
How I Won Mr. Universe, Got Surgery and Then Won Mr. Universe Again


We talked with Daz Hallett in November, 2019. Follow Daz on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook
Country:
United Kingdom
Age:
49 years
Weight:
73 kg
(162 lbs)
Height:
168 cm
(5 '6)


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by John Mckenzie

Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

I’m Daz Hallett, 49 years old and I’m from the South of the UK but now live in Florida, USA with my wife Laura and our two daughters. I’m a Personal Trainer, Sports Massage Therapist, Advanced Sports Nutritionist and Online Transformation Coach.

I’ve always been into sports from a young age, winning the U13 Somerset Gymnastic Champions aged 11. I played football (soccer) for my school and county, and also I was into martial arts, which is how I found the weights and they took over.

I first competed in a local show in 2002 getting an invite to the ANB British Final where I came 6th in a class of about 12. Then I never competed again until 2008 when the Classic class was introduced, which was height to weight ratio and this class was more me.

I won my class at a regional show went to the British Finals of a class of 26 and came 6th. I knew I had found my Class.

I then competed six times in 2009 in the UKBFF, NAC to gain more experience and won the NAC British and Overall Title and competed in the World & Universe in Holland and Germany where I realized what condition I had to get into if I wanted to win in Europe.

In 2010, I went with the IBFA to Monte Carlo and came 3rd in the Worlds. I took another year out as I had opened a gym at the end of 2010. Then in 2012, I got back on stage winning the IBFA Worlds and Overall with an invite to the Universe in 2013, which is where I won my 1st Universe title.

Had to take 2014 off because of surgery and I always remember Arnold saying, “You are never a real Champion until you have won it twice”, so I went back in 2015 and won the Universe again. Again, I had to take 2016 off due to surgery.

Then in 2017, I did a guest posing spot for a show in June that gave me the competition bug and I got asked to do a Pure Elite Show four weeks later where I won and was given Pro status with them. Then in September, I went with the PCA team to Kuwait and won my class at the Wawan Classic.

Now the Classic Physique division is growing in the USA, in both the IFBB and PCA federations, I have moved to the USA to carry on my career.

Outside bodybuilding my other hobbies beside my family is most outdoor sports golf, riding my bike playing pickle ball with the other guys in my community. They are individual sports like bodybuilding, which means it’s all down to me to succeed to put the dedication and work in.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by Jody Wright

Describe a typical day of training


A lot of my training is about intensity.

A typical day training is never the same I train at least 4/5 times a week. I know when walking into a gym what body part I am going to train but have no idea what exercises I’m going to do for that body part as I like to keep my body guessing.

My training is never the same from the week before. I will train my whole body at least once a week. My training split is something like legs, shoulders, back, chest & arms with calves at least twice a week but then I might be only getting four sessions in a week so I might do biceps or triceps with back and chest.

I never train abs until two weeks out from a show as I believe they should be getting used in all the other body part training. Most of my training is done in about 60 minutes but sometimes if I have more time, I might do 90 minutes and add another body part.

But then when I’m short on time I make it work I’ve even had to do shoulders in under 25 minutes, getting in a total of 21 sets before because I forgot the gym was closing early. So I work my training around so I get the best workout each time.

I also like to incorporate giant sets; super sets drop set and all 3 combined. A lot of my training is about intensity. The only difference between prep and off season is I tend to have longer rest periods, but only really as long as it takes my training partner to do his set.

However, now I’m in the USA, I’m training on my own at the moment as I’m training at a couple of different locations around where I live, and they have different equipment and machines so getting a training partner is difficult.

So with no partner and my age I tend to use a lot more machines than I used to just so that I prevent any injuries.

I used to take various supplements but found I never got a great deal from them so other than my post-workout shake (before Isagenix) was PhD Recovery I stopped using them.

Then I found Isagenix whom I’m with now and was very impressed on how my body reacted to their products. They have cut my prep down by half and keep me leaner when I’m in off-season.

Now I am in the USA, I have access to their Performance range, which I’ve just started to use a product called, Nitro that is part of the Amp performance range by Isagenix, which I will take 30 minutes before I train a major body part.

There is no come down or what I call buzziness during training and you get a good pump from it. When I’m in prep mode they also have an amazing product that boosts my immune system so it helps me stay healthy if dieting strictly, as my training is more scheduled and intense.

I will add in cardio first thing on an empty stomach, this is usually steady state cardio but at a good constant pace on a upright bike or cross-trainer (mainly so I can listen to or watch something on my iPad).

My weight training will start at five times a week and can go up to 10 times a week depending where I am at in my condition and how life around me is.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by John Mckenzie

How do you keep going and push harder?


A tip from me is to dream big and achieve bigger.

My motivation is myself as I love what I do. When I’m having a low energy day, going into the gym lifts me up and within a couple of sets I’m motivated. There are days when a couple of sets in I’m not feeling it and have now learnt that this is my body telling me to rest.

I see many guys who I used to see in the gym 10 to 20 years ago and they all look out of shape now; so seeing these guys motivate me as I don’t want to look or feel like that.

I have also learnt how to push myself harder without getting hurt or injured and this is to pick one exercise and do that exercise every time I train that body part and lift heavier or more reps and I’ll do that for 6 weeks then pick another exercise.

Over the years, I have also learnt to prioritize my time so that my gym time does not affect family or work time. So when I’m in the gym, I don’t chat much to people. I’m there to work get in and get out because to me I’m not there to socialize.

I realized this the very first time I had my long head bicep tendon detached and reattached and was not allowed to pick up a weight for months. I could only socialize at the gym but that was not enough for me I wanted to get back to lifting. I became very depressed because of it as I was warned after my third surgery in just three months the surgery had never been done before and there was a that I may never lift again.

As I have a very can-do attitude and if I’m told I can’t do something it motivates me more than ever. So I knew I needed to make sure that I was fully recovered and my tendon was completely repaired before I even picked up a weight.

I did not touch a weight until seven months after my last operation. I ended up with a “Dad Bod” each time I went to the gym, to just socialize, my arm was strapped in a sling so I could not be tempted to touch a weight.

I started back very light training in May 2014 and set my goal to regain my Universe Title in July 2015 (which I did). Every week I made small improvements seeing the improvement kept me motivated and by September my training was back in full swing.

It was hard making sure I did not go to fast in the beginning but knowing that if anything happened to my bicep I would be finished.

A tip from me is to dream big and achieve bigger.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by Jody Wright

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

At this moment in time, I am just finding my feet here in Florida and just maintaining what I have until I get into a good routine. I will start looking in the new year at what competitions there are and picking out a couple to get back in the swing of prep.

My goal over the next few years is to get my pro card with PCA then go and get my pro card with the IFBB. Once I have accomplished these goals I will retire from competing and continue in the sport judging.

My goals outside of competing are to grow my online business and pass my knowledge on to my clients and have more international winners under my wing. I also want to build up my sports massage business and personal training and to enjoy life here in Florida.

How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?


I try to train smarter not just harder.

I’ve done pretty well over the years as I’ve only ever had one injury from actual training and that was a calf tear about five months ago. I try to train smarter not just harder. My recovery was quick due to my knowledge and I was able to give myself rehab massages to enable my recovery.

I have had both my bicep long head tendons reattached but these were because of a car accident. I’d been suffering with a pain in my right shoulder for about three years ever since a car accident that was not my fault.

It got so bad it hurt whenever I turned the car steering wheel that I decide it was time to get it sorted. I came home from Rome after winning the Universe in July 2013 and went into surgery two days later.

It took two more surgeries later to fix; one of which was a pioneer procedure of having my tendon pinned and plated to the top of my arm bone and I was told there was a high chance of me not being able to compete again or even lift too much weight if it came away nothing else could be done.

Six years later, I am now completely metal free after the surgeon opened me up again in March this year and removed all the metal work as everything had now grown and healed naturally so no more need for the screws and plates.

I could not lift a weight until May 2014 and I had some very dark days and because I’ve been through this I can relate and help others to recover. Especially as I went through it all again at the end of 2015 and was out of action for just over six months this time.

As a result of these setbacks, I’ve learnt how to handle injuries mentally as well as physically and one tip I now always give is never rush back if you want to fully recover your body will repair but it takes time.

I also learnt Sports massage was a big recovery tool so in 2015 I went back to Uni and qualified as a Sports Massage Therapist so I could help others in their rehab. I’m also a huge believer in the fact that sleep and the right nutrition are important factors in recovery as well.

Now when I go on holiday/vacation I usually completely rest as it’s family time whereas before I’d be looking for the nearest gym. Also, during this time, I will not worry about what I eat or drink.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by John Mckenzie

How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

My diet at the moment is better than the average person but not strict for a competitor. Yes, I do monitor what I eat but don’t count calories as I now know automatically what’s in most foods so I always have a good idea the calories and macros going in daily without having to use any type of app or tool.

I will eat the occasional fast food but only if it’s the only option because I’m not a big fan of them anyway. I crave more things like bread, home cooked chips, my wife’s lasagna.

At the moment, I have a few treat meals a week but when on prep I will only have one and that’s only if I reach my desired target that week.

In May 2017, I moved to a new brand called, Isagenix that came to the UK and because of their supplements I now stay a lot leaner all year round and I carry a little more lean muscle too.

One of the things I incorporate into my diet is 24hr fasting to help my liver and kidneys to function to their full capacity. I do that once or twice a month depending how my weeks have been and this has helped me stay lean.

I no longer have to do 12-14-week preps I can be ready in only six weeks for a show, which means I’m not grumpy and hungry as my children say. The supplements I take help with craving and hunger.

I’m not a big supplement taker but I do use the Amp performance range from Isagenix due to the quality and testing the products go through and the results I have experienced with them.

I’m a big fan of one of their products called Ionix Supreme because of all the herbs and adaptogens in it, this I take on a daily basis without fail.

The first time I used these supplements to get ready I was surprised how I felt but the biggest surprise was the final week before my show; my energy level was sky high, not like the usual Zombie mode, I was still pushing hard in the gym and both my training partners could not keep up the same pace.

The difference now and pre comp is that I don’t restrict myself if I’m out. I’ll have a beer and a pudding without feeling guilty but when it comes to comp prep I’m on it 100% and will only have a cheat meal for a reward. A friend of mine said it’s like I flick a switch and that switch stays on until I walk off stage with that winning trophy.

What has inspired and motivated you?

When I started out there was no Internet, I used to buy Muscle Mag and Flex magazines every month and I would learn exercises and routines from these.

It was physiques like Lee Haney, Lee Priest, Francis Benffato, Ian Harrison, Flex Wheeler and Shaun Ray that inspired me. Their shape and symmetry was the classic look that I wanted for myself. I’d also buy their training videos and can remember I’d watch a little of Lee Priest ‘Blond Myth’ before I went to the gym, that would motivate me.

My goals and family dreams motivate me to improve not just my body but also as a person and if I can help others with their goals. I find that a great motivator.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by Jody Wright

Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?


Chat to experienced guys or girls in the gym and ask them questions.

If you’re just starting out, don’t expect results too quick as it takes time, learn the exercises and what muscles they work. Chat to experienced guys or girls in the gym and ask them questions.

Start with the basics, get your form correct and work your whole body each workout to start with and allow yourself enough recovery time. One thing I always recommend to experienced trainers is don’t repeat the same training session and get stuck in a plateau and keep seeking to learn all the time.

I’ve noticed a lot of people today just go through the motions there is no intensity to their training. One of my training partners back in the UK is 65 and when we train together, we are the hardest working people in that gym.

I have seen it’s about taking selfies and pics for others to see on their social media and there are so many young people doing exercises wrong. I asked one guy what he was doing and why? He said he had seen it on a fitness model’s YouTube and it was working his shoulders but what he was doing was more likely to get him an injured.

A thing I see a lot of is people stretching cold muscles and going too heavy with their first sets. If you are starting out my best advice is to learn the basic and don’t even count the weight as that does not matter it’s about working the muscle.

A lot of what I do with my clients is find out what other sports they play so we can incorporate the training with that sport to improve conditioning, flexibility and prevent injury.


Instagram, @daz_2x_mr_u - photo by John Mckenzie

Are you taking on clients right now?

Yes, I am always open to taking on new clients both personal and online but I do have a interview/initial consultation process I like to go through with them to see their commitment level, what goals they have and how determined they are, as my clients goals become my goals.

Whether they want to lose fat, gain muscle, get ready for a show or want to increase their performance in their chosen sport. I’ve been working with a young golfer for the last couple years and this year he accomplished his dream of turning pro.

I also work with a limited number of people at a time so I am not spread too thin as all my programs, training and nutrition, are bespoke plans and I suggest a three-month period is the required time to see results.

A lot of my clients have had great success in their chosen sport, I’ve taken four to become World Champion winners in three different sports. A lady called, Jenny was a complete beginner started working with me and then two years later won her regional show then became British Champion and World Champion all in the same year.

Two Mr Universe winners, one Mr International, one Mr Europe, four British Champions and countless winners from regional shows. I also advise veteran competitors in their last four weeks of prep as this is when they need my eye from a judges point of view. (I’ve been judging for the last six years with the IBFA, NAC and PCA)

Can I lose fat and gain muscle is probably the most asked question and my answer is: Yes, it can be done but that depends on you.

Where can we learn more about you?

Facebook Athletes page – Daz Hallett IBFA 2x Mr Universe
Facebook Business page – Transform Today with Daz and Laura

Instagram – daz_2x_mr_u
Youtube – Daz 2x Mr Universe Fitness Training

I also have a website – dazhallett.com

I can be contacted on any of these media platforms.


Ready to get really fit and inspired?

I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.

Here on Bulk Hackers we interview bodybuilders, personal trainers and fitness heroes. We ask them to share their stories and all their greatest hacks!

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