A FITNESS fanatic from Blaenau Gwent has been crowned as the best trainer in the UK – six years after spinal surgery which meant he had to re-learn how to walk.

Ged Musto, 59, is the first Welshman and oldest-ever trainer to win the Best of the Best Award having once honed the bodies of A-listers like Hugh Grant, Sir Lenny Henry and Monty Don.

“I was gobsmacked to find out about my nomination. I didn’t know about it but a couple of my past clients must have put my name forward,” Mr Musto said.

“The advantage I’ve got on the younger trainers is knowledge and experience – just being older and wiser.”

South Wales Argus: Mr Musto trained gardening broadcaster Monty DonMr Musto trained gardening broadcaster Monty Don (Image: Ged Musto)

Mr Musto, who usually trains his “very exclusive” client base in Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Powys, says the keys to his success include learning from everyone he meets - and keeping some secrets close to his chest.

“It’s like playing cards; you never show your hand. I’ve never shown anyone how to breathe properly,” he said, attributing that technique to an enlightening encounter with a karate grandmaster three decades ago.

In 1999, he set a world record for the most full sit-ups in an hour - 2,908, or 49 per minute - and crowned the World's Fittest Man.

He has helped clients with a range of fitness goals, from pre-and-post natal training to preparation for the gruelling Marathon des Sables - actually an ultra marathon that takes place in the Sahara.

South Wales Argus: Mr Musto at the grand age of 45 in a photoshoot for Men's Fitness magazineMr Musto at the grand age of 45 in a photoshoot for Men's Fitness magazine (Image: Ged Musto)

His success did not come cheap or easy, and in 2017, he received life-changing surgery on his spine.

“I’ve had to learn to walk again. It took about three years to get back but the surgeon told me I would never train fully again.

“I’ve always had that fighting spirit and it was fitness that caused my spine to collapse,” he told the Argus. “I’ve probably done about a million and a half press ups, carried ridiculous amounts of weight on my back.

“That’s also what gave me the toughness to get through.”

South Wales Argus: Mr Musto's first and last powerlift since his surgery in 2017Mr Musto's first and last powerlift since his surgery in 2017 (Image: Ged Musto)

Mr Musto says the UK Trainer of the Year award comes as the “icing on the cake” and could spur him on for another decade of intensive work.

“I’ve achieved everything in fitness by winning this award. Perhaps when I turn 60, in March, there might be new avenues to go down like writing books and making motivational speeches.

“There’s an old saying which is winners never quit and quitters never win – and that’s me," he said.

"I’ve always been a fighter and never a quitter. The truth is you never stop learning.”

He will formally accept the award at a ceremony in Southampton in March.