Garreth Benjamin shares his story
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Health and wellness have always served as the foundation from which I build my life. Born into an athletic, cricket-loving family in South Africa, my parents decided that I was going to play the sport when I was 5. I excelled quickly and before I knew it, I made the first provincial rep team at 13. To this day, I still hold the record for the youngest player to play on the U19. I am proud of my glory days with cricket; I moved to England to play semi-professionally and also made the Canadian junior team. Touring with both Canadian junior and provincial senior teams exposed me to a level of dedication and discipline at a very young age. I faced a number of injuries along the way, most notably when I got hit in the eye with a cricket ball and was almost at risk of losing my vision. My pupil got badly damaged and still doesn’t open and close properly. At the time, I was also expecting a son and had made the difficult decision to stop playing cricket professionally. Through the hiatus I took from the sport, I realized that I needed competitive sport and fitness in my life so I decided to play again.

Life had other plans for me though — the second game back I ruptured my left bicep. It had completely detached from my shoulder and required surgery to repair. I had slipped into a deep, dark depression after this. It was a long rehabilitation process — my left arm was completely immobile and I went from 180lbs to just short of 250lbs. For the first time in my life, I was unable to be active or participate in any sport. When you have something that becomes such a huge part of your life taken away, you gain so much perspective. I knew that I could either accept this terrible fate or do something about it. With the support and encouragement from my loving wife, I started to work on developing my strength again. It was humbling, to say the least when I had to start training with 1lb weights. The contrast between what I was capable of doing at my healthiest and the challenges I had to then face only fuelled me to focus on recovery and rehabilitation.

Fast forward to the past year, I turned 40 and ignited my desire for sport by trying to get in the best shape of my life. I knew that having a goal to work towards would only help catalyze the journey so I decided to enter the NPAA men’s physique show. My fitness journey has been fraught with upset and disappointment but also illuminated with success and achievement. I do this so that I can be a living example of what hard work, dedication, and focus can do. I want to show my 3 boys what resiliency can do and how I was able to conquer my depression through fitness. It may sound cliche, but I truly believe that you can do anything you put your mind to. Not only did I achieve my goal of competing but I surpassed it when I placed first in the Men’s Physique, earning my NPAA elite pro card.

Fitness goals:
The main focus right now is to put in a solid off-season to help give me the best possibility of earning my IPE pro card.

Who is your coach?
Lou Noel and Mark Crawford of Ripped Geek Fitness

5-week mesocycles given to me by my coaches consisting of mostly weights and resistance training

What show did you compete in, and what was your experience at the show?
I competed at the NPAA BC Classic earlier this month. It was my first show and it could not have gone any better. I was a ball of nerves but in the end, I came home finishing first in Men’s Physique Open earning me my NPAA elite pro card. I finished third in Men’s Classic physique and also was chosen as the most marketable athlete.

Nutritional & Supplements:
My coaches had me counting Macros on a flexible diet. During the 6 months of show prep, I was only using creatine monohydrate and vitamin D. During my off-season I am now using some magnum pre-workout along with the creatine and vitamin D.

What do your parents mean to you?
My mom is my everything. She’s been with me through thick and thin. I truly love her. My dad has been to every sporting event cheering me on since I was a little boy. He has been such a great role model and inspiration to me.

What did they teach you?
“When you think about stopping, think about why you started!” Stick to your goals and you will achieve greatness. They both have been my greatest fans.

What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
I love that Status is local and based where I currently reside. I find that Status separates itself from other fitness magazines through their large inclusion of regular people who have been transformed by hard work and dedication.

What would it mean to you to become the next Status Fitness Cover model?
This has been a personal journey filled with multiple milestones. Since my injury, my recovery, and turning 40 (gasp!) — it has been a huge accomplishment for me and I’m thankful and full of gratitude to be part of something so great.

If you could ask Status Editor-In-Chief, Rodney Jang one question what would that be?
Before I would ask my question I would take the opportunity to thank him for his consideration of me joining the Status family. Then I would proceed with asking him if age plays a role in the fitness industry and if so, how?

What was it like working with photographer Ali Sohrab?
He was absolutely amazing!  He made my experience so fun and enjoyable. Bringing out my true athletic physique on camera in the most natural and comfortable way possible. It was great! I can’t wait to work with him again.

3 things people would not know about you?
1)I am a sneakerhead and have a bit of a shoe obsession.

2) I am a father of 3 amazing boys

3) I’m a bit of a foodie and I love to eat (this makes training extra challenging)

Who inspires you?
My whole life my one inspiration has always been my older brother, Bradley. I’ve always looked up to him and we share a common interest in sports. He excelled in just about any sport so I would always set my goals using my brother as the “bar” but right now this is a personal journey that I’m doing for myself.

Who do you wish to inspire?
My sons, mean the world to me. Our children are our next generation. We need to inspire, motivate and encourage them to be the best they can be.

Life goals?
To continue to grow and be the best I can be without compromising my integrity or my beliefs.

5 lessons you have learned:
1. Take time for yourself

2. Stop worrying about what others think of you

3. Life can take you in a different direction

4. Happiness is found within

5. Strength is not just physical

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I am a content and talent manager of Status Fitness Magazine. If you are looking to share your story or get featured in Status, contact me.

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