Sport: Adrenaline Junkie
How long have you been training?
I’ve always been active, but not in more ‘mainstream’ competitive sports. I have been skateboarding since I was 6, snowboarding since I was 9. I was never interested in organized sports when I was younger, but I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie! With respect to weight training, I started in 2007 with an open gym membership at Goodlife. Funny story, my first time in the gym was actually to shower because the pipes in my apartment were frozen! We all have a Day 1, right? After noticing changes in my physique (moving from the shower to the weight room), it lit a fire in me, and I started learning more about the sport and culture of bodybuilding locally and nationally, and began to prepare for my first provincial competition in 2010. When I first started in the gym back then, I was very focused on bodybuilding and gaining size and strength. Over the last 5 years my training has evolved into a lot more diverse athletic skills, especially when fitness became a professional interest as well as a personal one, beginning in 2011. Working with coaches and clients with different backgrounds and skill sets continues to be a learning experience for me, and now my training is less bodybuilding methods and more ballistic, explosive, and functional movement patterns, Olympic lifts, and a serious focus on calisthenics. I also think it’s important to constantly try new sports, and I still love to get out for a skate in the summer and snowboard in the winter.
How long have you been competing?
When I was younger, I competed in numerous Ballistic skateboard competitions in Gander, and White Hills snowboard competitions in Clarenville. But for bodybuilding, 2010 was my first time training and competing in that capacity. My second bodybuilding competition was in 2011 and then I took a few years off before
competing again in 2014. I ran in the Tely 10 in 2014 and 2015, the LETR in 2015, the Glory Dash in 2013, and The Juggernaut Obstacle Race in 2014 and 2015. The meaning of ‘Competition’ is always changing for me. When I started it was all about placing and the reward of my hard work being recognized. Now it’s more about the thrill of achievement, and sharing the experience with other people who are just as enthusiastic and committed to overcoming a challenge.
What division do you usually compete in and how do you prepare for a competition?
For all 3 provincial bodybuilding competitions I participated in (2010, 2011, 2014), I have competed in the Men’s Middleweight Division (156lbs – 176lbs).
Preparing for my first competition in 2
010 was definitely the most difficult, because I was a novice in the sport and having to drastically change my nutrition and training routine to really focus on getting as lean as possible was a completely different world for me. 6am cardio 5 days a week, weight training 6 days a week, eating 6 – 7 meals a day, show prep is a full time job not to be underestimated or underappreciated, just like all competitive sports. You learn a lot about your body in the 6 sometimes 7 months in ‘show prep’. How precise physical work and calculated nutrition can change your whole physiology. More importantly, you learn about discipline, and how regimented you can make your lifestyle when your willpower is that tuned in. It makes you really appreciate the sport in and outside of competing. I placed 3rd in Men’s Middleweight in 2010, and after the competition, I maintained an intake of 6 meals a day and trained 5 – 6 times a week, cutting out the steady state cardio to focus on muscle growth.
2011’s competition was easier to prepare for because I had established a lifestyle, so it wasn’t an abrupt change when I was 22 weeks out and had to make the dietary and training adjustments. I was also able to minimize my steady state cardio because I implemented a lot of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) training into my routine. I placed 4th that year, but felt a lot more relaxed and healthy throughout the whole process. It was also pretty rewarding to know that I had still made the Top 5 without any supplement manipulation, a 100% natural athlete.
I took 2012 and 2013 off to focus on my career, and complete the certifications and training experience necessary to grow in the industry. We opened East Coast Conditioning in January 2014, and I made a decision to compete in the NLABBA for the 3rd time in July. The idea of competing took on a bit of a different meaning for me, now as a business owner, and a trainer for other athlete
s preparing for their moment on stage. This time around, I didn’t adopt a traditional bodybuilding approach as I had previously. In those 2 years I took off from competing, I had pursued new sports and training styles that opened my mind to
technique and motor control. I now had a gym full of professional functional training equipment to avail on, so it was more diverse and exciting than high repetitions with machines. My training was based on overall athletic conditioning: Ballistic movements (Med ball work, slam ball, hurdles, tire flips, agility ladders, plyometrics, battle ropes), and Compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, barbell rows, and overhead press). I never stepped on a treadmill or any steady state cardio equipment. That said, I did sneak into Goodlife to hit up the cable machine once or twice for that squeeze! Dialing in my nutrition was key, I cut out sweets, decreased my coffee intake, and increased my protein. My conditioning in my last competition was definitely my biggest accomplishment. I came in really lean, and felt really great throughout the whole process. I was able stay on top of my clients, my business (which moved and expanded just 2 months before the show), and maintained my own training and programming with the help of an incredible team. It was very rewarding to step on that stage with the East Coast Conditioning banner on the wall, friends, family, and ECC Members on stage and in the audience, and bring my best physique to the competition. I walked away with a 2nd place trophy, and it’s a special memory for a lot of great reasons.
East Coast Conditioning (ECC) has been a thriving part of the fitness community here in Newfoundland, what makes it different from other fitness groups and classes?
Honestly, our Members make us different. We have such an incredible community of Members that are so enthusiastic about training, and so supportive of each other, they continue to reinforce the vibe that we started way back on Crosbie Road. We’ve never implemented Member contracts at ECC, and we have a pretty high client retention percentage despite this. People enjoy coming to classes and taking that 60 minutes to do something good for them in a room full of people with that same intention. There’s been a lot of friendships made at ECC, and it feels so awesome to be a part of that.
We also have a distinctly different business vision than other private facilities. When we started in January 2014 in a 1,000 sq ft studio on Crosbie Road, we capped classes at 12 people for optimal individual attention in a group class. When we expanded in September 2014 into a 2,500 sq ft warehouse space on Topsail Road, we continued to cap classes at 12 people to maximize the gym and equipment even more. Our core athletic conditioning program, “Train to Perform”, is STILL our core program with 7 time slots every week. Consistency is very important to us. We’ve been careful to not put an emphasis on one particular sport or training method, I introduce a variety of skills and techniques from different disciplines in every group and personal program I develop, because that freshness in programming is also important. When we expanded in September of this year, taking over an additional 500 sq ft in our building on Topsail, we also decided to do an overhaul of the current group training area. We invested in
some new equipment that enables an experience totally unique and really bringing it back to the power of play. We’ve expanded our equipment roster to include a 12 ft salmon ladder, 9 ft monkey bars, an old school peg board, 2 wall mounted cages, stacked with climbing ropes, kettlebells, bars, dumbbells, plates, bands, balls, ladders, ropes, and boxes. And a rowing urg, that’s the only thing that plugs into the wall besides the fans.
The new 500 sq ft space, Cirque’letics, is a whole other animal. It’s a space devoted to circus-inspired fitness. Members of those classes work with professional circus apparatuses, (aerial hammocks, silks, trapeze…), learning poses, transitions, and eventually drop sequences and routines. The classes are led by a graduate of the New England Circus Arts and certified Gymnast, and her programs blend elements of dance and gymnastics to manipulate the equipment, which is a VERY challenging workout. You’re pushing and pulling your bodyweight around either fabric or bars and cables… it tightens up your conditioning pretty quick! My girlfriend and I do private lessons, and it’s probably the hardest training I do during the week! We’re pretty happy to be one of the only places in the province offering classes like this, and introduce people to a whole new way to move, get strong, and aware of the body in a fun, kind of unconventional way. It really puts us in a whole other category in terms of more diversity in movement, now having circus-inspired classes with people climbing to and hanging from the ceiling, happening simultaneously with athletic conditioning classes with people throwing med balls, and pushing a sled. It’s pretty crazy!
What has been the most rewarding part of training others?
Definitely hearing that a Member has tried something new or stepped up to something they never committed to before training. Hearing someone say they signed up for a road race, a fundraiser, a certification, a new class, a competition, doing the entire Signal Hill trail, really embracing life in some way because they recognized what they were capable of throughout their training at ECC, nothing tops that. Helping to bring out that feeling of achievement in clients, really, as many people as you can, that’s why I’m a coach.
How does training others affect your own goals?
Training a class full of people, a team, or an individual one on one, it’s all a reciprocal process. A total energy exchange. Everyone has different backgrounds, goals, and reasons for investing in a fitness program. I learn something from every single client, and seeing them improve in terms of both mobility and mindset, becoming anxious for new challenges, it makes me want to be better. A better coach, a better athlete, a better friend, a better person.