First of all, thank you fitness.com for this interview. I appreciate anyone who is keen to provide educational information to help others get healthy.
I started modeling during a break from playing varsity volleyball while completing my undergraduate science degree. Once published in Muscle & Fitness as a success story things steamrolled and before I knew it I was on stands in various magazines every month. Six years later I am enjoying the biggest year of my career!
Where does your motivation come from?
I am extremely passionate about health, wellness and sharing my knowledge with others. I truly believe that drugs are not necessary to achieve an elite physique and one of my mandates is to ensure I help others see this natural potential within their bodies. One word? NUTRITION!
I have always been a competitive person and I thrive pushing myself to get better in all aspects of my career each and every day.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I have found that as a DRUG FREE athlete, the frequency of training matters most, not how heavy I lift or how much I damage the tissue. What I mean is trying to train underdeveloped muscle groups multiple times each week. That is arguably the best piece of advice I could give any beginner bodybuilder or aspiring fitness model! Want a big upper chest? Calves? Quads? Train them more than once every 6-7 days!
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
Leg Press: The intensity is unmatched when it comes to pure tension applied to all parts of the quadriceps. That is, if your goal is growth. Not as functional as squat variations, but for size, it is hands down the best.
Incline Dumbbell Chest Press: Very underrated with aspiring fitness models. That large chest you see in print is UPPER development, never forget it!
Standing calf raise on DUAL Smith Machine: Hard to fine, but I use a dual action smith machine to train my calves. The bar moves in two planes and forces you to stabilize with the large with on your shoulders most guys would use on a single action smith. Bonus? Core activation, ankle, knee joint stabilization and more calories burnt while training a small muscle group. Who would have thought?
What do your off season and contest prep diets consist of?
I haven’t had an “off season” in 6 years. There is a BIG difference between bodybuilding and busy commercial/print fitness modeling. To model and earn an income at it you have to shoot all the time. I just flew back from Miami 24hrs ago, had a voice mail from a high profile magazine art director booking another shoot in 10 days. There literally is not time to increase my body fat like a bodybuilder would during a typical “growth phase”.
Thankfully, I have learned over the years that high body fat is NOT necessary for growth. Once again, NUTRITION is everything and definitely more important than training in my experience.
When dieting down for a competition what type of cardio do you use? High intensity, Low intensity, or interval cardio?
Truth be told I do very little cardio. If weight training is functional, incorporates multiple joints and has strict rest periods than you can enjoy the anaerobic benefits of weight combined with the aerobic benefits of a sustained elevated heart rate. You also burn more than enough calories to shed fat at any age.
For instance, this next magazine shoot in less than two weeks: Weight training will NOT change whatsoever, same weight, same rest periods, just a few deliberate tweaks to my nutrition and I will show up contest lean. Easy right? Unfortunately not, nutrition is very complex and varies person to person. Some people need more carbs, some less. Do not be afraid to try varying ratios on yourself to find what works best, there is no golden rule, remember that!
What supplements do you use?
*calcium + vitamin D
That’s it! Your best “supplements” aren’t supplements at all, consistent eating, clean nutrition with whole foods is the way to go, especially to have longevity as a fitness model.
What competitors do you look up to and why?
Nathane Jackson: Veteran Canadian cover model and proud drug free athlete. Perfect look for print modeling and his years of bookings are proof of that.
Kelechi Opera: Another proud drug free athlete, he is a bodybuilder with an insane physique and vast knowledge of nutrition and exercise physiology.
Max Wettstein: A fitness model who balances it all. A drug free model that has been published for 10+ years, a jet pilot, proud father and husband to top it off. Being in our industry can result in balance, you just have to be conscious of the choices you make.
Can you list the major competitions you have competed in since your started competing and your placing’s?
Instead of competitions, perhaps it is more relevant to list publications and achievements as a model since I do not compete besides some small initial events. I placed 1st and won the overall male fitness model title at an Ontario contest two years ago, since then it has been non-stop print and TV work.
Magazines I have appeared in include Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Workout, Exercise & Health, Inside Fitness, REPS! Magazine, Maximum Fitness, Volleyball Magazine, Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness....
I was humbled and honoured to be recognized by my peers as the 2011 Canadian Fitness Professional of the Year.
Is there any websites or services you offer that you would like to make our fans aware of?
I serve as the Director of Fitness at Medpoint Health Care Centre where we have implemented Canada’s first fully medically integrated personal training program. All clients receive a 3hr executive medical, including blood work, 12 lead heart ECG, fitness test, Bod Pod body composition test and more. It is all about THE SCIENCE! www.medpointfitness.ca
In closing, what are your future competition plans? Are you currently preparing for any upcoming shows?
Up next is another shoot for Robert Kennedy Publishing who are always great to work with. After that I have a major website launch for a big North American magazine but my lips are sealed for now. I also filmed a TV commercial that will air in January. I am also a staff writer for Volleyball Magazine and will continue to write for them (nutrition and exercise) in the upcoming months. It never stops!
Here is a highlight video with a few of these included:
At Medpoint my plan is to continue to grow our clinic and help thousands of people get healthy in the process. I am also very dedicated to help my team of experts hone their own skills in helping patients achieve optimum health.
I am also in the early stages of helping with rural health promotion in Southwestern Ontario. There are far too many people underutilizing the free services available to them. It is time I gave back to my local community, big year ahead!