Want to train like a Royal Marine? 

Find out what happened when I met up with Former Royal marines commando and actor, Steven Bartle to get the inside scoop on all of his training/diet tips and discuss his latest film “Recoil”

How many times a week do you work out?

Usually 6 times per week but some days ill train twice depending on how busy my day is. I tend to do cardio in the morning with a weight session in the evening.

What is your favourite exercise and why?

It has to be the Stair Master. I usually do cardio after my main workout, I find it relaxing and it also gives me a chance to reflect. It’s almost like my way of meditating, the constant rhythm and reaching floor after floor. I find it soothing.

In preparation to filming how did you have to alter your training for the role?

Well in Recoil I play Alex who’s a former Royal Marines Commando, so I pretty much went back to basic training. I focused heavily on circuits, long distance runs and high volume resistance training. Since leaving the Marines I’ve concentrated on increasing muscle mass and packing some size on, so going back to the old way of training was quite refreshing.

The most challenging thing was overcoming an injury I picked up in June 2016 just 4 months before we actually began filming Recoil in October.  I broke both my wrists and was put out of action for a good 6 weeks.  I did my best to keep some basic cardio up, but the injury definitely got in my head and affected everything, motivation, confidence, self belief, it knocked me pretty bad at first.

Can you tell us how you broke your wrists?

Sure! I was halfway through filming God Save The King and we’d hit quite an important part of story. My character ‘Prince Marcus’ was returning on horseback with his men from a victorious battle. As we approached the castle my horse got spooked, galloped and kicked me off.  It was a pretty rough landing to say the least but luckily my wrists were the ones to break rather than my neck. The producer drove me to hospital as the director nervously waited for the news and it was as expected, both wrists broken and I was immediately put in casts. Finishing the film was tough but we adapted the weapons to make them lighter and changed my costume slightly to cover the casts and a heavy dose of prescription painkillers also  helped!

How the recovery process affected your training

Well I knew that I needed help training, I couldn’t even hold a knife and fork!  So I moved back up the Sheffield to train at my old gym ‘Evolution’.  I started training with an old friend who just so happens to be a world champion natural bodybuilder and also owns the gym, so I was in good hands! I’ve known Jon Clark since I first started training at Evolution Gym when I was 16, so he’s someone I can trust when it comes to getting me on track for a film. We adapted quite a few movements using straps, ropes, anything we could use to take the weight off my wrists.

How important is your diet? Is there a special diet or eating schedule you stuck to in preparation for Recoil?

I love my food and I don’t like saying no to things, however I do stick to a pretty healthy foundation each day. I eat around 6-7 times a day and those meals mostly comprise of lean meat, salad/vegetables and some form of potato. I do cut myself some slack though and say hello to the odd ‘Five Guys’ or ‘Haagen-Dazs pralines & cream’, Like I said, I love my food!

For Recoil however I only had 3 months of preparation after my injury, so I spent 1 month eating 8,000kcal per day as I needed to bring my weight back up and then spent 2 months cutting by bringing my kcal to about 3,500 per day.  The broken wrists meant I couldn’t train as hard or as heavy, so i wasn’t burning calories at my normal rate.  To help shift the fat I’d drink around 5 litres of water each day as well as doing an hour of fasted cardio each morning.

So you were a Royal Marines Commando? Is it a coincidence your character in Recoil is also a Royal Marines Commando?

Actually Recoil is based on a very dark period of my past. When I returned from Afghanistan in 2009 I was involved in (lets say) an altercation that left me blind in one eye. I was medically discharged from the marines, my world literally fell apart and I slowly began losing the will to live. I was in a dark place and couldn’t see a way out other than ending it all.  However after being made aware of a few of the men that caused this unfortunate turn of events, I was faced with a new purpose. For obvious reasons I won’t go into any detail on the events that followed but Recoil can definitely give people an idea of my frame of mind back then. I had nothing left to live for and I was filled with anger towards those that had taken everything away from me. It actually became an obsession, not the best part of my life I must say!

I didn’t want to make the film at first, It was Nick Cohens idea to adapt the true story into a psychological thriller. After about a year and a half of developing the script I eventually gave Nick the green light to direct it and here we are today, with a beautifully shot film that I am extremely proud of.

Roxanne Pallett (best known in Emmerdale) is also co-starring in the film with you, what was it like working with her?

Roxanne was a pleasure to work with on set and did an amazing job of portraying her character Suzie. I know there were difficult moments for her, especially when we used the weapons and spent all night shooting next to a freshly dug grave, but she kept her cool and delivered a great performance. I have to take my hat off to the whole team to be honest, they were amazing!

People ask me all the time about supplements and if they’re important.  In your opinion how do you value supplements and what do you take/recommend?

Personally I do think they are important, but that is taking into account my training needs and current lifestyle.  However with the average gym user, supplements aren’t important and I’d even go as far as to say you don’t need protein powders either. You can find everything you could ever want from your food. One question I get a hell of a lot is “How do I get big?” The answer is simple, eat more (quality food) and train in a progressive manor. If you eat 4 meals a day and your still not growing, then eat 6 meals a day, its simple! Me personally however I do use supplements, partly because I’m lazy but mainly because they enable me to train hard and keep going for longer. Magnesium, Zinc and multivitamins are also part of my daily intake as they provide a great foundation to keep me focused.


Daily Meal Plan:

Meal 1

6 eggs

75g Oats with full fat milk

250ml fat free Greek yogurt

Meal 2

200g meat

200g potatoes

As much vegetables as I can fit on my plate

Meal 3

200g meat

200g potatoes

As much vegetables as I can fit on my plate

Meal 4

2 scoops of Mutant Whey

100g Carbohydrate Powder


Either BSN NO-Xplode or Mutant

During Workout

BCAA’s powder form

Post Workout

2 scoops of Mutant Whey

100g Carbohydrate Powder

Meal 5

200g meat

As much vegetables as I can fit on my plate

Meal 6 

200g meat

As much vegetables as I can fit on my plate

Meal 7 

6 eggs

250ml fat free greek yogurt


If you want to workout like a Royal Marines Commando then here is a workout put together by Steven Bartle for you to try:

*Complete this basic workout without rest and time yourself, see how long it takes you.

Perform this at least 4 times a week and ensure you always beat your previous time. To increase the difficulty try wearing an elevation mask, but consult your doctor before doing so.


50 Burpees

50 Mountain Climbers

50 Squat Jumps

50 Explosive Star Jumps

50 Alternate Lunge Jumps


40 Burpees

40 Mountain Climbers

40 Squat Jumps

40 Explosive Star Jumps

40 Alternate Lunge Jumps


30 Burpees

30 Mountain Climbers

30 Squat Jumps

30 Explosive Star Jumps

30 Alternate Lunge Jumps


20 Burpees

20 Mountain Climbers

20 Squat Jumps

20 Explosive Star Jumps

20 Alternate Lunge Jumps


10 Burpees

10 Mountain Climbers

10 Squat Jumps

10 Explosive Star Jumps

10 Alternate Lunge Jumps


OFFICIAL WEBSITE:        www.stevenbartle.com

OFFICIAL TWITTER:        @StevenBartle

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