As the entire nation firmly casts their eyes on this year’s season of The Bachelor, many will be itching to find out the back story of love-seeker Matt Agnew. Men’s Health sat down with the astrophysicist to see what he’s looking for in a girl as well as the food and fitness regime behind that rig in the promo shot.
Men’s Health: Firstly, congratulations on getting through the first couple of nights. How have family and friends reacted to the footage?
Matt Agnew: Yeah, thanks, mate. Yeah, pretty positively. My folks called me up after the first episode and just wanted to get in touch to say that they were very happy to see ‘me’ on screen, in that there were no surprises. They didn’t feel as though they were watching a stranger – it was very much their son that they were watching.
And I think, for them, that was very comforting because they obviously, probably, went into it with their concerns about, there’s always editing and all that kind of stuff thrown around, whether or not that’d be the case and that they’d see a stranger. So they’re really happy with that. And yeah, both my family and friends have been really supportive and said all the episodes are looking really good so far, and that it’s very much me, and I’m coming off very well. So yeah it’s great to hear.
What’s the real world like, now that you’re with the winner?
Tough. I mean, you go through a very unique dynamic in the filming process with the relationship. And then you get to the end, and you’re kind of told you can’t see them and, again, it’s another unique dynamic where you’re separate. I mean, you can’t just get on a plane [did he just give away the winner?] and see them when you want. So it is really hard, and it’s something that just needs to be navigated as delicately and sensitively as possible, and just having a constant channel of communication together to address anything that comes up.
And you’re living together?
No, we can’t be seen together.
Well, let’s tackle about the romance stuff first before we launch into food and fitness. So do you believe in love at first sight?
Yeah, I think there’s probably a fundamental underlying kind of biological thing going on there. When you see someone, there is some compulsion to want to engage with them. I think, though, that love at first sight is, it sort of only gets your foot in the door. It’s all the other things you do on top of that foundation that makes a relationship go the distance.
Well now that you’re on this show, is it easier to understand how previous bachelors didn’t end up picking someone?
Yeah, because it is obviously a very amplified situation and a very heightened emotional situation. And it’s hard because there are a lot of emotions flying around. And even just trying to disentangle and unpack them and understand what they all are and how you feel is a challenge in itself. So yeah, it’s certainly a hard thing to navigate, and it’s something that is … yeah, you can really empathise with all the previous guys who have done this.
Did you have an instant connection with any of the women in the house?
I think from the red carpet, it was a case of, there’s a lot of excitement and, because of that, yeah, there’s a lot of emotion and lot of heart flutters and all that because there’s just so much intensity and excitement going on. So I think yeah, all of the women that I met on the first night, I felt some connection, to varying degrees, and I was just excited to get in and start seeing those develop and see which ones could go the distance.
So what are some of your non-negotiables for a partner?
I thought I don’t really have loads. And then I say that, and then someone will mention something to me, and I’m like, ah actually, yeah, that’s a non-negotiable. Yeah, I mean, probably pretty classic ones, like no anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, climate change deniers … yeah, the really obvious things. People who are bigotry, intolerance, yeah, I don’t think these are unique deal-breakers. They’re kind of general things I think people would consider when meeting someone. But I guess the only one I can think of off the top of my head is smoking. It’s probably the only deal-breaker that’s a little more unique than some of those ones which are probably a little more general.
Well you’re 32, some of the women are as young as 23. We saw you take Emma for a chat first. Do you think age is something that’s important in a relationship?
I think more important is stage of life and generally that’s going to be closely correlated with age. So yeah, I think age can be indicative of where someone’s at, what chapter of their life they’re at. And upon first meeting someone, that’s obviously going to be the first kind of metric you have to determine, okay, where are they at? What are they look for right now? Saying that, in terms of where someone’s at, it’s more determined by someone’s life experience, and someone quite young cannot accumulate a lot more life experience than someone a little older. And so, because of that, it is, again, only an initial indicator, I think, of life stage, and you still need to get to know someone to find out where they’re at, what their life experience has been to date, and what they’re looking for now.
We’ve all seen Abbie’s comments about her star sign. Do you believe in star signs and astrology?
I absolutely do not. And I’m not sure that Abbie does, either. She … that was very much a windup, which she delivered with aplomb and, yeah, she got the desired reaction out of it, I think.
Let’s move on to the rig. There’s plenty of footage in the promo of you with your shirt off. You’re obviously in good shape. How do you manage to stay fit?
So fitness for me is really important. It’s very much a therapeutic thing for me, so I generally try to balance both cardio and lifting. I usually try to get into the gym about four times a week, just doing a split routine and alternating between more strength training and hypertrophy training. On top of that, I usually try and do a bit of cardio as well, and that might be a couple of short 4K runs, two or three times a week. I don’t play as much sport anymore. I tore my ACL back in 2012 or 2011, I can’t remember now. I used to play a lot of basketball, but because of that, it’s kind of gone more to just cardio and weight training, really.
Being on set for long hours during filming can obviously leave you a bit time poor. How do you try and keep up your fitness routine in the mansion?
It’s hard. It is very hard because, yeah, you’re right. Time is valuable, and you don’t have enough hours in the day, but also the fatigue does set in. It was a case of trying to just get your foot in the gym, really, because once I started, I guess all of the benefits, all the biochemistry starts flowing, and it does help relax and provide a means of therapeutic outlet, so to speak.
You also mentioned that you try to do a split routine. What does a week’s worth of training look like for you? Do you couple up muscle groups and split them up like that?
Yeah, generally. So I’ll kind of do three big strength days, and I usually do your pretty classic chest and tri’s, back and bi’s, and legs. And I usually throw shoulders on leg day as well. And then I’ll do a day that’s a bit more full-body, low-weight, high-rep – more of a hypertrophy day just to kind of keep the body moving really.
Moving on to nutrition, what would you say your food philosophy is?
I’m definitely a subscriber to the intermittent fasting. So I’ve been doing that for a while. For me, it’s suited because as a kid I was never particularly big on breakfast. I just was never hugely hungry in the morning. So transitioning to something a little more regimented, with having a feeding window, was pretty easy. It suits me. And I think the thing with nutrition is knowledge, getting an understanding of actually how much you actually are eating, and I think that’s a case of just tracking calories for week or two, just to give a general understanding.
And then just finding what works for you, and intermittent fasting works for me. I know some people prefer smaller meals at a high frequency. I think it’s just a case of finding what suits you. It’s the same as faster training versus unfast and, again, I think it just varies person to person.
On The Bachelor, there are plenty of dates with champagne and chocolate strawberries and what not. Did you find that it caused your diet to blow out a bit, or did you manage to keep it up?
I’ve managed to keep it up for the majority of it. Towards the tail end of the series, just as the fatigue has really started to accumulate, it did kind of fall off a little bit. And I think any time you’re in a high stressful situation like that, where you’re time poor and you’re starting to run on less and less sleep and the energy levels drop, that’s always going to happen. So just being forgiving to yourself when something happens, if you slip up or you fall off the rails for a little bit, just being forgiving and say, oh well, that’s all right. That’s happened. Now let’s correct it, and let’s move forward positively. Get things back in line.
I’m in an office sweep. Who should I put my money on?
Who went home last night? Not them.
You’ve got to give me more help than that.
That’s all you’ll get, mate. (laughs)
We saw in the promo coming up there’s a bit where you address the group about a bit of gossip or shenanigans going on. Is there anything you can let us know about that?
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, you’ll see how it all plays out. But some flowery language is used, and some of that’s directed at myself, and I’ve got to basically weigh in and try and investigate and find out what’s happened. Try to get to the bottom of it. And what you’re seeing in the clip is kind of how it all kind of plays out. And you’ll have to wait and see what actually happens and how I go about addressing it. But it’s definitely something I didn’t foresee going into it.