I have been involved in sport as long as I can remember. However, my athletic career really started with cycling: In my first year of competition, I won all but one National title for my age-group, going on to represent New Zealand in international events such as Junior Track Worlds (where I placed in the Top 10 in all my events), continuing to win multiple New Zealand track and road Championship titles throughout my cycling career.
I first started resistance training a few months before the Junior World Track Cycling Championships - under the guidance of the NZ Academy of Sport and a military trainer. When I left college, moved and entered the real world, I still kept training and going to the gym, despite taking time out from cycling competition. The gym that I used was full of the top NZFBB male bodybuilders, and on a sudden impulse, encouraged by them, I entered the regional Figure competition for fun, the guys helped me out with diet and training, and for the first time in my life I saw my body do things that I had been told before were impossible for me (cyclists’ resistance training is performance orientated, not for aesthetics). Despite retiring from cycling during my degree, I continued training, and my focus has changed over the years, with my concentration now more on health and fitness than anything else.
Motivation is not a factor. Whether I feel like it or not, I do it. The primary reason I train so hard – aside from the fact that I used to train for 30-40 hours a week when I was a competitive cyclist – is because I HAVE to; training is the only thing that seems to allow my body to function close to “normally” physiologically without me having to resort to prescription medication/drugs – I have a blood disorder where my red blood cells can only carry TWO instead of the usual four oxygen molecules, and if I don’t train hard and push myself, I can’t breathe properly and have other health issues.
I want to be a living, breathing example of what CAN be done if you want it badly enough; to make a difference in others’ lives; inspire them, give them faith, hope, courage, and belief in themselves and their ability to succeed; to get them to constantly push themselves to new heights; setting goals and achieving them, aiming higher once those goals are accomplished.
It’s about being better than I was yesterday. Having a vision and not being afraid to take on tasks required to make it a reality. Knowing what I want and no matter what happens, persevering, never “settling”, not making excuses but pushing forward, holding nothing back, forever testing myself and challenging the “impossible”, finding a way to MAKE it happen! NEVER stop striving to be the BEST that you can be! Think like a Champion! Train like a Warrior! Live with a Purpose!
High Intensity Interval Training - the majority of my cardio is done at 80% of my maximum heart rate or more. I rarely spend more than ~20 minutes doing cardio. Also, in the last year or so I have also found 20 minutes of post-weights cardio has helped when I want to lean out, and has become part of my “Maintenance” training.
No favourite, but I love mixing fruit (especially berries like raspberries), dried nuts (especially almonds), and yoghurt (particularly Greek) together.
I don’t “diet” I am not a dieter and never have been. I believe that one should NOT “diet”. One’s diet should be a LIFESTYLE, NOT a temporary plan that they use, adjusting their caloric intake based on their goals and needs of different phases.
Nutrition has always been the one area where I have not had much discipline, my diet is honestly what most people call a perpetual “cheat”, going completely AGAINST the “norm” and of what is “acceptable” – so much so that most people do not actually believe me when I tell them what I DO eat like (until they see it for themselves!) Until the last few months (since all my injuries at the end of last year), nutrition has not played as much of a role as my training in my conditioning, past experience showing me that "dieting" as others diet does NOT work for my body (if you read past updates in my online Fitness Journal - link at the end - you will see this confirmed), and I do not use any specific "diet", instead listening to my body and adjusting my nutrition (as I do my training) as required, with my macronutrient ratios and calorie intake changing on a day-to-day basis, albeit averaging out at ~4,300 calories daily.
I adjust my nutrition on a weekly - sometimes even daily - basis, dependent on my progress towards my goal/s of that phase, my diet a specific adaption for me, amalgamating nutritional methods and principles taken from Calorie Cycling, Intermittent Fasting, and Lean Gains. My diet could probably best be described as Lean Gains, without being strictly Lean Gains, since the only thing I do that is part of the protocol really is the 16-hour fasting period with an 8-hour feeding window, adapting everything else to be specific for me, so that it is "perfect" for what I want and need.
I don’t. I generally just eat what I want when I want - which yes, is VERY Unconventional, but works for my body (although working on improving this so that my nutrition is more HEALTH orientated and COMPLIMENTS my training to work WITH my body).
These have changed over the years, but currently:
1. Behind-the-neck Barbell Military Press - I first started noticing real delt development and progress after adding these into my training programme.
2. DB Hammer Bicep Curls - both heads of my biceps have developed since adding these to my training programme.
3. Single-Arm Dumbell Bent Over Rows - only added these into my training programme in the last month actually and have noticed definite benefits (especially since my favourite back exercises - Supinated Close-Grip Pull-Ups and Barbell Bent Over Rows - have been causing my left wrist distress).
Weighted Dips have also been a favourite of mine over the years.
Yes. Currently: Five Finger Death Punch, Red, Skillet, Sevendust, Silent Civilian, and a few songs from random artists.
Sets and reps change based on my goal - although I generally recomp and lift as heavy as I can (heavier weight for fewer reps for me personally means improved strength, gains in or maintaining muscle mass, and keeping a lower body composition) for whatever reps I have set myself, using 30-60 seconds recovery between sets/supersets/trisets/giant sets.
Currently my training schedule is:
If I have a photoshoot coming up, I’ll use this for a couple of week prior (with the inclusion of 3-4, 20-minute pm cardio sessions):
I generally do not do any specific work for my legs as my lower body overwhelms my upper body - if I train legs, I gain muscle mass despite what I do and more muscle in my legs is NOT what I want or need. ANY Legs work (i.e. Full-Body days) I do plyometrics, bodyweight, or deliberately use lighter weights for.
My goal for 2012: Recover from multiple injuries (ASAP!) and then make 2012 the BEST year of my life (so far!) professionally, physically, and personally!
My goals depends on what is going on at the time - the last few years have seen a lot of time out from injuries and Chronic Fatigue, having to rebuild my body back up, etc. For example, at the start of December 2011, my right biceps tendon finally tore (after years of being aggravated and ignored), causing a domino effect of new injuries (torn rotator cuff tendon) and old ones flaring up (nerve root impingement in cervical vertebrae, lower back pain and bone bruising) and worsening (chondromalacia - bone fragments becoming loose bodies in my knees) - forcing MORE time out from training, ironically coming on the heels of such an awesome month and only ~3 months of being back in training after my left wrist injury.
Therefore on returning to training in January 2012, my training goals centred around recovering from those multiple injuries, my main priority to get back to MY normal training levels as soon as possible.
My secondary goal was to recomp to REGAIN the muscle mass I lost from my delts and arms, at the same time working on leaning back down to 7-8% bodyfat (since I am far too uncomfortable at my current body composition), to maintain below 8.3% bodyfat (anything more and I feel like a stranger in my own body) thereafter!
I’m just thankful to still be here, really, and to be able to use my experiences and knowledge to help inspire and motivate others and empower them to a better and higher way of living!
I have overcome a lot in my life and my fitness journey has been one not without struggles and trials. Going from being a competitive athlete to not being one, admitting an unusual eating disorder, facing suicide, recovering from a devastating back injury (that crushed my cervical spine and caused permanent scoliosis) in 2004, overcoming Chronic Fatigue in 2008-2009, gaining 25 pounds over a period of ~3 months (during another bout of Chronic Fatigue, not training, my diet “normal”) when I first arrived in the US, having lengthy forced time out from multiple injuries in 2011, and dealing daily with a hereditary blood disorder (where my blood can only carry two instead of the normal four oxygen molecules), I have learnt to walk that fine line between extreme and progress, having accomplished what many have persistently told me is ‘impossible’ – albeit everything I have done and will continue to do is not by my strength alone, but as a testament to God’s Glory.
Many. Chronic Fatigue. Injuries. You name it. But each time I have come back and been able to become better than I was BEFORE the time out caused by whatever it was.
Monica Brant-Peckham: Monica was my first “fitness” role model. When I was having a break from cycling and dabbled in bodybuilding (for fun) she was the woman that most inspired me through her discipline and dedication. I have always been quite muscular in my lower body, but Monica was what made me want to add muscle to my body, and work on making my upper body proportional to my lower. When I think of this arena Monica is the “First Lady”.
Ava Cowan: Not only is Ava’s career truly inspirational, but she is a genuinely beautiful person. She moves from strength to strength as a person and an athlete, always getting better and better. I have much respect for WHO she is as a person…IMO, Ava has the perfect female physique. She inspires me to take my physique to the ultimate level possible for me, and every time I see her Gaspari Fat Loss Cycle ad I am remotivated with my conditioning and striving to be leaner than ever and the best that I can be!
Jamie Eason: A perfect balance between muscle and femininity, Jamie was the woman who first inspired me to consider [fitness] modelling (being the same height). She inspires me not just because she has had so much success in so little time, but because she is REAL. She’s not afraid to put herself out there and take risks, strong enough to stand up for what she believes in, and does her best to inspire others. Jamie also inspired me to compete seriously (once I had retired from cycling) and to compete in the Natural Federations.
Gina Ostarly: Wife, mother and grandmother, Gina is a motivation and inspiration to all, proving that no matter how old one is, age is NOT an obstacle to achieving and maintaining the body of your dreams. Writer, trainer, model, and athlete, Gina is a huge source of knowledge, only willing to share it to help others achieve the best lifestyle they possibly can, and GoFitness is a model for what I ultimately want to be have and be doing with my own exercise physiology clinic.
Obi Obadike: Not only is Obi a wealth of experience and knowledge, but he is very humble, never seeking to glorify himself and his accomplishments, only wishing to do what he can to encourage, motivate, and educate others to a better lifestyle. Having overcome many challenges in his fitness career, Obi leads by example, showing others what can be done when you put your mind to it, regardless of how “impossible” anyone else says it is. I have learnt a lot from Obi and are truly grateful to know him. ( Interview with Obi Obadike )
Ben Booker: Ben is “living proof” that if you “stay strong, always believe, never give up…dreams can come true”. Ben is faith, courage, determination, humility, strength – a true testament to God’s glory. “What I know today…anything can happen, dreams come true, and miracles occur daily. Belief is power beyond measure. Second Chance, make yours count!” Ben is a great mentor and role model for me, inspiring me to step out in faith and take the risk, to always do my best.
Layne Norton: Knowledge, experience, achievement, all summed up in one word: LAYNE. Layne is Layne – no other explanation is needed! ( Interview with Layne Norton )
I use a lot of supplements, actually. That said I use them because they work for ME specifically and everything in my supplement regime has a PURPOSE. I pretty much have all my supplements covered, and knowing what works best for my body, do not often use products outside of those anymore.
My “staple” supplements are:
2 caps first thing and 2 caps early afternoon.
2 caps ~30 min pre-resistance training, 1 cap immediately post-resistance training, 1 cap with post-training meal, and 1-2 caps with a meal later in the day.
1-2 servings ~30 min pre-resistance training.
2 caps early afternoon and 1 cap pre-bed (if using Erase Pro)/2 caps first thing, 2 caps early afternoon and 1 cap pre-bed (if NOT using Erase Pro).
1 cap first thing.
1-2 packets daily.
2 caps first thing, 2 caps early afternoon, and 2 caps pre-bed (currently run out of).
3 scoops mid-morning and 3 scoops mid-afternoon.
3 caps first thing and 3 caps early afternoon.
2 grams first thing, 1-2 grams immediately post-training, 1-2 grams early afternoon, 1-2 grams pre-bed, and sometimes 1-2 grams post-meal later in the day.
* I cycle AnaBeta and Erase Pro in and out (or if I run out of anything and have to wait for more - like in the case of Recompadrol none being available from the manufacturer until the end of April), but the rest are pretty much staples.
It would depend on the person, their goals and needs, training experience, nutrition, supplement usage and knowledge, plus individual factors, etc. before I would make a recommendation on what supplements - if any - to use.
What supplements I highly recommend are dependent on the circumstances, the individual in question, their goals and needs, and will change for everyone; the same goes for what supplements I recommend to be avoided by people. For example, a beginner, male OR female, NEVER needs to use anything but the basic staples of creatine, multivitamin, good fats, protein, and BCAAs (depending on one’s body mass, only a creatine and multivitamin may be necessary, since many females can get enough good fats, protein, and BCAAs from their NUTRITION) – I don’t recommend using anything else until they have built up a solid training base, since NUTRITION AND TRAINING are what are going to get them results!
Another example is that there are a lot of supplements that I use that I would never recommend other females use, unless they are experienced trainees who know what they are doing, and are aware and knowledgeable on the benefits and potential detriments of such supplements. One thing I do NOT recommend for females however, even though it is often done, is hormonal usage, and I would never recommend hormonal products for females, period.
One thing that should always be taken into consideration when looking at supplements and deciding on what to use or what not to use is this: Will this product be beneficial to my body and help me with my goals and needs? EVERY product one uses should have a PURPOSE (like everything done in training) – if it does not, then it has NO place being used (or done).
Born: 1984, Weight: Usually between 103-108 pounds, Height: 5’1.8” (i.e. 156.6 cm)
Photo Credit: Walt Ostarly, Tony Mitchell of OAMG, Dan Ray